Since I’m not home and need to setup my new new blog, I decided to try and configure everything from my Google Pixel C Tablet, running Android 6 Marshmallow (no split screen multitasking functionality yet!). The idea is to setup everything from scratch: buy hosting, install WordPress, upload a Template and configure everything so I can start blogging. Here we go!
Choosing a hosting provider
First and foremost, I need a hosting service provider. There are a plethora of services available, from free ones to dedicated cloud that you pay per minute of usage. As this is a personal blog, I want to go with something that doesn’t break the bank but can also deliver solid performances. In my opinion, the way to go for this situation is shared hosting, that is until your blog/site becomes popular and you need a better solution. Over the years, shared hosting has become better, more reliable and there is really no point in getting something more expensive if you are simply starting blogging… it will take time before you use up all your resources. As for what provider to choose, I had the chance to work with multiple hosting companies over my years as a freelancer/business owner (AWS, Rackspace, OVH, Dediserve, inMotion Hosting, etc.) and know how they can suit various types of scenarios. For my needs, I have chosen to go with inMotionHosting. They offer competitive pricing (not the lowest, but more on that later), good performance servers with SSDs and great technical support. In my opinion, it’s sometimes better to pay a little premium to get a more reliable service that is backed by proper tech support, than saving a couple of bucks. Not only does it suck to wait 48 hours or more for a reply from your hosting company regarding an issue that blocks you from moving forward with your site, on top of that, once everything is setup, the server starts having connection and up-time issues… and don’t get me started on poor Control Panel User Experience and accessibility (OVH I am looking at you!).
Anyhow, I decided to go with the following shared plan from inMotionHosting: Launch plan at 5.99$/month that includes one free domain and can host 2 websites. Note that they only offer 12 and 24 months option at checkout for the Launch and Power plan. Also, if you want that promo price of 5.99$/month, you have to take the 24 months option. Up to you to pick what works best for your needs.
On a side note, if you wish, you can contact their sales team via chat or phone to get a better deal. On my end, I had an issue with my credit card, so I had to call in. They offered me the Power plan for the same price for the trouble I was having.
Inmotion Hosting doesn’t have the sexiest checkout design, but at least it’s straightforward. Here is a quick rundown of the process:
Select the plan
Get your free domain (if you want)
They will offer you the option to upgrade (you can skip this)
You can also select to Auto-Install WordPress (or any other CMS available) at checkout. This is great as it simplifies things if you plan on using WordPress. I will be using this option, but if you want more info on how to download WordPress and upload the files via FTP on a tablet, let me know in the comments.
Once you are done, the account should be up and running in about 15-20 minutes. You will receive all your credentials via email.
Setting up Your Account
Once you received your Welcome Email, you first need to setup your password. Click on the appropriate link in your email and follow the onscreen instructions.
You can now login to your AMP (Account Management Panel). The UI is simple and responsive. Nothing groundbreaking or over the top functional, but you can access everything you need under one roof. This is mostly the place where your account info resides. Just make sure your info is up to date.
Point Your Domain
If you took the free domain with InMotion, you can skip this section.
Before you move ahead with setting up your site, I strongly suggest you go ahead and assign InMotion’s Name Servers to your domain name. You could technically setup your site via the IP Address, but I am trying to keep this simple.
InMotion makes this process easy. Simply assign the following Nameservers to your domain:
For my part, I use Godaddy as a registrar. I would never recommend them as a hosting company, but for domains, they are pretty solid. UI is simple, price is competitive and they have all the imaginable extensions.
If you have multiple domains, with various extensions and variations, I recommend forwarding them to your main domain. For example, if I had the domains astuff.com, astuffs.net and so on, I would all make them point to astuff.net. This way I increase my chance of users coming to my domain… but in a world where everyone Googles to find something, this applies less and less. Content is king when it comes to increase your visitors, but that will be discussed in another post.
Setting up WordPress
Once your Nameservers are set, you can go ahead and setup your WordPress blog. On a side note, InMotion offers a temporary admin login URL (Called Admin Temp URL in your Welcome email) if your domain has not yet finished propagating (usually takes 2h to 48h). Also, because InMotion has an auto installer for WordPress, all the initial setup (database connection, etc.) has been done for you. You simply need to connect to your WordPress Dashboard.
To access the Admin Dashboard of WordPress, type yourdomain.com/wp-admin (in my case http://astuff.net/wp-admin/). Your username and password have been sent in the welcome email (again part of the auto installation).
I won’t go into much details regarding the Dashboard as you can find plenty of info online. But, I will recommend setting up a user and password that you can easily remember. This will also add a lever of security as it’s never good practice to keep the default user and auto generated password.
On the left side, click on Users and in the sub-menu All Users.Here you will see all users that have access to your Dashboard. Because this is a new blog, there is only one user for now.
You can edit the current user but you can’t change the username. Because I don’t like the default username, I am going to go ahead and create a new one. At the top of the screen, click on Add New.
Fill out the information and make sure to change the Role to Administrator if this is your main account/username. Note that if the user you are creating uses the same email as the one already there, it will give you an error message. In that case, go edit the existing user and put him another email.
Once your user has been successfully created, you can go ahead and delete the older one. You will need to sign out and sign back in with your newly created admin user.
If you want to personalise a little the experience, you can go back to your user and click on edit. Your will have several options like changing the Admin Color Scheme.
Setting up your Theme
By default, WordPress comes with 3 themes that you can use. They are very basic, but might do the job for some. You can find them in Appearance Themes
In my case, I want to use a custom template that I have purchased on Themeforest. Yes, you can find a ton of free templates on the web, but I prefer spending a couple of bucks to be sure I find something that fits my needs, is professionally designed, responsive, well coded and offers support (specifically bug fixes down the road). Envato marketplace has some amazing content and I strongly recommend their WordPress Templates.
First, download your theme. Don’t forget, I’m on a tablet! On my part, I have saved the zip file on Google Drive (my life is on the Cloud!).