Ultimate Guide on How to Host Your Own Blog – For The Non-Technical

Lately there have been a lot of people trying to hire us to create a website for them, others even ask for quotes and present a short plan that they have made. The problem is we’re not a company that will design and develop websites for clients, we’re an internet publisher focused on writing guides, inspirational articles, reviews, and the lot.

My friends, it has come to this. Many have asked for help and now I will walk you through it all, even without knowledge of coding you will be able to create a website in just one hour after reading this.

Say you have already grown tired of your Tumblr, Blogger, and WordPress.com blogs and you want to move up the scale. What do you do next? Yes, you read this guide!

Remember, you can start your own blog/website now for as low as $10!

Update July 2013:

LabZip: ABC of Having Your own Blog

What can LabZip do for you?

  1. If you choose LabZip, you will have access to gorgeous WordPress themes, WordPress plugins, and training materials.
  2. It’s super easy to use, just like reciting the alphabet: you select what theme you want, what functionalities, and boom! Your website is complete!

Whether you want it for:

  • personal blog
  • online store
  • a forum
  • social networking

LabZip will take care all of those for as low as $25 per month! It’s 1stwebdesigner approved!

Visit LabZip Now!

Things to know before you host your own blog:

Before anything else, there are some small details that you will need to think about. Do you want to have a totally free website that has a fixed set of features? You probably want more power and the option tp tweak things, but are you willing to pay for these options?

First you need to decide whether to create a self-hosted website or not.

Free websites are hosted under a parent domain. For example, there are a lot of websites, or in this case blogs, out there that are used by people for their private ramblings like sampyourname.wordpress.com or testwebsite.blogger.com. These blogs are totally free, but the irony is you really do not have the freedom of bending it to your will. There are limitations involved. But the good thing here is that they are totally reliable and free, also you won’t need any technical knowledge of HTML and CSS, everything is already designed for you.

If your goal is to keep an online diary for your personal life or craft, just the basic things, then using free website/blog services like WordPress.com and Blogger.com, or even Tumblr.com, is highly suggested. You can keep your files safe, no worrying about down time, and most of all they’re totally free. But since they’re free, your site will always have the service’s name (site.blogger.com) attached to your domain and it doesn’t look very professional.

If your goal is to appear strong and professional, and have more control over most things, then your best option is to host a website yourself. Unlike a free website, a self-hosted website requires some technical knowledge, and that is the point of this whole guide.

When should you self-host a website? As mentioned, when you want to have a professional look and feel to your site. Most likely they will know that you are serious about running that website and updating it, since you’re paying for it. Most self-hosted websites are owned by people who are using it for their business, either to promote their skill and services or to make money with it. Just like 1stwebdesigner.com. This is exactly the reason why I decided to write this guide, because people with WordPress.com and Blogger.com blogs have contacted us about shifting to a .com blog. Admittedly, I only replied to a couple of them briefly pointing them to the correct services and websites to read. But now it is different, to avoid further confusing our first time readers I have written a guide to solve this problem!

If you’re still serious about creating a self-hosted website and spending some money, then continue reading.

Before Purchasing Anything

Before you purchase anything, please be sure that you have already decided on what to do. I know that many of the people that will read this are considering it and are not entirely sure about spending money. I know some students both here in the Philippines and elsewhere who are considering spending money to get a website, some have failed and regretted their decision.

Ask yourself, do you need a premium website design?

Choose a Content Management System (CMS)

As the name implies, CMS is software that manages a website’s content. This is actually one of the best inventions of all time. I daresay that 90% of websites in existence today are built over a CMS. Websites like 1stwebdesigner, TheNextWeb, TechCrunch, and a lot more.

I won’t delve too much into what a CMS is, since you’ll more than likely end up using WordPress. 1stwebdesigner is using WordPress to manage all of the photos, articles, and plugins used in this website. Without WordPress it would actually be hard to grow it as big as it is now. But this is just my opinion.

