So, you want to learn how to set up a WordPress website or blog, but you’re wondering where to start.
First of all, good on you for engaging this subject in the first place. In today’s digital age, owning a website has countless benefits you don’t want to miss out on.
Whether you’re looking to start a professional blog, online magazine, portfolio page or an ecommerce store, building a website is definitely a worthwhile investment.
You might have a huge number of ideas you’re just itching to make a reality, but where do you start?
Exactly where and how do you begin this exciting project of yours?
It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with the mountains of information out there.
Because of this, I’ve gone ahead and made a simplified, step-by-step tutorial on how to get your own WordPress site up and running — as fast as possible.
If you follow these instructions, you could have your foundation completely built within as little as 20 minutes.
No technical know-how is needed!
By the end, you’ll know exactly how to set up a WordPress website of your own.
So, let’s get started, shall we?
Before we begin, though, we need to get a simple, but very important step out of the way.
If you’re planning to create a brand with your website, it’s crucial that you get this right, as you can’t change it later on (you can migrate your site to a new one, but that’s best to avoid it if possible).
The ideal domain name should be relevant to your website’s niche, while also being easy to remember.
You don’t want people struggling to type the name into the address bar.
Clear your mind, and brainstorm about 10-20 or so ideas for your domain name. Write them down so you get an overview, and filter out the best ones
Securing Your Name
Once you’ve selected your top picks, it’s time to check their availability.
We use and recommend Namecheap for buying domains.
Go to their frontpage, or the domain name search page, and type in your preferred name.
If you’re struggling to come up with a name, or your ideas are already taken, try out the free Lean domain search tool.
Just type in a word you want included in your domain, and click “search domains”. It will then generate a large list of available names you can choose from.
You’ll want to grab a “.com” domain if possible, as your website will look more professional.
The best-case scenario is that your desired domain is completely untouched.
If not, you might have to buy it at an auction, or try a different one — it’s entirely up to you.
Purchase the one you want, and we can proceed to phase 2.
Choosing A Host
Okay, so you’ve secured a home address for your very own website — good job!
The next thing we need to do is to get someone to host your site on a web server.
For this, we have two recommendations for you, depending on your budget.
If you have a bit of money to spare, we suggest jumping straight into managed WordPress hosting with WPengine.
We’ve been with them since we launched, and have no plans on changing anytime soon.
- They will take complete care of all security and maintenance of your WordPress site.
- They’ll also make sure everything is up to date, and that regular backups of your site are created.
- Because of this, you won’t have to worry about the highly-technical stuff at all (unless you want to, of course).
They also offer a high-speed CDN (content delivery network) upgrade, and free SSL certificates for every WordPress install.
If you already have money to invest in your website, we suggest going with them.
Remember, you get what you pay for, and quality hosting is important.
That being said, if your funds are low at the moment, we have to look at some cheaper options.
In that case, I recommend starting with Bluehost’s shared hosting plan.
(Disclosure: if you buy a hosting plan through my links, I get an affiliate commission. The price you pay will not be affected)
Like WPengine, Bluehost offers 1-click installs of WordPress, and their interface is built to support the platform.
There’s a reason why they’re one of the top recommended hosts by the WordPress team themselves:
They are the best pick for beginners with a smaller budget.
With that being said, you’ll have to contend with a somewhat inconsistent page speed now and again, since you’re sharing the server with a good deal of other users (that’s why it’s so cheap).
For niche sites and smaller blogs, though, it will do just fine.
Keep in mind, though, that unlike your domain name, you can change your host at any time in the future.
WPEngine actually offers free migration from other hosting platforms, such as Bluehost. So, if you get the money for it later, you could always upgrade then.
For this tutorial, we’ll go through both of these options, so whatever your budget is right now, you’ll be good to go.
We’ll start with the cheapest option first.
How To Set Up A WordPress Site With Bluehost
1. Choose your hosting plan.
I recommend going with the “basic” or “plus” option if you’re just starting out (you can always upgrade later).
Click on the one you want, and you’ll be taken to the next page.
2. Here, type in your domain in the “I have a domain” field.
You could also decide to get a complimentary domain with Bluehost.
However, I’d advise against it if you want to keep your options open.
Having your domains registered with NameCheap will make it much easier to migrate your site in the future, if the need arises.
