So you want to make a website, but you don't know where to begin? Or you do have an idea but just need a little more info for clarification. You will see online and TV ads for Wix, Squarespace etc. Those are cool sites and know a few people who use them. Those sites are great if you want something simple and static. But I prefer to get my hands a little dirtier. I like having dynamic sites, a lot more functionality, and freedom. This is where WordPress comes in. You can make a simple site or create a very complex site with WordPress.
Pick a name...a domain name...
First you need to pick a name/domain name. This can be very simple..or very time-consuming. If you have a very unique name you want to use, then it will make things easier. If you are looking for a .com name, that will make things harder as well. If you are ok with using .net .org .io or even a country base domain like .ca .us .ie .uk, then you open up more options for a name.
For domain names, I like to buy them from NameSilo. They have excellent prices, a very large list of domain extensions to use (.com .net .org etc). The also include free private whois. Which is great. This will hide your info from scammers and spammers. (You will come across a lot of these)
Below is domain search box you can use to search for a domain. Or you can use the link here to go to there site NameSilo.
A place to host your website. You need web hosting...
Now that you got your domain name selected/purchased, you need to order a hosting account. This is where your website will sit. The web hosts job is to serve or display your website to people who request it.
Like Wix and Squarespace, you have probably seen or been bombarded with ads from Godaddy, HostGator or Bluehost already. They are the larger and more popular hosts....only because people do not know any better. I do not use any of those services, but I deal with them constantly from clients who use them and are very unhappy. Alot. Hence why I do not suggest or recommend them. Now for the sake of transparency, I do offer web hosting service. So yeah I would be a little bias here (naturally). But to be honest, I will be happy to share a couple of others I do use. (Yes I use others. and lots of them. I have a few interesting services I run)
If you'd like to support me, I thank you for that. You can check out my services here [Coming Soon]. If you would rather use someone else, I totally understand, no hard feelings. (Ths is what therapy is for). The other brand I really like are Shock hosting.
What do I need to look for when getting web hosting...
Your hosting provider will be one of the most important factors to having a successful website. A slow server or poor quality host will result in your website loading up very slow. A slow website means no one is sticking around to view your site. There are other factors that contribute to having a slow website. But if the server you are on is slow to begin with, then nothing else will matter.
What features I like to see when getting hosting accounts are...
- Linux/Cloudlinux - (Why? Because Cloudlinux does an excellent job of keeping other users/websites from affecting other users/websites)
- cPanel (control panel management) - (Why? cPanel is the best and easiest way to manage your hosting account via a web browser)
- SSD hard drives in RAID - Why? SSD drives are much quicker than older mechanical drives. So it helps when you have a busy site)
- 24x7 support - (Why? I like to be able to put in a ticket and get a fairly quick response or resolution to my issue. Not waiting days)
- Price - (Why? If there are too cheap, then they are cramming a lot of sites on the server. More NOT the merrier.
- SSL - (Why? This is now a standard to have. Most hosts should now offer Lets Encrypt or cPanels Comodo SSL. If they don't, and try to sell one to you, move along)
Once you have your hosting account, you and your domain name, you will need to update the DNS for the domain. The DNS info will be supplied to you from your hosting company. They will something like this: ns1.host.com and ns1.host.com.
Go to the domain at your registrar (where you bought your domain), and under the domain properties, there will be a section to update DNS servers. Enter in what you host gave you. If you need assistance check their knowledgebase, search on google, or even contact them for help.
Once the DNS has been updated, it will take sometime before things start working. Depending on your ISP, it can take anywhere from a few minutes to 24 hours. Most of the time its within a few hours.
Your next step from here is to install WordPress on your hosting account. To do that, go to How to install WordPress.