You can, however, choose a different CMS depending on your preferences.

Check out:

Choose a Domain Name and Web Host

Technically, you should be looking for a Domain Registrar to register a Domain name of your choosing. Usually domain names and hosting are purchased together, but in case you want to find cheaper solutions you can buy them separately.

We Strongly Recommend Bluehost!

Want to know why we recommend Bluehost? Read this short review and you’ll know why!

If you sign up on Bluehost using our link, instead of paying the regular $6.95 monthly you get it for $3.95! That’s 20% discount, it’s 1stwebdesigner exclusive!

Suggested Web Hosts

These are web hosting companies that I have firsthand experience with. No matter what you do, do not go to GoDaddy.

Below are three of my recommended web hosts. The process is linear. First you will be prompted to select a domain name of your choosing (the name of your website), then the package type, some add-ons, and finally the checkout process where you will pay.

HostGator –  cheap and has a one-click-install for WordPress and other CMS’s. The cheapest plan boasts unlimited bandwidth and unlimited disk space, and hosts one domain. The main take-away for HostGator is that you can actually host your website here for only $0.01 for one month! Provided you have already purchased a domain name which can cost from $8 to $10. Succeeding monthly bills would be around $8. But you can host your website here for one year for only $75.

Use coupon code: “1stwebdesigner” without the “” to get a $9.94 off of your bill!

Currently hosting 1 website here, no problems so far.

WPWebHost – priced just a little higher than HostGator, but the service is absolutely stunning. Their customer support can solve just about anything you can throw at them related to WordPress. One-click-install for WordPress is also available.

Hosting 1 website here too, still happy with it.

ASmallOrange –  for as low as $25 a year you can host a website. For $25 you will get 150MB of disk space and 4.5GB monthly bandwidth. Not bad if you’re planning on a text-based website with few images.

Also happy with ASmallOrange.

After choosing your web host it’s time to wait. Yes, you need to wait for some time, at best your account is activated within 10 minutes, at worst it will be available after 48 hours (but trust me, I haven’t experienced this yet).

After your account has been activated, an email from the service should be sent to you with the account information with all of the login details for FTP, MySQL, cPanel, and some links to your dashboard. For now just focus on the cPanel.

Setting Up WordPress

First Step: Login onto your Control Panel

HostGator Control Panel

This is what HostGator’s control panel looks like. Do not worry, if you think this is too much to handle and there’s too many icons to click, you only need to worry about one..wait, no, you don’t need to worry at all.


That one icon you need to find? It’s the QuickInstall, just scroll down until you can see this:


After clicking QuickInstall you should see the image below. To the left is a list of software you can install, but our main goal now is to install WordPress. It’s the third item to the left. Just click on it and it will prompt you to continue, simply click on “Continue”.


After this you will receive an email with your login details for your WordPress dashboard. In order to login, go to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin. You will then be prompted with a login form. Just fill in the form and you’re good to go.

WPWebHost Control Panel

This is how WPWebHost’s control panel looks like.


In order to install WordPress, find Softaculous:


Click on it and a page similar to the screenshot below will load.


Click Blogs and the following will appear. Click on where the red arrow is pointing at.


Then the following page will load, and all you need to do is click the blue button saying “Install”.


Everything onwards is pretty easy to understand. A form will appear, asking for some information. I will no longer post a screenshot of it here because you will not need to change anything. Just change the Admin Account details for your user name and password, and an email address so that the system can send your details.

After this you will receive an email with your login details for your WordPress dashboard. In order to login, go to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin. You will then be prompted with a login form. Just fill in the form and you’re good to go.

ASmallOrange Control Panel

If you notice, most of the control panels look the same with only minor changes on the software/services available.


Once you can see the image above, scroll down until you find Fantastico De Luxe.


Click Fantastico De Luxe and you’ll be redirected to the page below. Click on WordPress, pointed by the amazing red arrow.


Click on “New Installation”.


