Blog Series: Blog Hosting, Part II

Today’s BS post will come in two installments. In this first installment we’ll discuss hosting a blog at your own domain on your own shared hosting account. In the second installment, we’ll announce our partnership in a new crochet-only blog program. Just for you. Whee!

So you’ve decided you don’t want to have your blog hosted by a third-party service as discussed in our last BS installment. Instead you’d prefer to jump into the thick of it and do it all yourself. Right on! Here’s what you have to do.

First, register your own domain name (if you don’t have one already). You have to go through a domain registrar to do this, and costs will vary. Next, you need to get some web hosting. You’ll find that most web hosts also offer domain registration, and vice versa. Don’t bother considering using Windows hosting; Linux hosting is better, and all major blogging programs work great on Linux servers (and in many cases were designed for Linux-based implementations). Make sure the hosting you purchase includes a MySQL database and the PHP programming language. No fear! You won’t need to use these things yourself; the blog program you install will require them to function.

You’ll need to know how to transfer files using FTP. (Here’s a list of FTP clients you can use.)

Now it’s time to choose your blogging software. You’ll install this software on the hosting space you’ve just set up (if you’re lucky, your web host may already offer pre-installed blogging software). There are many free blogging programs available. Among the most popular are WordPress and Movable Type (which is by the same dudes as the hosted TypePad and LiveJournal). I have used both programs extensively, and prefer WordPress hands down over Movable Type. WordPress is remarkably easy to install and to use, and it’s fast. It’s becoming wildly popular, and many free templates and support forums exist to help you design your blog and troubleshoot. MT is a bit more beastly in comparison, with a far more involved setup process. But it’s also an extremely robust and powerful program with many die-hard supporters, templates, and forums.

There are, of course, other options beyond these two. I, personally, have played around with Greymatter, Blogger (which doesn’t require a database, as the software itself isn’t installed on your server), and Nucleus CMS (which is also a content management system), and don’t recommend any of them. Others to check out that I have no opinion on: Textpattern, bBlog, and Blosxom.

Once you choose a blogging program, you need to install it on your server by transferring the files using FTP. Just follow the instructions that come with the program, one step at a time. Oh, the feeling of triumph when you’ve done it successfully! And, of course, there’s the thrill of your first blog post. Whee!

Rock on, new bloggers! Next week we’ll discuss how to add images and links (and link images) to your new blogs. Stay tuned for that cool announcement that’s coming out in a few!

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