For setting up this site, I used the following combination of services:
- Digital Ocean (hosting)
- Namecheap (domain name codercatch.com)
- WordPress (blogging)
This is a very cheap set-up. My domain name costs around 10€/year. The Digital Ocean droplet costs 5€/month and WordPress is free to install. A single droplet can also host multiple domains and sites, meaning it’s a very cost-efficient hosting alternative if you have some basic terminal skillz 🤓
In this blog post I’ll try to explain in steps how I set up a cost-efficient blog with not too much work and link to relevant tutorials for further reading.
1. Sign up for Digital Ocean 🌊
So first you need to sign up for Digital Ocean. There are lots of other competing hosting providers out there, like Bluehost, but I personally chose this one since it’s what all my developer friends and colleagues use, and it’s honestly very cheap for what you get. Make sure you get some sort of discount as these are basically always available. You can use my discount affiliate link for Digital Ocean sign-up or maybe your friend has one and you can ask them 🙃
2. Register a domain on Namecheap 🇳
Search for any domain. The cheapest ones are around 10 euros a year.
3. Install WordPress with one-click install on Digital Ocean 🇼
Important: there are two ways you can do this.
a) First create a droplet and then install WordPress (more complicated) – guide.
b) Create a WordPress-droplet (easy) – guide.
Go with option b. If not, you’ll have to go through the entire set-up yourself which is fine if you’re a developer but unnecessary.
4. Connect your Namecheap domain with your Digital Ocean IP address 🔌
This will be required when you do the WordPress set-up. There are a few things you have to do.
Add Digital Ocean nameservers
Log in to Namecheap and go to your Domain List. Scroll down to NAMESERVERS and choose Custom DNS in the dropdown. Then add three nameservers:
ns1.digitalocean.com ns2.digitalocean.com ns3.digitalocean.com
It’s described in more detail here.
Connect the domain at Digital Ocean
The rest is done within Digital Ocean. Click Create in the top right, then select Domains/DNS. Here’s a DNS Quickstart. Add your domain, and then create an A-record. This means you point your domain to the IP of the droplet. Digital Ocean will help you pre-fill the information.
Go to your terminal and enter
ping mydomain.com. You should see the IP of your droplet.