Then you will be redirected to this page. Just fill in the user name and password, an email address and choose the domain you want to install WordPress to. Don’t forget to read!


After this you will receive an email with your login details for your WordPress dashboard. In order to login, go to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin. You will then be prompted with a login form. Just fill in the form and you’re good to go.

Congratulations! You have successfully installed WordPress by navigating through your web host’s control panel!

At this point everything is pretty much finished. But you will need to install a theme and some plugins to get your blog rolling!

Second Step: Configuring Themes

Why do you need to install themes? What are themes? Themes are like clothing for your website, each having their own design and features that you can use. There are hundreds of free themes out there that you can use for free, but don’t expect many features from them. Most likely if you are willing to spend more for the best themes you’ll go for premium themes.

Choose and download Free Themes here:

For Premium Themes:

Installing Themes

First login to your WordPress dashboard by going to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin. You will be greeted by this sweetheart, which you should familiarize yourself with because you’ll be seeing it often. Hover on Appearance and click on Themes.


It is important to note that all the themes that you will be downloading are zipped/rar-ed files. Just keep them that way. When the page loads, click on Install Themes and then click on Upload. Happily navigate through your folders to find the theme you downloaded, select it then upload it. After activating it, check your website and it should have a new design.


Congratulations! You have just installed a new theme! Now, what comes next is also crucial to your website’s success: installing plugins.

Third Step: Setting up Plugins

First let’s talk about the necessary plugins that you need to download and install. Note that this is only based on my preference. You can find your own plugins to install, but I’m just giving you an idea as to what kind of plugins to use. So, let’s begin!

Needed Plugins:

How to Install a Plugin

It’s very easy to install a plugin, either by uploading or searching the WordPress.org plugin directory. First go to the Plugins page by clicking on Plugins.


If you have downloaded a plugin, then you will need to click on Upload and upload the zipped file. If you want to search for the plugin, simply input the name on the search bar and search for the plugin. If you will use the search function, you will be greeted by this:


Simply click “Install Now” and the plugin will be installed. Don’t forget to check the Details to see if the plugin is compatible with your current WordPress version. Talking about that, be sure to always keep your WordPress updated! After installing, just activate the plugin and if settings are available, adjust the settings to your preference.

Congratulations! You have just installed your first plugin! Next and final step would be to add your content!

It’s not a website if it doesn’t have content. Be sure to write valuable information that people can actually use. Never steal content from other websites!

What do you think about this guide?

As always, don’t forget to share this with your friends who are in need, instead of telling them to “Google it!” And also share tips and techniques. Did I make an error somewhere? Please feel free to point them out!

If you are having trouble just write a comment below and I will be glad to help you. :)

Rean John Uehara

Rean concurrently served as the Head of Operations and Editor-in-Chief of 1stwebdesigner from 2011 up until Aug 2014. He regularly writes about freelancing, technology, web design, and web development with a little touch of internet marketing here and there.

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  1. says

    Thanks for this beginners guide but I think we must go for free blogging programs in the beginning. When a webmaster starts feeling acquaintance with all the technical stuff than he should migrate to a top level domain with dedicated hosting space. I think for beginners blogger is the best as WordPress has a lot of complexities

  2. Ramnadh says

    Thanks for this awesome guide for newbies. I am a happy customer of hostgator. I think you have to mention some other web hosting companies which is less costlier than Hostgator. Because newbies may not have enough to pay their bills.
    Thanks for resources for getting WordPress themes.

    • says

      Thanks! I’d mention others, but the three hosts are the only ones I have a good experience of. :) In any case, ASmallOrange is awesome, for as low as $25 a year!

  3. SANDY BROWN says

    Great tips. I will be signing on with Host Gator this week. I sure hope your ROI on referrals and click and pay ads is good. Thankfully, I do have the $10 domain register via Google/Go Daddy, which is cheaper than the $15 domain name offered by Host Gator. A comparable fee given Microsoft’s annual fee was $14.95 with domain privacy.