3. Now it’s time for account creation and billing.
There are a lot of upsells on the bottom of this page, but they’re not necessary if you’re just starting out.
However, it’s best that you select the SiteLock extra, as it adds a security certificate to your site.
If you want to keep your ownership of the site private, you should get the domain privacy protection as well.
This will make your personal details unavailable to those who do a “whois” search for your domain.
4. Next, you’ll be asked to create a secure password for your website.
Click the green button and input one of your best passwords.
5. Once that is done, click “log in”, and you’ll be greeted with a screen with some pre-selected WordPress themes you can choose from.
If you don’t want to do that yet, simply scroll down and click “skip this step”.
Either way, whatever you choose to do here, you can always change it later.
6. Next, you’ll see a message saying “Setting up WordPress for you”, with a loading animation underneath it.
Once the process has completed, your WordPress installation will be ready to go.
Click the blue button that says “start building” to create your WordPress site with one simple click.
7. You’ll now be presented with the dashboard of your very own, brand-new WordPress site!
Alright, looking good so far!
Most of the heavy lifting is already done.
Now we just need to make sure the address of your website is pointed at your WordPress install over at Bluehost’s servers.
Pointing Your Namecheap Domain To Bluehost
1. Log in to your Namecheap account, and head to your dashboard.
On the right side of your website’s domain, click “manage”.
2. In the name server section of the domain category, select “Custom DNS” and input the Bluehost nameservers:
Once that is done, remember to click the green checkmark on the right side, to save the changes.
3. Next, log in to your Bluehost account, and click on domains at the top bar.
Click “Assign a domain to your cPanel account”.
4. Type in your website address without the “www” prefix.
Bluehost will then verify your ownership of the domain, and automatically fill in the info on the lower portion of the page.
5. Scroll all the way down , and click the green “assign this domain” button at the bottom of the page.
And with that, you’re all set. This is the beginning of your WordPress journey!
How To Set Up A WordPress Site With WPEngine
1. Choose your WPengine hosting plan. To start off, picking the personal plan will be enough. You can always upgrade your account later on.
2. Next, fill in your personal details, such as email, account name and billing. When you’re done, click the “create my site” button at the bottom of the page.
WPengine will immediately begin creating a fresh WordPress install for you. When they’re done, you’ll receive an email with your login details.
3. Click the link in the email you received, or simply go to https://my.wpengine.com. Log in to your account.
And that’s it; your WordPress site is ready to rock! No, really, it’s that simple.
Now we just need to connect your Namecheap domain to your new install.
Pointing Your Namecheap Domain To WPengine
1. Log in to your WPengine account, and you’ll be presented with the dashboard. Click “installs” in the top bar to access your new installation.
2. If you click on the CNAME, you can see that your site is already up and running, but with a placeholder address provided by WPengine.
3. Now, click the “Domains” tab on the left menu, and then the “add domain” button.
Write in your domain and click “add domain”.
Then, set the domain as primary in the bottom right “edit” options.
4. When that’s done, we head over to our Namecheap dashboard. Select your domain from the domain list and click on the “advanced dns” tab.
Next, select the CNAME line where it says “parkingpage.namecheap.com” and replace it with the CNAME of your WPengine install (mentioned in step 2).
Remember to click the green checkmark to save the changes.
It can take up to an hour before the changes take effect, but it’s usually done within a couple of minutes.
When some time has passed, check your WPengine “domains” tab and see if your domain has been verified.
5. Type your site’s address into the browser to check. If you’re seeing a basic blog homepage, congratulations — you’ve done it!
You can now log in to your site’s WordPress dashboard by typing “/wp-admin” after your website’s address. Check your mail for the login details given by WPengine.
If you’ve followed what we’ve covered here, you now have your very own website up and running.
Exciting, isn’t it?
Before you start adding content, however, there are a few simple settings you’ll want to change:
1. In your WordPress dashboard, go to settings -> general and make sure the field “WordPress Address (URL)” is set to your actual domain name.
2. Next, go to settings -> permalinks and select “Post name”. This will ensure that the links of your blog posts are short and neat.
By getting rid of the extra text and dates in your links, it will be easier for search engines like google to index your pages and learn what they’re about.
3. Finally, go to settings -> reading and make sure the “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” box is unchecked. This will make sure your site is found as early as possible.
And that’s it — now you know how to set up a WordPress website.
You’ve laid the foundation. Now, it’s time to build!