According to the old saying, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Food isn’t free, so somebody’s paying even if it isn’t you. Usually there is a gimmick involved when things are free, which is not always a bad thing. Whether you’re talking about an actual free lunch or a free report you get when you sign-up for mailing lists, you have to decide whether you want to pay the price of “freedom.”
No Totally Free Lunch With WordPress
This is concept to keep in mind when you are considering setting up a blog or website. When you’re talking about WordPress, it’s possible to have a totally free account that is good to experiment with, but there are two downsides:
- Your blog is addressed will be http://username.WordPress.com, which means that another name beside yours will always be in your address. You are not permitted to use a WordPress.com account for commercial purposes. If you do, the WordPress police will come after you and shut you down and you will lose all of your content.
- In order to use WordPress commercially you need to install it at your own website address with your own hosting account. Remember, this is a good thing, as it will help you generate more traffic through search results and give you greater control over your own blogsites. The alternatives, while not free, won’t break the bank.
Note: Recently WordPress.com added the option to buy hosting services from them. A $99/year upgrade will remove most of the limitations and for $299/year you are given a suite of business tools to choose from. However, you have more flexibility and choices when you install WordPress on your own hosting account.
Finding WordPress Hosting
The main thing you need now is a hosting account. Hosting, put simply, is storage space for your website files (graphics, content, layout, etc.) When someone visits your site, they’re seeing the files you’ve stored at your hosting account.
When you are shopping for website hosting, here are the minimum requirements for a WordPress-friendly hosting package:
- A domain name/website address
- A hosting account
- A cpanel login (administrative area) with an FTP program OR your FTP login information. Your FTP login information will include an ftp address (usually ftp.yourdomainname.com), a user id and a password. Keep this information safe and handy.*
- PHP version 5.2.4 or greater*
- MySQL version 5.0 or greater*
* Don’t get caught up or overwhelmed by what these items mean. Just make sure they’re included.
If your hosting company cannot support the above services, then cancel your account with them, hang up and run! What good is a hosting company that does not upgrade their own technology? No good!