This tutorial will show you, from start to finish, how to set up a WordPress site, the easy way!
The domain name is one of the most important parts of running any site.
Domain name is the address of your website that people type in the browser URL bar to visit your website.
In simple terms, if your website was a house, then your domain name will be its address.
Without a domain name, there isn’t any way to access your site, except for using the direct IP, if you have a dedicated IP address.
Your domain name should be as short as possible, while also being descriptive. The most popular TLD, or Top Level Domain is “.com”; because of it’s popularity, it’s easier to remember than a different TLD, such as “.net”.
Once you have decided on an available domain name, the next step is to purchase it. I recommend you use either Google Domains or Namecheap to register your domain. Both are about $12/year, and include privacy. Privacy protects your personal information from a WHOIS search. If you choose another domain registrar, keep in mind that privacy often costs extra, so be careful.
Since WordPress is simply software, and not a hosted platform(although WordPress.com is), you will have to purchase web hosting. There is a near-endless amount of web hosting providers out there, and choosing one can be a difficult task.
But, before you can purchase web hosting, you have to know what type to look for. WordPress hosting has three main types: shared, VPS, and dedicated.
Shared hosting gets its name from the fact that many sites are put on a single server. This allows for some really affordable web hosting packages. However, shared hosting also has the lowest resources per website of the three types(most of the time), which means a busy site can get slow, or even crash. Additionally, some hosting providers don’t employ good enough separation, and/or enough resource for websites, meaning that if one site gets a surge of traffic, all other websites on the same server can be affected.
However, for the majority of new sites, shared hosting will be more than enough to get it online. Coupled with a caching plugin, and you can have a speedy site for a really low cost.
A step up from shared hosting is VPS web hosting. VPS stands for Virtual Private Server, and is in between shared hosting, and having an entire server just for your site. While there are multiple VPS’s on a single server, there is an amazing amount separation between them. One can crash without affecting the others in the slightest. In fact, even if one VPS gets a virus, the others running on the same server are unlikely to get infected.
VPS hosting is often more expensive than shared hosting, and with good reason. You generally get better performance because you get dedicated resources, and improved uptime because another site hosted on the same server can’t bring yours down.
If you’re starting a new site, you probably don’t need this. The only reason to start with VPS hosting is if you know for a fact you’ll get heavy traffic from the start, which very rarely happens.
Dedicated hosting is a step up from VPS hosting, and is as far as this post will go. Dedicated hosting puts your site on its own server. You get 100% of the server’s resources, and don’t share anything. This provides the best separation(obviously), and generally the best performance.
This is often more expensive than VPS hosting, but the price can be justified if you need the additional performance.
Similar to VPS hosting, new sites probably do not need this, and should probably stick with shared hosting.
In case you’re wondering, the next step above dedicated hosting is cluster hosting, which has multiple servers(or VPS’s) for just your site.
My recommendation for web hosting is… Namecheap. They offer shared hosting plans starting at just $2.88 a month, or $25 per year! You get 20GB of storage, up to three domains, and unmetered bandwidth, so no need to worry about overages. They even guarantee 100% uptime. Seriously, name another provider offering 100% uptime at anywhere near that cost. It’s unbeatable.
They have great support, and are currently hosting this website. For a bit more info, you can read my Namecheap review.
Ok, you purchased a domain, signed up for web hosting, now what? Now, you get to do the most exciting part… installing WordPress. That may seem hard to do, but I will walk you through. I even took the time to add pictures 🙂 .
The following steps are for Namecheap. However, most other hosts will likely have very similar UIs. If you have a different host that doesn’t use Softaculous, check out the WPBeginner guide.
The first step is to login to cPanel. You can access this by going to “yourdomain.com/cpanel”, after you set up your account(if you didn’t do that yet, do it now).
Now, to enter the Softaculous installer, simply click on its logo in cPanel.
Once you’re in Softaculous, click on the WordPress logo. If you can’t find this, simply use the search box.
After that, click “Install Now” to begin the installation process.
You can leave most of the settings at their default. The main ones you’ll need to change are the protocol, domain, and password.
Now, scroll down to the “Select Plugins” section, and check the box next to any plugins you’d like to install. I recommend W3 Total Cache, as it will automatically be configured for you.
You can choose a theme here if you want. You can always change it later.
Finally, scroll down, and press …
After the install finishes, you can go to “yourdomain.com/wp-login.php”, login with the credentials you provided, and start blogging!
Please leave a comment with your favorite web host and/or anything I left out in this guide. Also, let me know if you like posts with images, like this one, or prefer just text.