Would you like to set up a WordPress blog or a WordPress-powered website (e.g. a portfolio or a company website) on your own domain and don’t know exactly what you need and where to start? Here are a few tips to help you get started with WordPress.
1. WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com
As a no-no in advance, I would like to briefly explain the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. At WordPress.com, you can set up a free blog with an address in the format yourblog.wordpress.com. This blog is then hosted on the server at WordPress.com and you don’t have to spend any money on your own web space and domain. This is a great option, especially for small personal blogs. However, with a WordPress.com blog, you only have a limited number of themes (WordPress design templates) and plugins (additional extensions) available.
In contrast, you can download the current WordPress version for free from WordPress.org (or on the German-language WordPress website wordpress-deutschland.org) and then use it for your own domain and web space. With this self-hosted WordPress site, you have more options for customizing and customizing your WordPress website.
You can use a huge number of free and paid WordPress themes and plugins, or even create your own WordPress theme design. about a FTP program (e.g. Filezilla) you can access and edit all WordPress files on your web space. Setting up such a self-hosted WordPress site is not that difficult. However, you should bring a little time to familiarize yourself with WordPress and then to be able to really use the versatile options of your own WordPress website.
2. What you need to install WordPress
Before you can get started with your WordPress site, you need to buy web space and your own domain address. The fees are not expensive, especially if your website is new or you just want to set up a small, personal website. Then a smaller hosting package is sufficient. There are plenty of providers, we ourselves have always had very good experiences with WordPress sites with “domainfactory” (the MyHome packages, important with PHP and MySQL should be sufficient at the beginning).
If you are not quite sure whether your chosen web hosting package supports WordPress, it is best to check with the hosting provider of your choice before booking. You can find a list of the WordPress requirements on the WordPress Germany website.
WordPress is often already prepared for installation directly from the hosting customer menu (e.g. the case with domainfactory). This is particularly practical because you no longer have to upload the WordPress files to your web space yourself using an FTP program.
You can buy a domain (your website address) with a web hosting package (sometimes a domain is already included). If you choose your local country ending (e.g. yourdomain.de), the annual fees for a domain are very low (approx. 6€ per year).
It is very important that you have the option of creating a database with your web space package. You absolutely need this in order to be able to use WordPress. You can create a database with a password directly in the customer menu of your hosting provider. This isn’t as difficult as it first sounds (most hosting providers also offer instructions in their FAQs). Make a note of the name and password of your created database.
3. Install WordPress on a web space
Once you have ordered your web space and domain, you can install WordPress. As already mentioned, with some providers you can do this directly in the customer menu of your hosting provider (see free applications prepared for installation).
Otherwise, you can download the current WordPress version free of charge from the WordPress Germany website. You can differentiate between the German-language WordPress version and the English-language version. It is best to choose the language in which you would like to run your website later. If you choose the English language version, your admin area and also standard words like “Comments” or “reply” etc. will be displayed in English on your website.
The wp-config.php file
After downloading WordPress you need to unzip the zip file (latest.zip) and save the file wp-config-sample.php edit in the wordpress folder. For this you need a text editor (eg the free program Notepad++, Windows Editor, or TextEdit and TextMate for Mac).
In the wp-config-sample.php file you now enter your database data (name, user, password, possibly host name) under “MySQL settings”:
The MySQL settings in the wp-config.php file
Below “MySQL settings” you also have to enter individual security keys. You can see this on the website https://api.wordpress.org/secret-key/1.1/salt/ to generate. Just copy the created keys and replace them with the example code in your file. Now save the edited file as a wp-config.php file. You can delete the wp-config-sample.php file from the WordPress folder.
Now you can upload all the files in the WordPress folder to your web space in the main directory belonging to your domain using an FTP program. (If you’re not sure which directory is the right one, just double-check with your hosting provider.)
Once uploaded, you can go to the following URL to register your WordPress site:
A page should now appear in your browser allowing you to log in to your WordPress site and as an admin (choose a more secure username rather than the suggested “admin”). Once sign-up is complete, you can access your new WordPress installation and start setting up your website.
The login screen of your WordPress installation
You can also find an overview of the WordPress installation and a few troubleshooting tips on the WordPress Germany page.
The Twenty Eleven theme is currently used by default, and some plugins are already installed for you. Of course, you can also choose a different theme for your website and install additional plugins. You can also create an individual navigation menu and WordPress pages (e.g. about me or a contact page).
4. Themes and Plugins
One of the best things about WordPress is the huge community that helps each other with problems and develops new products (often free) for WordPress. Because of this, there are a huge number of themes and plugins for WordPress. You can gradually upgrade your website and add specific, helpful plugins or choose a nice theme design for your website. You can find an overview of all free WordPress plugins and WordPress themes in the WordPress Plugin Directory or Free Theme Directory.
I hope you find my little explanation of the most important steps to the first self-hosted WordPress website helpful. And if you are already a WordPress professional yourself, you might know a friend for whom this information could be helpful. I look forward to your feedback and other tips to supplement the article!