Using DreamHost to Set up WordPress Blogs and Websites

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DreamHost happens to be the world’s top-notch hosting company with blazing fast page loads, high customer satisfaction levels, and recommendations from WordPress to boot.

But when it comes to choosing hosting providers, it usually comes down to a coin toss between DreamHost and Bluehost – they’re that good. Since we’ve covered Bluehost in great detail in our previous posts, we decided to put together a how-to on setting up WordPress blogs with DreamHost.

Just like Bluehost, DreamHost provides domain registration, cloud services, and web hosting all at the same time. You can choose their free One-Click Installer to set up WordPress. So let’s get started.

You need two things to complete this guide:

  • A domain nameon which to build your website on (we’ll show how in a few minutes)
  • A credit card to purchase your hosting plan and the domain name (first year’s free)

Step 1: Set Up Your Account

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. You can either use your existing domain name or create a new one. Since you’ll be registering a new account with DreamHost, you can get a free domain for the first year. DreamHost provides a range of different hosting plans to choose from, but their three most popular options are as follows:

  • Shared Starter at $3.95 per month
  • DreamPress at $16.95 per month
  • VPS at $13.75 per month

Our recommendation is to go with Shared Starter since it is cheap and will give you a good idea about DreamHost’s capabilities.

When signing up with DreamHost, make sure to use an email address that you have complete access to. DreamHost will send all emails to this email address, not to mention that you’ll be needing these login details to view your account.

Once you have created an account, you will be asked to choose a domain name. You can get a free domain if you choose the yearly plan. Here’s a screenshot of how the domain selection page looks like.

In the box below, type out the name of your new website.

Make sure to be patient because it takes a few seconds for them to determine if the domain name is available. If it is, you’ll see a message like the one below:

Since we’re going with the annual plan here, you’ll notice that the domain name is completely free. Click on the “Add for $0.00” button.

Step 2: The Money Part

Now you’ll be asked to enter your payment details. You could go with the yearly plan to save a whopping $106.89 or choose the monthly option to save $86.90. And if you like their services, go with the 3-year option to save a generous $179.85. We’ve never had any problems with DreamHost and will continue recommending them.

Click here to set up your hosting account on DreamHost now if you haven’t already.

Step 3: Log in to DreamHost

Now that you’ve successfully paid for your new plan, you are one step closer to launching your new WordPress website. It won’t take long for DreamHost to send you login credentials. Once you receive the account approval email, you are ready to log in to DreamHost and set up your WordPress blog.

Simply go to www.dreamhost.com  and click on the Login Button. Alternatively, you can visit panel.dreamhost.com to directly go to the login page. Once there, you can enter the credentials that you used to set up your account in your initial sign up.

Once there, you can click on the “Domains” in the dashboard to the left of the window. This will expand the sidebar and you will see an option for “Manage Domains”. Click on it.

This will refresh the page and you will see the domain name that you purchased (or got for free) under the Domain column.

Under the Web Hosting column, you’ll see the text “DNS Only”. Click “Add” under DNS Only to start setting up this domain.

 

Once you click “Add” you will be redirected to the Fully Hosted page where you can set up details for the domain. You don’t have to tamper with these details, and for now, simply click on “Fully host this domain”.

Step 4:  Setting Up WordPress

Once you’re done with the fundamentals, it’s time to set up WordPress.

This is relatively easy because DreamHost lets you do this with one-click installs.

To start with, look at the left sidebar under “Goodies”. Click on “One-Click Installs”.

This will show several options, we won’t go into all of them. WordPress will be somewhere at the top of the page. Click on the WordPress icon.

This will then show a pop-up window where you fill in some extra details, here’s what you should do:

  • Install To: lets you choose a domain from a list of registered domains to install your new WordPress copy.
  • Select Database: Best to leave this alone for now. The default setting is “Automatically Create Database”, and that will do.
  • Deluxe Install: It is better to uncheck this box because it adds a few extra steps to an otherwise simple installation (such as choosing themes and a few extra features). Since we want to keep things simple for now, you really don’t need this feature.

Once you are satisfied with all the settings as outlined in the pop-up box, click on “Install it for me now!”. WordPress will now install in just a few minutes and will be ready to configure.

Login to WordPress

You will receive an email from DreamHost that will look like the one below:

http://www.MYDOMAIN.com/wp-admin/install.php

Click on this link to begin the configuration process.

Once you’re there, you will be asked to choose the language that you want to use with WordPress. Next, you will be taken to a page that looks like the one below.

This is also very straightforward and you can always change these details later on the WordPress dashboard.

  • Site Title: This is the name of your website. There’s no pressure to choose the right one, you can always come back to change it later.
  • Username: It is important to stay away from common usernames such as “admin”. Most hackers will use “admin” when trying to brute force their way into your WordPress website (and trust us, there are going to be hundreds if not thousands of brute force attempts). Choose a difficult username that isn’t easy to guess.
  • Make sure to use a powerful password that isn’t easily available in a dictionary. Brute force tools utilize thesauruses and dictionaries to set up password combinations in hopes of hacking your website.
  • If you want to minimize the visibility of your website through Google and Bing search engines (a bad idea), uncheck the “Discourage search engines from indexing this site”. Once again, you can always come back to change this.

That’s all you need to do. Once you click on “Install WordPress”, your website will go live. You will be shown a ‘success’ message and have the option to visit the dashboard to further fine-tune the website.

Step 5: Choose a WordPress Theme

Choosing the theme (or skin) is an exercise that is often shrouded in confusion and anxiety for those who have no idea. There are thousands of options, both free and premium, when it comes to WordPress themes. No matter what your business or niche, you’ll always find the perfect theme that checks all the right boxes. The best part is that you won’t need to learn any code.

To help you give your website the perfect makeover, we’ve done our review of the best WordPress themes that you can find here.

Once you have finally settled on the perfect them, it’s time to go ahead and install it. The good news is that WordPress has made this process extremely simple.

To install a new theme, simply visit your WordPress dashboard and navigate to the Theme > Appearance tab. Click on “Add New”.

WordPress also lets you upload a .zip file of the theme you received after downloading it from an outside source. The file will upload and when it’s done, you can click on Install. This will not activate the theme yet, it just installs the files. Once the installation is successful, you will see “theme installed successfully” displayed.

Now you can either preview or activate the theme you just installed.  The theme preview option lets you see what the website will look like before actually activating it. Think of it as a demo of the theme with your content and menus already plugged in before you take it live.

Once you click “Live Preview”, the theme is loaded with all its default settings and your existing content. You can customize this later.

If you’re happy with the new settings, you can click on Save & Activate to make the theme live.

If you click Activate without previewing the theme, it will go live right away. You can always go back to customize it using the appearance > customize button from the admin dashboard in WordPress.

Thanks for reading and we hope this was helpful. If you’ve got any suggestions on what we can do to make this guide better, do let us know and we will update.

Ready to start building your WordPress website on a DreamHost plan? Click on this link to get started now!

Note: While may receive a commission for each sale on DreamHost from this link, but we wouldn’t have recommended DreamHost if it weren’t good enough for our readers.

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