A friend of mine asks about WordPress hosting – whether she could upload a theme into her wordpress blog or not if it is hosted on www.wordpress.com, and what sort of trouble will be involved if she wanted to host her blog outside of www.wordpress.com and have a domain name for herself. I thought I should share this answer here 🙂
WordPress, the blog engine
WordPress by itself provides the full feature as-is. Even the ones in wordpress.com allows you to use all of its feature.
- Plugins and Themes requires you to upload the file into the wordpress installation directory. As far as I know, you can’t do this in wordpress.com, because you don’t have a ‘server shell account’ that you can use to log into the file system and upload your stuff in there.
- You can choose one of the default themes and modify them, but you can’t upload your own graphic/image in there. You can only link out to images available on the net. In short, it’s painful.
Hosting wordpress outside wordpress.com
- To host a wordpress blog outside of wordpress.com, you need Apache, MySQL and PHP. In other words you need a web server with PHP and MySQL backend.
- If you want to keep it simple, I suggest you find a free web hosting that supports PHP, MySQL and (S)FTP.
- Dump wordpress in there and play around.
Paid hosting and domain name
- Once you are comfortable working with WordPress and you feel confident enough to take the plunge, you may subscribe to a paid hosting server for more support & reliability (most hosting cost aroun $5-10 USD per month)
- Copy your wordpress installation into this paid hosting.
- Afterwards, you can also migrate the content of your blog from one wordpress installation to another easily with its export/import tool.
- Once you have your blog up and running, you can get domain name (e.g. www.mydomainNameIsCoolerThanYours.com) and have it point to your existing wordpress installation on your paid hosting service. Check out GoDaddy.com for domain name registration (costs you about $10USD per year)
If you are geekier than the rest
- If you just want to play around & experiment, you can download WAMP and install it in your PC, then put wordpress there. Since that is in your PC you can experiment as much as you want and do whatever you like.
- This is more relevant for people who wants to do Theme development, plugin development, and the like.
If you are thinking of going more hardcore on WordPress blogging, I hope this will help point you in the right direction.