Welcome to part 4 in this series about creating your very own business website! In this article I’ll show you what’s involved in setting up web hosting for your business prior to installing WordPress.
As per usual this article contains affiliate links and it helps me to make more free videos and articles to help you. If you want to use SiteGround for your web hosting, as I do, if would be hugely appreciated if you could use the links in this article. You can read more about affiliate links here.
I’ve already explained what web hosting is in part 1 so I’ll not cover that again here. Web hosting is where your website is physically stored and it’s a critical part of your website. You can watch the video below or follow the steps in this article.
How to set up your SiteGround web hosting
First of all visit SiteGround and select the hosting account you want to use. You should see a screen like this:
If you’re just starting out and need nothing more than a basic website then the ‘StartUp’ package should be just fine. If you want the ability to host multiple websites go for the ‘GrowBig’ account. If you need higher performance and extra support go for the ‘GoGeek’ account.
Assuming you’ve already registered your domain name with 123-Reg just select the option to let them know you already have a domain name. If you have multiple domains enter your PRIMARY domain in the box. So in other words the domain you plan to advertise on business cards:
Alternatively if you want to use SiteGround for both web hosting and domain name registration then you can select the option to ‘Register a New Domain’. Entirely up to you (discussed more in part 1).
Complete your personal details including your billing information. Make sure you use a VERY secure password. This is the crown jewels – keep it secure.
Remember earlier we mentioned about about where in the world your data will be hosted? Well this is where you can change it. In the ‘Data Center’ box select the location closest to your visitors. This would generally be UK for UK businesses. However you might be setting up a website aimed at the whole of Europe, in which case selecting a datacentre closer to central Europe might be better.
In terms of your initial hosting contract, it normally works out a bit cheaper to go for a longer contract such as 36 months. This is entirely up to you but remember the discounted period is normally only for the first year and prices will go up after that. Paying upfront for 3 years brings the price down a bit.
Do I need SG Site Scanner?
This is entirely up to you. It adds an extra level of protection against malware and hackers. I would generally suggest for the sake of £15.60+VAT per year it’s worth it. If you’re on a budget and are confident your site isn’t going to get hacked then it’s by no means mandatory.
Once you’ve gone through the checkout process that’s you done! You should receive an e-mail with logon details for your new account.
How do I point my domain name to my SiteGround web hosting?
If you’ve registered your domain name with an alternate provider such as 123-Reg then you’ll need to point it to your web hosting. This is very straight forward. In your welcome e-mail from SiteGround you should find some information about changing your DNS or nameservers. It should look something like this:
- NS1: [ns1.gukm2.siteground.biz]
- NS2: [ns2.gukm2.siteground.biz]
All you need to do is change your nameservers for your domain name to the nameservers on your SiteGround account. I’ll show you how to do this for 123-Reg but it might be slightly different for other domain name providers.
Changing the 123-Reg nameservers
1. Log on to your 123-Reg control panel and click ‘Manage’ on your PRIMARY domain (think business cards).
2. Within the ‘Advanced domain settings’ section select ‘Change Nameservers (DNS)’
3. You should find Nameserver 1 and Nameserver 2 are currently set to 123-reg, something like this:
4. Copy / paste the SiteGround name server details in to the Nameserver 1 and Nameserver 2 boxes (without the square brackets). If something goes horribly wrong you can ‘Reset to 123-Reg Default’ and start again. It should now look something like this:
5. Click ‘Update’ and that’s you done!
What if I have multiple domain names?
If you’ve registered multiple domain names (for example a .co.uk and a .com) then you’ll probably want to forward your alternate names to your primary domain. This is very simple.
1. Go back a level to the ‘Domain basics’ section. By the way, if you want to update the contact details associated with a domain name this is where you would do it. Select ‘Web forwarding’:
2. Find your secondary domain(s) and click ‘Add’. In this example I’m forwarding smallbusinesstoolbox.co.uk to smallbusinesstoolbox.uk:
3. In the above example I’ve added a permanent 301 redirect. Make sure you include the FULL address of your primary domain (including the http://). At the moment use http:// instead of https:// since we haven’t set up SSL yet – we’ll do that later. Include the ‘www’ if you’re planning on using ‘www’ (see below). Hit ‘Confirm’ and that’s it done! Repeat the process for any other secondary domains you own.
www or no www?
You might be used to seeing domain names with ‘www’ at the start. There are arguments to keep the www and while they’re probably technically correct, for smaller sites it really isn’t worth losing sleep over. I prefer to advertise my domain names (think business cards) without the www. It’s never caused a problem for me (yet). Personal preference really – decide now as it’s awkward to change later.
