I have seen a lot of how to create a blog or how to install WordPress guides online in the last couple of years. The problem with most of them is that while they effectively teach you how to set up a blog; they don’t show you what you need to do after you have set it up.
Similarly, I also have seen quite a lot of e-books that are filled with puzzling, cryptic terms and hard to follow instructions, which make you feel as though setting up a is too complicated or even completely out of the question.
What makes this guide different is that, it lays the steps out with an easy-to-follow step by step instruction. It also covers some points that are not covered in most other guides, so as to make it easy for you to get the most out of your blog and manage it without a problem.
Here’s what you’ll find in this guide:
- What you’ll need to run WordPress
- Step by step how to create a blog [self-hosted WordPress] using the two ways of doing it
- Why installing WordPress automatically does more harm than good to you
- What things you need to do after you have set up your blog
- How to effectively build and maintain your blog
So, before we begin, here’s a quick run down on WordPress
First off, what is WordPress?
WordPress is an application or software that lets you create a blog and manage or update it easily.
Back in the day, the idea of creating a blog was way out of reach for regular people like you and me. Either, you would hire an expensive web developer or do the work yourself. However, it was a lot of work, you had to sketch your design, do mock-ups, create your layout, hand code a long list of codes, and the list goes on. Any way you slice it, it was a huge investment.
Thanks to new technologies, those days are long gone. (As you’re about to learn), we now have a lot of tools, such as WordPress, that enable us create or publish a website in an instant. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Putting Together the Resources You’ll Need to Create A Blog
Before you begin, you’ll need to collect the required resources. Thankfully, all you need are a domain name, a web hosting account, and FTP software for uploading files.
- A domain name
A domain name is the name or address of your blog. When someone wants to get to your website, they type your address as “www.yoursite.com” into their browser.
In order to get a domain name for your blog, go to a domain registrar such as Namecheap to register it. You can go to namecheap.com, find an available domain name, enter your contact details, and order your domain name.
TIP: When registering your domain name, go for a name that is short, catchy, and easy to spell or remember.
- A web hosting account
Web hosting is a service on the internet that allows you to store all the content and files of your website. When you upload content to your hosting servers it is automatically displayed on your site (or domain) for your visitors to see.
There are lots of web hosting providers on the internet. You should buy your hosting package from a reliable provider such as Hostgator that provides all the necessary features that allow you to run your blog smoothly.
- An FTP application
FTP is a way to transfer files back and forth between your computer and your web servers securely. One of the best FTP applications you can use is FileZilla. You can download it for free at filezilla-project.org.
Putting your resources together
After you have bought a domain name and a hosting account, and downloaded an FTP application, you’ll put those together so that they are ready to be used.
Unless you buy both your hosting package and a domain from the same provider, (which you shouldn’t for many valid reasons), you need to connect them.
First, you’ll add your domain name into your hosting account. Then, you’ll add your hosting account’s DNS (Domain Name Server) into your domain name. Here’s an overview of the steps in detail:
Step One -Add your domain name into your hosting account
When you register a new domain name, you’ll need to add it as an Add-on domain into your hosting account. Log into your cPanel and scroll down to click “Addon Domains”
On the next page, you’ll enter your new domain name and a password in the first two boxes. The rest of the boxes will be automatically generated for you, so you’ll just click “Add Domain” and you’re done.
Step Two-Change your domain name DNS servers
Next up, you will update your domain name’s DNS servers with that of your hosting account’s so that your domain name is connected with your hosting account. There are many details on what DNS server is and how it works, but none of those details are important to you.
So, log into your domain name account, and open your domain manager. In the case of Namecheap, you’ll go to ‘My Account’ at the top right hand side and click ‘Manage Domains‘ from the drop down menu.
On the next page, you’ll see a list of domain names that are registered in your account. Click on the one that you want to install WordPress on.
After that, click “Domain Name Server Setup” on the left hand side…
…and then choose the “Specify Custom DNS Servers” option.
You’ll then enter your hosting DNS details. You can find those details in the email that your provider sent you when you first ordered your hosting package. They will usually look something like ns1.yourprovider.com and ns2.yourprovider.com. So enter those in the first and second box respectively and click “Save Changes”.
After that, you will wait until DNS propagates; or in other words, until your domain name and hosting account are connected and that you can start using them. As a rule, it may take up to 72 hours for DNS to propagate. But for me, most of the time, I don’t even have to wait a few minutes.
Once DNS propagates, it means that you can install WordPress, you can do this one of two ways:
1. Automatically using “Fantastico Deluxe”
Here’s a step by step overview of both options:
Installing WordPress automatically using “Fantastico Deluxe”
If your hosting control panel is cPanel, it will have a feature called “Fantastico Deluxe” that lets you install WordPress with a click of a few buttons.
- Log into your cPanel and scroll down to click the “Fantastico Deluxe” button.
- Choose “Wordpress” at the right hand side under “Blogs” and click on the “New Installation” link
- Select your domain name and choose the directory you want WordPress installed in. After that, enter your admin username, password and other details such as site name, description and Admin nickname, and click ‘Install WordPress’
- Click the “Finish Installation’ button on the next page.
- When it finishes installing, you’ll see the following page; which means that your website is done.
Congratulations on your first website! It’s that easy, huh? …Unfortunately, here’s some bad news; installing WordPress automatically can be damaging to your site in terms of security. Here’s why…
Why you shouldn’t install WordPress automatically
While it is easy and quick to create a blog automatically, it can also bring about security holes and raise your risks of getting slammed by hacker attacks, too.
First, MySQL database is one of the most important parts of a WordPress blog. You definitely would not want to let a hacker break into your database and do unnecessary things to it. You will want to give your database an uncommon or unique name and a strong password that is hard to break.
Fantastico, however, does not let you do that. It automatically assigns a database name and password for you, bypassing the part where you can set them up yourself.
In addition to that, Fantastico is a third-party feature; and in some cases, it might not have the most recent versions of WordPress in it to install. Consequently, you’ll end up with a blog that is susceptible to security attacks and that has quite a lot of stability issues.
So, unless you are really pressed for time or are totally beat, it doesn’t hurt to go down the manual installation route. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll avoid your security threats altogether; but you can give an added security to your site from the get go this way.