Tag Archives: 101

How to update name servers

This post is part of the Blogging Noob 101 series


These simple instructions apply to the following situation:

You have 1) Purchased a new domain name and 2) You have prepaid for the web hosting account to be used with this domain name. Next, your new domain name must somehow be associated with the web hosting space you purchased. That’s what these steps are for.

Prerequisites & requirements

You must know the name server settings (e.g., the values of the variable “name server”). There are usually two values: a name server 1 and a name server 2. If you don’t have this information, it’s quite easy to obtain. The required name server settings can be obtained from your web host; simply refer to their web site or telephone their tech support department. (Also, the name server settings are likely described in an email sent to you by your web hosting company when you signed up.)

Although there are exceptions, the most popular naming conventions used for name servers are NS1.hostingcompany.com and NS2.hostingcompany.com.

The simple steps

  1. Login to your domain registrar[1]
  2. Choose Domain Manager
  3. From the list of domain names in your account, select the applicable domain name
  4. Update the two (2) name server variables with the values you obtained from your web host

If you would prefer your webmaster or web developer to take care of this for you, then he would need your login info (the "credentials") to your domain registrar account.

GoDaddy instructions

Follow these instructions to change the name servers for your new domain name registered at GoDaddy.

1. Go to the GoDaddy.com home page
2. Login to your account
3. Go to the Domain Manager for the list of your domain names (All Products -- Domains -- Domain management)
4. Place a check mark in the box the left of the domain name you want to configure (Allows various domain variables and options to be selected and configured)
5. Click on Nameservers -- Set Nameservers
6. Change the first two existing name servers to the name server variables provided by your web host (e.g., NS1.BLUEHOST.COM, NS2.BLUEHOST.COM)

That’s it! Now the updated name server information must propagate across the web. While this can sometimes take over an hour, it usually happens in five or ten minutes (or even less).

Bluehost instructions

Follow these instructions to add your new domain name to your existing Bluehost web hosting account. This can only be done after the name servers have been updated properly at GoDaddy and after the new settings have propagated.

1. Login to Bluehost
2. Choose Domain Manager
3. Click on Assign a domain to your cPanel account

Assign domain steps

1. Choose the second option: Use a domain that is not already associated with your account. (unless the domain name is already associated with your account for some reason); Type your new domain name into the second field
2. Verify Ownership

Bluehost now conducts a quick automatic search to determine name servers. If the name server information has propogated, then you will be allowed to continue setting it up. If not, you will have to give the new name server values (the ones you entered into GoDaddy in the applicable steps above) additional time to propogate. Once the name servers are set correctly and have propogated, continue with the setup:

Choose Addon Domain (unless you just want to park it)
Choose Addon Directory and Sub-domain
• The directory should exactly match your domain name without the .com (or .org, .net, or other extension); all lowercase, no spaces
• The sub-domain should be the same as the addon directory


[1] Domain registrar

Domain registrar is a fancy name for the site/company you used to buy the applicable domain name(s). An example of a popular domain registrar would be GoDaddy.com, which happens to be this blogger’s preferred domain registrar.

Resources: How to update name servers

Removed content
First, we must login to your domain registrar (in your case, probably GoDaddy.com) and then associate your new domain name with the web hosting account. To accomplish this, we simply update the name servers (aka “nameservers”) associated with your domain.

as follows: (NOTE: The IP addresses provided below are only FYI; the IP addresses are generally NOT required)
1. ns1.bluehost.com (IP address:
2. ns2.bluehost.com (IP address:

Logging in as WordPress admin; WordPress back-end

This post is part of the Blogging Noob 101 series

Learning where to go to login

It will soon become second nature for you to login to your WordPress site — even without using a “Log in” link to take you to the official WordPress login page; however, you definitely need to be familiar with the term “URL” (aka “URI”).

URL/URI: Web address

logo: WordPressIn case you did not already know this, the address line on your browser is the line near the top of your web browser which displays the address of the web page you are on. These internet addresses are also known as URLs or URIs, so whenever you see URL or URI it just means “web address” or “link”[1].

All one needs to do in order to login to his or her WordPress site is to append the URL with “/wp-admin”.

For example, let’s say your hosted domain is www.stiles.com. As a second assumption, let’s say your WordPress installation is not in the root directory, but rather, in a directory or folder called blog. (So far, we have www.stiles.com/blog .)

If stiles.com/blog already appears in the address line of your browser, then – if you want to login – simply type in /wp-admin ; this will force the browser to move from its current page to the wp-admin directory. (FYI, wp-admin is the name of the folder or directory in which the admin screens are located.) Even though you still have not designated the exact login page, WordPress knows that only administrators or other power users are allowed to see what’s in the wp-admin directory, so – as the lingo goes — the user is “challenged” with a login screen.

The other main way for a WordPress user to go to a login screen is to click on a link that’s already been set up to take the user to the WordPress login screen (or general admin area). As it so happens, many WordPress themes include this link by default. If you see a section of WordPress links called "META," then you’re likely to see a "Log in" link right under it. (If the user is already logged in, then the first link under META will be "Site Admin" instead of "Log in".)

