How To Set up Your First WordPress Website

In the past, setting up a website was an exclusive task for programmers who were good at coding, but times have changed as just about anybody can now create a website.

Whether you are looking to make a website for your business or you are a freelance web developer looking for an easy way to build websites for your clients, this guide will walk you through the entire process step by step. 

To get a website up and running, you will need four things, namely: 

  • A domain name: it’s simply your website name, which serves as the address where users can access your website. 
  • A web host: You could choose any leading website hosting provider that powers hundreds of thousands of websites.
  • Content Management System (CMS): A software application that allows you to create and manage digital content. We will be using WordPress, which is the most popular open-source CMS. 
  • Page builder: You don’t have to learn programming or coding to take full control of your site as a page builder gives you the ability to manage your site using a drag-and-drop and mouse clicks.

Step 1: Select a WordPress hosting provider and a domain name 

The first step in the journey of making a website from scratch is to get a domain name and a web hosting plan. At present, there are so many companies that sell domain names and web hosting which you can choose from. Ensure that you purchase a domain name and a hosting plan that suits your preference. It’s important to make sure the domain name reflects the nature of your business and that the domain suffix that’s easy to remember.

Step 2: Install WordPress

The next step is to now install WordPress to your hosting script. The application software is completely free, easy to use, yet powerful. With it, you can access tons of plugins and themes that allow you to customize your website. After you have logged into your hosting account, click on the My Accounts tab and then log in to your cPanel. The hosting dashboard contains a variety of tools to help you manage your site.

Step 3: Install Elementor 

Now that your hosting and WordPress site is ready to go, the next thing to do is to log in to your WordPress Admin backend and then install a page builder. Go to the Plugins section of WordPress and click “Add New” and you will find a list of several page builders such as Gutenberg, Beaver Builder, and Brizy. Just type Elementor in the text box and press the enter key to search for the plugin. Then go ahead to click on the install tab on the “Elementor Page Builder” and ignore all other search results. It is important to note that there are two versions of Elementor: free and Pro. While the free version is enough to build a decent webpage, the Pro version comes with more professionally designed templates and widgets.

 Step 4: Build out your website  

Now that you are done with all the installations, you can now go-ahead to build your website. Just go the pages section and click “add new.” Since it is the first page you are creating, title it “Home” and click the “Save Draft” button. Be sure to save your work at regular intervals, so you don’t lose everything if something should happen.  When you spot a layout that catches your fancy, click the insert and make it full width. Then you can change the text, the background images, colors, and fonts, and once you’re done, click the “save” button on the bottom left.

I got 5 times faster load time by switching WordPress host

No optimization, no extra cache - just 5 times faster

How this website got more than 5 times faster load time by switching hosting provider

So, in this post, I am going to show you how THIS website went from a load time of 2.81s to 515ms by switching to a different hosting provider. No further optimization, no extra cache – just 5 times faster

Here I was, recently started up, writing about different hosting providers, shared tips about how to backup your WordPress website, and preaching about how good performance will increase your SEO, making Your websites rank better in Google at the same time as the user experience increases. It is all true, however, when I started this website, I noticed that a lot of my websites were struggling with performance issues. Even though I worked hard with optimization, cache and served static content using the Cloudflare CDN – basically followed every rule of the book.. but never did I see the decreased load time/page speed I were looking for.

This was very frustrating, and I had numerous conversations with my hosting provider, even switched up to their biggest hosting subscription, only to get the final answer that they didn’t have anything to do with it, not a problem on their side. Since I was pretty sure that the problem was due to performance problems at my hosting provider, I decided to give another player a chance – a hosting provider I never tried before, but had been reading a lot good about. Since I am based in Europe, Sweden, my goal was to find a host that in combination with Cloudflare could deliver my websites with good load time both in Europe and the rest of the world. However, since most of my websites are focusing on European audiences, the servers have to be within Europe. Inleed is the hosting provider I decided to try.

Note that I wasn’t sure about anything when I decided to try another hosting provider for my WordPress websites, and to be able to make a good decision based on actual measurements, I set up a few rules;

  1. The measurements regarding load time were tested using the Pingdom Website Speed Test.
  2. I disabled my optimization/caching plugin.
  3. I cloned the website using All-in-One WP Migration (also, see my guide for backing up/restoring your WP website using All-in-One WP Migration).
  4. I decided to still use Cloudflare.

Basically, the goal was to make a fair performance test, giving both hosting providers an equal chance to perform.

What I found was pretty interesting. By pointing the CDN setting towards the cloned website at Inleed, without optimizing anything… gave me more than 5 times faster load time. I was truly amazed!

Speed test after switching hosting provider: The speed went from 2.81s to 515ms
Result: Load time went from 2.81s to 515ms (more than5 times faster)

As you can see, the page speed went from 2.81 seconds down to 515 milliseconds JUST by switching to a better hosting provider. Note that the pricing per month is almost the same, about $2 more per month with my new hosting provider.

Note that I’m not here to write shit about my previous hosting provider, and since I have been a happy customer there for more than eight years, I’m not going to tell you who hosted it. I still respect their work and will probably keep one or two websites where the targeted audience is Sweden only 😊

SiteGround Hosting Review

Like a few other WordPress Hosts, Siteground offers managed WordPress hosting, promising fast and secure Web hosting. This is nothing new, however, what made me more curious about the company was because they are one of three hosting providers that are officially recommended by WordPress.

I’ve been talking a lot about how good hosting is one of many parameters to actually make more money on your websites, so why don’t we let WordPress describe why this time:

Just like flowers need the right environment to grow, WordPress works best when it’s in a rich hosting

Being recommended by really takes something extra. Doesn’t it? So what possibly makes Siteground such a good WordPress host? We’ll let you decide after reading through some of the key topics regarding SiteGround and WordPress hosting. Enjoy.

