Self-hosting a WordPress website is easier than you think.
Thanks to the use of one-click installers and drag-and-drop builders, building a professionally designed website is now well within the reach of just about anyone with an idea and a plan. A barebones budget of less than $4 is all you need as seed capital. The trick, of course, is to find the right hosting partner.
For this review, we’ll be using Bluehost to self-host a website on a budget of $3.95 a month.
But first, why go with Bluehost? Why not GoDaddy, SiteGround, or inMotion?
- Bluehost isrecommended by WordPress since as early as 2005 (credibility)
- Bluehost provides 24/7 round the clock support if you ever run into issues (accountability)
- You get a free domain for the first year (useful when every penny counts)
- You get access to a 1-click installer that makes short work of WordPress installs
- You also get a free SSL certificate (super useful if you’re processing payments)
Moreover, Bluehost ticks all the right boxes when it comes to the two most essential things that really matter:
- Minimum uptime of 99.94% (essential for businesses that sell services and products)
- Fast website loading speeds (essential for SEO)
If you haven’t already started a Bluehost plan, do it now by clicking this link here.
In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you just how easy it is to self-host a WordPress website using Bluehost.
Step 1: Set up a Hosting Account
Visit Bluehost.com and click on “Get Started”.
Next, you’ll be asked to choose a plan. You can currently choose from four different plans:
- Basic at only $3.95 per month
- Plus at only $5.45 per month
- Choice Plus at only $5.45 per month
- Pro at only $13.95 per month
For our intents and purposes, we’d go with the cheapest option, Basic at only $3.95 per month.
This will prompt a new screen where you’ll be asked to set up your domain. You can either create a new domain or use a domain that you already own.
We recommend creating a new domain since it’s free for the first year.
Pro tip: If you haven’t already decided on a domain, check out our in-depth guide here to pick an SEO-friendly domain name.
Alternatively, you can click on “I’ll create my domain name later” (you’d still get the free domain name so it’s no big deal to skip this step to come back later).
The next step is fairly straight forward.
You’ll have to provide basic account information, package information, package extra (tick the boxes off!), and payment details.
Payment is secure and protected with SSL encryption.
Once you’re done, hit “Submit” and head on for the next steps!
A few minutes later, you’ll be taken to a new page that will provide you with account information and plan information. Click on the “create your password” button to set up your new password.
Our recommendation is to use a strong password that makes use of numbers, letters, and special characters to resist brute force hacking attempts (and there will be lots of such attempts!).
Step 2: Launching Your WordPress Site
Alright, so the hard stuff is nearly over. Once you’ve signed up with Bluehost, you’ll have to install WordPress to put your site up. Once again, this is a very straightforward process thanks to the user-friendly interface and one-click WordPress install features.
To get started, do the following steps:
- Log into the Bluehost dashboard
- Click on “My Sites”
- Then hit “Create Site” on the top right corner
Next, you’ll be asked to provide some basic information about your new website, including the site name and site tagline. These details aren’t very important at this point and you can always come back to modify them later.
You will then be asked to set up your Domain name. Use the drop down menu to select the domain name that came with your Bluehost account. You will also be asked to include some of Bluehost’s recommended plugins. Simply hit Next and Bluehost will start installing WordPress for you.
Once your WordPress site has done installing (should take no more than a few seconds), Bluehost will display your new log in details and also email them to you.
In order to access your new WordPress website, you will have to click the “Login to WordPress” link.
Step 3: Configuring Your New WordPress Website with Bluehost (optional)
Bluehost provides their own special tools that make WordPress easier than it already is, but you don’t really need them.
The Bluehost dashboard lets you do the following:
- Publish new pages and posts
- Create menus
- Create an online store using WooCommerce
- Test your website
- Disable the “Coming Soon” page on your website (which may be annoying!)
All of these features can be performed using the WordPress dashboard, they’re just conveniently put together thanks to Bluehost.
You can use the Bluehost Quick Launch Wizard to make your WordPress website more functional. Simply follow the on-screen instructions to install essential plugins such as WPForms Lite, Jetpack, and Caching. Let’s take a closer look at these features:
Jetpack: Jetpack improves the performance and security of your WordPress site, and also doubles as an analytical tool capturing user behavior and how people interact with your website. The Bluehost Wizard lets you quickly connect to WordPress.com to activate all of these features.
WPForms Lite – If you want your audiences to send in their contact information easily and without a hitch, you’ll need a contact form. WP Forms Lite Plugin is free and lets you do this immediately.
Caching – Simply put, caching lets you load your website faster, which is important for SEO and user-experience.
Step 4: Creating Pages
Let’s get into the meat of the matter: WordPress pages and posts.
Your next obvious step should be to start making content for your WordPress website. This is done by adding new pages. You can do this within the WordPress dashboard. Here’s how:
- On the WordPress dashboard navigation menu, click on the Pages Menu
- Click on “Add New”
- Next, you can give the page a new title, such as ‘home page’, ‘about us’, and more
How the website displays each page depends on your selected theme. Here are a few essential pages that almost all websites tend to have:
Homepage: This is the main page on your website that most people will visit. Make sure the homepage uses powerful content, images, and CTAs.
About Page: This important page lets you share your journey with your audience. Try to be as personal and relatable as possible. Introduce your core team here and provide any information you feel is relevant.
Contact Page: It’s always a good idea to have a contact page with essential details such as phone number, email address, and physical address so that your audience can reach you.
Blog: In order to stand out from other businesses, you’ll need to add a blog and enrich it with content on a regular basis. Check out our guide here if you’re new to content generation.
Step 5: Take the Website Live
Once you’ve created all your essential pages, you can take the website live. Until then, your website will show the “Coming Soon” page by Bluehost.
When you’re ready to make your website go live, click on the “Launch your site” button in the Bluehost dashboard.
Bonus Content: WordPress Themes
The default WordPress themes are a bit… bland, to put things mildly.
They will definitely not woo clients over.
For a more professional and premium look, you’ll need to find the right WordPress theme and a few tools. WordPress has made it very easy to customize your website using drag-and-drop builders.
To install a new WordPress theme, check out the following steps:
- Log in to WordPress dashboard
- On the far left of the screen, click on Appearance
- This will take you to the Themes menu. Click on “Add New”
From here, you have to pathways:
Upload a theme manually
Install a them using from the official WordPress database.
Note: To upload a theme manually, you’ll need a copy of the WordPress theme in .zip format.
You can preview a theme before taking it live.
Simply hover over your preferred theme and click on “Live Preview”.
Note: If you experiment too often with WordPress themes, you’ll notice that all your plugins, menus, and pages will change their previous ordered structure. This is because each theme is programmed to display information differently. We recommend live previewing the theme before activating it!
Pro tip: You can really take customization to the next level with a really neat plugin called Elementor. It’s free and lets you build interactive landing pages using a drag and drop interface.
If you’re not sure which themes to install for a professional looking website, we’ve got you covered in our review of the Best Corporate WordPress Themes for 2020. Check it out here.
Anyways, this was our step-by-step guide of WordPress installation using Bluehost. We hope the guide helped you self-host your own website. If you have any other queries related to self-hosting websites using Bluehost, don’t forget to let us know in the comments below!