OK so you’ve decided on a business name and bought the domain. You look something like this www.fredbloggsgardening.co.uk. Now what you need is a fantastic website attached to it! The easy thing to do is to find a web designer, pass them a grand and a half and wait to see if you like what they come up with. You still need to decide on hosting though, and what if you want to change things six months down the line, how much will that cost? In this article we look at how to start on the journey of building your own website and taking control of your online presence.
In the DIY website game there are basically two major players-Wix and WordPress. WordPress is hugely popular with over a third of all websites being powered by this free platform. It is immensely powerful and adaptable. Wix on the other hand is consistently being voted the easiest web builder out there. We are going to be discussing using wordpress to build a website in this article.
What is web hosting?
Web hosting providers rent out computer servers that contain websites.
They have different packages to rent and these affect what you can do with the space that you rent. The three main types are shared hosting, VPS, and dedicated server.
Shared hosting is where you are renting the very smallest amount of space on a computer server disc. If there too many websites on one server the quality of this service can become poor during busy times.
A VPS is a level above shared hosting. You get your own private virtual server with more access behind the scenes of the server but you still share some functions with other users.
Dedicated hosting is where you get an entire server all to yourself. You have complete control over the performance of the computer and can even host other peoples websites on your server.
For the purposes of this article we are going to be referring to a dedicated server. Although much of what we discuss also applies to a vps or shared server you have to do a lot more for yourself on a dedicated server (on some shared hosting wordpress comes installed ready to go but you have to install it yourself on a dedicated server)
Getting started with your dedicated server
OK, so you’ve bought your dedicated server and now you want to set up your website. First let’s take a look at what is running your server. In order to log in to your server you are going to have to go through WHM. This is a reseller management program that gives you access to the next program, cpanel. Cpanel is the program that you will use to run your server. Sounds a bit confusing but basically when you log in to WHM you get access to this …
You can now install your domain name. Just click on ‘create a new account’ and follow the instructions. Pretty straight forward. Now from the left hand menu on the WHM home screen click on ‘list accounts’ and your new account should be listed there.
How to build a website
Click on the ‘CP’ icon and it will take you to your cpanel control panel….
Click on file manager to bring you to this screen..
Now what you need to do is to upload the wordpress file. This has to be downloaded from wordpress first from here https://en-gb.wordpress.org/ . It’s a free program and is the framework for your website. (It looks pretty plain to start with but once it’s installed you can overlay a theme of your choice to spruce it up. There are over 50,000 plugins and 30,000 themes to help you get the website of your dreams so you are a bit spoilt for choice! )
From the file manager page click on ‘upload’ and select the downloaded wordpress zip file from your computer. Now here’s a tricky bit. You need to select all of the files in the wordpress file, take them out of that file and put them in to the public html file. If you don’t, the program won’t open. Select all of the files in the wordpress file, right click and select ‘move’. Take the word ‘wordpress’ out of the address so the files go /public_html/ and then the file name eg /public_html/wp-blog-header.php and not /public_html/wordpress/wp-blog-header.php.
How to set up a database in cpanel
OK, now another weird bit. You need to set up a data base for your website. Go back to the cpanel control panel and click on ‘mysql data base wizard’. This will take you through the data base set up process. Make sure you write down your username and passwords as you will need them in a minute. The next job is to set up users for your database. This is below the database set up section. Allow all privileges for the user and link the user to the new database.
Now the vital bit. You need to put the database password and users in to the wordpress program. Go to the cpanel control panel. From the far left menu click on public_html and then look for your wp-config-sample.php file. Copy this file and rename the copy wp-config.php. Now open the file and click on edit. Look for this bit of code
/** The name of the database for WordPress */ define( ‘DB_NAME’, ‘database_name_here’ ); /** MySQL database username */ define( ‘DB_USER’, ‘username_here’ ); /** MySQL database password */ define( ‘DB_PASSWORD’, ‘password_here’ );
Insert your database name, username and password in the appropriate space and it should connect to the data base.
How to change DNS settings
Now you have to point your website address to your website. Go to your domain host and alter the DNS settings to your webhost. Depending and where you got the domain from you might be able to do this yourself or you can ask your domain vendor to do it for you. Either way you are going to need the name server details of your web host and the IP address of your hosting server. It can take 24 hours for the change in DNS settings to take effect.
You should now be able to enter your domain name in to a search engine and bring up your website. You will now have to set up your wordpress site. We’ll deal with this in the next article in the series.