How to Start a WordPress Blog on HostGator?
Creating your personal blog is a great way to share your passion, and also a great way to start earning money online. In this article, we are going to show you how to start your own blog. In order to start a blog, you also need to sign up to a reliable web hosting provider.
The reason why it is much easier to set up a WordPress blog through a hosting provider is because it requires only a few minutes of your time to set up a hosting plan, a domain name and a WordPress blog in the same process.
This time, we are going to pick HostGator to walk you through the whole signup process. HostGator is one of the biggest names in the web hosting industry right now, serving millions of users with various types of hosting plans.
Since a personal blog doesn’t demand as many resources as other types of websites, it will require you little to no investment to get an optimal hosting plan. While running a blog, you can learn a lot in the process.
You will gain a lot of experience in things like attracting traffic, forming valuable relationships with other bloggers, running a business and managing websites. Today, pretty much everyone can start a blog without knowing a single thing about website building. If you want to create your own WordPress blog with HostGator, just go through these 7 simple steps:
Step 1 – Pick a Hosting Provider
First off, visit HostGator’s official website. As we mentioned, one of the cheapest plans will be more than enough for your WordPress blog. From the available options in the menu, pick Web Hosting and it will redirect you to their shared hosting plans.
Or just click the ‘Get Started!’ button which leads you to the same page. There are three different shared hosting plans available as you can see in the picture below:
The most basic one is the Hatchling plan, followed by the Baby and Business plans. If starting an online business is not your main goal, then you should choose between the Hatchling and Baby plans.
Your choice will depend on how many domain names you want to use. While the Hatchling plan lets you use only one domain, the Baby plan allows you to use unlimited domains on the same account.
If your mind is buzzing with ideas, then you might want to kick off multiple websites at once. This guide can help you with that too; just make sure to pick the Baby plan instead of Hatchling.
But if a WordPress blog is the only site you want to start right now, you will be fine with the Hatchling plan. If you are a complete beginner, then we definitely recommend the cheapest plan for you. You will need to learn a thing or two before picking a more powerful plan. Once you have decided which one to choose, click the ‘Sign Up Now!’ button right below the package.
Step 2 – Add Your Domain Name
After clicking the ‘Sign Up Now!’ button, you will need to fill out a few signup forms. The first page of the HostGator Order Wizard will be a form for registering domain names.
If you don’t have a domain yet, click the ‘Register a New Domain’ option and type a catchy domain into it. It will be the URL that people need to enter in their browsers to find your website.
Try to come up with something short and easy to remember.
People usually name their websites after their name, their brand or the type of content they want to share. Then pick a popular extension and the form will check the availability of the domain. The most popular one is .com and it also makes your domain easier to remember. Obviously, two different website owners can’t use the same domain name.
It is sometimes hard to come up with a name that’s not already taken, so it might take you some time until you find the right one. Domain names are billed yearly and most of them cost $12.95 per year. HostGator will add this price to the sum at the end of the process.
UPDATE: Now you can get a domain name registered by HostGator for FREE with every new hosting package!
Step 3 – Pick a Hosting Package
Moving on to the next form, you will see a couple of drop down menus where you can pick a HostGator plan and the time period of your subscription. You can always get discounts by choosing a longer period. It only depends on how much are you willing to pay up front.
The 36 month billing cycle is the biggest one, and it also comes with the biggest discount. However, the plans are quite affordable even if you sign up to 1 or 2 years.
Although in the ‘Package Type’ menu, it shows the hosting plan that you initially chose by default, you can always switch to a different package if you change your mind. Pick the Hatchling plan if you want to run a single blog.
It will cost you only $48 per year if you subscribe for 3 years, which is a $150 total. If you go for the 1-year option, it will cost you $66 instead. The extras are not included in the price, so if you want domain privacy or a new domain name, you need to pay for those separately.
I recommend checking out my HostGator coupon page, because there you can find some really good coupon codes, which you can use to get even lower prices.
As you can see, there are two additional empty fields for your username and a security PIN code. With this username, you will be able to enter the control panel of your HostGator account. Make sure to write down your PIN somewhere or save it in a document. If you forget your login credentials, it will surely come in handy.
