In this WordPress quick guide you will learn how to start your WordPress website properly. This step by step guide is made for WordPress beginners and it covers topics such as WordPress installation and setup, hosting and domain guide, theme and plugin recommendation and all tips needed for starting WordPress website right now.
WordPress have become most popular Content Management System (CMS) and its written in PHP language, it uses MySQL database to store its data. In order to work, WordPress requires web server with MySQL database support and it should work on almost any popular hosting provider. This tutorial will cover all step needed until you have fully functional WordPress website online and in this guidance we will use some more common language in order to make it simple to understand for not so tech-savvy WordPress pioneers.
Hosting and domain name for your WordPress website
First step in on your journey is to obtain hosting account (the space on web server that will be used to store your website and files) and domain main (eg. www.yourlovelywebsite.com). Once you have these two thing we can install the WordPress and start working on future website.
Today, almost all major hosting companies are offering WordPress specific hosting packages and you can choose between some of these listed here:
- BlueHost – you can see their hosting offer right here.
- FlyWheel – specialized in WordPress hosting, not so affordable for starters.
- HostGator – HostGator Optimized WordPress – Supercharged Speed, Seamless Scalability, Advanced Security, and much more! Packages start as low as $12.95/month!
- SiteGround – they are also very good and you can see their complete hosting offer here.
- InMotion Hosting – you can also check out the InMotion’s WordPress SSD hosting offer here.
I will leave you to decide between any of these hosting providers or even some other or your choice, however bare in mind that hosting account should be sufficient in terms of features and power.
So, once you decide for your future host, you can even purchase the domain name and setup the website in one place. The provider will usually email you with the cPanel login credentials and you can start website setup right away.
cPanel is control panel for your hosting account / website. It allows you to have control over the website space and files, email accounts, databases, backups and more. You can see cPanel in action on this YouTube video here.
WordPress Automatic installation
All hosting providers are offering such options and some of them are using Fantastico De Luxe, Softaculous or something like that.For example, HostGator is offering auto-installed and you can check out heir offer: Use the one click install to start that Blog you’ve always wanted!
The control panel should have section with option to install some of the most popular free scripts and the WordPress should be listed and available there as well, see the example image:
Once you complete the installation, you can use the address www.yourlovelywebsite.com/wp-admin and access the Dashboard of your WordPress website.
WordPress manual installation
If you have used the automatic installation you can skip this part.
First step in manual installation is to obtain the WordPress copy. Now we need to navigate to WordPress.org and click on the Download button on the top of the page and save the downloaded zip file to some place on your computes like desktop etc.
Now extract the that zip file and you should get folder that is entitled “wordpress”, you need to upload content of that folder onto your hosting account. So, if you are using hosting account with cPanel you can access cPanel file manager and upload the content of the WordPress folder (mentioned above) to your “public_html” folder.So that it looks like this:
You could also use FTP to upload the files if you are more familiar with the usage of FTP. If not, cPanel File manager should be sufficient enough.
Creating database for WordPress installation
Next step in our journey is to create new database for our WordPress CMS in these few easy steps. If you are using cPanel, just find the option MySQL databases and click on it. See image:
Here you need to create the database for your future WordPress website, you can name the database per your desire. See another image:
Once you enter the name and click the Create Database button, you need to create database user an assign it onto that database. See the next image, please.
Now, once we setup the database, we can start the installation by navigating onto our domain using browser.
Finalizing WordPress installation
Once you access your website, WordPress installer should appear. In the next few steps will will install WordPress and start setting up the website.
On the initial screen of the WordPress installation you need to choose the default website language (you can also change language inside admin panel at anytime) and click on the Continue button. See screenshot:
Now you will see the information regarding the second step related to database setup. Click on the Next and you should see form with fields for adding database name, database user, password etc. See this image too:
The first field Database Name should contain the name of database we created in the cPanel (in my demo example database name was themewor_wp2017, cPanel creates database names in format cpaneluser_databasename), then enter the user for that database (in my example it was themewor_john) that you have created in the steps above and add its password into the Password field.
Other option fields like Database Host and Table Prefix don’t need to be altered.
However, on some specific hosting you might need to replace localhost with domain of the special MySQL server and table prefix can be altered, but you actually don’t need to do that.
Now we go to the next step, the confirmation dialog that will confirm the database connection will appear next. Click on the option Run the install.
Once you start the installer, it will prompt another and final form for entering Blog / site title, admin username and password and most vital, your email. See this image:
The installer form contains these fields.
Site title – Your future website title that will be visible on the top of the browser and on other places. Its the site name to be more simply.
Username – Administrator username, its advice’s to user some more non generic usernames for example admin, editor and etc. as some bots are trying to breake into the back-end login trying to guess password for specific username. Anyway, its upon you to decide.
Password – You can setup password for your admin account here. If your password is plain you can also check out the option “Allow weak passwords” that will appear.
Search Engine Visibility – you can hide your website from legit search engines like Google, Yahoo etc. by selecting this option.
So, once you check out all these option, click on the button Install WordPress and finish the installation.
Accessing your WordPress dashboard
Now, you should be able to access your WordPress website on your domain by entering your website URL in the browser, there should be WordPress default page with example posts and default theme.
And now you need to access your WordPress dashboard by accessing WordPress administrator login page. You can access it by entering your domain name followed by /wp-admin , e.g. https://yourloveliwebsite.com/wp-admin
Once you access your login page you will be asked to enter username / email and password. Then just hit enter and access the back-end.
First look on WordPress back-end Dashboard
There arrows are marking main section and option inside the WordPress admin panel. You can notice the top bar that contains the shortcuts to front end of the website and it also holds some quick access links.
Left side is holding the menu options section and you can browser thru all options available here and get yourself familiar with the way WordPress handles its content and settings as well.
Screen option button in the top right corner of the page is present anywhere and it serves you to decide with part of admin interface you want to see on some of the pages, posts or options page. So, for example you can turn out the options section you don’t usually use in order to make yourself more comfortable around the back-end.
Anyway, once you gained access its time to get familiar with basics and get started so please take some time do inspect the WordPress environment and then we can proceed onto our next step, very important in our journey to Start WordPress website from scratch.
Setting up WordPress website
Now, we can say that we have reached some milestone on our journey, we have successfully gained hosting + domain + WordPress running and its time for setup and adjustments.
Coming soon page
Now that we have fully accessible website on the internet, we might setup the coming soon so that we visitor are redirected to nice and nifty Coming soon page while we can continue to work on website further on.
I have made fully free Coming soon / Under Construction & Maintenance plugin that will help you in setting up fully animated coming soon page with counter and sign up form, you can see plugin demo right here and you can also checkout plugin page here: Nifty Coming Soon
If you find this plugin hard to install, considering that some of you might not have any knowledge on plugin installation, you might want to check out our post that covers plugins, how they work and how to use them.
So, the coming soon page is not must have, but it will help you on developing the website while only logged in users can access the development stage.
Choosing WordPress theme
WordPress themes are pre-designed skins that are making your overall website design and look. Beside the complete look and feel that themes are made for, more often themes are having powerful option panels that are extending default WordPress features and capabilities and therefore choosing Theme that will fit into the role and offer right options and great overall experience is the thing we need to look for.
We should consider the fact that if you want to start your website with minimum financial costs, you can also use free WordPress themes from WordPress theme repository or some other theme shops. However, I vote for the Premium themes in this case, specially if you are planing website that will not feature only posts and basic stuff that blog or personal website offer, many themes are made to offer many more options that you even need.