Create A Website using WordPress
WordPress is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL. The software is released under the terms of the GPLv2.
WordPress started out as just a blogging platform but has evolved to be used for building any website with its own custom theme, widgets, plug-ins, and design.
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How To Create A Website using WordPress (Step by Step)
WordPress comes in two flavors; WordPress.com which offers free hosted websites or self-hosted WordPress installs that reside on your server where you host them yourself.
There are pros/cons associated with both options but this article will focus on hosting sites yourself rather than using wordpress.com’s free service.
The first thing you’ll need to do after downloading WordPress chooses an appropriate web host. This is the server that will store your website, so it’s important to choose a reputable company with fast servers and plenty of bandwidth. If you’re just creating a small blog then you can probably get away with using a shared server but larger sites will need their own VPS or dedicated hosting solution.
Once you have your web host chosen, the next step is to setup WordPress by installing it into an existing website folder or sub-domain.
You’ll also want to create a MySQL database for WordPress to save user data and posts/pages information as well as configure access permissions for WordPress to connect to this database (more on this later).
WordPress offers several different ways of doing this: cPanel, Fantastico, softaculous, or manual install.
Depending on which method you choose, the installation will vary but after initial setup, updating WordPress and installing new plugins/themes will be done via your admin panel back in your web hosting account where you created your database for WordPress to use (more on this later as well).
Now that we have our host and WordPress installed it’s time to configure WordPress for optimal performance.
The first thing you’ll need to do is change file permissions for both the website folder where WordPress was installed as well as the wp-content directory.
The default file permissions are just 755 which means only the owner of these files can read/write them whereas every visitor should only have read access.
Files that are world-writable can be edited by anyone including visitors to your website. To change the permissions you need to use an FTP client like Filezilla, Cyberduck, Transmit, or whatever other FTP app you prefer.
After changing permissions for both directories (keep in mind that you’ll need write access) we now need to configure WordPress by visiting the admin panel using something like http://www.example.com/wp-admin (substitute example.com with your domain name).
If you’re not logged into WordPress already then click on “Log In” at the top right of this page and enter your username/password combination, which will vary depending on how WordPress was installed (more on this later too).
Once logged in you should be greeted with a Welcome page which has several different tabs containing further configuration information.
The next important step is to setup your permalinks within WordPress aka the URL structure of our site.
This controls what your URLs will look like and how they’re organized inside the WordPress database, so it’s really important that this is done properly from the start otherwise you’ll have SEO issues down the road.
If WordPress isn’t configured correctly then search engines may not recognize your site or worse returns a 404 error when trying to crawl your website – both of these things are undesirable for obvious reasons.
This Udemy Course contains all sorts of useful information on how to configure WordPress but I’ll just discuss two methods that have been found to work best for most users.
The first option is using index.php in your URL structure which will look something like http://www.example.com/?p=123.
This allows search engines to easily index every page/post on your website without having to look inside the database for individual URLs but it does make them harder to read by humans, especially if you have a lot of pages/posts – too many numbers to remember!
The second method uses post IDs instead of URLs that include IDs embedded into each post URL e.g http://www..com/post-name/.
Search engine bots can easily crawl this sort of URL pattern whereas normal people wouldn’t be able to tell what the pattern is without on it to see the actual URL; not everyone has access to the backend of their website.
The final configuration option we will discuss is disabling post revisions as these take up space and can cause issues down the road when you edit a post as it may break links or change content as well as the media attached.
It’s much better to leave this on for backup purposes but disable it from being published, if only because you don’t know what will happen if too many versions are left laying around.
To do this, look under “Settings” and click on “Writing” then find and uncheck “Post Revisions” which allows users to set how many revisions they want WordPress to store in the database before deleting older ones.
Another good idea is setting your default post category/slug to make your life easier later on. By default, any new posts will be added to the category/slug “Uncategorized” but if you change this setting then new posts won’t appear in that category anymore (if you’re using it).
The final step of setup is connecting WordPress to your MySQL database which means creating a user and giving them all permissions to read & write into that database.
Nowadays most web hosts provide cPanel or some similar control panel system that allows users to create databases with pre-defined users so how you accomplish this will vary depending on what host you are using, however, it’s still important for you to know what username and password were used so we’ll go over how to find that information.
The username of the user in your MySQL database is typically displayed when you log in via cPanel/PHPMyAdmin, however, the password is hidden for security reasons; this is why it’s important to note down what that password was setup as (or reset it later).
This information will be displayed near or under where you create databases and can be found in most host documentation so if need help finding this information then contact your hosting provider.
Once the connection has been successfully made with WordPress you’ll get a success message showing up at the top – or bottom depending on your theme – saying “Happy blogging!”.