This guide covers exactly how to set up a WordPress website from scratch, because here’s the problem: you are looking to start a website for your blog, business, portfolio, store, or forum – but the idea of messing with computer code, databases, or software sounds a bit daunting.
The good news is that doing self-hosted WordPress website setup is super-easy. And running it afterwards is easier still. Unlike site builders, you own it and it can grow as your site grows. Here’s how to set up a WordPress website step by step…
Domain – You will need a something for people to type into their browser to get to your website. You’ll learn exactly where and how to purchase it, and point it in the direction of your website.
Hosting – You will need somewhere for your website to live. You’ll learn exactly how and where to purchase it and set it up.
WordPress – Your website needs software to “power” it. And nothing beats WordPress nowadays. You’ll learn exactly how to set up a WordPress website safely, securely (with 1-click install!).
Design + More Information – WordPress makes it easy to have a professional looking website – and has the ability to become whatever you want it to be. You’ll learn exactly where and how to learn everything you’ll ever need to know about WordPress and doing WordPress website setup.
How To Setup Hosting For WordPress Website + Domain
A domain name is simply what people type into their browser to get to your website (ie, www.shivarweb.com). A hosting account is simply a computer server where your website files live.
Here’s how to buy and setup both…
How To Purchase A Domain Name
Note – if you already own a domain name, you can skip down to How To Setup Hosting.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from companies, including the ones mentioned in this guide. My recommendations are based on my experiences as an independent paying customer. You can read my full reviews here.
To save money and make things easier for yourself in the future – I highly recommend purchasing your domain separately from your hosting. Hosting and domain selling are two different activities – and usually companies only do one well (and at a good price).
I recommend NameCheap (see plans here) or GoDaddy (see plans here) for purchasing your domain name – but not hosting due to a host of technical reasons.
Go to either NameCheap or GoDaddy and search for the name you want, and proceed through the checkout. You do not need any upsells. You can get everything you’ll need from your hosting company.
Namecheap has excellent service, good interface, and cheaper long-term prices. GoDaddy offers excellent short-term promos (here), good service, and an ok interface.
How To Set Up Hosting For WordPress
Choosing a good web hosting company is critical for your website. Web hosting companies tend to make things way too confusing with useless feature overload, short-term discounts (then expensive long-term prices), and over-promising customer service.
Of all the web hosting companies on the Internet – I highly recommend HostGator (InMotion andBlueHost are also also good choices – screenshots below work for them as well). HostGator especially has truly excellent customer service, an open (no lock-in) setup, high memory limits, and really cheap long-term pricing.
Note: Use the promo code swampland25 to get 25% off your hosting package (standard is 20%).
Step 1. Go to HostGator (see plans here), and select ‘View Web Hosting Plans’. Then select the plan you want (the Baby plan is an especially good value) – but if you only want 1 website, then the Hatchling plan will do as well.
Step 2. Then, you will type in your domain name under ‘I currently have a domain’ and enter your promo code of swampland25 to get a 25% discount, and select ‘Continue to Step 2′
Step 3. You will go to the checkout page, where you will confirm the length of your purchase, setup a username and password, and fill in your payment details. You do not need any of the upsells. Then, just go checkout.
Step 4. You will get an email from HostGator Sale that looks like this…
Step 5. Copy the 1st and 2nd Nameserver, and go log in to where you bought your domain names.Then navigate to your Domain’s DNS area. Then, replace the current DNS with the ones provided by HostGator.
In GoDaddy: Go to My Account –> Launch Domains –> Select Domain –> In bottom-left, select Set Nameservers –> Select ‘I have specific nameservers’ –> Paste in 1st and 2nd Nameserver provided by HostGator.
In NameCheap, Login –> Manage Domains –> Select Domain –> In top-left, Select Transfer DNS to Web Host –> Select ‘I have specific nameservers’ and paste in 1st and 2nd Nameserver provided by HostGator –> Save Changes.
Step 6. That’s how to setup hosting for WordPress! Now all that remains is to Install WordPress, which we will cover in the next section. It may take up to 24 hours for the DNS to switch over completely, but it usually goes fairly quickly.
How To Install and Configure WordPress
So now that we have an address and a place for our website to live, we can dive into how to setup a WordPress website on the server. WordPress is going to be the software that powers your website. But before it can power your website – it needs to be installed on your HostGator server.
Here’s how to install and configure WordPress…
Installing WordPress With HostGator Quick Install
While you can certainly install WordPress manually, HostGator has an excellent, free, secure tool to quickly install WordPress onto your new hosting account.
Step 1. Login to your HostGator hosting account. The login information is in the Sales account info email you received. Click the link to go to your cPanel (control panel), then login with your username and password as given in the email.
Step 2. Now that you are logged into your shiny new HostGator account – you’ll need to go looking for an icon called “QuickInstall” and open it.
Beware – HostGator does put a lot of ads in cPanel, so you can ignore the first few sections. You’re looking for this:
Step 3. Now that you have QuickInstall opened, look on the left side and click WordPress. And then continue.
Step 4. Now you will just fill out your information, and click Install. Be sure that your email address is correct. Leave the field after / blank – that is for only if someone already has a website on the main domain that they want to keep running. Enter your Blog Title – you can change it once you’ve installed WordPress.
Step 6. Congratulations! You’ve got yourself a new WordPress website – and now you know exactly how to set up a WordPress website Be sure to copy your username and password in a safe place (it will also be emailed to you). And go login to your new WordPress site at http://[yourdomain.com]/wp-admin! Be sure to check out my guide to Getting Started with WordPress here to continue. You’ll learn how to build out your design, add content, and add functionality to your new site.
Congrats! You can log in to your new WordPress website!