One thing I wanted to do about 10 years ago was to build my own website with a cool content management system.
Until then I build websites with Microsoft Frontpage and upload the complete site to my dutch domain.
But it wasn't good enough for me, I wanted something that would enable me to write my articles where ever I was.
So along came Mambo, which spun off into Joomla! And I learned how to install and update that system and it worked like magic.
But it was not easy to update into new versions and quickly creating new content was also not that easy back then.
From Joomla! to WordPress
So I was looking for an easier way to write articles and also to have more SEO power.
And so I found WordPress, version 1.0 to be exact, the Miles Davis release.
Not just as easy to install as current versions, but I managed. Not too many plugins and theme to choose from but it was a good start.
Now more than 300 WordPress website later I think I have found my favorite blogging and website building tool!
So I decided to show you how I have built my websites.
The main reason why you need to go for a self-hosted WordPress website is the freedom you get from not using the free WordPress.com service.
- You don't have a free choice or themes for your website, you can only use what they offer you.
- You cannot install plugins on WordPress.com so if you find something that would really help your blog? Too bad, you cannot install it.
- You cannot make money with advertising and you should not use affiliate links on WordPress.com
- You do not own the site you are blogging on, you might own the domain name, but that is it.
For me, the last point is the scariest one. If you do not follow the WordPress.com guidelines, they can and will take your website away from you. Yiu can find many horror stories about it online if you search Google.
And it happened to me as well. I linked to one domain that WordPress found to be spammy and I lost my blog because of that link.
I also lost one of my dutch WordPress.com blog because of that, but I was able to get that back. I since then moved that blog to my own self-hosted WordPress website.
A Step by Step guide to your self-hosted WordPress website
- Choose Your Domain Name
- Register Your Domain Name
- Get Web Hosting
- Connect Your Domain Name and Webhost
- Install WordPress
- Choose Your Theme
- Setup the Basics
- Start Creating Content
Step 1. Choose Your Domain Name
Choosing a good domain name for your website is one of the most important decisions you can make.
It should cover what our website will be about, it could be your own name, your own brand to pursue or just a fictional name.
Do not use known brand names in your domain name, it could be that these companies want you to hand it over to them if it's a copyright or trademark infringement.
Companies will protect their brands and have your site taken down, so don't go that way.
Look for an easy to remember domain name with not too many letters in it. A good number would be below 8, but that is not always possible.
Try to avoid hyphens – or underscores and go for the .com domain extension. Avoid .info and .biz until they get a better reputation. You could register those domains, but only to protect your main domain.
If you are building a site specific for a certain country, use the countries domain extension. I build Dutch websites as well, so they all are .nl domains.
Step 2. Register Your Domain Name
Registering your domain name is the easiest step to take once you have found the domain name you want.
Head over the Namecheap.com and do a search, if it's still available, register it!
Once you got confirmation wait for it to be propagated through the DNS system and you can reach it. This might take a couple of hours, but Namecheap is really quick in this setup.
You could register your domain with your Webhosting account, sometimes you can even get the domain name for free.
I strongly advise you not to do so. Having your domain name registered on a separate service will make a lot easier for you if want to change hosting providers in the future.
Step 3. Get Webhosting
You need somewhere to host your website, your own little spot on the internet where visitors will find your website.
Because you want a WordPress website, go for the best you can afford at this stage. Later on, you might want to move to a top end WordPress hosting (aff) companies like WPEngine.com.
For me, good shared WordPress hosting (aff) websites companies are Siteground.com, which is where this site lives, and Greengeeks.com. Both of them are very affordable.
Siteground offers you a very fast loading website, Free Let's Encrypt SSL Certificates and uses the latest in proven technologies to run their servers.
WP New User eXperience has the https: option for SEO reasons, with WP Rocket for speed caching and PHP version 7 for extra speed.
Step 4. Connect Your Domain Name and Webhost
You have registered your domain name at Namecheap and got your website hosting on Siteground.com (aff). Which is completely correct in the case of this website.
If you would have looked before and put in wpnux.com in your browser you would have seen the Namecheap domain name holding page.
If you buy your Webhosting account from Siteground you can tell them that you already have a domain name. They will connect that name to your account.
