What Is A Self-Hosted WordPress Site? A Guide For Beginners


As a blogger, you decide what WordPress website you want to create. A hosted website or a self-hosted website. What is the difference? What is the best choice for you?

A self-hosted WordPress website is when you purchase a domain name. Buy hosting for your domain name, then install the free WordPress software to your hosting account. Once installed, you build your website the way you want.

Are you planning to build an online business? I recommend you self-host your website.

Self-Hosted WordPress

What Is The Difference Between WordPress.com and a Self-Hosted WordPress Site?

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is a hosting service offering hosted websites. The service takes care of the technical side of owning a website. You concentrate on creating content for your blog. They offer free and paid plans.

Plan to start a website as a hobby? A free website is an excellent option.

WordPress.com

WordPress.com offers both free and paid plans. The free option is limited. It won’t be long before you have to upgrade to a paid plan to gain access to functions to improve your blog. The business plan costs about $300 a year. That is expensive.

WordPress.org

A self-hosted WordPress site puts you in control. It is not necessary to upgrade to another plan. You purchase a domain name, a name for your website.

WordPress.org

Once you have a domain name, then you buy hosting. Hosting is space on a server to store your website folders, files, and databases. The server ensures your website shows on browsers when you have a visitor to your blog.

There are a lot of companies selling hosting packages. The cheapest packages are ‘Shared Hosting’ packages.

Shared hosting is when a company puts multiple websites on one server. Sharing a server is not a problem when you start. You don’t have a lot of content on your blog and few visitors. As your site grows, you can upgrade to a better hosting package.

Once you have hosting, you install the free WordPress software. When you buy hosting, the company sets up a control panel to access your website on their servers. You can install WordPress on your hosting control panel. There is no charge for installing or using WordPress software.

With a self-hosted website, you have to manage the technical side. Your hosting company offers support, but this support is limited.

Is Self-Hosting Free?

To start a self-hosted website, you need a domain name and hosting. Domain names cost about $10 per year. The cheapest hosting packages are less than $5 a month.

Domain name

A domain name ending with a .com costs about $10 per year. Once you purchase your domain name, no one else can buy it.

I use Namecheap (*Paid link) to buy my domain names. They have an option to purchase a domain for one year or multiple years.

Namecheap

Enter the domain you want for your website to check availability. Once you find an available domain name you like, proceed to check out.

Important note, don’t let your domain name expire. In that case, someone else could buy it, and you will have to buy a new domain for your website.

Hosting

Websites have a large number of folders, files, and databases. This data has to be accessed by browsers to display your website content. Hosting companies save your data to their servers.

Hosting companies sell space on their servers as packages. The cheapest packages are ‘Shared Hosting’ packages. You can buy a shared hosting package for less than $5 per month.

Shared hosting means the hosting company uses one server to host many websites. Shared servers are not a problem with small websites with few visitors. As your website grows, you have the option to upgrade to a better package.

It is essential to take your time when choosing your hosting company. There are good and bad companies. Read the reviews from users rather than ‘Review’ sites. Review sites tend to be set up by affiliate marketers.

Affiliate marketers receive a payment for every customer they send to hosting companies that purchase hosting. The reviews could be biased if the reviewer is receiving payment.

Also, hosting companies offer discounts to attract new customers. The renewal price can be double or triple what you pay as a new customer.

I use Webhostface for my website. I have been with them for almost three years now and have been very happy with the quality of service and support.

Webhostface

My affiliate link takes you to their homepage, Webhostface.com (*Paid link). I appreciate you using my link, or you can search for Webhostface on Google.

How To Host A WordPress Website

To host your WordPress website, you need a domain name and hosting.

  • Step One – Buy A Domain Name
  • Step Two – Buy Hosting
  • Step Three – Change Nameservers on Your Domain
  • Step Four – Install WordPress

Domain name

A domain name is the homepage URL of your website. For example, my domain name is Newblogr.com. You have the option to choose a different TLD. A TLD is the last segment of the domain name. My TLD is .com. I recommend buying a ‘.com’. It is the most popular TLD. Most websites appearing on Google search results pages are .coms.

I recommend buying your domain name from a domain name registry. The price remains the same each year.

I buy my domain names from Namecheap.com (Paid link).

Namecheap

Hosting

In addition to a domain name, you need to buy hosting. Hosting companies have servers. They sell space on their servers.

Websites have folders, files, and databases. Internet browsers can access this data to show your WordPress website.

The cheapest hosting package is Shared hosting. A shared hosting package is sufficient when you start. Once you outgrow a shared hosting package, it is simple to upgrade.

