Guide to setting up this site in 2020

Setting up a website in 2020 is incredibly easy and anyone can do it!

Steps

  1. Buy a hosting plan (about $1/month)
  2. Buy a domain (about $0.75/month)
  3. Point your domain name at your hosting provider
  4. Install WordPress
  5. Install and configure a WordPress theme
  6. That’s it.

Step 1 – Buy a hosting plan

I’ve been using SiteFlip for almost twenty years and it works quite well but there are many “shared” hosting providers out there. Shared hosting means your website files will live on a box in a rack in a data center with many other websites. You don’t really need a dedicated server unless you have serious requirements for your website. Shared hosting is incredibly affordable. I use the basic plan which is about $1 per month. After purchasing a hosting plan it may take a few days to become activated so be patient. Some providers move faster than others.

https://www.siteflip.com/

Step 2 – Buy a domain name

You actually don’t need a domain name. SiteFlip will give you an address that you can browse to but a domain name will give you a permanent home on the Internet and they are very inexpensive. When I first purchased my domain in 1997 it cost me $150 for the first year. Today it is only $9 per year or less. I still buy my domains through my previous employer Spirit Telecom. Their prices are great and their website is easy to use.

https://www.spiritdomains.com/

Step 3 – Point your domain name at your hosting provider

This is the trickiest part of the entire process but it really isn’t hard at all. You’ll get an Email when your hosting account has been activated and is live. This Email should include three “name server” addresses. You’ll need to enter these in the Spirit Domains website to ensure that when someone types in your domain in a browser that they’ll be set to your hosting account.

Start by logging in to your Spirit Domain account. Then click “My Account” in the top right menu.

Then click “Manage Orders”, then “List/Search Orders”. Then select your domain by clicking the checkbox to the left of it.

Now, click the button below the domain called “Modify Name Servers”. You’ll have to hover over the buttons to find it.

Now you should see two form fields for name servers. SiteFlip gives you three name servers so you can add it like this. Then click “Modify Name Servers” to apply the changes. It may take a few minutes or hours for the updates to propagate so be patient. Simply keep checking your domain in a browser.

Step 4 – Install WordPress

WordPress is free software that will live on your hosting account. It allows you to update your website all through a web browser. You’ll never have to see or change a line of code ever. It’s a very popular CMS (content management software) platform for website so there’s a great community and lots of support.

Installing WordPress is so easy today. Start by logging in to your webhosting control panel. SiteFlip uses the popular cPanel hosting software. You should have a link to cPanel in the Email that you got from SiteFlip when they activated your hosting account.

Do a search on the main cPanel page for “Softaculous” and launch it. Softaculous will allow you to do one-click installs of many popular web applications right on your hosting account.

Find WordPress, hover over the tile and click “Install”. Make sure you set a strong password. There are a few settings you might want to change after installing WordPress.

Step 5 – Install and configure a WordPress theme

You can easily install a theme through WordPress. Every theme works a little different but there are some general rules that most follow. You have pages, posts and navigation menus. If you are building a simple website then it’s pretty easy to learn WordPress themes but it might take you a bit of time and effort to get up to speed. I’ll offer some tips for the Blask theme that I’m using for this site. My tips should apply to most themes.

I have a post with some tips for WordPress.