    The only challenge I have with your article is that you’re not really teaching how to host your own site. It’s how to set up a site that is hosted by (third party entities). My original question to an associate was how to I cut out the middle vendor and literally be my own website host/server? Any tips on that or did I follow you incorrectly from start?

    Thank you.

    • says


      You mean you want to host the files on your home/office? You’ll need to buy a server (or your own computer as it is) for that, which will probably be more advanced stuff since you will be dealing with different kinds of software to get it online; set up Apache, DNS, static IP, and stuff. Security will be an issue too. It’s not cheap, and it will take too much time from your hands. I’m not entirely familiar with the setup, but you’ll need to have a high-speed internet connection for it. Sorry to disappoint. :/ The guide was meant for people who are looking towards removing the .tumblr.com or .wordpress.com on their blogs, or start fresh using a hosting service.

  4. says

    That is a really great step by step guide for beginners. But most of confused Which hosting to choose and which theme will look good and suit there blog..

  5. Chad says

    Just out of curiosity, why do you say not to go with GoDaddy with such conviction? Did they screw you over or something?

    • says

      I used to host my website there, the first month was flawless and then it started running slow. I asked what happened and they suggested me to use plugins they recommend (caching plugins), nothing happened. Then I kept on searching for ways to make it run smoothly, but failed. Then I learned that several people are experiencing the same issues, which made me discover another issue: they were having troubles with some sort of redirect which made us, on that server, suffer from SEO. Too many redirects, I think. But even when that was solved, I kept receiving notifications from UptimeRobot and other website ping-ers that my website was down, a couple of times a week, several times a day. So, there. Proof: http://i.imgur.com/OfZB8.png

  6. Tim says

    A good post. I would add Media Temple to the host list.
    However, “who are considering spending money to get a website, some have failed and regretted their decision”
    what in the world does this line mean? It doesn’t make any sense. How can you fail to spend money? How can you fail to spend money to get a website? How can you regret the decision to fail to spend money?

  7. sim says

    That was an amazing post i must say. Will help a lot of users around willing to start their own blog. This is the reason i love this site.

    • says

      This is by far the best tutorial out there that i have read. I currently own my own domain name and i want to start a blog but the thing is that with sites such as wordpress and joomla which i would like to use either of. Their look is very boring. I will not at any cost pay for a theme and the free themes are very lousy. I am very good with hand-coding my own website. Would you 1stwebdesigner please write an article on how to create a joomla theme from scratch. I prefer joomla over wordpress because to me joomla is a lot stronger in personality

  8. says

    I completely agree that GoDaddy is one of the worst hosting companies you could choose, however it is one of the best domain registrars. Also, HostGator is the way to go because it’s cheap and at the same time never goes down. Great post for beginners!

      • Denis says

        I signed up on the Google Apps for Business, and registered my domain through the service with GoDaddy (sad I didn’t read this first). But after reading this great post, I think I’ve only registered the domain (as I only paid $10.00), and not a web hosting service. I believe the Google Apps is only email/calendar vs. web host.

        If I look more into Host Gator, am I able to use the GoDaddy registered domain with Host Gator service to host my website?


        • says

          Hi Denis, yes you can do that. You will be greeted by two options on HostGator, choose the second one saying “I currently have a Domain Name”. And then once the account on HG has been set up, you will need to change the nameservers on GoDaddy so that the Domain will point to your hosting on HostGator, so that you can link the two accounts. To do that, I found this guide on eHow: http://www.ehow.com/how_4693185_host-godaddy-domain-hostgator.html which provides a good info. In case you’ll have trouble, you can ask both ends for assistance. :) Good luck!

  9. Suroor Wijdan says

    Thats an awesome guide for newbies …even though i have been blogging from some time now, i didnt know some of the things. Very useful for me . This site has helped me gain alot of knowledge regarding blogging and designing . Keep up the good work.