Update: I now recommend using the hosting site BigScoots which has amazing customer service and very affordable shared SSD hosting. This post is on the list of things to update, but I wanted to make it clear that my recommendations have changed. Try out BigScoots for a month and get 20% off of a BigScoots month with the code D9LK83CPOC95 they’ll even transfer you from your old host for free.
Feeling like it’s time to get serious about blogging? Wondering how to get a free domain and hosting?
Let’s jump right into learning how to start a blog by purchasing a domain and integrating WordPress.
Table of contents
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Why Host Gator?
In addition to a free domain and hosting with reduced prices, Host Gator also offers:
- 99.9% uptime guarantee
- Free SSL certificate
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- 24/7/365 world-class support
- Free website transfers
I’ll be honest. We started off this blog using Bluehost because we saw so many bloggers talking about how it was the perfect hosting.
As soon as it comes time to renew our domain we will be switching because Bluehost is known for overloading its servers! That means a super slow website. It’s like being in an apartment and sharing the hot water with everybody else.
Host Gator offers a variety of different types of hosting options:
- Shared hosting
- Cloud hosting
- Managed hosting for WordPress
- Virtual Private Servers (VPS)
- Dedicated servers
If you’re planning on spending a good amount of time building up a great looking website and content that wows and ranks, go with shared hosting. You don’t need to worry about load times just yet.
However, if you’re looking to switch or have your epic content and website pretty much ready to go, considering going with cloud hosting or managed hosting. You’ll get much faster load times and your bounce rate will be much lower!
You probably don’t need a VPS or a dedicated server unless you’ve got hundreds of thousands of people on your site daily.
Purchasing Your Domain
While there are numerous platforms to choose from, I recommend HostGator. Easy and painless to set up and with 24/7 customer support and when you purchase through our website, you get free domain registration for a year. You’ll also have a 45-day money-back guarantee, which is longer than other hosting options.
Exclusive Offer: When you purchase your domain through our website and use the code GETSERIOUS you’ll pay $2.74/month instead of the standard $6.95/month.
Now let’s get started and I’ll walk you through the process. The most time consuming part of this will be deciding your domain name if you haven’t already. Click here to get your discounts applied and start the process.
Select your plan. I recommend going with the Hatchling Plan to get your blogging journey started.
Click “Buy Now”.
On the next page, you’ll either get to “Register a New Domain”, or if you already have one, click on the other tab and follow the prompts. I’ll assume that most of you are new to the process and go from there. Enter your newly developed ingenious name and continue down the form.
Read More: How to Develop a Blog Name
At the end of the form, I recommend checking “Domain Privacy Protection” This masks your information in ICANN and replaces it with HostGator’s, so you can maintain their privacy online.
When all of your information is in and you’ve selected any addons, type GETSERIOUS into the coupon code box for 62% off and click “Checkout Now”.
Congrats! You are officially a website owner.
You should now receive an email from HostGator with your login info. Keep this in a safe place!
Next we’re going to Install WordPress. WordPress is a highly customizable platform to build your website on and allows you to create beautiful and unique websites. It’s also what most major bloggers use if you weren’t already on board. It does take a bit of a learning curve, but once you pick it up, you’ll really appreciate all of the options available to you.
You can follow along with this video, or follow the steps I outline below:
- Login to your HostGator account with the username and password you made when signing up.
- Navigate to the “Home” page and on the right under “Control Panel” click “Launch cPanel”
- Login again with the username and password sent to you in the first email.
You should see something that looks like this.
- Scroll down to the “Software/Services”
- Click on “Quick Install”.
- On the next page, look on the left for “Popular Installs”, under this, you will see “WordPress”.
- Click on “WordPress”
Now click “Install WordPress”. There are other paid options, but I recommend doing it yourself. It really is quick and easy, and if you want to be serious about blogging, it’s incredibly helpful to understand how to navigate and solve issues on your own site.
Complete the form accordingly, but go ahead and leave the install/path/here section blank. The “Admin User” is your username. I recommend going with just your first name or admin. Now click “Install WordPress”.
An orange bar like this one will appear.
Click on “View Credentials” and take note of the username and password provided. Write these down somewhere! Now click on the link provided. You’ll want to bookmark this page as this is how you will login to your site with the username and password provided. Welcome to your brand new site!
To change your password go to Users > Your Profile > New Password > Update Profile.
As a final note, if you plan on having a blog with lots of images, invest in ShortPixel. They helped our site speed drop significantly by reducing the size of our images. We purchased 10,000 credits (1 credit to reduce 1 image) for $10 and are so happy we did!
In Case You Need Help
If you got stuck at all along the way, you can always chat or call with support. See the image below.
Learning how to get a free domain and hosting at reduced costs was just the tip of the iceberg. Be sure to check out “How to Get Serious about Travel Blogging” to learn about website themes, where to get royalty-free images to make your website stand out, and how to get set up for a profitable blog.