There are many hosting companies. Take your time researching hosting companies. Some are better than others.

I use Webhostface for my website. I am happy with their service and support.

Webhostface

My affiliate link takes you to their homepage, Webhostface.com (*Paid link). I appreciate it if you click on my affiliate link.

Update nameservers

After you purchase hosting, the hosting company sends you their unique nameservers. Nameservers are the IP address of the host company’s server.

When a visitor enters your domain name in an internet browser, the nameservers direct the browser to your website’s data.

To update your nameservers, sign in to your domain name account. There is a login link on the homepage of your domain name registrar.

On Namecheap, the link is on the top-left.

Sign in

On your account dashboard, look for your domain name. On the right, select the ‘Manage’ link.

Namecheap dashboard

On the next page, look for Nameservers. Copy the nameservers you got from your hosting company and paste your current ones. Once pasted, click on the green arrow to confirm the change.

After you confirm the update, the internet starts changing your nameservers. The process takes about 48 hours to complete.

Read my article How To Change Nameservers On Namecheap – Beginner’s Guide to learn more.

Install WordPress Software

After you purchase hosting, you receive login details for your control panel. A control panel or Cpanel allows you to access your website files and databases on the hosting company’s server.

To start, log in to your hosting Cpanel.

Cpanel login

Every hosting company I have used has software to install WordPress for you. I recommend you use this method if you are new to blogging.

Once signed in, you come to your dashboard. Look for the ‘Software’ section. In the software section, there is an app to install WordPress.

My Cpanel app is called Softaculous. Softaculous takes about one minute to install WordPress.

WordPress installer

Once installation is complete, you get two links. One link is to the homepage of your new WordPress website. The second link is to your WordPress admin page, the back office to your blog.

WordPress installed successfully

Do you have Hostgator hosting? My guide shows you how to install WordPress on Hostgator.

Do you have Bluehost hosting? My guide shows you how to install WordPress on Bluehost.

How Much Does It Cost to Self-Host A WordPress Website?

To self-host a WordPress website, you need a domain name and hosting. A domain name costs about $10 per year, and a shared hosting package costs less than $5 per month. Most hosting companies offer discounts to new customers.

To start a WordPress website costs less than $100 for your first year. There are not many businesses with start-up costs like this.

Is It Cheaper To Host Your Website?

You can host your website for less than $100 a year. When you host a website, you have control. You add, change, update, move, and delete without additional costs.

Many hosting service companies offer ‘free’ websites. Opting for one of these companies is an excellent choice if you plan to start a website as a hobby. The hosting service company takes care of all the technical aspects of running a website.

The ‘free’ website is to attract customers to sign up. Once you have a free website, they offer paid services or upgrades.

As your website grows, you will need to upgrade. Upgrading can get expensive. For example, the WordPress.com business plan costs $300 per year or $33 per month.

Compare that to when you self-host. A domain name costs $10 per year, and hosting costs are about $5 per month. Your first-year start-up costs are about $70.

Should You Self-Host A website?

If you plan to start an online business, I recommend self-hosting. You have complete control of your business. Opting for a hosting service like Wix or WordPress.com is free to start, but as your business grows, you have to upgrade to a paid plan to unlock essential features.

The disadvantage to self-hosting a website is the learning curve is steep. There is the technical aspect of managing your website and using WordPress to publish your content.

As you gain experience, managing a self-hosted website gets easier. Don’t let problems get in the way of your success.

I have written a blog post about starting a WordPress blog. I start with choosing an idea for your blog and end with publishing your first post on WordPress. Check out my How To Start A Blog From Scratch Guide. Don’t forget to leave a comment letting me know how you are getting on with your blog.

The priority is to publish content to attract visitors to your website in the beginning. Once you have a constant stream of traffic, you can monetize your website. Monetizing a self-hosted website is simple. You can place ads, use affiliate links, promote products, or sell your courses.

I always recommend bloggers opt for a self-hosted website. You are free to manage your business as you see fit.

Conclusion

A self-hosted website is when you purchase a domain name and hosting. A domain name costs $10 per year and hosting costs about $60 for the first year. You can start your online business today for about $70.

The disadvantage to self-hosting a website is the learning curve. The technical side can be complicated. But every business takes hard work.

An excellent way to learn how to use WordPress is to sign up for a free WordPress.com account. You can learn how to navigate WordPress and publish content. Once you feel confident, start a self-hosted website.

If you feel intimidated setting up your first website, let me know in the comments. I remember my first self-hosted websites and the things I had to learn. I can guarantee that whatever concerns you have, I also had when I started.



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