Choosing a Domain Name
Self-hosting your own WordPress blog isn’t quite as simple as going to WordPress.org and clicking the “Download” button. Before you can do anything with WordPress, you will need your own domain name. You’ll need web hosting, too, but it’s easier to pick your domain name first.
To select a domain name, you need to visit a domain registrar. You have several registrars from which to choose, such as GoDaddy, Namecheap, or Moniker. For the purposes of this tutorial, I’ll be using GoDaddy, but all domain registrars perform the same basic functions. The only real difference between them is usually price and quality of customer service.
Go to the GoDaddy website and type your desired domain name into the big Domain Search box in the middle of the page. Make sure the domain name reflects the content of your website, and check for spelling errors, too. Click “GO” to see if the domain name is available with a .com extension. Many of the most popular domains are unavailable with a .com extension, but you can usually get the domain with an extension like .net, .org, or .info.
If you’re going to use WordPress to set up a business-related site, it’s best to stick to .com extensions. For small or personal blogs, any of the other extensions will work fine. They’re also cheaper. For example, expect to pay between $9.99 and $12.99 for many .com extensions. Other extensions can be as cheap as $2.99 or even less if the registrar is running a promotion.
Once you have chosen the extension for your domain, click the “Add” button next to the desired extension, and then click “Continue to Registration.” You may be prompted to register other extensions with your domain for a bulk discount rate. You can accept if you wish, but it’s not necessary to do so.
You’ll now be taken to the domain registration screen. Enter your personal information, such as name, address, and phone number, as well as how long you’d like to register the domain. By default, GoDaddy registers domains for two years, but you can choose to register between one and 10 years. Don’t enter anything in the nameserver boxes; you’ll fill these in later after you buy hosting. Instead, click “Park my domains at GoDaddy.”
In the next section, you can choose to add domain information protection. This will prevent others from seeing your personal information, but you’ll have to pay an extra fee. If you have business information to protect, it might be worth it.
For another fee, you can also buy extra email addresses for the domain, but this is not necessary. You’ll be prompted to purchase hosting; however, it’s best not to buy hosting from your domain registrar. Buying both hosting and a domain together puts all the power in the hands of the registrar if a problem should ever occur.
After making your selections, click “Next” to enter payment information and check out. Make sure that your domain is spelled correctly, since you can never change it once it’s been paid for. When you pay for the domain, it will remain parked on the GoDaddy server until you direct it to a new server.
In “Self-Hosted WordPress Part 3: Web Hosting,” you’ll learn how to select a web host, transfer your new domain name to the host, and install WordPress for the domain.