Time to wait!
Whenever you make changes to DNS such as nameserver changes or web forwarding you’ll need to wait for these changes to replicate around the internet. Sometimes the changes happen almost immediately. Sometimes you have to wait up to 48 hours. If things aren’t working as expected just wait for a day or so and try again.
Should I use an Automated or Manual WordPress installation?
You have two options for installing WordPress. The easy ‘one-click’ method where the web host basically does everything for you. Or there’s the manual method. Which option you use is entirely up to you.
- Automated WordPress install pros and cons:
- much faster
- less nerdy
- process can vary depending on your web host
- you’ll learn less about how it all works
- Manual WordPress install pros and cons:
- takes longer
- more geeky
- pretty standard process no matter who your web host is
- you’ll have a better understanding of how everything works
I normally use the manual method since you have a little more control over how things are configured. Regardless, for either method you’ll need to set up a few e-mail addresses:
Set up some e-mail accounts
You can create as many e-mail accounts as you like. For example you might have staff members or you might want sales@ info@ etc. Again this is entirely up to you. I like to set things up with 4 default e-mail addresses. In the left-hand panel navigate to ‘E-mail’ -> Accounts. I’m going to set up these e-mail accounts:
- Generic Contact e-mail address – this is a public and generic contact e-mail address. I’m going to use email@example.com
- WordPress Admin e-mail address – this is a secret admin e-mail address and will be used as the ‘master’ administrative account for your WordPress website. I’m going to use firstname.lastname@example.org
- WordPress Contributor e-mail address – to help with security we’re going to associate your posts and pages with a different account from your ‘master’ admin account. I’m going to use email@example.com
- No Reply e-mail address – this will be used later down the line but it’s easier to set it up now – so I’m using firstname.lastname@example.org
Create all of the above and make note of the usernames and passwords. Remember you can come back to this area whenever you like to create extra e-mail addresses. You can also reset passwords from here and get access to your webmail.
I’m not going to go too deep in to the automated WordPress install in this article since the process can vary depending who you host with. You’ll learn much more about how things work by using the manual method below.
Preparing your web hosting for manual WordPress installation using SiteGround
Once DNS has done its thing, you can log on to your SiteGround control panel and it’s time to create your website!
- Click ‘Set up site’
- Click ‘Skip & Create Empty Site’
- Click ‘Finish’
Setting up a FTP account
You’ll need a temporary FTP account to install WordPress. This is very simple to set up:
- Within the ‘Websites’ section select ‘Site Tools’
- On the left hand panel click ‘Site’
- Click ‘FTP Accounts’
- Enter a name in the ‘Account Name’ box. I’ll use ‘ftp-andy’ but you pick whatever you like. Something that isn’t guessable.
- Generate a password and copy it to the clipboard. Then click ‘Create’.
- Your FTP account should be something like email@example.com
- I would suggest, for now, you store all of these usernames and passwords in a secure text document as you’ll need to refer to them regularly.
- Make note of the FTP hostname too.
For added security you can delete your FTP account once WordPress is installed. It’s only needed to gain back-end access to your site and you can re-create a FTP account at any time.
Set up the database
As mentioned before, WordPress needs a database so let’s create one! Again this is very simple. We’re going to use a thing called ‘MySQL’ for this:
- Navigate to ‘Site’ -> ‘MySQL’
- Click ‘Create Database’ – make note of the database name
- Click the ‘Users’ tab
- Click ‘Create User’ – make note of the username and password
- We now need to give that user access to the database you created
- Click ‘Manage Access’ for that new database user
- Select the database from the drop-down list
- Make sure ‘All Privileges’ is selected and click ‘Confirm’
That’s it – well done! You’ve just created your first MySQL database. If you ever need to change your database password for some reason this is where you would do it from. Remember if you accidentally delete the database you will delete your entire website, so be careful.
Your little password document should now look something like this. You’ll need all of this for the next stage when we manually install WordPress:
You should also obviously have your usernames and passwords for your domain name provider and web host. It’s really important to remember that a hacker could use these details to gain access to your website.
- Use complex passwords for everything
- Use usernames that aren’t guessable
- Keep these details VERY secure
You should now be ready to install WordPress! We’ll do that next time. If you spot any errors in this article please get in touch. Don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube and please join my mailing list.
Last Updated on 23 November 2020 by Andy Mac