So you’re ready to set up your first website. You’ve decided to go with a self-hosted WordPress site. You’ve purchased your hosting account and you’re ready to start. But how?

You can contact your host and have them do it for you. But that often costs more money and you won’t understand how your site is set up. Many hosts have built-in website builders. But they don’t provide the flexibility and customization you may want in the future as your business grows.

There is a straight forward way to set up a WordPress site that takes an afternoon to complete – and anyone can do it, no matter the experience or skill level. You don’t have to know anything about coding or development in order to follow these steps.

The only things you need to set up a self-hosted WordPress site are:

  • A hosting account with a cPanel. Sometimes you have to purchase the cPanel after signing up for the hosting account – they are usually fairly inexpensive. I highly recommend Siteground – they have great prices and great customer support.
  • The newest WordPress download. It’s completely free and safe to download WordPress files.
  • A domain name. For this tutorial, we’ll assume you purchased it on the same account where your cPanel is. If not, you will need to move it or redirect it. (That’s something I can help you with if you need it.)

Let’s get started!



Step 1: The Database

Log in to your hosting account and go to your cPanel. It should look something like this:

It may not look exactly like this, but it should look like a bunch of icons organized under various subheadings.

The first thing you will need to do is set up the database for your site. Go to the section titled “Databases” and click on the icon that looks like this:

You will need to choose a database name, a username and a password. Try to be purposeful with those names. For my website, I may choose something like ANC2017 (Allie Nimmons Creative 2017) for the databsse and allie2017 for the user. That way you can recognize it later for what it is.

Add in your database name, click Create Database, then go back once it brings you to do the next screen.  Do the same for your username and password. Then, add the user to the database by choosing both from the dropdown menus it offers you. Click Add.

It will bring you to another page to make selections. Select All Privileges, then click Make Changes, then click Go Back.

Make sure to write down or record your database name, username and password in a safe place. We will need them again in a few minutes.

Step 2: The Files

Go download the newest WordPress files if you haven’t already. These files are what makes WordPress WordPress! It’s completely free and completely safe to download these files.

In your cPanel, under Files, go to File Manager. It should look something like this:

Select Home Directory, then hit Go. This is where your site will live. Upload the WordPress file by clicking Upload, then selecting the file you just downloaded. Once it’s uploaded to your File Manager, select it and click Extract. (It has to be a normal folder, not a zipped folder, but you can only upload zipped folders to the File Manager). Your File Manager should now look something like this:

You can delete the compressed file if you like. (That’s the one on the bottom.)

Open up the WordPress folder. Select all items, click Move. You’ll get a pop up image that looks like this. Make sure that the line on the bottom reads /public_html/ and not /public_html/wordpress:

Step 3: The Installation

Go to your website URL, but with /wp-admin attached to the end of it. For example, for my site it would be If all the steps have been followed perfectly up to this point, you’ll get a screen that looks like this:

Select whichever language you intend to use. Now, we need to use that database information we just created. Click the Let’s Go! button and add in your database name, username and password from before. Leave the last two fields as they are, then hit Submit.

If you’ve entered them correctly, you will get a screen that looks like this:

After clicking Run the Install, WordPress will ask you yet more questions.

Add a Site Title (it’s best to put your business name here). Create a username (either your business name or your own name works). I recommend keeping the password WordPress suggests, just make sure to save it now! Put in your main email address, leave the last option unchecked, and click Install WordPress.

You’re done!

Just log in with the credentials you just made and you’ve completed the installation! At this point you can add your theme and start publishing content.

Have questions or difficulty following this tutorial? Does WordPress web design and development not sound at all like something you want to deal with? Send me a message. I would be glad to help you troubleshoot. 

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