Believe it or not, making a website from scratch is very easy these days. It is much easier than you think. You can use online platforms to build your website, like WIX or Squarespace.
Or, you can run a self-hosted website with your very-own hosting and CMS (content management system). It will give you independence and possibilities that you might need later – when your website and visitors base will grow. The most successful and most enjoyable CMS for years is WordPress.
I fell in love with WordPress more than a decade ago, so this text will cover the step-by-step process of creating a WordPress website.
Fun Fact: You don’t need technical skills if you choose to create your own self-hosted website. And you will save a ton of money on web developers and designers.
What is a WordPress Website?
WordPress is a free content management system written in PHP and paired with a database. In simplest term:
- it’s open source
- it’s free
- it’s the ultimate DIY solution for website building and online stores
- it’s extra versatile – can run any type of website
- it’s fast, optimized, and secure
- it’s SEO-ready
Make a plan, define your site and calculate costs
You need to pick your niche and choose a proper domain name before you’ll get involved in building a website. Your WordPress site might be for an existing business, organization, or purpose or you can write about a topic you are passionate about.
The domain should be brand-able, easy to memorize, and connected to your niche. The average costs are 10 dollars per year. I’m using NameSilo to purchase my own domains.
The crucial part of the costs calculation is choosing a proper hosting service. You can start with the basic, budget shared hosting but I do not recommend this strategy. It is a cheap solution, but the service is cheap too. No potential visitor wants to wait long-lasting seconds to load your page in these days.
I’m a website developer and I strongly recommend getting some basic VPS hosting service. I’m a customer of Dreamhost at this time and I can say I’m really happy with their service and site performance. With VPS you will get own isolated resources for more performance, control & room to grow. And, what is great, the basic VPS starts at $10.00 per month; this price is comparable with basic shared hosting but the additional advantages are much more in your favor.
As a website owner you’ll be facing another one-time expense. It is for the premium theme, which can cost around 60 dollars. A premium WordPress theme will help you create really great and professional looking website.
How to Install WordPress on Dreamhost VPS
Dreamhost is a recommended WordPress hosting provider and one of the best hosting companies rated on Trustpilot.
They have a very easy installation process of WordPress.
When you sign up at Dreamhost just log in to your account. Go to the Website > Manage Websites section and hit the + Add Website button:
Proceed with the ‘Enter a domain or subdomain you already own‘ option and enter a domain name you have already registered. If you don’t have a domain yet, you can use 3rd option and register a domain directly at Dreamhost.
I’ll use heritagecars.org domain (creating a fan page) for the purpose of this tutorial. Click on Next: Hosting after you had entered your domain.
We will connect a domain to a hosting plan in the next step: Hosting
In the last step (Step 3) we install WordPress for your first website. Finnish the process with the ‘Set Up Website‘ button:
It will take a few minutes until the hosting will install the WordPress for you.
You can type your domain name in the browser address bar when the installation process is done. You’ll see your first and very own empty website.
Important: You have to change DNS servers for your domain if you have your own domain registered elsewhere (GoDaddy, NameSilo, etc.).
The nameservers for all of the domains managed by DreamHost, including ‘dreamhost.com’, are set up using the following:
What to do After Installing WordPress
Play with the WordPress a little bit.
WordPress is one of the easiest CMSs in the market. Try to create a few posts and pages; learn on your own how to upload an image to your posts/pages. The great resource on how to start is official WordPress knowledge base.
Choosing a Theme
The overall visual appearance of your WordPress powered website is controlled by themes. As I wrote before I recommend buying a premium WordPress theme. They are made by the best designers in the world, include advanced and handy functions and, if a problem occurs, you can get great support for your theme.
You should definitely check premium themes on:
Adding Essential WordPress Plugins
You can enhance your website capability thanks to the plugins. Most of them are free and you can; e.g. easily create a shop for your site, speed up the performance, or increase the security of your site. But, always remember that you have to use the essential and officially maintained plugins from the official WordPress repository.
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