Please Note: The links found throughout this tutorial are not affiliate links. In other words, GCF Global Learning is not affiliated with WordPress or any of the websites mentioned/linked in each lesson, nor do we receive any monetary compensation for referencing them.
Choosing a Host
You’re probably wondering—is WP free? Will your site be live right away, or available on the web? The answers are simple enough, but they require some explaining...
When we mention WP in this tutorial, we’re referring to the open-source software which you can download from WordPress.org onto your computer and use to create your website. Open source just means that anyone can use it.
While you can download the software for free, you’ll also need to choose a hosting service in order for your site to go live. A host is a place where a computer stores your website and makes it accessible on the internet. Popular web hosting companies include Bluehost, GoDaddy, HostGator, and IONOS. Many users build their first sites through an affordable “shared hosting” plan.
What's confusing is that WordPress.com is different from the .org website. The .com platform provides the hosting service, while giving you a set of plugins to work with. You don’t get as many add-on options as you would with the other companies we mentioned, but the process is simplified. This video does a great job clarifying the difference between the two:
You can compare the different hosting companies WordPress.org recommends here. Once you do some research and choose your host, the next two steps are naming your website and setting up your login information.
As you’re setting up your account with your selected hosting service, you will be asked to name your website and choose a domain name. The name of your website—which is displayed on the landing (or main) page—should make it clear what your site is about.
Maybe it’s the name of your business, or your own name if it’s a personal website. You can get more creative if you’re making a fan page or one for a literary publication, but visitors should know they’ve come to the right place.
The name of your website and your domain name should be identical or similar. This is crucial for users to be able to find your website and remember how to get there. The domain name is the web address—the URL that starts with https:// and ends with .com, .org, etc. To learn more about URLs, watch the video below.
You can purchase a unique domain name through your selected hosting service. They will let you know if the name is already being used by another site. It’s common for your top domain name choice to already be taken, as there are many, many websites. Don’t be discouraged, and just try to keep it simple.
Domain names typically cost between $10 to $20 per year. Keep in mind that if you don’t pay this fee each year, another site could buy it!
The steps for logging in vary a little, depending on the web host you choose. You will need an email address to open your account, which is typically the same as your username. Make sure you choose a unique password that’s difficult to guess. We have a lesson in a different tutorial on creating strong passwords.
These days, security definitely shouldn’t be overlooked. We suggest getting a plugin for two-factor authentication, which requires someone to verify their identity in another way (such as through a phone number) before they can log in.
Keep your login information written down in a safe place. While you can easily change your password, it’s not as simple to change your username or domain name after setting up your account.
Next up, we’ll talk a little bit about designing your website through WP, and how this in turn shapes your user experience.