I hope you have already registered your domain name and chosen WordPress as your platform for making your website. Now that those two things are out of the way, this tutorial will teach you how to host a WordPress site the correct way!
Is there a correct way and a wrong way to host a WordPress website?
What I mean by “Correct Way” is that people often choose the wrong web hosting company and the wrong hosting package to host their WordPress website, and then they curse WordPress when something or the other goes wrong on their website.
Believe me, I have seen so many people complaining about how complex it is to host and manage a WordPress website that it seems WordPress is the main culprit for all the issues.
The fact is that, WordPress, like any other software, needs decent server resources to run. If you host it on a sub-standard server from a web host who doesn’t understand how WordPress works and what it needs to run efficiently, then you will end up having glitches on your website.
So for people starting out with their website, the correct way to host a WordPress website is to:
- Host it with a Managed WordPress Hosting provider and
- Host it with a Managed WordPress Hosting provider that provides a Staging Site
But what is Managed WordPress Hosting? And what do I mean by a Staging Site?
What Is Managed WordPress Hosting and Why You Should Get It?
Managed WordPress Hosting simply means a hosting package from a web hosting company which will completely manage your WordPress installation for you without you having to lift a finger.
It means, your web hosting company will backup and update your WordPress installation with the latest updates and security patches as and when they become available. Your web hosting company will also make sure that the server on which your WordPress website runs is fine-tuned for running WordPress.
This means, all you need to do is to concentrate on designing and building your website and its content. You don’t have to invest your time to take backups, update your WordPress installation or to manage your server. Everything is taken care by your web hosting company.
These things will save you a lot of time and headache in the long run.
Now, you must be wondering what is a Staging Site and where does it fit into this picture.
What Is A Staging Site and Why Is It So Important?
A Staging Site is nothing but a replica of your main website. It is your playground to test different things before you implement them on your main site.
As your website grows, your needs will grow too. This means, you will want to try out different designs, plugins and themes to enhance your website.
If you try them out directly on your main website, then you run the risk of breaking your website.
This is where a Staging Site comes in handy. You can try out different things on your Staging Site before implementing them on your main site. Since a Staging Site is a replica of your main website, you get the exact feel of how your main website will look and function once you implement all the changes that you want to.
This is another huge time and headache saver. This is also where most of the people starting out with WordPress go all wrong. They host their website with a web hosting company that does not provide a Staging Site. This means they have to carry out all of their changes directly on their main website and this substantially increases their chances of breaking the main site.
Never do any change on your main website without testing it out on a Staging Site first.
Keep this simple rule in mind, always!
So now the question is, which web hosting company should you host your website with that is a Managed WordPress Hosting provider and also provides a Staging Site?
Which Managed WordPress Hosting Company Should You Choose
There are many web hosting companies that offer Managed WordPress Hosting packages.
You can spend a lot of time comparing each one of them. The one I usually recommend to everyone is Kinsta.
If your are starting out with your first website and you have decided to go with Managed WordPress Hosting, then take a good hard look at Kinsta.
Kinsta is by far the most fastest, most reliable and the most efficient Managed WordPress hosting provider that I have come across. And it also provides one-click Staging Site. Else, what is the point of choosing it! Correct?
Yes, Kinsta is a bit costlier than the other web hosting companies but then, you get what you pay for. At least I haven’t found any other web hosting company that gives the same streamlined experience of hosting a WordPress website as Kinsta does.
Furthermore, once you understand how WordPress works and are comfortable hosting it all by yourself, you can always shift to some other web host or run it from your own server.
Now, let us see how to host a website on Kinsta.
How to Host a WordPress Site On Kinsta
Go to the Kinsta website, and choose one of the available plans from the Plans page.
If you are just starting out, you can select the Starter plan.
After purchasing one of the plans, you can create your site on Kinsta.
Now you might have to wait for a few hours till these DNS changes propagate across the internet. You can keep checking the status of DNS propagation from What’s My DNS website.
Once your DNS changes have propagated across the globe, you can install SSL certificate on your site.
That’s all there is to hosting a WordPress website on Kinsta.
What If You Can’t Afford Kinsta?
In that case, an excellent low cost option is SiteGround.
SiteGround isn’t as good as Kinsta when it comes to Managed WordPress Hosting experience but it is a great alternative to Kinsta if you are on a tight budget.
Note that SiteGround offers Staging sites only in the GoGeek Plan. So if you want Staging site then you will have to get the GoGeek Plan.
I have used SiteGround for a number of years and have nothing but good things to say about SiteGround.
SiteGround’s Support team is excellent if you need help at any time.
Now, if you choose to go with SiteGround, then here are the steps to get your website up and running on SiteGround.
Buy one of SiteGround’s WordPress Hosting Plans. I am assuming you have already registered your domain with Namecheap. Don’t buy the domain from SiteGround so that you can easily change your web host in the future if you need to.
After you log in for the first time in your SiteGround Account, you might see SiteGround’s Installation Wizard. I usually skip this wizard so that I can set up everything myself. I recommend that you do the same.
Once you skip the wizard, you will see the User Area. Here, click “My Accounts” tab and then click “Information & Settings” tab. Make a note of SiteGround’s Nameservers mentioned against “Account DNS” field.
You will have to copy-paste these nameservers in your Domain Registrar account.
If you have registered your domain with Namecheap as I have recommended in How To Register A Domain Name tutorial, then here is a Namecheap help documentation on how to change the nameservers for your domain registered with Namecheap – How can I change the nameservers for my domain?
You will need to select “Custom DNS” option in the Nameservers field and then paste in the nameservers that you just copied from SiteGround.
You might have to wait for some time for the DNS changes to propagate across the internet. You can check the status of DNS propagation on What’s My DNS website.
Once this is done, come back to SiteGround and go to cPanel by clicking the “Go to cPanel” button.
Now, install Let’s Encrypt SSL by following the Install an SSL Certificate help documentation from SiteGround.
Once SSL is installed, follow the WordPress Softaculous Installation Tutorial from SiteGround to install WordPress.
Be sure to set the “Choose Protocol” field to “https://” (or “https://www.” in case you want your website URL to start with “www”) and make sure that your domain is selected in the “Choose Domain” field. Keep the “In Directory” field blank.
Once WordPress is installed, you will get the Admin URL to login to your WordPress Admin Panel.
You now know how to properly host a WordPress site.
So go and sign up for a Kinsta plan or a SiteGround plan to host your own website.
And if someone asks you how to host a site, teach them. Or better yet, ask them to read this tutorial.
If you have questions or need any help, just let me know in the comments below.