Posted on Thursday, May 19th, 2016 No Comments
This Beginner’s Guide to Building a WordPress Website from Scratch is a guide that you can follow to create a new website with WordPress, even if you’re starting with no knowledge on the subject.
The guide covers a basic 5-step process:
Following this process will take you from zero to owning a live WordPress website. It also includes some FAQs throughout the tutorial that help beginners learn what some technical terms mean.
WordPress itself is free, but there are small costs involved with having your own website. Most domain registrations are $10-$12 per year for .com, .org, and .net domains. Web hosting is around $5-$10 per month, depending on what you need and whether you pay monthly or yearly. This guide includes a discount for DreamHost, the company I’ve used for web hosting for over 10 years.
The only way I can create a guide with screenshots and step-by-step instructions is by referencing a web host that I have access to. You can use any other web hosting company you want, but you’ll have to find your own instructions. Most web hosts will provide tech support and documentation that you can use.
Now that you know a bit about what you’ll be doing, let’s get started.
Sign up at DreamHost to get $25 off your web hosting. This is what that will look like:
Click the Get Started Now button.
Q: What is web hosting?
A: Every website “lives” on a server. You can think of a server like a specialty computer that stores the files that make up websites. When you access any website, you’re actually viewing those files as stored on a server somewhere. You could set up a server for your website in your own home, but that’s way too much trouble for most of us, so there are web hosting companies that provide servers and host your website for you.
Create a new account with your email address and a password.
Q: What is shared hosting?
A: “Shared hosting” means that your website will live on a server with other websites. If you’ll be running a WordPress blog, a small business website, or a shop with a plugin like WooCommerce, shared hosting is a good choice. It is possible to buy hosting that gives you a dedicated server that only hosts your website, and it’s much more expensive (around $100 per month or more). A dedicated server will usually give you benefits like faster page loads, but it’s only necessary for very large websites. A huge website like Amazon.com, for example, uses many servers.
You are able to register a domain name now, but for the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll be doing it later. Select the I’ll set this up later option.
Q: What is a domain name?
A: A website’s domain name is the website’s address that you see in your browser’s address bar—the name plus the .com or .org, for example. Google.com, Facebook.com, Netflix.com, and Pandora.com are examples of domain names. So are whitehouse.gov, ucla.edu, and comcast.net.
You can choose from any of these plans. The more you pay for in advance, the less you pay. I pay for my hosting yearly.
This is not necessary, so you can leave this option un-checked and click the Continue button.
Enter your payment info and scroll down to verify that you’re getting a promotional discount.
After you finish setting up your account, you’ll get a verification email from DreamHost, and then you’ll be able to login to your control panel at panel.dreamhost.com/index.cgi.
Now that you have web hosting, you need to register a domain for your website.
Domain name tips:
To register a domain, login to your control panel at panel.dreamhost.com/index.cgi.
Click on Domains and then Registrations.
You can check to see whether the domain you want is available by typing it in the big box and clicking Check Availability.
If it is available, you’ll be taken to the next step, where you can pay for the domain. Remember, this is a yearly fee, not monthly, so it’s a pretty minor expense.
At the bottom of the form, you’ll see a question asking you whether you want to use DreamHost’s nameservers or another host’s nameservers. Select DreamHost’s nameservers, and then finish up your registration by clicking the “Continue” button and following any further prompts.
Domain names can take up to 48 hours to start working, but in my experience, they’re usually ready to go within a few minutes. You should get an email notifying you when yours is ready.
Finally, it’s necessary to apply hosting to your new domain name.
Under Domains in the sidebar, click Manage Domains. You should see something similar to the screenshot above.
From here on, I’ll be working with bonniejmartin.com, a domain name that I own but never do much with. You will see your own domain name instead.
Under the Web Hosting column, under DNS Only, click the Add link.
This screen will probably look intimidating at first, but there isn’t much that you need to be concerned with.
Next, you’ll be installing the WordPress software and a database for it.
To get started, click Goodies in the sidebar, then One Click Installs.
Click the WordPress option.
Pay close attention to what you’re doing, because you run the risk of deleting any current website files or choosing non-optimal settings.
You should get a confirmation page that looks like this:
There are a few steps left for your WordPress installation, where you’ll be creating your administrator username and password.
You should get an email that looks like this:
Click the first link for http://www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin/install.php
Select your language and click Continue.
Click the Log In button.
Login with the username and password that you just created.
Congratulations! You’ve installed WordPress.
At this point, you could go ahead and start installing a theme and plugins, but there are a few WordPress settings that I want to point out first.
You are now ready to install your theme.
In the sidebar, click on Appearance then Themes. Click the Add New button.
Click the Upload Theme button.
Click the Choose File button to find your theme .zip file on your computer.
Once you have that selected, click the Install Now button.
Click the Activate link.
Congratulations! Your theme is installed and ready to be configured.
If you were a beginner when you started following this guide, you’ve really accomplished a lot. You set up web hosting, registered a domain name, installed WordPress, and installed a WordPress theme.
If you have questions or need help, here’s what you can do now:
If you need help with something at DreamHost, they have great support. You can use their Wiki documentation or contact them. There may be some instances in which I can help you directly, but if you have a question regarding their servers or domain registration process, they are the best ones to help you.
Leave a comment below if you have questions about this guide.
I offer web development services and I can do this entire process for you. Contact me for a cost estimate.
I hope you found this guide useful. If you liked it, share it!
Note: This post originally appeared on ZenWebThemes.com, but I’ve since taken that website offline and moved some of the popular blog content over to this website.
Posted in WordPress.