In my last two “Gettin’ Friendly” segments, we’ve talked about how to jazz up your wordpress sidebar and how to add photos and videos to your posts. But today, we’re going to talk about making a major wordpress move: taking your blog from wordpress.com to a self-hosted wordpress blog.
There are loads of reasons to choose self-hosting: maybe you want more control over the design of your website, want to use some plugins you’ve heard great things about, or you just think it is time to have your blog at a site with the domain name of your choosing.
That said, there are also plenty of reasons why you might choose to stay at wordpress.com: maybe the idea of having to deal with setting up a website is enough to give you hives or you want to stay with a free blog. Totally valid.
If you have decided you would like to take the plunge, here’s a step-by-step guide to getting your new blog site set up.
Pick a domain name and buy it. There are a number of places to buy your domain name. Personally, I use godaddy and dreamhost for domain names. Wherever you buy, registering your domain should not cost you more than about $10.00 a year, and the registrar you choose should not place any limits on how you manage that domain. (ie, transferring, DNS management, WHOIS contact information, etc.)
Choose a web hosting solution. Again, there are about a million out there. WordPress has some recommendations here. I use Dreamhost for this site (and, in fact, for most of my websites), but there are a lot of good hosts out there. GoDaddy always has great support, Dreamhost will install and manage upgrades of your WordPress software for you, and other hosts offer other perks. Just look for a host that guarantees uptime and supports the minimum requirements for a WordPress site (PHP 5.2.4 or greater and MySQL 5.0 or greater – most hosts meet these requirements.)
Install WordPress. If your host offers free wordpress installation, go for it. It is the easiest way to go. If they don’t, or you just want to do it yourself, here is how:
STEP ONE: CREATE A MYSQL DATABASE
WordPress stores all of your post information, user settings, and all of the info it needs to run in a database, and we need to set that up so that WordPress will have somewhere to put all of that information.
Make note of the following information: hostname, username, password, and database name.
If you have any trouble getting this set up, call your hosting provider – customer service can probably walk you through the steps.
STEP TWO: GET FTP ACCESS
What the heck is FTP? Glad you asked. FTP stands for “File Transfer Protocol” and it is the way that you are going to put files into your website. Your entire website is going to be made up of files. This is how we are going to get them in there.
In order to do this, you are going to need two things: FTP access to your website (which we are going to set up in a second) and an FTP client (application) that will connect us to the aforementioned website. I LOVE Filezilla, which is free and awesome, and has versions for both Mac and Windows. (But there are others. Google “FTP Client” and you will see many many options. )
Install Filezilla (or whatever FTP program you want to use). Now lets get FTP access to our site.
At Dreamhost, I choose “Manage Users” – this area, again, might be called something different at your host – maybe “FTP access” or something similar.
Make note of the following information: ftp host, your username, and your password
Again, if you have any trouble, contact your host – customer service will help you out.
STEP THREE: DOWNLOAD A COPY OF WORDPRESS
This is really easy. WordPress.org has the latest version of wordpress here. Download it as a .zip to your desktop. Bookmark this webpage, because it is a great resource. They also have their own installation instructions, which are pretty detailed. Check them out if you have any trouble. I’ll go ahead and give you my method, too, so you’ll have options. Ready?
STEP FOUR: UPLOAD WORDPRESS TO YOUR SERVER
Remember that .zip file you just downloaded? Unzip it.
Now open Filezilla. In the top of the window, you will see boxes asking for “host”, “username”, “password”, and “port”. Next to that will be a button that says “quick connect”. Lets fill those boxes in with the FTP information you wrote down in Step 2, and then lets connect by pressing “quick connect.”
Once we are connected, we’ll see some files on the right hand side of the screen. One of them should have the name of your domain. If not, click through the folders that do appear until you find one that has your domain name. This is your home directory Now we are going to find the wordpress file we just unzipped by navigating through the folders on the left hand side of the screen. When you find it, click and drag it into your home directory, and let Filezilla do its magic. You’ll see a tab at the bottom that says “Queued files” – when there are no more files in the queue, you are done. You can now close Filezilla.
STEP FIVE: CONFIGURE WORDPRESS
Yay! You are almost done! Now we need to set WordPress up, and let it know which database to store information in. Lets open our web browser of choice and navigate to www.yournewdomain.com/wordpress. You should see this:
Lets click to create the configuration file. Now you should see this:
and then this… this is where you are going to enter all that info you wrote down when you created your database in step one.
submit… you are nearly there!
and now this…
Fill this info in and you are done! When you press enter you will be prompted to log in to your site… and Presto! You’ve done it! Nice job!!!
If you have any trouble with this, you can also configure wordpress manually by editing the file “wp-config-sample.php”, saving it as “wp-config.php” and uploading it into the wordpress folder on your site. There are detailed directions on how to do this here.
Ok, take a deep breath. One more thing to do. If you’ve followed the steps above, you now have a live blog at www.yournewdomain.com/wordpress.
But you want the website address to be www.yourdomain.com, don’t you?
Here’s what we do: Log in to your wordpress site at www.yournewdomain.com/wordpress/wp-admin.
Go to “settings” and “general”. Set the WordPress Address (URL) to http://www.yournewdomain.com/wordpress (this is the location of all your blog files,)
Set the Site Address (URL) to http://www.yournewdomain.com – (this is where you want folks to go to read your blog.)
SAVE this. Do not worry about any error message you may see.
Now, remember the wordpress file you have on your computer? open it up, and find the file named “index.php”. Open this file with a text editor, and find the line that says:
and change it to say:
Now save the file as “index.php” to your desktop, and open up Filezilla. Log in as you did before, and this time, you are going to drag the index.php file you just created to your home directory. Drop it in there. Now when you go to www.yournewdomain.com, you should see your shiny new blog!
Your admin login location will still be www.yournewdomain.com/wordpress/wp-admin, but your site will now be live at www.yournewdomain.com.
We’re done. Next time, I’ll show you how to get your posts moved from your wp.com site to your new blog, and let you know about some amazing plugins you might want to use.
Anyone ready to make the jump into self hosting?
I love hearing your thoughts and questions! What else do you want to know about WordPress?