Hey there! If you’re having any problems going through my personal website building guide, then hopefully this page will help you fix them.
At the bottom of the page, you’ll find a special contact form you can use to ask me personally for help – however, I’ve taken the time to answer some of the most common questions here, so please have a look at the following list of questions before using the contact form.
Also, if you’ve got any issues with your hosting account, the best way to get them resolved is to talk with the hosting company’s support team – I can point you in the right direction, but unfortunately I can’t actually fix hosting problems.
If you’re using HostGator, which is what I use and recommend, the best and fastest option is their Live Support Chat. Check out their Support Portal for lots of support documents and additional contact methods.
- Bought domain and hosting, but can’t access my website or WordPress dashboard
- Using a domain I already own with HostGator
- Domain name unavailable – but there’s no website at it
- Email from HostGator asking for additional verification information
- Multiple websites – do I need multiple hosting accounts?
- I’m having trouble with my website’s design
- Advice on creating a blog
- Transferring a site from WordPress.com to a self-hosted WordPress.org site
I bought my domain and hosting, but I can’t access my website or WordPress dashboard. Help!
First, check to see that your domain is actually registered. Do a WHOIS search for your domain (e.g. yourcoolnewdomain.com) – if the site tells you that domain is available, that means it’s not yet registered to you and isn’t connected to your website files.
Reasons this can happen:
- You may need to verify your domain’s WHOIS information. If this is the case, then you should have received an email asking you to do so – please check your Promotions tab (Gmail only) or Spam/Junk folder in your email program
- It’s also possible that you could have accidentally click the “I own this domain” tab at the top of the hosting signup screen.
If you don’t see anything in your email, I’d recommend getting on a live chat session with their support team – they’ll be able to help you get the problem sorted out!
How do I use a domain name I already own with HostGator?
If you already own a domain name, you just need to “point” it to your HostGator account. When you sign up for hosting, be sure to click the “I Already Own This Domain” tab at the top of the order form. After completing the form, you’ll need to point your domain’s DNS to your new hosting account.
If HostGator doesn’t email you instructions on how to do this, then you can use this support document to go through process.
The domain name I want is unavailable, but there’s no website there when I type it into my browser. What gives?
Domain names and websites are actually separate things. Here’s a brief explanation:
A website is just a collection of files that are linked together and live on the same server. The server that hosts your website files has an “address” that other computers can use to get to it. It’s called an IP Address, and it consists of numbers that are really hard for humans to remember.
Domain names are essentially aliases for those strings of numbers – they make it easier for us to remember where a website’s files live. Big companies called registrars handle the registration of domain names, and keep big databases that remember which domain names point to which numerical server addresses. For example:
- www.google.com -> 220.127.116.11
Here’s the thing: If a domain name is available, anyone can register it… and they don’t have to point it to a server. They can simply register the domain name and own it.
There are lots of reasons to do this – some people register a domain in advance because they want to reserve it, but aren’t ready to build their website yet (I actually recommend doing this for your name). Others register lots of domain names in hopes of selling them for a profit later.
Either way, the bottom line is that if a domain is registered, you won’t be able to register it for yourself – regardless of whether or not there’s a website it points to. Such is the way of the world :/
I got an email from HostGator asking me to provide additional verification information. Is this legit?
Yes, it’s legit. This only happens on a rare occasion, but sometimes HostGator (other hosting companies do this as well) will ask a new customer to provide additional information to verify their identity.
They do this to help prevent people from signing up using stolen personal information – however, don’t take it personally, as the selection process is often random and based on factors like your location.
More information at the HostGator docs: Why Do I Have to Verify My New Order?
I want to make multiple websites. Do I need to buy multiple hosting accounts?
Nope! However, you will need the next-level hosting plan if you’re using HostGator – the Baby Plan, rather than the Hatchling Plan.
If you haven’t bought your hosting yet, simply change your package to Baby on the order form. If you’ve already paid for hosting, all you need to do is upgrade your plan: How Do I Upgrade My Account to a Better Plan?
Once you’re on the Baby Plan, you just need to create an Addon domain. Here’s how to do that: I already own a hosting package and want to add a 2nd domain.
I’m having trouble with my website’s design. Help!
Unfortunately, this is where I won’t be able to provide a whole lot of custom help. If you’re inexperienced and want to achieve a great-looking design, I highly recommend that you:
- Start with the free Simple theme from Themify
- Watch my 30-minute tutorial on how to use the theme
- Check out Themify’s extensive documentation if you run into issues
If you’re still unable to achieve the look you want, then I recommend purchasing a premium theme – which will come with premium support from the theme developer. Themify’s Ultra is a great choice; it uses the same builder engine as Simple, but is far more capable. It’ll also get you access to Themify’s support forum.
Any advice on creating a blog?
I think adding a blog to your personal website (or building one separately) is an excellent idea! If you want some advice on how to do it successfully, I dumped pretty much all my blogging knowledge into this article: The Complete, Step-By-Step Guide To Creating A Successful Blog
I already built a site/blog on WordPress.com – how do I transfer my site over to WordPress.org?
Here’s a quick video I made that will guide you through this process:
My Question Isn’t Answered Here!
No worries! Use the contact form below to let me know what’s going on, and I’ll do my best to help you. Please do use this contact form, as it ensures I know what your domain is and also helps keep things organized in my email (which helps me respond faster).
As an added note, please do not use this form to contact me for topics unrelated to building your own website. For anything else, please use this contact page.
Sometimes clever marketers think they’ll have a better chance of getting a response from me if they ignore this rule; please be aware that our procedure in these cases is to filter and auto-delete any further messages from email addresses that do this.