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Matt McCabe (Big Mac)
SF/Fantasy Writer, Email Marketer, and Video Gamer
SF/Fantasy Writer, Email Marketer, and Video Gamer

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Email Marketing for Writers #2: Get a Web Host

I hope at this point you already have a domain name and need some web space. If you have not yet purchased a domain name, check out my previous post:

Now you want to find some web hosting for your new website.

Web hosting will be a monthly cost, so you might want to wait on this part until you have something to sell. The cost isn't much (about $10 a month), but this might be a show-stopper for some.

The thing you want in a web host is "cPanel." This is a control panel that lets you install several free scripts on your website. The most important script is Wordpress, but we'll get to that in the next lesson.

To find a host, you can either search for "web hosting cpanel," or you can pick from a list. Here are the top 10 cPanel web hosts:

Remember when I said you were looking to spend about $10 per month? These web hosts are most popular because they are cheap. The only reason they are so cheap is that the have lots and lots and lots of these cheap accounts running on a single machine. This tends to make the websites on these machines run very slowly.

You also have the option of switching to a different web host if you find that your selected host is running too slow. Migration is easy, as long as you pick a host that uses cPanel, of course.

The web host I use is actually under $10 a month, but they don't over-pack their servers. Their name is LinkSky. I'll be basing my instructions on signing up with them. Their service and support has been top notch. They are also fellow G+ers. ( +LinkSky Hosting +Shirley Foster +Joseph Maas ). I don't make any money from this recommendation. They are just who I recommend.

Step One. Sign up for a hosting account.

1. Go to
2. Pull down "Sign up Now" (top left) and select "Quick Signup"
3. Select the "Standard Feature" account and press "Order Now"
4. Enter the domain name you purchased in the last lesson and "Click to Continue"
5. Select how you want to pay (it's cheaper if you pay for several months up front. I prefer monthly billing).
6. Complete the rest of the purchase process.

Step Two. Tell your registrar about your website.

After you have signed up with your web host, you will receive an email containing your username and password information, cpanel access information, and your name servers.

In the name of all that is holy, do not ever delete this email. This one email contains all of your keys.

You will be giving your name server information to your registrar. This will let people find your website when they type your URL into their browser.

1. Note your name servers in your welcome email. This will be in the form of a URL. So you know what you're looking for, mine are and Yours will be different. Check your welcome email.

2. Log into your registrar. We'll assume that you used GoDaddy. Go to and enter your user name and password for that site (login in top-left).

3. After you are logged in, pull down All Products -> Domains -> Domain Management.

4. Check the box by your domain name.

5. At the top, find "Nameservers." Click this and then select "Set Nameservers."

6. Select "I have specific nameservers for my domains."

7. Enter your two name servers into the first two fields. Click OK.

8. You will get a message that your changes have been submitted. It will tell you some total bunk about it taking 2 to 48 hours. Unless you live in Timbuktooistan, this will be more like 5 minutes. Go get a coffee. Drink slowly. Yes. Sweet, sweet coffee. You might need another. Yes. That's the stuff. Sweet, black nectar of life.

9. Here's your moment of glory. Open a new tab in your web browser. Type in "http://YOURDOMAINNAME.COM" and press Enter/Return. (You might have figured out that you should be using your domain name.) You should now see a message about this being the future home of your domain. This is the default message when you have the website connected, but nothing is set up yet. Success!

Step Three. Set up an email account.
Now that you have your own domain name, you'll want to have a fancy-schmancy email address to match. Please do this. You can always forward it to your AOL email, but we want to at least look professional. It's for the kids. Think of the kids.

1. Go to YOURDOMAIN.COM/cpanel.

2. This will ask for your user name and password. Remember that welcome email you got from your host. Yes. You didn't delete it, right? Your user name and password are there.

3. After you are logged into your control panel, look for "Email Accounts" in the "Mail" Section.

4. Put in the name you would like to use for your email address. You don't need to fill in your domain name.

5. Put in a password (this can and should be different than your main account password).

6. Tick off the "Unlimited" button so you don't get a full email account.

7. Click the "Create Account" button.

8. After you have created an email account, you will see it in the list below. Click the "More" button to the right of your new email address. Click "Configure Email Client"

9. This page will tell you all the settings you need to set up your new email address in your favorite email program.

Success! You're done for today!

Congratulations on your new domain name, web site, and email address. Our next lesson will cover some more geeky stuff, installing Wordpress so you can start blogging!

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Now on video, but feel free to skip it...

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+Andrew McCabe

This one's for you.

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Now on video. For Christians, I would consider this a must-see.

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Now on video, but ew, romance.

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US Cellular has joined the ranks (to me) of BAD CELL PHONE COMPANIES that you should not do business with. That list so far includes T-Mobile and Boost (which uses the T-Mobile network). I lost my debit card and could not make my $80 cell phone payment. They shut off my phone.

If you tried to text me over the last week and I ignored your smoke signals... it's because I've been using smoke signals. Your text, which appeared to go through, was delivered to a black hole and I will see it not--not even a little bit.

Hmmm... what else have they done? Oh yeah, I went in to turn my phone back on. My $80 bill had ballooned to over $200 for the privilege to pay them more money. I tried to fight it. They don't care.

There is a single person who cannot text me. They have to call me, because their texts, although appearing to go through, go to the same black hole. Losing any texts is a giant red flag for me. I asked their customer service.  They either didn't care, or couldn't fix it. 

Their voice service has been great. I've gotten coverage in the middle of nowhere when I really needed it. That's great. 

Their data service is not great. They offer 250 MB of roaming data. When this is gone, it's gone. I asked. I tried to give them more money. You can't. Although I can get their voice service just about everywhere, I cannot get their data service anywhere, even major cities. I had an app that I didn't have set to use wi-fi only. It juiced all of my data. That doesn't mean I'm stuck with huge overage charges. That means I can't use my phone. Do you know that text messages with photos also use data? I couldn't see them for a couple weeks. Did you know that Google Maps uses data? I went on a trip and did not know where I was going. I had to navigate from McDonald's to McDonald's because I knew they had free Wi-Fi (a trick I learned while I was on Boost).

I had a friend tell me that you get what you pay for with cell phone companies. That's cool, but the US Cellular service is not cheap. $80 a month?

Not cool. So I know you have a lot of choices out there for cell phone service. Avoid T-Mobile, Boost, and US Cellular. Any other companies to avoid? Please post your horror stories in the comments below.
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