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So, you want to learn how to set up a WordPress site.
First of all, congrats for engaging this topic in the first place.
In today’s digital age, a website can be a highly valuable asset to have.
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 great idea you’re ready 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.
With this in mind, I’ve gone ahead and made a simplified, step-by-step tutorial for you.
This will show you how to get your own WordPress site up and running as fast as possible — with as little headache as possible.
If you follow these instructions, you could have your foundation completely built within 20 minutes or less.
No technical know-how is needed!
By the end of this post, 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 plan on creating a brand with your website, it’s crucial that you get this right.
This is because you can’t change it later on (you can migrate your site to a new one, but that’s best to avoid 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, right?
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.
I 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 completely up to you.
Hone in on a domain name, but don’t buy it just yet.
Depending on the choice you make in the next step, you might get one for free!
Choosing A Host
Okay, so you’ve secured a home address for your very own website.
The next thing we need to do is to get someone to host your site on a web server.
For this, I have two recommendations for you, depending on your budget.
If you have a bit of money to spare, I suggest jumping straight into managed WordPress hosting with WPengine.
I’ve been using them since Eventure Club’s launch, and I got no plans of changing anytime soon.
• They will take complete care of all security and maintenance of your WordPress site.
• They’ll make sure everything is up to date, and that regular backups of your site are created.
• You won’t have to worry about the highly-technical stuff at all (unless you want to, of course).
They also offer CDN upgrades (which speed up your sites), and free SSL certificates for every WordPress install.
If you already have some money to invest in your website, I suggest choosing them.
Remember, you get what you pay for, and quality hosting is important.
With that being said, if your funds are low at the moment, we’ll have to look at some cheaper options.
In that case, I recommend going with Bluehost’s shared hosting plan.
This is what I used when I started out, and my smaller sites are still on it today.
(Disclosure: if you buy a hosting plan through my links, I’ll get a 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 actual team behind WordPress.
They are the best pick for beginners with a smaller budget.
If you have a bigger site, you may have to deal with a somewhat inconsistent page speed now and again.
This is because you’re sharing the Bluehost server with a good deal of other users (hence why it’s so cheap).
For smaller blogs, though, you won’t notice much difference.
Keep in mind 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, you could always upgrade later, when your site starts making good money.
For this tutorial, we’ll go through both hosting choices.
Whatever your budget is right now, you’ll be good to go either way.
We’ll start with the cheapest option first — Bluehost.
How To Set Up A WordPress Site With Bluehost
1. Choose your hosting plan here.
I recommend going with the “basic” or “plus option if you’re just starting out (you can always upgrade later if needed).
Click on the one you want, and you’ll be taken to the next page.
2. Here, you have the opportunity to get 1 free domain with your Bluehost account.
In the “New domain” field, type in the one you came up with earlier.
Click the “Next” button to proceed.
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 at least select the SiteLock extra, as it adds a security certificate to your site (shown as the green padlock icon in the top-left of your browser).
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”.
Whatever you choose to do here, you can always change 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 — nice job!
Most of the foundation has been built.
It may take a while for your domain to connect with your new Bluehost install.
When it’s done, though, you’ll see a basic WordPress blog by typing in your domain.
If you’ve completed these steps, skip to the “Important Settings” section at the bottom of this post to continue.
How To Set Up A WordPress Site With WPEngine
1. Choose your WPengine hosting plan (you get 20% off your first payment by using any of my links, by the way).
To start off, picking the personal plan will be enough.
As with Bluehost, you can always upgrade your account later on if you need to.
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 At 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.
Input your domain name (with the “www”) and click “add domain”.
Then, set the domain as primary in the bottom right “edit” options.
4. When that’s done, head over to your 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 several hours before the changes take effect, but it’s usually done within 5-10 minutes.
After some time has passed, check the “domains” tab in your WPengine user portal to see if your domain has been verified.
5. Type your site’s address into the browser to check if your website is operational.
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.
Like so: “www.myblogexample.com/wp-admin”.
Check your email inbox for the login details given by WPengine — remember to write them down somewhere safe.
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 and indexed in search engines as quickly 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!