Managed WordPress Hosting

What I find interesting is how Siteground really zoomed out to take a look and cover the whole hosting experience, from start to finish.

  • To make it easy for users when switching to SiteGround from their previous host, they have launched their very own WordPress Migrator plugin.
  • To deliver “Ultra-fast Sites”, they host your website on SSD-harddrives and PHP 7 with OpCache.
  • To boost your website’s performance even further, they offer static caching and a free CDN service.
  • To deliver your website with HTTPS to your visitors, they use free SSL/HTTPS using certificates from Let’s Encrypt.
  • To not miss out on potential customers and users, they offer “Handcrafted Solutions for 99.99% Uptime“.
  • When you need help, they will assist you with phone support, live chat support or using their ticket system.
  • Finally, for your comfort, they provide you with daily backups and managed security & updates.

SiteGround Support and customer service

SiteGround is known for their outstanding customer service and support. They offer 24/7 “Insanely fast support” using both phone support, live chat support and ticket system, basically – pic what you prefer. Personally, I switched to my Swedish hosting provider, Binero due to their great customer service and support over the phone. This is actually one of my absolute highest priorities when selecting a hosting provider for my websites.

SiteGround phone number

You contact the SiteGround support using this telephone number: +1 866-605-2484.

SiteGround SSL

SiteGround offers both free and paid SSL certificates. The Free SSL certificate is provided from Let’s Encrypt. The paid SSL from SiteGround can be ordered as extras where users can choose from WildCard SLL (75 EUR/y) for your domain and all subdomains, or Extended Validation (EV) SSL (390 EUR/y) suitable for advanced validation and websites that need the highest level of encryption.

To manage Let’s Encrypt certificates, log into your cPanel → Security tab → Let’s Encrypt.
To manage Let’s Encrypt certificates, log into your cPanel → Security tab → Let’s Encrypt.

What SiteGround promotes in their advertisement:

Instagram advertisement from SiteGround
Instagram advertisement from SiteGround

SiteGround Pricing

SiteGround SSL Pricing

  • Let’s Encrypt: Free
  • WildCard SLL: 75 EUR/y
  • Extended Validation (EV) SSL: 390 EUR/y

SiteGround Pricing for Managed WordPress Hosting

SiteGround offers three pricing plans for different WordPress hosting needs, StartUp, GrowBig and GoGeek.

The StartUp plan includes hosting of one site and the essential WordPress Features:

  • Free WP Install
  • Free WP Migrator
  • Free SSL and HTTPS
  • Free Email
  • Free Cloudflare CDN
  • Free Daily Backup
  • WP Autoupdates
  • WP CLI and SSH
  • 24/7 WP Support
  • 30 Days Money Back
  • Unmetered Traffic
  • Unlimited MySQL DB

This is a great start for any WordPress website. If you only need hosting for one website, I would consider adding other WordPress plugins for some of the features included in the GrowBig plan. For example, the alternative for WordPress SuperCacher included in the GrowBig plan could be WP Fastest Cache (My personal favorite that I use for most of my websites).

The GrowBig plan includes the essential WordPress features listed above, and the Premium WordPress Features:

  • Free WP Transfer by our Experts
  • WordPress SuperCacher
  • Advanced On-demand Backup
  • 1-click WordPress Staging

In my opinion, the best with this package compared with the StartUp is the WordPress SuperCacher and the Free WP Transfer that the SiteGround support (experts) helps you with. On-demand Backup is also good, however, for most users, the Free Daily Backup included in the StartUp plan is probably good enough. Same applies to the 1-click WordPress Staging. This is truly great for a bit more advanced WordPress users, but probably not what most users actually need.

And the GoGeek includes the essential WordPress Features (listed above), the Premium WordPress Features (listed above) and “Geeky WordPress Features“:

  • Advanced Priority WP Support
  • More Server Power
  • PCI Compliant Servers
  • Pre-installed Git for WordPress
SiteGround Managed WordPress Hosting plans

SiteGround Customers

Selecting a host with a good number of users might be important. The economy of the hosting provider might actually affect you and your websites if there would be problems. SiteGround is trusted by a good number of users, and are hosting 2,000,000 domains. Actually, one of the more well-known WordPress blogs, trusts SiteGround as the host for their website.

Not only have SiteGround 2,383 reviews at Trustpilot where they get 94% score of “Excellent”, as mentioned previously, officially recommends SiteGround.

Green Web Hosting and SiteGround

Going green and making efforts for saving the climate is something that everyone should think about. Plenty of big hosting companies are trying to host more sustainable (hosting includes a lot of electricity etc), and in an article named “Green Web Hosting” from Web Hosting Professor, SiteGround is at 9th place with the motivation as follow:

SiteGround not only embraces modern technology to become more efficient but it also approaches sustainability from a uniquely personal angle, planting trees and cleaning the area surrounding its facilities.Web Hosting Professor

The Social Media opinion

So, what do people on social media say? By searching for “Hosting poll” in the group, Advanced WordPress, I found two polls suggesting that SiteGround was the favorite by the majority of the voters. I know that these polls are a bit outdated, please comment if you have seen any newer 🙂

WordPress Hosting Poll from 2016
WordPress Hosting Poll 2016
Advanced WordPress Host poll 2014
Advanced WordPress Host poll 2014

Other in-depth SiteGround reviews and recommended readings

Did we miss something out or do you just want to read some more about SiteGround and their hosting services? Here are a few posts that we think are of high quality: