Your Church Can Podcast – Part 3 – Setting Up Hosting

Posted by on February 27, 2007

Back to the Podcasting To Do List

Let’s review our checklist for getting a podcast set up. So far, in part 1 and part 2, we have accomplished steps 1 and 2. Let’s cross ’em out. (I love crossing things off of my to do list.)

  1. A digital audio recording of the content you want to be in your podcast
  2. A finished MP3 format file of the content
  3. A appropriate web hosting service with lots of space for your files (if you make a good choice here, the next steps are easier).
  4. Software to upload (FTP) your files to the web server.
  5. Software for podcasting (provided by some hosting options)
  6. Time to go and register your podcast with half a dozen podcast sites (including Apple’s iTunes)
  7. A dedicated volunteer (could be you) who will be willing to post your podcast episodes regularly. It takes a long time to build up subscribers, and you’ll lose them if you’re not consistent.

Web Hosting

Let’s look at setting up web hosting. You may already have a church website, but that may not be the easiest way to get your podcast set up.

If you already have web hosting set up, your web hosting provider may be able to help you podcast. Ask them if they have support for PHP and MySQL. If they do, it may be possible to install WordPress and PodPress, the software we’re going to use. If you’re not tied to a particular web host or if you’re willing to spend an additional $8-$10/month to make podcasting easy, you can follow the instructions below to sign up for DreamHost hosting and set up WordPress and PodPress. (There’s also a way to podcast for free, but it’s more complicated.)

I recommend that you sign up for DreamHost web hosting service. They have a “one-click install” of WordPress, the main software application we’ll be using. It will also configure the database for you. This is good because it’s can be a bit confusing. Next we’ll install the PodPress plugin.

First, I recommend that you go to the DreamHost website and sign up for the “Crazy Domain Insane” web hostign plan. I have a promo code that will save you $50 on the first year – type “churchtech” without the quotation marks when you sign up. You have to remember to type it in because there’s no way to go back and add it later. You’ll get almost 200 GB of web storage space – that’s many years of weekly podcasts! If you sign up for a year at $120, you’ll avoid the $50 set up fee. After the promo code it will only cost $70 for the year. That’s about $6/month. They even let churches pay by check, but you have to wait for them to receive the check before your site goes online.

Domain Names

When you sign up, they’ll ask you for a “domain name.” Those are the web names like “www.yournamehere.com” that you use to get to websites. Registering a name is included with the hosting so pick one! Our podcast is called “Grace in the West” so we registered graceinthewest.com. You migght want something like mychurchnamepodcast.com or whatever you can think of. You maye have to get creative since lots of names are taken already. We couldn’t get “trinitychurch” or “trinitypres” so we’re “TrinityWestSac.org.”

Go ahead and sign up with DreamHost. I’ll wait.

Set Up Your Podcasting

It will take a little while before your site goes live, but you can start setting up your podcast now. We’re going to use an application for setting up blogs (short for weblogs), called WordPress. It’s a free application that’s well-designed and well-supported.

The first thing you’ll want to do is log into the DreamHost control panel. You’ll need to use your e-mail adddress and the password you set up when you signed up. Next, click “Goodies” on the left side of the screen. Now, under the word “Goodies,” click “One Click Install

The installer asks three questions.

  1. What software would you like to install? Select WordPress.
  2. What URL would you like your software to be installed to?
    A URL (Uniform Resource Locater) is a web address. Choose your domain name (mychurchname.com) from the dropdown menu.
    If the only thing on your site will be the podcast, just use levae the box afte the slash blank.
    If you plan to use your huge amount of web hosting space for other things too (I would), then fill in a name after the slash. I recommend putting something like “podcast” in the box. That would make your podcast’s web address www.mychurchname.com/podcast.
  3. Please choose a MySQL database for this software to use:
    Don’t worry. This doesn’t have to make any sense to you. The three parts are
    Database Name: Just make up a name for the database. I’d call it something like “podcastdb”
    Hostname: You’ll probably have to choose “create a hostname now.” Just select your domain name from the dropdown menu and type “mysql” in the boxto the left of the dot.
    First User: You’ll need to invent a new user name here. Select “create a new user now.” Type “dbuser” in the New User Name box. Now create a password. If you like, this can be the same password as your account. Just type it twice.
  4. Click “Install it for me now!”

That may have seemed complicated, but trust me, it was easy compared with configuring everything yourself. DreamHost will now install WordPress for you and will send you e-mail when it’s ready with final instructions on how to configure it.

Shewwww! That part’s done.

The next step will be learning how to use FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and installing PodPress.

Watch for it soon!

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