Don't be intimidated, it's super easy. I'll walk you right through. If you aren't sure what hosting is, check out my other post, Blogging is Like Ice Cream for a unique explanation before we start.
And by the way, this is part of the How to Start a Blog or Website series. All posts in the series are listed at the end of this post.
Hosts I recommend & how to choose
Regarding price, the more you pay in advance, the cheaper your monthly hosting rate will work out to be. Both companies have a money back guarantee for shared hosting (details for Bluehost's 30-day guarantee are here and HostGator's 45-day guarantee are here.)
If you can pay for at least one year's worth of hosting at once, I recommend Bluehost because they offer great support, they're reliable, they're affordable and they have a handy feature called Unlimited FTP (I'll talk about later) that HostGator doesn't.
How to purchase hosting (Bluehost)
1. Go to Bluehost (this link will open in a new window).
2. Click "Sign Up Now"
3. Enter your domain.
If you have not already registered a domain, enter your desired domain on the left and select an extension (.com, .net, etc. Read my post, How to Choose a Domain Name: 12 Tips for more). You will be registering your domain and purchasing hosting at the same time. If the domain is unavailable, you will have to choose another one.
If you already have a domain, enter it on the right. (If your domain is being used elsewhere, this will not affect it. At this point, your domain is only serving as your account identifier.) Click Next.
4. Enter your info.
Input your Account Information and Billing Information on the next page.
In the middle of the next page, choose your hosting package. If you are registering a new domain (that is, you entered a domain on the left on the previous screen, it will look like this:
Choose the 12 Month, 24 Month or 36 Month price based on your preference (the Pro Plan is not necessary). Uncheck all boxes except for Domain Whois Privacy. This keeps the personal information associated with your account from being easily accessible online. It's well worth the extra cost.
If you entered an existing domain on the previous screen, your options will look like this:
Choose the 12 Month, 24 Month or 36 Month price based on your preference (the Pro Plan is not necessary). Uncheck all boxes.
Click the Next button at the bottom of the screen.
Find a confirmation in your inbox.
Done. You can skip this next section which explains how to purchase hosting from HostGator.
How to purchase hosting (HostGator)
1. Go to HostGator (this link will open in a new window).
2. Choose your plan.
I recommend the Baby Plan because it gives you Unlimited Domains. This comes in handy, say, if you launch an ebook down the road or start another website. Select the Monthly option from the dropdown menu and click the "Order Now" button.
3. Enter your domain.
If you need to register a domain (and did not do it when we covered it in How to Register a Domain Name), enter it on the left, and choose your desired extension (.com, .net, etc.).
If you've already registered a domain, enter it on the right. Your domain will only act as the identification for this hosting account and will not ruin anything if it's attached to another website currently.
Tip: Note there may be a Coupon Code already entered for you. You can also search "hostgator coupon code" to see if you can find an active one. I always search for a coupon code before purchasing when I can.
4. Enter your Account information.
On the next page, you will enter and review your account and billing information.
You will also be asked if you want to upgrade your service. The only upgrade I routinely choose (and would recommend you do as well) is the Domain Privacy Protection. (This option will not be visible if you entered an existing domain on the previous screen.)
Click the "Create Account" button and look for confirmation in your inbox.
Scroll down to see the WordPress installation instructions for HostGator below.
How to install WordPress (Bluehost)
Don't see the video? Click here.
Video Notes (Bluehost):
- Go to Bluehost and click the "Control Panel Login" button in the top right corner of your screen.
- Enter your login info which you received in a welcome email after purchasing hosting from Bluehost.
- Click the "Simple Scripts" icon under "Software/Services" in your cPanel. You can also simply click the "WordPress" icon to go straight to the install page.
- Click "WordPress" under "Blogs."
- Click "Install."
- Specify where you want WordPress installed. I choose bloggingwithamy.com as opposed to www.bloggingwithamy.com because I like to eliminate as many unnecessary characters from my URL as possible.
- Indicate your "Advanced Options" if you'd like
- Agree to the Terms of Service
- Click "Complete"
How to Set Up WordPress (HostGator)
Can't see the video? Click here.
Video Notes (HostGator):
- Login to your Control Panel (cpanel). Instructions should have been included in the Welcome email you received after purchasing your hosting.
- Scroll down until you see the "QuickInstall" icon.
- Click on "WordPress" in the sidebar.
- Click "Continue."
- Enter your email, blog title and name.
- Click "Install Now."
- Note your admin and password. Check your email for this information as well.
Want to see the next step? You can always move at your own pace in the setup process by going to the How to Start a Blog or Website: Cheat Sheet.
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post.
Other posts in this series
- How to Start a Blog or Website: Intro & FAQ
- How to Start a Blog or Website: Cheat Sheet
- How to Find (or Refind) Your Passion
- How to Decide What to Blog About: What Works for Readers?
- How to Decide What to Blog About: What Works for You?
- Understand Branding: 4 Tips
- Understand Keywords: Increase the Odds of Getting Found
- Writing Great Content: 3 Tips
- How to Write a Killer About Page
- 12 Blog Organization Tips
- How to Choose a Domain Name: 12 Tips
- How to Register a Domain Name
- How to Set Up Hosting and WordPress
- How to Change Your Nameservers
- How to Add a New User in WordPress
- How to Optimize Your WordPress Settings
- How to Install a Plugin
- My Favorite Plugins
- How to Get & Optimize a Feedburner Feed
- How to Choose a WordPress Theme
- How to Install a WordPress Theme
- Elegant Themes for WordPress
- How to Install Google Analytics
- How to Use WordPress: Tips & Tricks
- How to Start a Blog or Website: 10 Tips for New Bloggers