So, you want a website. Part 3: Picking a Host and Platform
11/19/2013• 3 min read
If you read Part 1 of this series, you now know what the Internet is. Con-grat-u-la-tions!!!!!!!!!! You may also have an idea for a website and/or a domain name (quick tip: if you have a domain name but don't have an idea for a website, STOP SQUATTING). If you're following my list of things you need to get a website, you know the next thing you need is a place to put that website, a.k.a. a host. Depending on your needs, here are some options I recommend for hosting your website or blog.
The simplest way to get started with a blog is to go with a hosted blog. This combines choosing a blogging platform with the previous step of finding a web host. Some even let you purchase your domain name through them, thus providing an all-inclusive package. You pay for what you get, though: while easy to setup, hosted blogs are typically more expensive and always limit the amount of customization you can do. Here are the ones I like:
It’s fast. It’s free. It’s extremely easy-to-use. It’s…filled with blogs by teenagers and porn.
I fell in love with tumblr when I first found it because it had two things no other blog platform had at the time—and it still leads in these features today. First, it has simplicity. Sign up is incredibly quick. Creating a new post is immediately accessible. Its feature-set is very limited, so it helps prevent distraction from what blogging is all about—posting. This blog actually used to live on Tumblr until I switched to a self-hosted blog.
“Wordpress” is almost becoming synonymous with “website” these days. According to my sources, who wish to rename nameless, Wordpress may be running as much as 35% of websites online today. I have done my share in helping that percentage increase, choosing to run most of my client’s websites on the Wordpress platform.
It’s not as easy to use as Tumblr, but the fully-hosted solution of Wordpress.com is a bit more customizable, though it’s infinitely less customizable than it’s self-hosted sister available from Wordpress.org. Whether you opt for the ease of hosting your blog at Wordpress.com, or the freedom of self-hosting a Wordpress installation (detailed below), you’re going to be running on probably the most stable and secure blogging platform out there today.
For a beautiful design—for both the blogger and the reader—look to Squarespace. A fully-hosted rising star in the blogging world, they provide a handful of gorgeous blog templates you can tweak to your liking using an intuitive interface. Plus, you get a free domain name when you sign up. They charge for the experience, though: $8/month if billed annually, $16/month if you want complete developer customization.
If your into saving money, breaking up your domain name, hosting, and blog platform solutions is the way to go. In exchange for a little more setup time, you can get a fully customizable blog online for as little as $5/month.