You have a basic choice of setting up your site where you have little to no control at www.wordpress.com. You can have a site there at no charge and your site will have the URL yourname.wordpress.com or for a small fee, you can get your own domain name so that the name of your site is www.yourname.com. Having your site on their servers at WordPress will constrain your options however. As an example, there are thousands of really useful plugins that extend the features of WordPress and many cannot be installed at wordpress.com. Better, in our or opinion, you should install your WordPress site where you have absolute and total control.
If you use the recommended alternative, where you host your own site (explained below), then your website can have the name www.yourblog.com. Not only do you have a more custom and personalized website address when you host it yourself, but you will have many more options such as selecting different WordPress themes, selecting and using many plug-ins and a variety of other control features that you do not have when you have your site hosted at WordPress.com. You may find that months from now, you need some customization on your site. There are many programmers that can customize a WordPress site easily and inexpensively as long as you have control. Most importantly, if you devote any resources to driving visitors to your site, why would you want to drive them to a site that you don’t control i.e. wordpress.com?
Privately Hosted WordPress
The Hard Way
If you are a technical person, you may want to control every technical aspect of your site, things that only a webmaster or developer understands such as the operating system and Apache. In those cases, you want to rent a server from a hosting company (say $40+ per month) and then install WordPress on that server with its related SQL database, configuration file, etc. (the hosting company may do this for you free or for a small fee). We don’t suggest this as there is an easier and very cheap alternative.
If you just want to have a blog or site that fits your goals (e.g. distributing your opinions, making money, bad-mouthing your employer, placing ads, affiliate marketing, etc.) and don’t want to do any programming or technical duties, then all you need is a little bit of hosting space on an existing server which you can rent for cheap. You can rent that kind of service from an excellent hosting company like Bluehost or Hostgator (say $6 per month or less).
These companies and others that have catered their service to those who want to install WordPress, make it really easy. You don’t need any technical knowledge and once you open your account, you literally press a few buttons and they have a program which completes all the aspects of WordPress installation. In less than 10 minutes, you will be writing your first blog post or be completing your home page.
That’s the way I have installed WordPress and hosted my 50 blogs–the easy way in minutes. Of course, once you need more server capacity and have more than say 5 blogs, you may need to pay more than $6 per month.