Can You Upload a CSS Website to WordPress?

For many web designers and developers, WordPress is the perfect content management system (CMS) because of its incredible support for various web designs and flexible coding capabilities. But for those looking to create a custom site from the ground up, the process can be a little more complicated.

WordPress supports the styling of individual blog posts and pages using popular CSS frameworks like Bootstrap and Foundation. But it doesn’t directly support the styling of entire websites via the WordPress dashboard like you might with a CMS like SquareSpace or Wix.

For those who prefer to build their website from the ground up, rather than using a pre-designed theme, exporting a static HTML website to WordPress can be tricky. Although there are various ways to accomplish this task, we’ll walk you through the process step-by-step so that you can have a fully functioning WordPress site in no time.

The Need For Speed

If you’ve ever tried to create a WordPress-based website and experienced any unexpected delays or roadblocks along the way, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. When you’re creating a static website from scratch, there’s no pushing buttons to speed up the process. You’re typing out HTML code one line at a time and dealing with things like FTP servers and web hosting to get your site live. Even worse, sometimes these speed bumps are totally unpreventable and beyond your control.

As a designer or developer, you’d like to think that you’re skilled enough to build a website that’s glitch-free and without any unexpected delays. But when it comes to actually getting the site live and tested, that skill doesn’t come close to equaling the ability to get things right the first time. Even after spending hours or even days researching the best way to upload a CSS website to WordPress, you can still run into problems that are totally out of your control. Luckily, there are always alternatives, and many of these solutions work under the hood to get your site up and running as fast as possible.

The Importance of Browser Compatability

As a general rule, you shouldn’t worry about whether or not your website will look the same in every browser. Designing for web standards is the best approach because it ensures that your site will look the same across all platforms and devices. But in some cases, especially when working with older devices or browsers that don’t support the required CSS or JavaScript techniques, you may want to take a little more time to ensure that your site looks the same as you intended it to. Luckily, there are various workarounds for almost every problem scenario.

Say, for example, that you’ve created a website with a parallax scrolling effect. By using unique background images in a mosaic pattern behind the main content, you can create the illusion of motion by having the background scroll at a different rate than the page itself. This technique is known as parallax scrolling and was first introduced to the world by iOS creator, Michael Dickel. While the effect is pretty cool, it requires a fair amount of skill to create a functional parallax scrolling website. Unless, of course, you want to limit yourself to using GIFs and static images.

Static vs. Dynamic Website Hosting

Depending on your skill level and how fast you want to get your site live, you may want to consider investing in a hosting plan that’s either static or dynamic. With static hosting, your site files (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) are hosted on the server, so whenever a page is accessed, the server will send the requested file directly to the user. This option is generally used by people who are new to web design or development and don’t have the budget or desire to continually upgrade their server infrastructure. It is, however, very easy to set up and requires minimal maintenance.

Dynamically hosted websites work a little differently. With this option, the client’s web server will request the file from a content delivery network (CDN) instead of from the hosting server. The CDN will then retrieve the file from one of their server locations and deliver it to the user. Dynamic hosting can be pretty pricey because you’re not only paying for the cost of the content delivery network but you’re also paying for the bandwidth used by all your site’s visitors. Still, for those who can afford it, the speed advantages and increased security are usually worth it.

How To Create a Static Website

Whether you’ve decided to build a static or dynamic website, the process is quite similar. The first thing you’ll want to do is register with a domain name registrar like Bluehost. To get started, visit the website and you’ll see a small tab at the top that says, “Visit Bluehost”. If you click this link, you’ll be taken to their registration page where you can choose your domain name. After you’ve picked a decent domain name that isn’t already in use, you can choose your hosting plan and click the big orange button to continue to their shared hosting reviews. From here, you can sign up for their shared hosting plan and start building your website the easy way.

Once you’ve signed up for shared hosting, you’ll be given a login address and a special link that will direct you to their control panel. From here, you can choose to have your site powered by WordPress or another content management platform and begin designing and coding your website accordingly. For the purposes of this article, we’ll assume that you’ve chosen to build the site using WordPress.

Step One: Set Up Your WordPress Blog

Now that you’ve got your hosting account set up, it’s time to move on to the next step of the process. You’ll first want to visit the website and click the Get Started button. Next, you’ll be taken to a page that will ask you to enter your email address and click the blue, “Get Started” button to continue to the next step.

Once you’ve entered your email address and accepted the terms and conditions, you can click the big orange button to continue to the next step. From here, you’ll be brought to the WordPress dashboard. The dashboard is where all your blog posts and pages are hosted, as well as where you manage your blog’s overall appearance, including the customization of the header, footer, blog posts, and sidebars. You can access the dashboard by clicking your profile photo at the top right of the screen or using the drop-down menu in the upper left corner. From the WordPress dashboard, click the Add New logo to get started.

Step Two: Upload Your Website Files

Once you’re in the WordPress dashboard, you’ll see a button on the left side of the page that says, “Choose Files” with the option to “Browse locally” or “Drop files manually”. As a best practice, we always suggest uploading your files manually because, ultimately, you’re the person who is going to be maintaining this site in the future. But if you’ve already built a site and are looking to clean it up for a redesign or just want to switch to a different theme, you can use the “Browse locally” option to find the files on your computer.

For those who have decided to build a static website, the process is now complete and you can simply visit your blog’s URL (e.g., You’ll see a big, green “Go Live” button at the top right corner of the screen. That’s it! You now have a fully functioning WordPress site with the design and coding you created.

If you click on the Go Live button, you’ll be taken to your site’s homepage where you can see a brief summary of your site’s content.

Step Three: Customize Your Site’s Appearance

One of the fun parts of building a website is customizing its appearance via CSS. When you first built your WordPress site, you were brought to the Dashboard where you can edit the different elements of your site. From the drop-down menu in the upper left corner of the WordPress dashboard, select Dashboard to get to your site’s backend.

From here, you can click on the Customize Appearance button to be taken to a page that will let you edit the different parts of your site’s layout. This is where you can upload and make available various themes and plugins that can be used to further shape the design of your site. For example, you can choose to use a special color for the main header or use a different font for the text in your posts. You can use the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor to make changes to your site’s content.