Once you have your account active, you need to get the DNS server names from them. You will already have that information in your confirmation mail or your can look it up in your account settings.
You need 2 DNS server names from them to link your Namecheap account to the website hosting account.
If you have those, go to your Namecheap account, select your domain name and choose Manage.
Now you can go to Advanced DNS or directly change the DNS options to Custom DNS and put in the DNS Server names. Don't forget to save the options by clicking the green checkmark once you entered the names!
Don't forget to save the options by clicking the green checkmark once you entered the names!
Again it will take some time to connect the two together but after that, you are good to go.
Step 5. Install WordPress
The biggest step until now, getting your WordPress website up and running. Again not a difficult step if you use Siteground.com (aff) as your hosting party.
Before you do the install, you log into your Siteground control panel and install your free Let's Encrypt SSL certificate to be attached to the domain name.
In your account, you go to Installations tab and check for SSL certificate, or you can go to your cPanel and select it from there.
You will see the dropdown menu where you can select the domain name and where you need to have your email address.
After that just hit Install and wait for the process to finish.
Now you are ready to install your WordPress website on a https:// domain.
Click on the WordPress icon to start the install, it takes a few clicks to get it done.
In the overview of the WordPress information, you click the Install Now option.
What you need to do next is to select if you want to use https://www. or https:// without the www.
Since you already have the SSL certificate installed, you should go for the https:// option.
I personally like the www. option, that is why this site works with the www. domain name.
If you scroll done on the page You get some extra selections, like the name of your WordPress website and the Tagline.
You should create a strong Login name and strong password for it.
Note: Make sure you copy those two values to a secure place! You need them later to log in to your website.
There is also a possibility to include plugins to the install. Make sure you select the Limit login plugin.
You can also select an extra theme of your choice, that choice it up to you, but I suggest you install a good theme later on in the process.
Confirm the installation and wait for it to finish!
Your WordPress installation is done and you can log into your self-hosted WordPress website.
Step 6. Choose Your Theme
You could have selected a theme from the installation selection, you can have an extended choice of themes from the free WordPress themes selection.
Your theme gives your website it's looks and style, make it work for you and your visitors!
A WordPress theme handles the way your site looks, you can change it later on without affection the content of your website.
Or you can go for the best theme you can afford. My go to theme providers are Elegantthemes.com, ThemeForest.net and my all time favorite StudioPress.com.
StudioPress.com (aff) themes are based on their Genesis Framework, wich is considered to be one of the best frameworks for WordPress.
You can find a child theme for Genesis for practically any niche site you want to build. The child themes come with detailed instructions on how to setup the theme and there are easy to customize as well.
The child themes come with detailed instructions on how to setup the theme and there are easy to customize as well.
This website runs on Genesis and the Minimum Pro Theme, giving me a wealth of Widgets options and a special Home page layout.
I will get into the Widgets and Menu options in a later post.
Step 7. Setup The Basics
The basic of your website is a choice to start whether you want a static homepage or show your articles directly on your front page.
But you also need to check and change some settings.
Start with General and update your Blog name and Tagline if you have not done that during the installation process.
On that page also set the correct time zone, Date format and Time format to your likings.
The next setting you need to do is the Permalinks setting. Put that on Post name to make sure you get a good readable page and post URL.
Step 8. Start Creating Content
Clean out the default Hello World post and change the About page.
To do so, go to All Posts and click the post title. Now you should see the remove option.
While you are in the Posts section, go to the category section and edit the Uncategorized text to something that is at the core of your websites topic.
Clean out the slug field and WordPress will create a new one based on the new category name.
On the Pages selection overview you click the title and choose Edit to change the content of that page.
One last thing to do before your start creating that epic content.
Go to Users and select the Your profile option.
In that screen, you should at lease change the Screen display name, otherwise, your Username will be shown as the Autor of your posts.
You don't want to give that away so easily to Hackers.
Now you are really ready to start writing.
You have now finished the Step by Step Guide to Your Self-hosted WordPress Website.
Make sure you subscribe to this blog to get more tips, tricks, and tutorials to build the best WordPress website you can.