Ready to get started creating your own blog?
Let’s do this!
There are several ways to get started creating a blog depending on your personal goals. You can use a free service such as wordpress.com, weebly.com, or wix.com to begin creating a blog and have little to no investment in getting started.
That’s not what I recommend, but it is an option.
What I encourage my students to do is to create their own niche website dedicated to a topic that they care about using one of the many services available.
In this tutorial, we are going to register a URL (the address to a web site), and then create a virtual machine to host the web site. The hosting can be done through many different services: Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, IBM Blue, Microsoft Azure, to name some of the largest services. You might receive web hosting from your Internet Service Provider, which is another option.
My recommendation is to use a hosting service so that if you change service providers you do not lose your website.
For this tutorial, we will use Amazon Web Services to create a WordPress blog for a low-cost blog solution.
To begin, you will need to log in or create an account on the aws.amazon.com. Once you are logged in and take care of your financials (the first 30 days are free, but you will need to pay for the URL and show how you will pay after the 30-day trial), you will be on the AWS Management Console. In the top right corner, you can select where you would like your server to reside. Lightsail at this time is not available in all zones. In the USA, you should set your zone to US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), or US East (N. Virginia). For simplicity of managing your resources, always use the same zone or region.
After you have selected your region, type in Route 53 in the Find Services. Route 53 is Amazon URL management that will allow you to purchase a URL. While you do not HAVE to have a URL to get started, it will make life easier in the future.
Select Route 53.
In Route 53 you can see your hosted zones (your URL’s and check to see if the name you want for your site is available or transfer your domain if you’ve already purchased it.
In this case, I am checking to see if the URL my wife would like is available.
Click on the Check button to see if the site is available. Don’t worry, you aren’t purchasing the URL yet.
It looks like the domain name is available! I will go ahead and add it to my cart. If it isn’t available, don’t despair! Amazon will provide a list of possible alternative domain names. If you are ready to purchase, press the Continue button at the bottom of the page. You will need to complete the Registrant Contact information.
You might wonder why we choose to use a service like Amazon rather than go with a free service. It comes down to ownership of what you create. If you are hosted by a free service, you are always at the mercy of any changes that they might make to how they serve your blog or information to the world. By having your site on a web service and using WordPress, you can easily migrate your web site to a new service should the need arise. Once you have completed and confirmed the information, you will be ready to complete the order. You might want to enable automatic renewal. In one year, Amazon will automatically renew the URL for you.
Once you have completed the purchase, you can see the status of the purchase in your Domains page. Click on the Registered Domains link on the left side of the screen.
You probably won’t see the domain listed in Registered Domains yet. It should be listed in Pending Requests.
While Amazon takes care of registering the domain, let’s shift over to Lightsail and configure the hosting for our new website. Click on Services at the top left, and then click on Lightsail (or type lightsail in the Find a service textfield).
The first thing you will need to do when you arrive on the Lightsail page is Create instance.
You can now select which type of instance you would like to create. Your zone should be set to a zone that is close by. If you are creating multiple websites, make sure the zone stays the same.
For the best performance, leave the selection set to Linux/Unix for the platform, then make sure that WordPress is selected. There are several other possible configurations that you might wish to explore in the future, but for now, WordPress is what we want.
Scroll down and select your rate plan.
The $3.50 plan is plenty powerful enough for a WordPress blog that is getting started. We can always increase it later if you find that you need more hard drive space or processing power.
The last thing on this page is to give your instance a name. It is currently set as WordPress-1. I’ve changed mine to WritersBlockChopped as I have multiple instances running.
Once you’ve selected everything, click the Create instance button at the bottom.
You will be taken back to the first Lightsail page where you should see your instance starting (it will be listed as pending). It will take just a few minutes, and you will be ready for the next step.
That’s it for Part 1 of the tutorial. Check out Part 2 for finishing the setup of your Lightsail site and getting started with WordPress.
Would you like to see the process to create a WordPress blog on another web service provider? Let us know in the comments what you would like to see!
Dr. Burton is a teacher and professor with over twenty-five years of experience, teaching Information Technology, game design, CGI, Computer Science, and MIS.
© 2019 – Brian Burton, Ed.D. Dr. Professor-Dad.com