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Friday, October 16, 2015

HOW TO | 3 easy and affordable steps to own and create a .COM website using NameCheap, BPI My ePrepaid MasterCard, and Blogger

For about five long years, I have experimented on using Blogger as a temporary platform to hinge my writing about any topic that I like or love. And within this time frame, I understood how Blogger works, how I can manipulate and add cool stuff, how I can place some ads, how I can gain traffic, and most important of all, how popular the Blogspot domain is for every person out there who wanted to try out writing but didn't have the funds to go own a website. 

Teka, allow me to explain first what a domain name is in layman's term. A domain name simply is that part of the internet ("www." + domain/keyword + ".com, .ph, .com.ph extension, etc") that you can own. 

So I asked myself, why don't I try to have my own custom domain and not just one that's attached as a Blogger sub-domain/URL? At first, I was hesitant to do it because I knew it would be expensive but then I realized I could have my own ______.com if I only research the prices well enough. And indeed, I did. Today, I purchased this new domain ManilaLifeBox.com which I plan to use as a way to project my other side--the more simpler side of me. It is in this site where I will continue and improve from where I started off, Spotlight Philippines. Okay, let's talk about this blog in another post hehe.

How much did it cost me to buy this domain? I actually looked through a lot of domain registrars like GoDaddy.com, Dot.PH, Pangalan.com, NameCheap.com, Web.com.ph, and Zoom.ph. And I realized that the cheapest for me, thinking on a long-term basis, was NameCheap. I can attest that GoDaddy and NameCheap are some of the cheapest providers for domain registration. However, I have had some security issues with the former because GoDaddy has been hacked in the past by Anonymous. 

The other local domain registrars were a bit expensive on a yearly basis, with the first year having a dropped price (say 350 Php) followed by a 100% increase the next year (600 Php). Some offered competitive price points kaso when WhoIs privacy protection service (which keeps your private contacts like name and address unseen in public directories) is taken into consideration, the total cost differences show up. Look these sites up and see the differences. 

 Now, how did I do it? How did I get ManilaLifeBox.com? These are the three easy and affordable steps to having your own affordable website. 
  1. Register your own domain via NameCheap.com. 
  2. Pay via BPI My ePrepaid MasterCard. 
  3. Use Blogger's free hosting service so you wouldn't have to pay for it. 
FIRST. Purchase your own domain via NameCheap.com. 

Let's start. I have explained to you that NameCheap.com is probably the cheapest of all domain registrars. It's so cheap I bought the domain for a number of years. I actually paid around 2300 Php for four years of ownership and WhoIs privacy protection. If I went for GoDaddy, I would have paid around 3400+ Php. To let you see the difference, check out the images below.

Cost of purchasing Blingph.com plus WhoIs privacy protection for 5 years via NameCheap.com
For example, I wanted to buy blingph.com. I want to own this domain and have WhoIs privacy protection for 5 years. If I choose GoDaddy, I'd pay 3,804.15 Php; meanwhile, if I choose NameCheap, I'd only pay 3,001.89 Php ($63.87 at 47 Php a dollar).

Cost of purchasing Blingph.com plus WhoIs privacy protection for 5 years via GoDaddy.com
That's at least 800 Php price difference. Hence, it was definitely one great deal. Just go to NameCheap.com and check if the .com domain name you want is still available. Then, you'd have to add it to the cart. Eventually, you'll have to register your name, email address, contact number, and personal address. If you don't want these details to get leaked out in public, purchase the WhoIs privacy protection service that's discounted as of today. You may also Google for Namecheap coupons which slashes off around 40-50 Php from the total cost hehe. 

SECOND. Pay using BPI My ePrepaid MasterCard. 
Here's the sad part. I didn't have enough Paypal funds nor a credit card to pay for the NameCheap domain. And this is the problem for a lot of bloggers in the Philippines. We're not that much into credit cards and we don't have US bank accounts to fund our Paypal accounts. (But if you have a Paypal account or MasterCard/Visa credit card, then all you need to do is enter the necessary details.)

I was pretty much eager to have it that I decided to approach a few friends online to ask if they have extra funds that they can send me while I pay them via local peso deposit. How can i pay for this if I don't have a credit card or a Paypal account or bitcoins? I quickly contacted the live chat assistant and asked her if they accept MasterCard electronic prepaid cards like BPI My ePrepaid MasterCard. 

In front of the BPI My ePrepaid MasterCard
Just so you know, the BPI My ePrepaid MasterCard is actually very convenient in paying for shopping online like in stores like Lazada, Zalora, or in purchasing airline tickets online. It really takes off the sweat of having to go to the nearest Bayad Center in a shopping mall. However, I haven't heard of BPI My ePrepaid MasterCard in paying for purchasing a domain/website--add to that the fact that the payment is in dollar denominations. It took several minutes before the live chat assistant was able to verify that they accept such cards. Still, there was fear in mind because the funds inside the BPI ePrepaid card will not be withdraw-able anymore. 
At the back of the BPI My ePrepaid MasterCard

Eventually, I decided to transfer 2,300+ Php from my BPI account to my BPI ePrepaid Mastercard. So, after having transferred the necessary amount, I confirmed my order on NameCheap and was directed to its Payment Page. And it asked me to input the details of my BPI ePrepaid MasterCard. These include my account name, account number, the security code (a three-digit number found at the back of the card), and the expiration date. 

And to my surprise, it worked! The payment process was smooth! You can use your BPI My ePrepaid MasterCard to purchase a domain name or website at NameCheap.com. Woah! I was so excited that I decided to continue with the last process, that is to host it in Blogger instead of buy hosting plans and website builders from NameCheap and the like. It's really cost-effective and cheap! 

THIRD. Host your custom domain in Blogger. 
What is a hosting provider? Why look for a host? You need some hosting provider to keep your information and posts in its servers. Actually, you can pay for it through a lot of hosting plan providers, but Blogger offers it for free (including the template which you can personally edit via HTML manipulation)! 

If you'd quickly type on Google's search bar the terms Namecheap and Blogger, you'll see how you can use your domain with your blogger account. Visit this page to know more. It basically simplifies the steps on how you can host your Namecheap domain in Blogger. After following these steps, you can now start blogging!

Now, why use Blogger and not Wordpress as a blogging platform? First, it's owned by Google. And I haven't heard of any issues with Google at all, other than the fact that it could shut Blogger down anytime. But it's nearly impossible that this site is going to stop operations. Second, there's a bunch of differences which can be summarized by the two images below. Enjoy!

 Chart Courtesy: HowJoyful

Comparison Courtesy: HowToMakeMyBlog 

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