WordPress is a wonderful CMS (content management system) that I use to power virtually all of my sites. It’s easy to setup and install, relatively easy to learn how to use, and has a massive library of plugins and extensions that can increase it’s functionality to do just about anything. Whether you’re looking for an professional online presence, want to show the world your portfolio, want to sell products online, or simply want a place to blog, WordPress is the platform for you.
Get Started with WordPress
If you’ve already chosen your domain, found a hosting company, and installed WordPress then you can skip this part. For everyone else, there are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Some web hosts are more WordPress-friendly than others.
If you’ve worked with me, you’ve probably heard me recommend a web host other than GoDaddy. Unfortunately, many people sign up with GoDaddy before they know what they’re doing, and then find out later on that GoDaddy is difficult to work with – especially for designers (at least THIS designer!).
If you haven’t yet chosen a host, make sure you look for a web host that uses cPanel. Why cPanel? Because with cPanel you can install WordPress in minutes, easily optimize your databases when necessary, uninstall WordPress quickly, etc… cPanel is a control panel that gives you complete control over the back end of your web site.
GoDaddy and other hosts use proprietary control panels that make WordPress and other CMS installation annoying at best. The last time I used GoDaddy, the site owner had installed WordPress in a subdirectory – website.com/wordpress – instead of in the root directory because that’s what GoDaddy recommended (sigh). I tried to uninstall WordPress so I could reinstall in the root, but this required submitting a ticket to GoDaddy for both the uninstall and the reinstall. It took GoDaddy several days before they did either. With a cPanel host, I could have fixed the installation in 10 minutes or less and been on my way. Stay away from GoDaddy!
The Host I Recommend
I’ve used Bluehost in the past, and still host some sites there, but more recently I’ve been using Hostgator and am very happy with their service. They use cPanel, and have better uptime than Bluehost in my experience, plus they don’t throttle your site performance during times of high traffic. If you haven’t yet chosen a host, I recommend heading to Hostgator and signing up. You can use my coupon code (below) to save some money. Both the links on this page and my coupon code give me an affiliate commission, and I appreciate you using my links and/or coupon code.
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I recommend the Baby plan as it allows you to host multiple sites. If you only need to host 1 site and don’t think that will change, the hatchling plan is fine.
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For more information and more coupon codes, check out my complete Hostgator Review.
Installing WordPress is easy on Hostgator. You’ll need to log into your cPanel account using your provided username and password. You can either use the cPanel link that HostGator supplies you, or go to http://yourdomain.com/cpanel where yourdomain is YOUR domain.
Once you’re logged into cpanel, you’ll see a control panel with several different sections down the middle – Preferences, Mail, Files, etc…. Each section contains a bunch of icons, each of which perform different tasks.
To install WordPress you’ll want to scroll down to the Software/Services tab, and select either Fantastico De Luxe (the old way) or QuickInstall (the new way). Both options allow you to quickly install WordPress onto your domain.
Fantastico De Luxe
WordPress installation with Fantastico is very straightforward. Simply click the Fantastico De Luxe icon, then click WordPress under the ‘Blog’ section. In the window to the right a WordPress install box will open. Click ‘New Installation’, and then follow my diagram to the right.
It’s important that you leave the ‘Install in Directory’ field blank if you want to run your whole website on WordPress. In the vast majority of cases you’ll want to do this, and if you don’t know what I mean then definitely leave this field blank!
Follow the rest of the instructions, and make sure you keep track of your username (I recommend your first name or Admin) and your password. Once the install is complete you’ll want to go to http://yoursite.com/wp-admin and use your username and password to access the ‘back end’ of your site.
QuickInstall is still in beta, so may have some bugs. I’ll add a tutorial for QuickInstall when it’s completely ready to go.
Where to go from Here?
In my next post I’ll discuss how to setup your site, how to select and intall a theme, and where to go from here.