You've heard the buzz about WordPress. About how it gives you a Content Management System so you can manage your own website, thousands of "Themes" that give your website a highly professional look, "Plugins" that add tons of functionality to your website like a shopping cart or email sign-up box, and how its 100% open source, making it not only FREE, but also limitlessly powerful (really, limitless, your site can literally do anything that any other site can).
You've heard - and you decided. It's time to try building a website in WordPress! You've been holding onto those great website ideas far too long and it's time that you threw your hat in the ring. Good for you!
But how do you go about getting WordPress installed and set-up? There are only five quick and easy steps to get up and running. No time like the present. Let's dig in and do it now!
Note that this article assumes you are building a new website on a new domain name. See the link at the bottom of the article to access our full "How to Set-up a WordPress Website" guide that has more in-depth information on setting-up a website in WordPress.
Step 1: Register a Domain Name
The very first step in any new website project is selecting a strong and memorable domain name. The biggest challenge with domain names any more is finding one that is still available! This might not be a problem if you have a unique idea for a domain name or if you are going to use a unique business name. Otherwise, you may have to go through several domain names until you find one that works well and is still available.
We suggest using GoDaddy to register your domain name if you haven't registered domain names before. They make it quick and easy, have excellent resources and 24/7 support to help you address any problems. If you have registered domains before then it's generally best to stick with your current registrar so that you can manage all your domains in one location.
To register a domain name, simply go to your registrar of choice and search for available domain names. You'll be able to easily register the domain once you find one that you like and is available. The registration usually costs around $10/year.
Step 2: Set-up Web Hosting
A web hosting account "hosts" your website making it available on the internet. A hosting account gives you space on a web server where you save the files that make up your website. It also gives you additional features such as email accounts at your domain name.
You'll need to select a hosting company and sign-up for a plan before you can do anything with WordPress. You'll DEFINITELY want to find one that offers cPanel with Fantastico De Luxe. This enables you to automatically install WordPress. Also look for a web host that offers unlimited disk space and bandwidth and has 24/7 support. I routinely recommend HostGator and use them exclusively for the WordPress WebKit.
Once you sign-up for hosting, you will receive an email with your login information. You can then login into cPanel with that information. This lets you manage all the various aspects of your hosting account, including setting up your email accounts and installing WordPress.
Step 3: Change your DNS
The next step is connecting your domain name to your web hosting account. It's thins link that makes your website come up whenever someone types in your domain name. What you want to do is change the "Nameservers" of your domain name to those provided by your web hosting provider. This is a simple change, but can take up to 24 hours to fully take effect.
To complete this step, you'll need to get the Nameservers from your web hosting provider. Generally, you'll receive this information in the 'welcome' email that you get once signing up. Contact their support otherwise. You should get 2 nameserver addresses like "nsxxx.somedomain.com".
Next login to your domain name registrar and look in their documentation to find how to change the Nameservers for your domain. Simply copy each of the 2 nameservers from your registrar into the appropriate place at your domain name and save. Within 24 hours, you should see your website starting to come up.
Step 4: Set-up your Email Accounts
You'll probably want to create at least one email address using your domain name, like firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a very easy process if you got web hosting with a cPanel. You just click "Email Accounts" and follow the steps to set each one up. You should be able to set-up Outlook, Mac Mail, your iPhone from there as well as checking your email via any computer using Webmail.
Step 5: Install WordPress
Ok, you are all set to install WordPress now and start having some fun building your website! Installing WordPress via cPanel and Fantastico De Luxe is a snap, which is why we harp on it so much. If you don't have it, you can see the official WordPress documentation for installing manually.
Assuming you do have it though all you have to do is click on the Fantastico De Luxe button and select WordPress from the list of options, then click "New Install". This will bring up a few options for you. The most important is the "Install in directory" option. You'll want to make sure to leave that box empty for setting a complete website in WordPress. Otherwise, just enter the username, password, and email you'd like to use and click "Install WordPress". Done!
The Hardest Part
You have to wait for your DNS changes to take hold, which can take up to 24 hours, before you can access your site (at least without getting pretty techy). Once that agonizing period is over though, you'll be able to access your website at your domain name and your admin center via a url like www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin. You can then begin building your website!
Philip Light is the founder of the WordPress WebKit, a one-stop resource for quickly and easily learning how to use WordPress. The WebKit library currently includes over 50 WordPress Video Tutorials covering every major aspect of setting up and using WordPress. Get the full How to Set-up a Website in WordPress guide for free!