[1] URL, URI

In computing, a uniform resource locator (URL) is a specific character string that constitutes a reference to an Internet resource. A URL is technically a type of uniform resource identifier (URI) but in many technical documents and verbal discussions URL is often used as a synonym for URI.

Resources: Logging in as WordPress admin

Preventing form spam with Akismet

This post is part of the Blogging Noob 101 series

logo - AkismetNew bloggers and webmasters will soon discover a brand new category of spam (unwanted messages), heretofore outside of your ken: form spam. Form spam (aka comment spam) is simply spam that originates within HTML forms (e.g., comment forms, contact forms, etc. on websites and blogs) instead of the more familiar email variety of spam.

As we are using WordPress, Akismet – a spam filtering service — is one of the free plugins with which you’ll become somewhat familiar. Akismet is one of the better form spam prevention tools I’m aware of. (Actually, I’ve never required anything more than Akismet in the prevention of spam in my blogs — so far, at least.)

In order to configure Akismet for use on your new WordPress site, simply login as WordPress administrator and go to Plugins – Installed plugins. Akismet will be listed at or near the top, since it starts with an A.

New users must obtain an API key for Akismet. The more technology one uses, the more frequently one will be exposed to “API.” You need not know any technical information about API keys – just know that an API key is like a password that allows you to use a particular set of code. (In this case, the programming code comprises a WordPress plugin.)

When you request an API key and you receive it – the API key is either displayed on the screen for you to copy, or emailed to you – be sure you document your API key for future reference, as you WILL need it again. Copy and paste the API key in a safe place, just as you would any other crucial digital information (passwords, links, email addresses, etc.).

Like so much other code, Akismet is free for non-commercial use but carries a small charge for use on commercial sites. Generally speaking, if a site conducts business, then it is a commercial site; however, a general-use blog or site that happens to include a bit of commercial information may or may not officially be a commercial site. Use your own judgment as to whether your use of Akismet constitutes commercial use.

Resources: Blogging noob 101 – Form spam

How to quickly back up your WordPress sites & blogs

This post is part of the Blogging Noob 101 series

Please get into the habit of creating regular backups of your WordPress assets. How often your WordPress site should be backed up depends on how often it is updated. I recommend all WordPress users get into the habit of backing up at least monthly; weekly would be even better.

Although more detailed WordPress backup procedures are possible, this default backup tool covers the basics, backing up all of the site’s posts, pages, links, categories, tags, and comments.

As these instructions represent only the bare minimum of WordPress backup processes, it does not save information relating to plugins, 3rd party tools, or any other extras.

1. Login to your WordPress site as admin
2. Choose Tools -- Export
3. Select All Content
4. Click Download Export File
5. Locate the file you just downloaded
6. Copy or move the file to your preferred/standard safe backup location

That’s all there is to it!

This post was originally written on Saturday, March 03, 2012

How to create a free site at WordPress.com

This post is part of the Blogging Noob 101 series

Here is something I wrote about how to create a free WordPress site at WordPress.com.

Is WordPress Right for You? [ BestWeb Nashville ]

The most important paragraph from the page referenced above:

To experiment with a WordPress website from scratch (without paying a dime), visit the free signup page at WordPress.com. You’ll be given a free set of keys to your own new WordPress site.

Basically, all you do is sign up and think of a name for the new site. The only requirement to sign up is that you have a working email address. Whatever name you come up with (in this example we will call it SITENAME), the URL of your new site or blog will be:


However, before too long, you will want to open your own web hosting account to avoid being bound by the strict limitations of free sites at WordPress.com or Blogger.com. A good web hosting account costs around $10 a month, give or take, depending on the web host and the capabilities you want.

Frankly, Bluehost is the best web hosting company I have ever used (and I have used many different web hosts)!


You are not allowed to do very much with free sites at WordPress.com or Blogger.com; for example, no WordPress plugins are allowed at WordPress.com.

Once you have opened your own web hosting account, you can install WordPress at the click of a button and upload/install as many plugins as you want. (Plugins are just extensions for WordPress that give WordPress capabilities above and beyond the default WP installation.)

Get a web hosting account at Bluehost

WordPress is open source software, meaning that it is free to use. To learn about WordPress, be sure to reference the main WordPress site, which is WordPress.org.

WordPress.com is not the main WordPress site; it is just a place to create sites and have them hosted for free or for a monthly fee if you want more capabilities. What you really want to do is to install WordPress on your own web host.

If you find you have a hard time figuring out the WordPress basics (e.g., creating your own posts and pages, installing themes, installing plugins, etc.), you will be able to find plenty of WordPress tutorials via Google, and plenty of WordPress how-to videos and tutorials on YouTube.

HINT: Be sure to search for WordPress 2011 or the current version of WordPress to avoid being led to old videos that show how to use an old version of WordPress. That would probably do nothing but confuse you.