This article is part of a RAW Guides online course. See more!
Choosing WordPress CMS (content management system) is the best option for a website or blog for personal use, fun, learning, e-commerce and business. In fact, pretty much everything! Why? Because it is flexible, easy to learn and widely supported.
You can easily customise the site with free WordPress themes, it can be extended and extra features can be added with free WordPress plugins, and it is designed to make creating a website as easy as possible. You don’t need to be an expert or have special technical knowledge.
Anyone can set up a WordPress site. Even you!
If you want to see WordPress website examples, take a look at this one. RAW Computing is part of a group of sites at RAWinfopages and it uses WordPress. Web hosting is by Bluehost, which is great for WordPress sites (and many other CMS).
There are more than 75 million WordPress websites!
That is an astonishing figure and it shows just how popular this content management system has become. If you want a website, I recommend WordPress.
There are two versions of WordPress and you can get a free website at wordpress.com.
It is brilliant as far as it goes, but it has limitations because it is free. For example, adverts you have no control over and earn no income from will be placed on your site. You cannot install plugins, WordPress themes are limited, and it is not good for making money.
Choose a web hosting company
There are no limitations with self-hosted WordPress and you are the boss and you can do what you want with the website. Terms and conditions apply with web hosting of course, but a web hosts rules are nowhere near as restrictive as at wordpress.com.
As long as your site content is not illegal, you can do pretty much anything you want with self-hosted WordPress.
You first need to choose a web hosting company. There is a great buyer’s guide to web hosting here that explores all the different features and services to look out for when choosing a host.
To cut a long story short, I recommend Bluehost. OK, I'm biased, but that's because I built this WordPress site on Bluehost and it has been happily running for almost three years. I know it works.
I’m going to walk you through the sign-up process so you can see how easy it is to get your own website. It’s cheap to get started and if your website takes off you can easily upgrade the hosting and boost the performance and features.
1 Get started
Go to the Bluehost website and you’ll find a great deal right there on the home page (any many more elsewhere on the site). Click get started now.
2 Pick a hosting plan
Web hosting need not be expensive and there are some cheap deals. However, in the long term it is worth paying a bit more than the minimum because there are fewer limitations - almost everything is unlimited with the plus plan. Click the Select button to continue.
3 Choose a domain
The hardest step in the whole process of getting your own website is choosing a domain. This is the URL for your website and it must be unique and different to every other website on the internet.
There is thought to be 1 billion websites on the internet - that is 1,000,000,000! Each one has a unique URL, so thinking of a name that hasn’t already been used is tough!
Not only must your domain be unique, ideally it should be easy to remember and it should describe the nature of your site. That's easy to say, but but easy to do!
4 Fill in the forms
Some dull forms follow this, such as your name, address and phone number, and your credit card information. Just fill in the details and continue.
You also get to choose some hosting plan details and the longer the hosting plan, the cheaper it is. The three-year deal offers quite a saving and is the recommended one to go for. It keeps your costs down in the long term.
5 Web hosting optional extras
There are some optional extras that can be added like backup and security. You will definitely need them when your site grows and becomes popular, but they don’t have to be selected right now. They can be added later if you want to keep costs down at first.
7 Create a password
The final step of the sign-up process is to create a password for the account. Make it really complicated because you don’t want people guessing it and accessing your website. Write it down or at least store it somewhere safe or you won’t be able to log in to your site.
9 Log in to your account
Go to bluehost.com and click the login link in the top right corner. Enter your domain or username and the password you created. (You’ll get a welcome email with all your account details.)
10 Use the cPanel menus
After logging in, go to cPanel - it’s on the second menu bar at the top. Cpanel is a very common interface used by many web hosts and it enables you to do all sorts of things with your hosting account.
One of the things it can do is install WordPress. There is an Install WordPress button and also One-Click Installs that enable you to choose from a wide range of content management systems, bulletin boards and other things - over 70 in fact at Bluehost.
11 Install WordPress
WordPress is the one we want and there is very little to the installation. Click Start.
12 Select the domain
Some people have more than one domain, but you have just one. Select it to continue.
13 Create an account
This form requires some basic, but very important information. Enter the name of your website or blog. Create a username and password for yourself - this is used to log in to your WordPress website.
You are the administrator with the power to do anything, so pick a password that is impossible to guess! Write down your login details! Don’t lose them!
Add your email and click Install Now.
14 Log in to your site
After a minute or two your website is ready and you can log into it. Just go to your domain to view it or to log in as the admin to configure it and post content, go to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin
This article is part of a RAW Guides course. It continues with easy lessons showing how to set up a WordPress site with a view to making money. Go to RAW Guides