How Hard to Create a Website/Blog? Worth it in 2018?
Any dummy can make a website or blog these days, so can you!
A decade or more ago, if you wanted to create a new website or blog you had to either hire a professional or learn how to code yourself. But as the web evolved, so did several user-friendly content management systems.
Simply put, a content management system (CMS) is a set of web-based tools that automate and simplify the process of creating and managing websites. And thanks to these continuously updated CMSs, it is quite easy today for almost anyone without coding experience to create and maintain a website or blog of their own on their own.
Different CMSs come with different features and vary in difficulty of use. One of the most user-friendly, feature-rich and popular CMSs is WordPress. It is used to run millions of websites and it can work for any type of website; personal, professional, blog, shop, etc.
So, instead of telling you about it, let’s get practical and I’ll walk you through the exact process of creating a brand new WordPress website (or a blog if you wish).
Note: There are some ready-made solutions where you can create a new site in just a few clicks, but those are usually more expensive, may have restrictions on back-end access, and could be complicated or impossible to transfer the website to another host in the future. Instead, I am going to show you how to do the whole process yourself using any web host of your choice, so you’ll have full control of the website (front- and back-ends), and can easily move it to another host should you decide to at any time.
The following are detailed step-by-step instructions — don’t be scared off by the length of the article! It is actually quite simple and easy, I just like to be extra meticulous and explain every step in detail so that the most novice of you can follow along.
STEP 1: Get a Domain Name
The first thing you will need to create your own website is a domain name, e.g. “dummywebmaster.com”. You can search for available domain names and register one through a domain registrar.
The cost of domain registration differs from one registrar to another and from one TLD (top-level domain) or extension to another. For example, a .com domain registration normally costs $10-$15 per year.
For most purposes, the .com TLD is probably the best choice. Check out this post for some tips on choosing an appropriate domain name.
Note: throughout this tutorial I am going to use “www.yourdomainname.com” as a placeholder for your domain name. You will need to replace that with the domain name you’ve registered.
STEP 2: Find a Web Host
In order for your website to go live on the web it must be hosted on a web server. There are countless web hosting providers (web hosts) out there that offer various plans, features and prices.
Since we will be creating a WordPress website you will need to find a web host that supports PHP and MySQL. Luckily, most web hosting services come with all the requirements needed to run WordPress, so this shouldn’t be a big deal.
For a brand new website you should go with a basic/starter shared hosting plan, and these averagely come at a price of $50-$100 per year — given that you are looking for a decent, reliable service and not the cheapest out there.
Important: Make sure you choose a web host that supports cPanel as this is the best user-friendly control panel for managing hosting services. This tutorial assumes your hosting account uses cPanel.
STEP 3: Update Your Domain’s Nameservers
Once your hosting account is approved and activated, you should receive an account activation email from your provider with essential logins and other details.
Among the information in that email there should be two or more “nameservers”. These will look something like: ns1.whateverhost.com, ns2.whateverhost.com, etc.
You will need to copy these nameservers to a text file or keep that email message open, then login to your domain registrar’s control panel and change your domain’s nameservers to those provided by your web host (delete or replace old nameservers).
Nameservers can be changed in the domain’s DNS settings page. If you can’t locate your nameserver settings, refer to your registrar’s help section or ask support for help. For example, see this help article for changing nameservers on Name.com.
Now your domain name should resolve (point) to your web hosting server’s IP and you can access your website’s content, but let’s set it up first.
STEP 4: Login to cPanel
In the account activation email sent by your web host, you should find the login details for your cPanel account. Copy the username and password and save them somewhere secure as you will need these every time you want to login to your cPanel account to manage your web hosting services.
Using your web browser, go to “www.yourdomainname.com/cpanel” and login using your cPanel username and password.
Possible issue: If you do not see the cPanel login page, but instead some random page from your registrar (often with ads), that means DNS changes have not propagated yet. Remember the step above where you changed your domain’s nameservers? Well, that process is not instantaneous and it can take anywhere from minutes, to hours, to even days for DNS changes to propagate across the Internet and take effect. In such case you can only wait until DNS changes have taken effect and you see the cPanel login page when you visit “www.yourdomainname.com/cpanel”.
Once you are logged in, you will notice several tabs with many tools under each one. These include web-based managers for files, FTP accounts, email accounts, databases, etc.
The two tools we’ll be using here are the “MySQL Database Wizard” and “File Manager”, which allow you to manage your website’s databases and files in your browser without having to use any third-party software.
(To be continued…)