When I was setting up the independent hosting for this blog, there was no tutorial to walk me through the process. I was using one of the most popular blogging platforms and a growing hosting provider - but I couldn't get a decent - specific - tutorial. This is understandable. Neither company benefits by learning how the other works. The blogger is largely in charge of figuring it out themselves.
And I think that's OK.
But, I'd like to fill in that gap. I want this post to guide you from your unhosted Wordpress blog to a blog hosted by Hostpapa. That will allow you to run ads, make money, and take your online adventure to another level.
I'm not a tech guy (that will become obvious shortly) and I might slip a little. But stick with me, and hopefully this can help you.
Let's Get Started
First, let's get the philosophy straight.
Wordpress is the platform where you write your blog posts. That won't change. The only thing that will change is the way it gets to your readers.
Hostpapa (or any hosting vendor) is like the transmission vehicle for those posts. If Wordpress is the car, then Hostpapa is the road.
Philosophy In Action
Now let's see how this works.
The first thing you need to do is transfer what you already have in Wordpress and move it over to Hostpapa.
Go into Wordpress, and go to Tools > Export.
This is going to take all of your past posts, all of the tags and categories, and most of the formatting stuff - everything that makes your blog your blog - and extracts it into a folder on your desktop.
We're almost ready to throw all of that information into Hostpapa. But first we need to create our database (don't worry, this should be easy).
Go ahead and log on to your Hostpapa cPanel account. cPanel is the mechanism through which you interact with the backend hosting system. It's the dashboard that allows you to not learn a bunch of coding nonsense.
When you open up cPanel, there is a confusing array of icons. Forget about almost all of them. All you need to worry about right now is the MySQL database and the file manager.
Before we get into the thick of things, we need to set up a database in Hostpapa's cPanel. Click on MySQL and you will see a bunch of stuff about databases.
Create a database - it doesn't matter what you name it, just save the name. Then create a user - again, it doesn't matter what you name it, just keep track of everything. Then, (toward the bottom of the page), link the database with the user. Don't complicate this - it should be very simple.
Back To The Main Process
OK, you've got a database and you also have a folder of your Wordpress stuff.
Now, let's send that Wordpress stuff to Hostpapa. After all, we're trying to get Wordpress to work with Hostpapa - sending them your historical information is the first step.
Sign into Hostpapa's cPanel and go to the file manager. (A small window will pop up after you click on the file manager. Don't worry about it - the default is usually what you want - the global or public section.)
Now, click upload and find that Wordpress stuff you exported earlier. Once it's uploaded, you will see something similar to the bottom of the image below.
See the "wordpress.2009-02-23.xml" file at the bottom there? That was my Wordpress stuff. And now yours will be in the file manager too.
Now I'm going to tell you to download Wordpress, but don't get confused. What you just uploaded was your personal Wordpress stuff. But now you need to download the actual Wordpress program to run it on.
Before we send all of that personal/historical stuff over to Hostpapa, we need to give it a place to go. Letters go in envelopes, swords go in sheaths, and your Wordpress export file will need to get its Wordpress suit on before things will work.
Go to Wordpress.org (note the ".org" - not ".com") and download the Wordpress program. Right now, there's an orange button in the top right corner that reads "Download." Do it!
See the Wordpress folder in the image above? Notice how it's different from the one with your personal Wordpress history?
Your historical Wordpress stuff was an XML file. That just means it was a bunch of code containing data. Now, we've got the Wordpress program folder. You will notice there's a lot of stuff in it. Don't worry about all of that - it's not really important. All you need to worry about is the file entitled "wp-config-sample.php."
This is where things start getting interesting, so pay attention.
Open the wp-config-sample.php file. This has a lot of general information on it, but you need to personalize it. You need to add in personal information about your website so that Hostpapa can can match this Wordpress data with what you told it in the cPanel.
Your wp-config-sample.php document will look a lot like the one above. Don't get intimidated - there are only a couple changes you need to make.
Remember that database you created in cPanel? Like in the image above, find the place in the wp-config-sample.php document where it discusses MySQL settings. See it?
Now, simply swap in your information. For instance, in the section that discusses the database name, change this:
See the italicized part? Just copy and paste your database name there, leaving in tact the quotation marks surrounding it. Then do the same thing for the database user name and password. (Don't worry about listing your password - no one else will see this besides you.)
Leave localhost as it is - no change necessary. Finally, the last thing you need to do is put in authentication unique keys. You can find it just below where you entered in that database information.
There will be a URL in parenthesis here (likely beginning with "https://api.wordpress.org/...). Copy and paste this address into a web browser and it will return a bunch of gobbely-gook. Swap this out for what came in the wp-config-sample.php. (It's OK if it doesn't make sense - it's not supposed to.)
Last thing: remember to save the file, but name it wp-config.php. Erase "-sample" from the name. Why? Because it's not a sample - this is filled with your unique information that Hostpapa can understand.
If you've made it this far, give yourself a pat on the back. What you've accomplished isn't easy!
You saved and closed the newly renamed wp-config.php file in the Wordpress program folder. Now, you are ready to upload the whole thing into Hostpapa.
In cPanel, go to the file manager again. (You were here before, when you uploaded that historical Wordpress stuff.) Click "upload" and select that Wordpress program file. In my example, it was called "wordpress-2.7.1.zip.
Since it's zipped up, you need to extract the information. Click "extract" at the top and select the Wordpress program folder. (If you are asked where to place it, always select the public HTML area.)
Once you see it on the left in your public HTML area, you can minimize Hostpapa for the moment. Now open up wordpress.org again.
Here's what just happened: You took all of the things that make Wordpress and uploaded it onto the Hostpapa servers. Remember how you changed that database information? That's what tells Hostpapa exactly who you are and where to keep all your stuff. As far as Hostpapa is concerned, you are good to go. But first, you've got to point Wordpress in the right direction. Wordpress still thinks you are playing around on their servers. You need to tell them you've switched.
In Wordpress, find where your domain management area is. (I can't recall - I think Tools or Settings.) Click on Manage My Domains and you will be asked to log onto Automattic.
(Automattic is somehow related to Wordpress. Don't worry - you're not leaving for long.)
You will see something like the image above. Now you need to find the email Hostpapa sent you when you paid for your hosting.
In this long email, you will find information about their Domain Name Server or DNS. Don't worry about what this means. Just know that this is the new home for your blog.
In Automattic, find the place where your blog lives right now. As you would expect, it will be on the Wordpress servers. It will probably look like this:
You need to request that Wordpress transfer your hosting to Hostpapa. Find out how to request a transfer (it should be pretty easy). Fill in your information and click "Retrieve Transfer Request."
Please note that it may take 24-48 hours for Google and the rest of the web to find you at your new location. Don't panic - as long as you did everything explained here, you should be fine.
Did this help? Did I forget anything in this process? Please leave your comments below, or you could subscribe or share on the social media sites below.