Step 4 – Personal Information for Billing
This is the form where you need to enter your billing information. As with most similar forms online, there are plenty of empty fields you will need to fill out. In the first row, you will provide personal information such as email, name, company, phone, location and so on.
In the second row, you can pick a payment method and then fill out your credit card or PayPal information accordingly.
Step 5 – Extras Offered by HostGator
You can choose from plenty of extras according to your needs. These can improve certain aspects of your website. Right on the top of the list, you have the option to get Domain Privacy Protection for only $9.95 per year.
This is certainly one of the most useful features, as it helps protect your identity on the Web. Your personal contact information will be hidden, so no one will be able to check it through your domain.
Without domain protection, basically anyone will be able perform a WHOIS lookup on your domain name that will reveal your personal information. There are many websites on the Web that provide WHOIS lookup as a service.
Since domains are always visible, they can copy them into any of these websites to check who registered the particular domain. Domain Privacy Protection ensures that these WHOIS lookups don’t return any information about your identity.
Without protection, people will be able to find out your name, location, email and phone number as well. That is plenty of personal information that you surely don’t want to share with the whole World. Domain Privacy Protection completely changes these details so that none of them is related to the owner. Let us show you an example:
Without Domain Privacy Protection
- Joe Wallace
- 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
- Washington DC
- Tel +2.812-787-2734
With Domain Privacy Protection
- Domain Admin
- ID#35595, PO Box24
- Nobby Beach
- Email of privacy protect company
- Phone number of the company
The second option on the list is Site Backup which costs $19.95 per year. This ensures that your data is backed up every day by storing it on the cloud. The reason why we highly recommend this one is because you can run into an unexpected problem at any time that might cause loss of data.
It can be a result of an accident, but your website can also get infected by malware. As the saying goes, it is better safe than sorry. With regular backups, you can ensure that your website data can be fully restored. The backup service is provided by CodeGuard, one of the most powerful backup service companies right now.
The third one on the list is SiteLock which provides additional security to your website and ensures high performance. Since it costs only $1.67 per month, we would recommend it just based on the low price.
However, it indeed protects your site from all kinds of malware while your website visitors will be more than pleased with your page load speeds. SiteLock scans your whole site for harmful threats every day and also prevents malicious traffic. According to HostGator, if you summarize all the features you get with SiteLock, it turns out that you get a $99 worth of security software for a low monthly fee.
And the last one is Search Engine Visibility, which can help you to quickly get to the top of search engine listings for $14.99 per year. With this tool, it will be much easier to get to the first page of a Google, Yahoo! or Bing search. It not only provides you with an abundance of SEO tools that you can use on your site, but you also get a nice e-book that helps you learn more about the subject.
Now we don’t deny the fact that you can get all these features separately by downloading WordPress plugins. There are countless alternatives available for each one. So you can just leave all the additional features unchecked, install WordPress and start adding plugins.
It is only a matter of preference. We still think that getting all these services from your hosting provider is the best option. Since they are all connected with a single provider, it will be much easier to get help if you get stuck with either of this software.
Step 6 – Review Your Order Details
At this point, you are almost done with the account creation process. The only thing that’s left is to review your order details and add some final touches if something is still missing. If you are not quite sure yet whether blogging is for you, there is no need to worry.
You can consider it as a long trial as HostGator offers a 45-day money-back guarantee for those who no longer want their services. Most of the other providers refund your money only in 30 days.
By signing up to one of their plans, you will pay for the plan itself, the domain registration (if you don’t have one already) and the extras you pick from the Additional Services list.
If you are satisfied with the outcome of your sign up process, then take a look at the HostGator Terms of Service. As usual, there is the ‘I have read and agree to the Terms of Service’ checkbox.
Click it, and then click the ‘Checkout Now!’ button. That’s all you need to do at HostGator’s official site, now you can open your email inbox. The emails should instantly arrive with some links and important information.
The most important link is the one to the login page that leads to your admin control panel and the password you should use there. We recommend you to keep the email even if you think you will be able to remember the password in the future.
HostGator Customer Support
If you have any questions, you can ask the HostGator customer support through email, live chat and phone. They are available around the clock with fast response times and you don’t even need to pay an extra for help.
Their live chat usually responds within a couple of minutes. According to the reviews, their tech support team is considered as one of the best in the industry. If you have a problem that needs to be resolved, you only need to log in to your hosting dashboard and search their knowledge base.
