Over a series of posts I will describe the steps I believe are necessary to host and build a domain of your own online. This process started with a look at the digital identity that you would like to create online. I then detailed the steps you should take to develop your own personal cyberinfrastructure and decide how things will connect online. Finally, my last post discussed the what, how, and why of domain names and hosting a website. This post will detail the steps involved in starting up, or installing a brand new, self-hosted WordPress website.
WordPress is a free and open-source content management system (CMS). A CMS allows you to create, modify, and publish digital content on the web. There are two main versions of WordPress. WordPress.com is the free service that allows you to run the software and publish your own website. The second version of WordPress is the open-source software available at WordPress.org. Because the software is open-source, this means that you can download the CMS and run it on your own computer or web hosting. This post will focus on the open-source software that you can use to host your own website.
The reason I am focusing on the open-source version is that it allows you to control your data as long as you maintain your web hosting. If you decide to discontinue your web hosting, or move to a different provider, you can download or move your website and all content to the new server. You are in control of your data.
Installing a new WordPress site
It is assumed that you’ve reviewed the earlier post on domains and web hosting. It is also assumed at this point that you have a domain and web hosting ready to go. This post will follow the steps involved in using Reclaim Hosting. Your usage with a different hosting provider may differ. Please also note these images and materials may change as Reclaim or WordPress updates their software.
Log in to Reclaim Hosting and click on the button marked cPanel.
This will bring you to the page for the WordPress application in the Installatron. You can read all of the details about the software and check out the demo and screenshots. Click on the button marked “Install this application” to the right of your screen.
Location – The first option will have you select the “Domain” where you would like this website to be hosted. If you only have one domain with Reclaim, this will be the only option listed. You may be presented with an option for “https://” or “http://”…if so, I would select https://. You may also be presented with your domain with or without the “www.” You can select either. Most browsers will automatically add or remove this as people search for and click on your webpages. For the “Directory (Optional)” section, this may already have “blog” written in. You can leave this alone.
Version – This is the version of WordPress and Language that you would like to use to install your software. I would leave this section alone. You will also have a section for the WordPress end-user license agreement (EULA). You can read and accept the license agreement here. Finally, there are options for automatically updating the software. I typically leave all of these settings as they are. The first three options indicate that you want the software, plugins, and themes to automatically update. This is generally a good thing. The last option is to automatically create a backup and restore this backup if something goes wrong in the update.
Settings – In this section you’ll want to add an administrator username and password. Change this to something you will remember. Write it down and save it somewhere safe. You will also enter the Administrator email if it hasn’t already been added. You can ignore the “Website Title” and “Website Tagline” for now. Finally, I leave the two settings for “Limit Login Attempts” and “Enable Multi-site” to the recommended settings.
Advanced – The last section includes additional settings for WordPress. I select “Automatically manage advanced settings for me” under the “Advanced Setting Management” heading.
Understanding your new website
Click the install button and wait as your new WordPress website is installed. Once it is installed, it should bring you to the page listing all of your applications. If this is your first website or application…you should only see the one you just installed.
If you scroll down to your website in “My Applications,” you will see the listing for your new WordPress website. It will show you a screenshot of the homepage of your website. You can also see the link to the website, as well as a link to go edit your website. This section also allows you to Download this installation of WordPress or Delete it. Finally, you can review the Version, date of install, date of last update, and the number of backups you have for this installation.
At this point, you have a new domain, web hosting, and a shiny new WordPress website living at your domain. In the next post, we’ll discuss how to select a theme and modify the look of your WordPress website.
If you like this sort of content…please subscribe to my weekly newsletter to stay on top of this and more.
Also published on Medium.