When it’s time to dig into creating your WordPress site, you’ll need 3 things — a domain, a hosting account + a database. I know they all sound nerdy, cause they are. But once you know what steps to follow, it only takes a few minutes of work to get started with WordPress.
This post is the first part of a series in setting up your own WordPress website, DIY style.
Get started with WordPress, the essentials
Already have your domain + hosting account? Then you can skip ahead in this series — assuming you love your hosting service. If you don’t have your domain yet, let’s start with the two most important pieces to getting your WordPress site up + running.
First things first, you need an address for your website to live at. This is called a domain. It helps to think of this like the street address for your home, your domain lets people know where your website lives.
I created a guide to buying a domain that’ll help you make sense of the add-ons to get started with WordPress.
That blog post covers the steps + includes a link to save $2 off your domain. Being able to save time + money, that’s a win-win!
Once your website has an address, it needs a plot of land to live on, so to speak. This is known as your hosting account, where website files are stored.
Keep in mind that, unlike a house, you can move your website to a different hosting account if you want to. Picking a good company from the start is helpful, but not essential.
Optional step, domain + hosting connection
This step won’t be a step for some of you ready to get started with WordPress. When you purchase your domain from your hosting company, they’re likely already connected. Here’s how to confirm.
Confirm the connection
If you bought your domain from your hosting company + it shows up in your domain list as add-on or primary, skip ahead. (If it says unassigned, you’ll need to follow these steps too.)
While not every hosting company is the same, these steps will be pretty spot on for any shared hosting company.
Connect your WordPress domain + hosting account
Head to the domains area of your hosting account (usually a tab labeled “domains” at the top of the page.) Next, click the option to assign a new domain. If you bought the domain from your hosting company, you’ll select the domain from the dropdown they provide. Otherwise, check the option to use a domain registered elsewhere + type the URL in the box provided.
To verify that you own the domain + to get the URL set up with your hosting company, you need to set the nameservers to your hosting company’s details.
Nerd break: what this step does is tell your domain where to look for your website files.
Your hosting company will provide the nameservers right in this step. So take those to your domain registrar + update the settings for the domain. (Typical nameservers look like ns1.hostmonster.com + ns2.hostmonster.com) You will need to set both of the nameservers provided, not just one.
After saving your changes, go back to your hosting account to make sure that ownership has been verified. This step can take a couple hours while the settings update, don’t assume that you did things incorrectly.
You’ll then want to set your domain as an add-on domain. Setting the domain as a “parked domain” will redirect it to the primary domain on your account. This will prevent you from setting up a brand new WordPress website for yourself.
The final step in connecting any domain + hosting account is to create a directory for the files. “Directory” is geek speak for “folder.” It’s required to get started with WordPress.
I typically use the domain name without an extension. So tinyblueorange.com’s directory would be tinyblueorange. But it’s really up to you. You’re good to go by using numbers, letters + hyphens only.
Then click the save/assign button to finish connecting your domain to your hosting account!
Ready to set up your WordPress database? Let’s go!