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Self-Hosted WordPress Part 1: Introduction

If you are a business or individual in need of an online presence, you may not know where to begin. Maybe you think that you need advanced web design skills to build your website or blog. Fortunately, a self-hosted WordPress site is ideal for almost any need. Best of all for the beginner, no web design knowledge is required. You can have an attractive, functional WordPress website up and running in just a few hours.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a user-friendly blogging platform that allows you to manage all aspects of your site from a single online dashboard. Instead of building a website from scratch, you can choose from hundreds of pre-designed themes and plugins. With a self-hosted WordPress blog, you can also purchase and install premium content. It’s even possible to create your own plugins and themes, making self-hosted WordPress ideal for novices as well as tech-savvy users.

WordPress.com VS WordPress.org

Type “WordPress” into Google, and you’ll see two different WordPress sites. One has a .com extension, while the other has a .org extension. Are they the same thing? What is the difference?

For self-hosting, go to WordPress.org.

WordPress.com is totally free and requires very little tech knowledge to set up and run. Your blog is hosted on WordPress servers, and all aspects are taken care of for you, including spam protection, content backup, and version upgrades. WordPress.com is great if you just need a very basic blog, but you can’t use premium themes or make changes to the PHP code. You also cannot use plugins. This greatly limits what you can do with your blog.

WordPress.org is also known as “self-hosted WordPress.” That’s because you need your own web hosting to use it, so the blog will not be hosted on the WordPress servers. Web hosting usually costs several dollars each month, and you are responsible for your blog’s security, spam protection, upgrades, and backups.  However, you are completely free to customize your blog in any way, making these small hassles worth the trouble. It’s best to use self-hosted WordPress if you intend to sell products via your site, or if you wish to use affiliate links to make money.

What You Need for Self-Hosted WordPress

To self-host your WordPress blog, you’ll need a domain name, also called a URL or web address. You must also obtain web hosting so you can “park” the domain on a server. Free hosting is available, but it can be unreliable and is not recommended, especially if your blog is business-related. You will have to pay for the domain and high-quality hosting, but after that, setting up and running your WordPress blog is free (unless you want to buy premium content).

In “Self-Hosted WordPress Part 2: Domain Names,” you’ll learn how to pick a domain name and register it with a registrar.

~Melissa Howbert