First things first...What IS hosting?
Your web host is the company that owns and maintains the server where your website files/code live.
Essentially, it’s a computer somewhere on planet earth that holds all of the code that makes up your website. When someone clicks on your website domain, it pings the server and says, “Hey! Send me all of the code needed to display this website!” The server sends over the code, and your web browser makes sense of it – showing your web visitor your beautiful website.
The very first step to building your own WordPress website is to create an account with a web host. To make your life easy, I recommend choosing a managed host that specializes in WordPress. After testing out several hosting companies over the years, I now use a company called Flywheel – so this guide will explain how to set up hosting with them.
Why choose a managed WordPress host?
Let me count the ways.
Look up in your browser where the URL for this website is. Do you see the lock icon located to the left of the domain? Also, notice how the website URL starts with https:// instead of just http://.
All of this means the site connection is secure, and the site has what’s called an SSL certificate. Having a secure connection (SSL certificate) is basically a requirement for all websites nowadays, although a lot of low quality sites (or sites built by newbies) do not have SSL certificates.
But you, YOU want an SSL certificate – because you have your life together. On Flywheel, you can easily request an SSL certificate by clicking a button. They’ll install the certificate for you and your site then loads over https. Oh, and it’s FREE.
Uptime refers to what percentage of time your website is up, as in it will load properly when users click your domain. It’s important that your website load properly of course or else what’s the point. Flywheel’s uptime is 99.9%. As you can imagine, this is important for your search engine optimization.
“Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away…” -Me, devastated in 2012 when I broke a client site and they didn’t have any back-ups 😱
When your website is on Flywheel, they do a complete backup of your website files every single day. You don’t have to turn this on, or do anything… it’s just there waiting for you in the event you break something.
Why would you need this you ask? Well, say you are tinkering with your website, attempting a new plugin/design, whatever… and suddenly your website is jacked up. Worse yet, you don’t know how to fix it?! If you don’t have backups, you’d simply cry as you throw your computer into a dumpster.
But WITH backups, all is ok! You simply navigate to your backups area and click a button to “restore” your website to how it was yesterday. Ahhh, yesterday.
How to set up a hosting account
Once on their website, click the “Sign Up” button located at the top right. Here you’ll enter your information to create an account. Check the box to agree to their terms of service and press “Sign Up”.
When prompted, choose the “Tiny Plan” for $15/month and enter your credit card information.
Now, create your first website install
In your Flywheel dashboard, click the green button that says, “Create a New Site”. Enter the website name, and choose a temporary domain. Your future web visitors will not see this information. This is simply where your site will live while you are in the process of designing it and you’ll add your domain later.
Now create your WordPress User login information in the next section. Make sure to save this somewhere!
Now choose “I do not want to use a Blueprint” and then click the green button, “Create Site”.
Flywheel will now show you a page that says they are working on creating your website. They will send you an email once it’s ready. This usually takes less than 15 minutes.
You did it!
You’ve set up a hosting account AND your first WordPress install. What a productive day for you. 🦸♀️
In our next article, I’ll show you how to configure your new WordPress install. Then we’ll add a WordPress theme and page builder to make designing as easy as dragging and dropping elements on the screen.
💚 Stephanie Erickson