It’s no secret that WordPress has a loyal user base and dedicated developers to bring better features to the system all year long. If your website isn’t through WordPress it might be time to consider switching. And we’re here to show you the best way to run a WordPress website. This will be a multi-post series. For today we will discuss how to create a killer WordPress site and the best way to run it. From types of domains, how to install WordPress, manage content and utilize plugins and themes to secure it.
If you don’t understand everything, don’t worry about it. It actually isn’t that difficult – even though there is a lot to take in. We’re going to break it down for you so it’s a little easier. Today we’ll focus on domain names and hosting options. Let’s get started, shall we?
A domain name is what identifies your website to users. It’s your website’s address… like section5media.com Keep in mind that a domain name isn’t the URL – domain names are a part of the URL. That needs further explanation, doesn’t it? Here we go…
http:// this is the protocol that tells a browser how to find data
blog. is a subdomain that lets you segment your website into different sections. For example, you could use mywebsite.com/blog
mywebsite.com is the domain name, as I mentioned above. The “www” bit is actually optional. It’s up to you as to whether or not you want that. Although it can have a huge impact on larger websites. The ending of “.com” is called a top-level domain. Others include; .org, .edu, and .co.uk.
The domain name is important because this is how users will find your website.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT DOMAIN NAME
Choosing a domain name might seem like the hardest thing in the world. Especially if you’re like me and have a hard time making decisions. There are things to consider when it comes to domains. But the main thing is to keep it short and easy to read. There are a tons of tips when it comes to choosing a domain name, but the trick is to make it memorable and short. However, it’s a good idea to keep your brand strategy. Because the most important factor is branding. A killer domain name is great, but if it doesn’t properly fit your brand it’s utterly useless.
As a side note, do yourself a favor and check out this article on how to avoid trademark issues.
BUYING A DOMAIN NAME
The majority of places that allow you to buy domain names also let you get hosting. However, in order to keep your security at top-notch, you’ll have to keep your domain and hosting separate. It might seem convenient to go ahead and get both at the same place, but the logic of keeping them separated is pretty strong. If someone can get into your hosting account, then they can essentially steal your files and data. Which really sucks! So, if you register your domain at the same place, then they could transfer the domain and leave you with nothing.
It should be noted that if you do buy your domain name from your hosting provider, you can always transfer the domain to another company down the line, if needed. We’ll get into some hosting tips down below.
Most hosts have easy interfaces that make buying a domain name super simple. But be sure to keep these two things in mind:
- If you’re serious about branding (and you have the funds) go ahead and buy a number of TLDs with the same name. For example, if you are registering mywebsite.com, then you might want to buy the .net, .org and .info versions as well.
- You’ll also have the option to choose the length of your registration. The default is typically for a year. But if you have the funds go ahead and register for five or six years.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOSTING AND DOMAIN REGISTRATION
Before I get any further, I should clarify the difference between domain registration and hosting. These are two completely different things. Most companies just happen to do both. Think of it this way… Hosting is a place to put your website’s files. Registration means that you’ve gained legal ownership of a piece of Internet real estate.
WORDPRESS.COM AND WORDPRESS.ORG
So, what is WordPress? WordPress is an open-source software package that is free to everyone around the world.
WordPress.com is a service offered to websites that run on WordPress. From here you can sign up for a free account and get a fully functioning website. However, you will only be able to use a WordPress subdomain – such as mywebsite.wordpress.com – but the restrictions are minimal if you’re a first time user.
Below are the paid options through WordPress.com:
As you can see, the free version gives you everything you need. But, if you’re ready to dive into advanced customization with your own domain and other options, you’ll need to upgrade to the premium version, or get hosting somewhere else.
CHOOSING A HOSTING PLAN
It can be difficult on when you have to decide which hosting plan to go with. If you choose wrong the first time, it isn’t that big of a deal to switch.
There are three routes to consider when it comes to finding a good package:
- shared hosting
- VPS hosting
- managed WordPress hosting
The one you choose will depend on your website’s needs and your funds. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each plan.
The only reason to use shared hosting is if you are on an extremely small budget. If you think shared hosting is for you, there are a number of companies to choose from.
Just keep in mind that when your website is on shared hosting, you are sharing it with a million other websites. This could cause a problem if a coding bug arises that takes up a lot of memory. This could cause your site to go down, since it is competing with all of those other websites on the server. This means decreased security and even worse up-time. What’s most frustrating is that these problems are unpredictable.
If you choose to decide to go the route of shared hosting, I suggest testing the services of the following companies:
A virtual private server (or VPS) is essentially a shared environment, but without the negative side effects. Yes, the hardware is still shared among its users, but there are typically only a few users. This way they can partition the hardware equally to everyone.
As for security, if there is an attack on one of the users, the attackers have a much harder time accessing other accounts on the server through a single website. This is very rare. But because you have your own corner of a server, you can do more with your account. As opposed to shared hosting, VPS allows you to have more server administration options, installation of tools, SSH access and much more.
Keep in mind the VPS accounts do cost more, but when it comes down to it – it’s worth it in terms of security and options. So, if you’d like to be able to meddle with your server, VPS is the way to go.
A bunch of VPS providers are out there. Here are some of the best-reviewed ones:
MANAGED WORDPRESS HOSTING
Now managed WordPress hosting is a little different. A managed WordPress package is essentially the same thing as getting a website from WordPress.com, which could be considered a managed WordPress host. In this case, the server is set up to work with WordPress as efficiently as possible. All the way from memory, processors, server-software and server-level caching. Everything is geared to one software package: WordPress.
All of this makes your website A LOT faster and even more secure. WordPress provides automatic updates, server-level caching and specific support. However, there is a downside: you can’t install any other platforms on these systems. Some plugins might be disabled, but this is usually due to security or optimization reasons. That means you’ll have less freedom than with a VPS. But if you’re new to websites, this really doesn’t matter.
A well-oiled WordPress website is great if you don’t want to meddle with server settings. Especially because a WordPress website is maintained for you. WordPress is safe, secure and fast. Most importantly, it’s all built in, so you can create content within minutes and focus on what really matters.
The best-known and best-rated WordPress hosts are:
For our next post, we’ll continue to focus on how to create a killer WordPress site. So stay tuned for more!
Until then, let us know in the comments below what type of hosting works for you!