Better Websites. SEO. Marketing. Business.
This guide covers exactly how to set up a WordPress websitefrom scratch, because heres the problem: you are looking to start a website for your blog, business, portfolio, store, or forum but the idea of messing with computer code, databases, or software sounds a bit daunting.
The good news is that doing self-hosted WordPress website setup is straightforward. While there is some learning curve, running it afterward is straightforward as well (seethis guide to try it yourself). Unlike website builders, youown your site and it can grow as your site grows. Heres how to set up a WordPress website step by step
Domain You will need a something for people to type into their browser to get to your website. Youll learn exactly where and how to purchase it, and point it in the direction of your website.
Hosting You will need somewhere for your website to live. Youll learn exactly how and where to purchase it and set it up.
WordPress Your website needs software to power it. And nothing beats WordPress nowadays. Youll learn exactly how to set up a WordPress website safely, securely (with 1-click install!). Note that this is the free self-hosted WordPress softwarenotthe service.
Design + More Information WordPress makes it easy to have a professional looking website and has the ability to become whatever you want it to be. Youll learn exactly where and how to learn everything youll ever need to know about WordPress and doing WordPress website setup.
Adomain nameis simply what people type into their browser to get to your website (ie, Ahosting accountis simply a computer server where your website files live.
Heres how to buy and setup both
Note if you already own a domain name, you can skip down to How To Setup Hosting For WordPress.
Disclosure:I receive referral fees from companies, including the ones mentioned in this guide. My recommendations are based on my experiences as an independent paying customer. You can read myfull reviews here.
To save money and make things easier for yourself in the future I highly recommend purchasing your domainseparatelyfrom your hosting. Hosting and domain selling are two different activities and usually companies only do one well (and at a good price). When you purchase separately, you not only get better pricing & management, you also get the benefits of diversity and not having all your eggs in one basket so to speak.
I recommendNameCheapsee plans here) or) for purchasing your domain name but not hosting due to ahost of technical reasons.
Go to eitherNameCheaporGoDaddyand search for the name you want, and proceed through the checkout.You do not need any upsells. You can get everything youll need from your hosting company.
Namecheaphas excellent service, good interface, and cheaper long-term prices.GoDaddyoffers excellent short-term promos (here), good service, and an ok interface.
Once you have your domain name, we need a hosting server to point it to.
(Note youdo notneed to transfer it to your hosting company. Ill show you how to point it).
Choosing a good web hosting companyis critical for your website. Web hosting companies tend to make things way too confusing with useless feature overload, short-term discounts (then expensive long-term prices), and over-promising customer service. They also create confusing offers like WordPress hosting even thoughyou can run WordPress hosting on standard web hosting.
There at hundreds of web hosting companies on the Internet. There is no such thing as an overall best only thebest for you & your situation. Since you are reading this guide, Ill make a few assumptions (ie, performance needs, budget parameters, etc). If you want to take a quiz you can do thathere.
Otherwise, heres the 3 companies that I usually end up recommending to DIYers. You can also read myfull hosting reviews, including ones forHostGatorInMotionSiteGroundif youre interested.
Independently-owned with great customer service & 90 day money back guarantee. Well-priced plans (with some caps) that have great performance, and can grow as your site grows. This site actually uses a hosting plan with them. Ill also use their site for screenshots.
See their plans w/ 47% off discount here
Very affordable all-around plans, especially if you plan on installing many small WordPress websites. Good customer service & performance for the price. I use them for my smaller, personal sites.
Independently-owned with good customer service & cutting-edge features. A bit pricey, but they deep long-term discounts and good performance.
See their plans w/ current discount here
The purchase & setup steps in this guide work for all three companies mentioned (and others), but will come fromInMotion Hostingif you want to follow along exactly. HostGator has a few more ads/upsells but is otherwise the same. SiteGround is almost exactly the same.
Go toInMotion Hostings plans, and view their Shared Business Hosting Plans. Then select the plan you want. The Launch Plan is great if you have just one or two website ideas. The Power Plan is good if you have several you want to run, plus maybe some test websites on subdomains. The Pro Plan is good if you want no limits.
Next, fill in your domain name and continue.
Confirm your plan and fill in the checkout page fields. The Max Speed Zone determines whether your website physically lives in California or Virginia (which can shave a little bit when you are updating the site), but the default selection should be correct.
The Content Management Installer can be useful, but Ive found it better to select No, Thanks and install itafterpurchasing the hosting product (which well be doing).
It takes a couple minutes for your account to get ready. When its ready, you will get an email from InMotion Hosting that looks like this
Once you are in your account management panel, head to theAccount Technical Details.
Scroll down, and youll see two Nameservers copy them. These will connect your domain name to your hosting server.
Copy the 1st and 2nd Nameserver, and go log in to where you bought your domain names.Then navigate to your Domains DNS area. Then, replace the current DNS with the ones provided by InMotion (or your preferred host).
InGoDaddy: Go to My Account Launch Domains Manage Domain select Set Nameservers Select I have custom nameservers Paste in 1st and 2nd Nameserver provided by InMotion.
InNameCheap, Login Manage Domains Select Domain Select Manage Under NameServers, select Custom and place your nameservers there Save Changes.
Thats how to setup hosting for WordPress! Now all that remains is to Install WordPress, which we will cover in the next section. It can take up to 24 hours for the Domain Nameservers (DNS) to switch over completely, but it usually goes fairly quickly (usually less than 10 minutes if youre in the USA).
So now that we have an address and a place for our website to live, we can dive into how to setup a WordPress website on the server. WordPress is going to be the software that powers your website. But before it can power your website it needs to be installed on your hosting server.
Heres how to install and configure WordPress
While you can certainlyinstall WordPress manually, InMotion (and others mentioned) has an excellent, free, secure tool to quickly install WordPress onto your new hosting account.
Head back to your InMotion Account Management Panel. Click the link to go to yourcPanel(control panel). It should automatically log you in to cPanel.
And yes, there is a link to Install Popular Software that link just ends up going to cPanel anyway through a different login screen. Easier to go directly to cPanel.
Now that you are logged into hosting cPanel youll need to go looking for an icon called WordPress and/or Softaculous and open it. Youre looking for this:
Open the WordPress auto-install script opened and then continue.
Now you will just fill out your information, and click Install. Be sure that your email address is correct. Leave the field after / blank that is for only if someone already has a website on the main domain that they want to keep running. Enter your Blog Title you can change it once youve installed WordPress.
After a few seconds Congratulations! Youve got yourself a new WordPress website and now you know exactly how to set up a WordPress website on your own server.
Be sure to copy your username and password in a safe place (it will also be emailed to you).
And go login to your new WordPress site at You can also check your email to get links & login information.
Be sure to check out my guide toGetting Started with WordPress hereto continue. Youll learn how to build out your design, add content, and add functionality to your new site.
Also, explore guides to setting up specific types of websites:
Set Up A WordPress Ecommerce Website
How To Try WordPress Before Purchasing Hosting for Your Website
Namecheap or GoDaddy? Where To Get Your Website Domain Names
Wix Review: 6 Pros 6 Cons of Using Wix For Websites
HostPapa Hosting Review: Pros Cons of Using HostPapa