How to Host PDFs on WordPress

If you’re looking for a way to make your online publications look more like a real printed book, you’re in the right place. Here, we’ll walk you through the steps to host your own PDFs on WordPress.

The Why

Why should you bother with hosting your own PDFs? Let’s say you’re an academic and you’ve completed a research paper in pdf format. Or perhaps you’ve published a book and you want to make the entire text available to the public in a digital format. In both cases, you’re probably looking for a way to make your research or writing accessible to a larger audience. With your own PDF hosted on WordPress, you can take advantage of the platform’s vast array of features (such as SEO, accessibility, and distribution) to make your academic or literary work discoverable to the appropriate audience.

The What

Whether you’re an academic or a publisher, the first step is to determine the type of content you’ll be releasing. What are you publishing? Research? A Guide to…? A novel? A textbook? A collection of essays?

Once you have a good idea of the general nature of the content, you can start to build your specific plan. For example, if your research paper is on the effect of climate change on crop yields, you might want to consider using a tool like to see how much attention your work has received in the media. Or, if you’re planning to distribute a textbook, you might want to look into using a tool like Table of Contents to make sure you don’t leave any information out.

Step One: Get The Equipment

There are a few things you’ll need to get in order to host your own PDFs on WordPress. First, you’ll need the equipment – specifically, a computer with an internet connection, or a mobile device – and the technical know-how to use it. If you have a laptop, you can use it to download the WordPress software and set up a hosting account. If you’re on a desktop, you can use an external hard drive or a cloud storage service, such as Google Drive or OneDrive, to store your files. On a mobile device, you’ll need a data plan to connect to the internet.

Step Two: Choose A Hosting Service

Once you have your equipment, you’ll need to choose a hosting service. A good host will have all the necessary features you need (including a live chat option) and be reliable and accessible 24/7. Most importantly, they’ll offer a money-back guarantee if you meet the right conditions. If you search for ‘web hosting reviews’ you’ll find numerous services to choose from. Once you’ve found a reliable host, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Step Three: Download And Install WordPress

On your computer, you’ll need to download and install WordPress. To do this, simply search for ‘WordPress download’ in your favorite search engine and you’ll see a list of official download links. When you click on a link, you’ll be taken to the WordPress site where you can choose the version you want to download (for example, the free version or the professional version) and then click on the ‘Launch button’ to continue to the download page. Once the download is finished, you can launch the program and follow the onscreen instructions to set up your hosting account. When the setup process is complete, you can login to your WordPress dashboard to continue to configure the platform per your needs. Remember: the more you configure, the more you can customize!

Step Four: Upload Your PDF

Once you’re in your WordPress dashboard, click on the ‘Files’ icon in the upper right-hand corner to navigate to your blog’s files. Next, click on the ‘Add New’ button in the center of the page to upload a file. When you click on the ‘Browse’ button, you’ll see a list of your devices and connected drives along with any external servers you may have (such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive). Choose the device you want to use (most likely your computer) and click on the ‘Open’ button to select the file you want to upload.

Depending on the size of the file, this step could take a while to complete. When the upload is finished, click on the ‘Publish’ button in the upper left-hand corner to preview your work. If everything is OK, click on the ‘Publish’ button again to post the article to your blog.

Step Five: Test The Setup

Once your blog is up and running, it’s time to test the setup. Before you publish your first piece of content, you want to be sure the files are working properly. To do this, simply login to your WordPress dashboard and click on the ‘Reading’ icon (the three lines in the upper right-hand corner). You’ll then see a list of all your blog’s articles along with several dropdown menus (one for each article) where you can sort the content by date, category, or keyword. You can also click on an article to see its details, including an ‘Edit’ button that will take you to the edit page for the article. From here, you can make minor tweaks to the text or add/remove photos to the piece. When you’re done, simply click on the ‘Update’ button at the top of the page to save your changes.

Step Six: Make The Blog Your Own

After you’ve tested the setup and are sure everything works properly, it’s time to make your blog yours! First, login to your WordPress dashboard and click on the settings icon in the upper right-hand corner. You’ll then see a list of all the services and plugins (apps, tools, and add-ons) you’ve activated (including a free WordPress toolbar that’s always visible in your browser’s toolbar).

To make the blog your own, simply click on the ‘Change Theme’ button and visit the search bar to type in the name of your blog’s theme. Once you’ve found it, click on the ‘Use This Theme’ button to use the theme you’ve chosen. Your blog’s design will instantly change and you’ll be able to see how everything fits together at once. (If you’ve changed minds about the theme later, simply click on the ‘Change Back’ button and choose a different theme to make your blog look as though it’s been freshly updated.)

Once you’ve made the blog your own, you can start adding content. The best way to learn how to use WordPress is through examples. So, for the next step, find a topic you’re passionate about and start a blog on it. When other bloggers start to share your same interest, you’ll have a vibrant community to help guide you along the way.

Step Seven: Optional: Consider Adding More Tricks

While the steps above will get you up and running with a functioning PDF blog in no time flat, you can take advantage of WordPress’s various built-in features to make your blog stand out. Some of these features are entirely free while others require a paid plan to use. If you want to make your blog stand out, use the ‘Add More Tricks’ button at the bottom of the dashboard to gain access to additional tools.

You might want to consider using tools like the Visual Dashboard to plan and display your blog’s content. Alternatively, you could create a ‘blog header’ – a header that’ll be used throughout your blog – using the Customizer from your WordPress dashboard. With these tools, creating a unique blog experience is much easier than it would be using only HTML and CSS.

To make your blog stand out, you might also want to consider using a service like Find My Pastimes which, when used in conjunction with a tool like Zotero, will automatically collect and organize all your citations and references as you type them. This can save you a huge amount of time in the long run.

If you want an attractive, well-designed blog that’ll make your readers proud to share your content with others, use a service like Grow With Me to get a professionally designed logo for free. You’ll also get a full-featured website featuring a working blog with lots of content organized in the best way you can think of. What more could you ask for?