How To Setup A Self-hosted WordPress Blog for Free
A blog is a layman-friendly variation of a website, and having a blog is one of the many ways to state your presence in the virtual world. While there are many hassle-free blog services out there that will take care of everything except automatically blog for you – like Blogger and WordPress, nothing can beat a self-hosted blog in the terms of customization and self pride.
The problem is, the process of building your own self-hosted blog is (almost always) not free and is considered complicated. So most newbies will choose the easier path and never give themselves a chance to experiment.
I personally believe that experience is the best teacher (and that you should never consider yourself a cool person if you’ve never tried to “build” a blog).
So, if you are in an adventurous mood right now and willing to take up the challenge, I’ll show you how to easily set up a free WordPress blog site.
Some of you might ask, “Why WordPress?” I could go on and explain how cool it is, how it has grown from a simple blogging platform into an advanced CMS (Content Management System) and still stay simple and free, how you can expand it into virtually everything by adding plugins and themes; but to save you the time, I’ll just go with “Why not?”
Getting your own domain name
The first step in our little project is obtaining a domain name. But with zero budget, you shouldn’t expect to be able to snatch a dot com – or any other popular dots like org, net, name or tv. For this experimental purposes, we’ll go with a less popular but free alternative.
The free service that I always use for quick and free domain names is www.co.cc. This service will provide you with 2 free domain names (with .co.cc suffixes) for personal use. (But that doesn’t mean that you can’t register for more with different email addresses. Wink!)
Visit the site and search for the availability of your chosen domain name(s). I’ve registered buildablog.co.cc for this article so you can’t claim that one.
If your chosen name is available, please check whether it’s available for free because there are names which are not free. Then continue with the registration.
If you’ve been here before, you can log in with your account. Newcomers click “Create an account now“.
After completing the registration process, you need to set up your domain. This step should be done within 48 hours or they will delete the domain. So click the set up button now.
Finding yourself a host
To be able to set up the domain, you need a webhost. So, we’ll postpone the domain set up process for a while and find ourselves a webhost first. I stumbled on a service which provides free webhosting without ads called 000webhost. You won’t get premium features, but 1.5GB of disk space and 100GB of data traffic per month should be sufficient for our project.
Sign up for free hosting with your registered domain name from the previous step, and you’ll get the DNS addresses needed for the domain set up – both in the confirmation email and in the website. Armed with that information, we are ready to go back to our postponed task.
Please note that the host set up process could take a long time (up to 24 hours). So be patient here and refresh the page often.
Setting up the domain
Back at the “Manage Domain” page, choose the number one: “Name Server” option and write down these values:
- Name server 1: ns01.000webhost.com - Name server 2: ns02.000webhost.com
Then click “Set Up“, and you’ll go into another waiting game.
After the host and the DNS settings are active, we can log in to the cPanel to install WordPress. You can log in using your email address and password.
Find the Software section inside the cPanel and choose Fantastico, then select WordPress and provide the admin name with the chosen password. The Fantastico installation script will make the WordPress installation easier by automatically building and linking the database for you.
You have to decide where you want to install WordPress. If you leave the sub-folder blank, then WordPress will be installed in the root folder: your domain name and you can access it using –> http://www.your-domain.co.cc. But if you put name in the sub-folder, then WordPress would be installed in that folder and accessible via http://www.your-domain.co.cc/foldername
Customization and final notes
You can customize your WordPress installation using plugins and themes and upgrade it to the latest build via FTP. The details of the FTP is available in the welcome email and in the cPanel. I won’t go into detail here because discussing that topic would require another one or two more articles.
With all that said and done, I have to emphasize that the free domain name and free hosting service will only go that far: as an experiment tool. If you want to do this seriously, you have to go with the paid service as they will provide you with more necessary bells and whistles.
But let me share one last trick here: you don’t have to settle with the price that web hosting company offer you. You can get a far cheaper price by applying for a web host re-seller account. Normally, this kind of account is not opened to the general public and also not free. But I found one which is free for everybody to join called Resellers Panel. (The link will put me as your referrer, but you can go directly to their website if you want)
By applying to become a reseller, not only you can get the cheapest price for domain names and hosting but you could also start your own business by reselling the service with the market price.
Do you use WordPress? Have you tried to install one on the web server? Share your experience using the comment below.