Step by step guide to getting a simple website online with WordPress

Step by step guide to getting a simple website online with WordPress

You’re ready to get your hands dirty and start learning? That’s great, we admire that!

In the last article we posted, we go through the different ways of building a website (and the costs associated to that). In this article, we will show you how to get a bare-bone WordPress instance running in a few simple steps. We try to keep the costs to the minimum as, more than likely, you’re just trying to find your feet and you’re probably doing this just for testing.

Quick note:
The guide below should be quite easy to follow but do let me know (in the comments) if you need me to add images to help you navigate through the steps.

Also note that some of these steps might need you to be patient (ie: wait 24h for the propagation). It would be a good idea for you to read through the full article before starting the process (just to be sure you’re in it for real!)

Let’s get a domain name

The domain is the www.[your-website-address].com/ie/net/anything else.
In simple terms, it’s what your visitors need to type to get to your website. (And you kind of need one of these, which will set you back a tenner for the year, roughly)

There are tons of registrars out there who offer domain registering services and they are all more or less the same. We like Hosting Ireland; they are local, professional and super responsive (should you have any issues).

So, how do you get yourself one of these “domains”?

    1. Go to https://www.hostingireland.ie/domain-name-registration.php
    2. In the big white box, insert your preferred domain name and click ‘Search’
      Side note here: some domain names are already taken (duh!) and you can’t have the same address on the web twice!
    3. Check or uncheck the domains you want to buy and click on ‘Go to checkout’.
    4. Skip the next page there, you won’t need a hosting at this stage. (Click on ‘Purchase domain only’ at the bottom of the page).
      Another side note: you can, of course, purchase the hosting right there (which will cost you between €40 and €80 a year), or you can go to the next step and see how to get a free hosting package for now.
      If you are actually planning on using the website we’re building here, then we’d advise you to buy the domain and the hosting from the same platform. In which case, skip the next two paragraphs.
    5. Select the relevant option (are you an individual, an organisation?) and click ‘continue’. Depending on the choice you make here, you might be asked for additional information (ie: proof of address, etc) at a later stage.
    6. Click on ‘Checkout’, create an account and fill in the info required.
    7. Click on ‘Proceed to payment’ and keep an eye on your inbox. You should get a few emails with a few technical details (keep these safe somewhere).

Registering your domain can take a bit of time. If you’re buying a ‘.com’, you should be good to go in a few hours. If you’re getting a ‘.ie’ for the first time, you might have some back and forth, sending some documents etc. Regardless, you will get a confirmation email once all is good to go.

We also need some hosting

Hosting is where the files to your website are stored. Imagine a virtual hard drive on which you store your files which, in turn, get seen by your visitors once they type in your website’s web address.

As discussed above, you can purchase this at the same time as your domain. Nonetheless, we recently discovered a crowd that offers free hosting (this site runs on this at the time we’re typing this article). Check out Free Hosting.com.

    1. Go to https://www.freehosting.com/free-hosting.html
    2. Click on ‘Sign Up for Free’
    3. Click on ‘I will use my existing domain and update my nameservers’ and type in the domain name you just purchased above.
    4. Click ‘Continue’, ‘Checkout’ and create an account. (select the pay later option and click on ‘Complete Order’)
    5. You will get a bunch of emails again. Once more, keep these safe.

That was painless, right?

Point the domain to the hosting

Ok, so, now, we have a domain and a hosting. But these two were purchased on two different platforms and they are not currently linked. Let’s get these two together and get the party started. (If you have purchased the domain and the hosting from the same crowd -which would be the usual thing to do really, skip this step).

    1. Go to your account on hostingireland.com
    2. Go to the ‘Domains’ tab
    3. Click on the little wrench icon on the right hand side of the domain you want to use.
    4. On the left menu, click on ‘Nameservers’
    5. Select the option ‘Use custom nameservers (enter below)’
    6. And replace the information below with the following:
      Nameserver1: ns1.freehosting.com
      Nameserver2: ns2.freehosting.com
    7. Remove any other entries pre-populated and click on ‘Change NameServers

That’s it. At this point, you will have to be patient. It takes about 12 to 24 hours for these changes to take place and for your web address to point to your hosting. (That’s called propagating…)
Come back tomorrow and continue with the steps below.

Install WordPress easily

Now that the domain and the hosting are connected, you should see a ‘FreeHosting.com’ landing page when you type in your website’s address. If not, then the Nameservers have not propagated yet and you have to wait a tiny bit longer.

    1. Head over to your account on freehosting.com.
    2. Go to the ‘Services’ tab.
    3. Click on the ‘Active’ button next to your domain name.
    4. On the bottom of the page, click on ‘Login to DirectAdmin’ (a new tab should open)
    5. On the blue banner, go to Plugins > Softaculous Apps Installer > WordPress
    6. Click on ‘Install Now’
    7. Fill in the form that is displayed:
      – Make sure the Software setup section is pointing to the right domain
      – Set up your admin username and password
      – Leave the rest as is (unless you want to chose your theme from this page directly) and click on ‘Install’.

That’s it! You have installed your WordPress site successfully!

You can go to www.[your website domain].com/ie/whatever else and you should see your website.
Go to www.your-website-domain.com/wp-admin to login to your admin panel.

More documentation on how to use WordPress can be found on their official website.

If you feel a bit more adventurous, you can follow these instructions that guide you though a manual installation (it’s a bit more technical but you will learn tons more).

Get a theme?

So, there are tons of free themes out there for WordPress, which is a good place to start. Either do a quick Google Search for ‘Free WordPress Themes’ (and see what shows up) or check out this repository of free WordPress themes.

Looking for something different and don’t mind paying for a theme? ThemeForest is a great website, filled with resources.

Make sure to read the documentation of the theme carefully as each theme has a different process for installing it. The general guidance on how to install a theme can be found here.

That’s it, you’re up and running!

Well, that’s all. You have successfully installed your first WordPress instance and are ready to get start customising i. (Hopeful this was not too painful!)
As always, if you’re unsure of anything or need a hand with anything, drop us a line in the comments or ping us an email!

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