Congratulations on your decision to crete your own website. You made a right choice picking WordPress. I assume you already know what WordPress is but just to refresh your and my memory here is Wikipedia’s definition of it:
” WordPress is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL. Features include a plugin architecture and a template system. WordPress was used by more than 23.3% of the top 10 million websites as of January 2015 “
So, there you have it. WordPress is a free, open-source and super popular CMS that millions of websites use around the world. In this short guide I will explain how I usually go about creating a website with WordPress. If you are looking for tutorial on creating custom themes, this is not it. This tutorial is for people who know very minimal about web development but wish to have their own fully manageable website.
To start, we will need 2 things: a domain name and a hosting plan. Think of a domain name as your licence plate, your website is a vehicle and hosting is your parking lot. Anyone can find your car by its license plate. You drive in your car to a chosen destination (your marketing goal) and you keep your car overnight safely parked in your parking lot.
Buying domain name for your WordPress website
There are many places where you can purchase domain names. Godaddy.com, Rebel.ca (former Domainsatcost.ca), Namecheap.com and Enom.com are a few popular ones. In this tutorial we will use Godaddy.com.
Follow these steps below to purchase domain name for your WordPress website on Godaddy.com
1. Go to godaddy.com and search for your domain name.
There are many strategies for picking the right domain name. One is to use your occupational keyword + geographical area. For example if you are a dog walker in Toronto, your choice could be “Dogwalkingtoronto.ca”. Sometimes you will find out that name you looking for has already been registered. No problem, use “-” in between words to come up with a similar name. Varying domain zones is also a good idea. If Dogwalkingtoronto.ca is already taken, then try Dogwalkingtoronto.co, Dogwalkingtoronto.net, Dogwalkingtoronto.biz. They might still be available. Be creative in picking your domain name and you are guaranteed a success. Another good strategy is to use proper noun. Those domain names less obvious for your targeted audience but are easier to become brand names.
2. When you find a name you like, this screen will appear.
Click “Select”, and then “Continue to Cart”.
Then on next page, scroll down and click “Continue to Cart” again. At this point we do not need anything else that Godaddy offers.
3. Create an account or login.
4. After completing all the above steps and paying for your domain name you will receive email containing your domain name ownership confirmation as well as user name and password for your Godaddy account.
Why YOU need to register domain name for your WordPress website
In my career as a web designer and IT consultant I have spoken with many frustrated clients who lost their domain names. You see, when you ask somebody else to register a domain name for you, they own it until it is being transferred into your account. But how often rightful owner requests web designer to do that? Web designer can change email, phone number, even addresses or just go out of business and disappear with your domain name. My advise, always have control of your domain name and request its ownership transfer to you. The more popular your website becomes the more valuable domain name will be.
Getting a hosting package for your WordPress website
For an average website there is no need to purchase a dedicated server. It has an enormous power and can perform thousands of millions operations per second (Also called Instructions per second or IPS) but if you are not going to use all this power why pay for it. A small website consists of 5-25 pages, medium size website goes up to 100 pages and a large website can reach several thousands pages. There even websites such as Wikipedia, which attains, litelary, millions of pages ( 36,946,282 ). Large websites require huge processing power and hosted on dedicated servers. But if you are building a beginner WordPress website a basic shared hosting will suffice. Almost all hosting provided offer seamless transition from one plan to another, so do not worry you will have flexibility to grow in future.
It is ideal to host your website in the same country your business operates. That is why we have chosen Canadian based hosting provider Hostpapa.ca to host our website. Use Google search to find your local hosting providers. In many cases a local telecom will have that service available.
Getting WordPress hosting with Hostpapa.ca
1. Proceed to: http://www.hostpapa.ca/web-hosting-plan/select/ and select plan that suits your needs.
2. I have chosen first option that allows me to host up to 2 websites. If I want to add more website in future I know I can always upgrade my plan to the next available.
On next page you will need to provide your domain name that you purchased earlier. If you skipped to this part from the beginning, you can to go ahead and purchase domain name directly from Hostpapa.ca. This option has advantage, you will have one account for both, domain and hosting.
3. Then you will be prompted to create an account and pay.
4. Confirmation. You will receive email confirming your purchase and containing important information about your account. Print this email and keep safe, you will need it.
Pointing domain name to WordPress site
*** skip this step if you bought domain from hosting provider
Now we need to instruct our domain name to point to the server where our website will reside. We do it by setting proper nameservers. Do not worry is not as scary as it sounds. Let’s head over to your Godaddy account.
1. Login to your Godaddy account.
2. Click “Manage” button to the right form Domains title.
3. Select your domain name by clicking on it.
4. Locate Nameservers under Settings tab and click “Manage”.
5. Set nameservers. For Hostpapa.com nameservers are: ns1.hostpapa.com and ns2.hostpapa.com. Click “Ok”.
Remember that it can take up to 48 hours for this change to take effect. This process is called “Propagation”.
Installing WordPress application in cPanel
As a part of your package, most of hosting providers give you control panel, also called cPanel.
cPanel is a control panel available on our Linux-based hosting accounts and servers. It lets you easily manage many aspects of your account, including the files, applications, and email hosted on your account or server. For our server customers, cPanel is used in conjunction with WebHost Manager, or WHM.
After propagation is over your control panel will be located at www.yourwebsiteaddress.com/cpanel. But it is a good idea to verify cPanel location with your hosting provider.
1. Locate and click WordPress application icon at the bottom of cPanel page.
2. Set Site name and Site description for your website. I suggest changing default “Admin” username so something less obvious. It is not a secret that websites get hacked. Make your user name harder to guess, and you will increase your chances to withstand against brute force attack. We always equip our sites with firewall and security features. There other steps you can take. We will be happy to hear from you if you need help or have any questions about website security.
I also recommend installing “Limit Login Attempts” plugin. It will add additional security to your WordPress website. Click “Install” at the bottom.
So there you go. These are the steps to buy your own domain name, hosting and install WordPress website. Now you can start to add content and making visual changes to your website. WordPress is a free and open source CMS, with huge community uniting thousands of friendly and open minded people in all parts of the world. Check out wordpress.org support page and do not hesitate to jump to any conversation. There is always someone there ready to help.