Since most issues that you can face with a hosting provider are quite common, you have a high chance to find an article or video tutorial that solves your problem. You can use the search to find the answer more quickly.
There are nearly 700 articles and around 500 video tutorials available in the HostGator knowledge base. The most interesting thing about their customer support is that if you have any problem with their service, the CEO of HostGator, Adam Farrar takes full responsibility for it.
When writing your ticket, you have the choice to send it straight to him and he is going to respond personally. If you don’t want to rely on their knowledge base, you can always contact their team through one of the channels and ask your questions there. They are ready to give you detailed instructions even about something as simple as migrating your WordPress from one host to another.
Step 7 – Time to Install WordPress
As the final step, we are going to show you how to install WordPress with HostGator. WordPress is not only the most powerful CMS right now, but also the most popular choice for bloggers. It started out as a blogging platform, and then as it gained popularity, people started to develop new themes and plugins that allowed users to run various types of websites.
Now there are huge companies and online businesses that run their websites on the CMS. Visit the main page of HostGator, and then click the Customer Login option at the top of the page.
A small box will pop up where you can choose how you want to log in. It will offer two alternatives: the Portal Login and the Gator Login option. The first one lets you access the HostGator Customer Portal, whereas the latter is where you can use their website builder.
What you need right now is the customer portal where you can access your account. The button will redirect you to a Sign In page that will ask for your email address and password.
It is the same email address where you got the HostGator welcome emails. One of those emails also contained your account password as we mentioned in the previous step. As you log in, you will be able to switch between tabs like ‘My Account’, ‘Hosting’, ‘Billing’ and so on.
For now, go to the Hosting tab. You will see that there are plenty of options available in the admin area with icons displayed for each of them.
Backup options, SEO tools, WordPress themes, SiteLock and some other useful features can be accessed here. Since we want to install WordPress now, hit the ‘Get Started with WordPress’ icon.
It will open an ‘Install WordPress’ form in QuickInstall where you can fill out some essential information for your new website. On the left, there is a menu with tons of software available divided into many different categories that you can also install if you want. There will be also a short description about WordPress and an ‘Install Now!’ button below the form.
The ‘Application URL’ section is where you can set the domain name for your blog. There is also an empty field after the slash sign but you don’t need to write anything there. Click the ‘Enable Auto Upgrades’ checkbox if you don’t want to upgrade WordPress manually. If a new WordPress version comes out, it is usually because the previous version had some security issues.
By enabling automatic upgrades, you can guarantee that your site won’t be exposed to malware. The rest of the form is pretty straightforward, asking for basic information like your email, blog title, admin user and your first and last name. For the blog title, people typically enter the domain name of their site, while the username can be the same as your hosting account username.
However, there is an admin username that you should definitely avoid: ’admin’. This is what people usually pick as a username and it is also the easiest target for hackers. At least make your username harder to figure out. The more unique your username is the better. If every field in the form is filled appropriately, hit the ’Install Now!’ link below.
A progress bar will appear showing how much is remaining until your WordPress setup is finished. Once it hits 100%, a ‘Congratulations!’ message will pop up. It will show you a link that leads you straight to your WordPress login screen.
Just like after your HostGator signup, you will receive an email with your login credentials. These details are also included in the welcome message. You will get a randomly generated password by default, but it takes only a couple of minutes to change it.
The installer not only installs WordPress for you, but also adds WP Super Cache, a powerful plugin that ensures top-notch performance for your blog. You don’t even need to configure the plugin, as it will run on recommended settings by default.
You can change the settings or disable the whole plugin whenever you want. It can be accessed just like any other plugin through the WordPress Dashboard.
More information about WP Super Cache can be found on WordPress.org. The URL for your WordPress login screen will look like this: http://yourdomain.com/wp-admin. You just add the /wp-admin after the extension of your domain name and it should work.
That’s all it takes to sign up to a HostGator hosting plan, register a domain and create your website! If you are one of those people who regularly browse the Internet, then this won’t be an issue for you at all.
It requires literally no experience in web design or any other technicalities. Once your log in to your WordPress and your hosting account, you will be able to discover thousands of helpful tools that can help you create a full-featured blog that people will love to visit.