Setting up a hosting service and domain name can be a very confusing process, especially if you’re not super tech savvy. To make things easier, I took some screenshots and make this walkthrough of my experience with GoDaddy.com. Although the screenshots are specific to GoDaddy, I think they’d also be helpful for many other hosting services if you find one you like more or with a better price. Keep in mind though, some of this will be specific to GoDaddy’s WordPress optimized hosting.
The first step with any site is navigating past the front page to what you actually want. Most hosting services have 6,000,000,000 options and it can be hard to figure out what’s best. For a new site just starting out, 9 times out of 10 you’re going to want either the basic hosting plan or the basic WordPress optimized plan. Unless there’s a sale going on or they’re really close in price, I wouldn’t even recommend the WordPress optimized. The difference is usually just a couple button clicks which is explain in my short C-Panel installation tutorial here.
On the GoDaddy site, ignore all the recommended stuff on the front page, they’re just trying to confuse you! Up at the top there is a category labeled “Hosting & SSL”. Click on that and then check out the pricing on the Web Hosting and the WordPress Site/Blog hosting. For the purposes of this tutorial, I’m going to go with the WordPress hosting.
Go with the Basic plan. Trust me, until you actually start seeing 25,000+ visitors a month, you won’t need anything better! And keep an eye on those prices, they have sales all the time. I got mine for $1/month!
After you click Add to Cart it’s going to ask you to add your domain name. Hopefully you have one in mind, but if not now’s the time to think! You can always change it later, but choose carefully cause changing can be a hassle. Notice you can also change the ending. Keep in mind most people will always add .com to the end because it’s the most common, even if that’s not actually your domain name so other endings might confuse people. On the other hand, .com is usually more expensive, but you’re getting it for free so don’t worry about it!
Alternatively, if you already purchased your domain name someplace else, you can click on the “I Don’t Want My FREE Domain” button. If this is the case, I would recommend utilizing the annoying “Can I Help You” window that keeps popping up in the corner. Customer service can sometimes be a hassle, but when I used it last time they got my domain name transferred over and connected to my hosting account super easy, and way faster than I would have if I had tried it on my own.
Next go under the My Account tab at the top right hand corner, and click on Visit My Account. You’ll see a page similar to this. Open up the Managed WordPress tab and you should see your domain there. If not, you may have to wait a few days, especially if you had to transfer it from another service because of the slow way that name servers are updated.
Once your domain is all set up, go ahead and click on the Manage button. If I remember correctly (unfortunately I don’t have screenshots of this part because I did it before I thought to make this) it will bring you to a page with an option to install WordPress on your domain. It will ask if you want to install clean or transfer an existing one. If your just starting, choose install clean. If you’re transferring from another hosting service to GoDaddy like I did, I would once again recommend the Customer Service box. They agent sent step-by-step instructions right to my email so I could make sure to get everything transferred safely.
The last thing to do before diving into customizing your new blog is to go into settings and verify that the domain you picked is the primary domain for your account. If not, go under Actions next to your domain to switch it. If you don’t see your domain listed, you may need to add it or it may not have transferred yet so give it a few days. Sometimes it can take up to a week to transfer so be patient.
Once your domain is listed as the primary domain for the WordPress site, you’re all set to go! Check out my First Steps tutorial (coming soon) to see where to go next!