See below for answer to frequently asked questions about hosting companies, domain names, and similar topics.
What is 'hosting' and why do I need it?
A web host is a company that has a bunch of specialized computers called servers that are connected to the Internet. Websites are stored on servers, and every time someone types in a web address like pro.photo, they are connected to a computer which has the website stored on it’s hard drive.
WordPress is a platform for creating website pages and blog posts, and it is installed on a web server. You can pay a web host a fee to store your website on their server computers, and make your website available to the world.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is a little like call-forwarding. When someone types in the address pro.photo, special domain name servers (DNS) on the Internet forward them to the server computer at our hosting company. That’s where our website is stored.
Technically, a domain name isn’t a requirement, but it’s a lot easier than typing in a computer’s address to visit the site – no one would find our website at 188.8.131.52 would they?
Multiple domain names can be owned at a time, and can be setup to point to any web server you want – even on a single hosting account.
Can't I just use WordPress.com?
WordPress.com is a service built upon the WordPress software. Up until recently, they chose to prevent users from uploading their own theme (ProPhoto is a theme). So previously, it was not possible to build a ProPhoto site at WordPress.com.
However, they just recently began offering paid options for their service and one of these options (the Business plan) does allow for the installation of 3rd party themes, like ProPhoto. From a pricing standpoint though, this plan is a good bit more expensive than most other hosting options. So unless you have other reasons for wanting to use wordpress.com, we recommend a self-hosted WordPress setup to use ProPhoto and our other software.
What if I already have a site?
No problem. If your hosting company supports WordPress installations, you can install WordPress in addition to your existing site. For example, you might decide to use WordPress to create a blog, and use your existing site for the portfolio and website content. Or, you might decide to install WordPress, design your new setup, and then replace your site with WordPress.
Or, if your hosting company does not support WordPress installations, you can buy new website hosting from a compatible hosting company. Use it in addition to your existing site, or use it to switch your web host so that WordPress replaces your old site when you’re ready.