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How to Get Started with Your Website: A Practical Guide for Choosing the Best Domain Name, Hosting Provider & Website/Blogging Software

There are three things which a serious blogger needs to think about: a domain name, a blogging software and a hosting provider to host the blogging software.


High Level Process of Choosing a Domain Name, Blogging Software & Hosting Provider

The following checklist gives a bird’s eye view of the various steps that you need to take to set up your website. We shall examine the key steps in detail in the next sections.

  1. You choose a domain name, say
  2. Then you select a blogging software to use. The most popular free blogging software is WordPress.
  3. Now you will create a blog using the blogging software, and the internet address of that blog ( will be the domain name.
  4. Obviously running that blogging software on your laptop will not work. No one can access your laptop from the internet. So you have to choose a hosting provider who runs computers connected to the internet. The most commonly known hosting providers are X10Hosting, Bluehost, and WPEngine.
  5. Every hosting provider has a step-by-step wizard to help you find and select a domain name, choose a blogging software and then with a few clicks deploy it on their site. The payment options range from $6/month to about $200/month.

Anyone – I mean anyone can do all this that I have mentioned above. You don’t have to be a tech wizard at all. If you know how to purchase things on Amazon, you can set up blog with your own name.

Now that we have an understanding of the overall process, let’s look at each step in detail. In the following section we examine each of the various steps that you need to tackle to set up your website. We talk about selecting your domain name, choosing your website/blogging software and finally, choosing an appropriate hosting provider.

Step #1: Selecting Your Domain Name

To be trusted on the internet you need your own home – a domain name.

Your domain name is unique in the world. Having a domain name for your blog separates you from the wannabe bloggers and puts you among the major-league bloggers.

Domain Name Checklist: What name should you choose?

  • Choose a domain name which is easy to pronounce, spell and type. Avoid numbers, hyphens and double letter words as it is easy to mistype them.
  • Is your dream domain name available for purchase: check by putting in the domain name here:
  • Do some research – avoid domain names which show up as other people’ names or businesses or movies. Having a domain name similar to a famous person is tricky business – when people search on Google for your domain name, they are more likely to find that famous person or business ahead of you. And it might lead to unpleasant legal complications as well.
  • If your blog offers local services, then you can also include the city name in your domain name. e.g. This may not be appropriate if you are selecting your website to reach customers globally on the internet.
  • Though one-word domain names are best (, they are hard to get now. You can choose longer domain names with three words or a hash. Even better, choose a domain name which reflects your own name (e.g.,
  • Stick with .com. Other domains (e.g., .in, .ca, .org, .net) don’t pack that much oomph, and will require heavier marketing.
  • Don’t sweat too much about getting the absolutely dazzling domain name. Your first and last name ( may be more memorable to people than
  • No need to waste your money buying an expired domain which has a fancy name. New domain names cost $10/year. Just get a new one. Apart from the fact that an expired domain name could have a questionable pedigree (was that domain used for adult or scam content?); the fact is that a fancy domain name would not give you much boost. Your success will almost entirely depend on how you market your content.
  • One thing to keep in mind is that many hosting providers offer to pay for the domain name if you select one of their paid hosting plans. One VERY important thing do is to ensure that YOU own the domain name not the hosting provider. Make sure of this and then check that that domain name is registered in your name. You can do this check by going to and putting in your domain name.

Step #2: Selecting Your Blogging Software

This one is relatively easy. Despite the plethora of blogging software out there, WordPress remains the most popular. It is the popular because of its flexibility.

Flexibility is great as it lets you choose the colors, theme, branding, layout, and functionalities exactly as you want them to be. Flexibility, however, means you have to learn some new things – how to manage and set up WordPress and most importantly, how to secure it and safeguard it from hackers.

If you prefer simplicity then instead of WordPress, you can choose Wix or Weebly as your other blogging platforms.

There are many other options -e.g. Ghost, Drupal, Jhoomla, Tumblr, Squarespace. I have tried them all.

You can spend your life looking at the pros and cons of one blogging software vs the other. In truth the platform and the layout will matter only minimally. The content you create and the promotion you do will make the most difference. My suggestion is to keep it simple. If you want flexibility and a world-class platform the go with WordPress. If you prefer absolute simplicity then choose Wix or Weebly.

Step #3: Selecting a Hosting Provider

So have selected a domain name and you have identified a blogging software. Now is the time to choose a hosting provider. I evaluate the providers based on price, performance (does my site time to load in the browser), uptime (will my site be unavailable frequently due to technical issues), portability (can you export your site and move to some other hosting provider easily), support and security.

Option 1: Hosting providers with WordPress as the software

If you have chosen WordPress as your blogging software then some hosting providers you may want to consider are x10hosting, Bluehost, WPEngine, and is a respected name for hosting WordPress software. They are more expensive than the most hosting providers. However, they are said to offer great uptime and better security. is not the same as WordPress blogging software – they are two different things. is a paid hosting provider which you can contract to run your blog. WordPress software is a free blogging platform which you can download and run anywhere on any hosting provider of your choice.

Pay attention to security!

It is easy for a newbie to focus on the razzamatazz colorful layout and not think about security. I can not stress security enough. Unlike the hosted blogs like Google Blogger and Medium, when you host your own site, you will be accountable for everything, including site failures and hack attacks.

Sites running on the top-notch hosting providers in the world can be hacked if they are not properly configured. That is why some hosting providers like limit the amount of configuration you can do. Your flexibility is a bit limited with a premium hosting provider like – but your security is much enhanced.

Option 2: Hosting providers with their own software (i.e. not using WordPress)

If you don’t care about using WordPress as your blogging software then there are two popular options – Weebly and Wix. Their prices are similar. Though each touts its unique selling proposition I don’t think those technical differences matter much. It’s your content and marketing that will make the real difference.

An important consideration with hosting providers: Can you export your content?

What happens if down the road you want to move to another hosting provider? I am a big believer in portability of my property and assets on the internet. I ideally would like to be able to export my entire website and import it elsewhere if I feel like. This is why I ask you to do some hard thinking about this question and check if portability is possible with the provider you are choosing.

From what I know, Wix does not allow you to export your content – so if you want to move your site elsewhere after some time, you won’t be able to do it easily. As of now, Weebly allows you to export your site. However, please do your due diligence and preferably clarify this question in writing from the provider.


Where is the guide to actually do all this stuff – sign up for a domain name, choose a website software and then sign up for a hosting provider?

This post is designed to give you the concepts and lessons learned from personal experience. I did not include a step-by-step setup guide for the simple reason that each of the hosting providers that we have discussed (e.g., Squarespace, Bluehost,, WPEngine, Wix and Weebly) have wizard-driven tools to help you in the process of searching, selecting and purchasing domain name, installing software (e.g. WordPress) and choosing a hosting plan. When you choose a hosting provider then you will need to use their specific tool to get set up.

How to get started?

  • Check out a few of the website hosting providers that I have mentioned in this post. There are many other good hosting providers that I have not mentioned on this post and you can find them by simple Google search. Select one hosting provider from your research.
  • Once you have purchased a hosting plan from a
    hosting providers you will have access to their set up tool. This tool will guide you in selecting a custom domain name and a template for your website. The foundational software (e.g. WordPress) you have access to will typically depend on the hosting provider you choose.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t overspend. Don’t over-engineer.

What I have given you in this post is unbiased and honest perspective on the things you must keep in mind while making your selection. Use this post as a critical lens with which to evaluate your decisions. I hope this will direct you to the best path in your journey.


Getting started with your own domain name is exciting. And it is simple. I have discussed here the most important considerations which you need to keep in mind.

Wish you much success in your website!