How to Host WordPress Website on a Computer
WordPress is undoubtedly one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) in use today, winning a whopping 11% of the market share as of October 2018.
Its popularity is likely thanks to its ease of use and the vast number of themes and plugins available for it. It is also one of the most economical options for setting up a website, boasting a free version and highly affordable paid plans.
A WordPress website can be hosted on a variety of hardware and software platforms, meaning it can be accessed not only from a computer but also from other devices such as mobile phones and tablets.
This tutorial will guide you through the process of setting up a basic WordPress website using the freely available LAMP stack—Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP—found on nearly all hosting platforms. You will not need to purchase any additional software or licenses in order to do this.
Step 1: Select a Hosting Provider
There are numerous hosting providers out there, all offering slightly different services and prices. You can choose a web host that is highly recommended by others or go with one that is well-known and has a good reputation. In the end, you will need to make a choice that works best for you.
For the purpose of this tutorial, we will be using the Hetzner Online Shop, a hosting provider that is extremely affordable and offers a variety of plans to suit every taste. All plans come with free domain names and the popular cPanel control panel, which makes setting up a WordPress website an easy task.
Step 2: Install LAMP
The LAMP stack—Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP—is an acronym for the four server-side software packages that you will need to install in order to host a WordPress website. You can download all of these tools from reputable websites like Github or NuGet.
While these tools can easily be installed via a command-line interface (CLI) offered by most host providers, it is better to install them manually according to the instructions provided by the website you choose to host your WordPress site on. In most cases, this will be a one-time process after which you can log in to your control panel and begin setting up your website.
Step 3: Configure Database, Username, and Password
Databases are an essential part of any computing environment, including a WordPress one. MySql – the most popular open source database – offers a variety of features and is very flexible, meaning it can be used for a variety of tasks. It is highly recommended that you choose a database that is tuned for WordPress and provides a lot of flexibility.
Once you have installed MySQL, you will need to create a database with the unique name wpdb and give it the proper permissions. The free version of WordPress includes a basic database with the username “admin” and password “password” pre-configured, which you can use to get started quickly. However, if you prefer not to use this database, you can always choose another one and connect it to your WordPress site. Simply log in to your control panel via cPanel and navigate to the Databases section. From here, you can see all of the databases available for you to use and connect to your WordPress site.
Step 4: Install WordPress and Activate Services
Now that you have your LAMP stack and MySQL database properly configured, you can move onto the next step and begin installing WordPress. Like many other CMS’s, WordPress comes with a ton of pre-built templates for you to choose from, but you can also build your own unique templates if you are a graphic designer or engineer.
Once you have downloaded the WordPress installer, simply run it, and follow the prompts to complete the installation. Once the process has finished, you will be able to log in to your cPanel via http://www.yoursite.com and begin setting up your WordPress site. From here, you can install additional plugins as needed and begin creating your content.
Step 5: Configure the Site’s Appearance
The look and feel of your website is controlled by several factors, including your theme and the additional plugins you install. As a general rule of thumb, a good starting point is to opt for free themes that are supported via the WordPress community.
For this tutorial, we will be using the Twenty Fourteen theme, one of the most popular free themes out there. This theme is based on the latest version of WordPress (3.5) and is also compatible with the widely used All-in-One SEO tool, giving you endless opportunities to customize the appearance of your site.
Step 6: Set Up the Site’s SSL Certificate
All-in-one SEO tools like WordPress Security & Hardening and Sucuri Browser Security are two great add-ons that can be used to protect your site from online threats. An SSL certificate is a digital certificate issued by a trusted Certificate Authority (CA) that gives you and your visitors the confidence to submit personal information over an unsecure connection.
After you have installed the SSL certificate on your hosting account, you will need to point your web browsers to https://yoursite.com instead of http://yoursite.com. Simply use the hostname of your site (yoursite.com) followed by the colon and then the https:// URL to access your site via a secure connection.
Step 7: Configure Email Accounts
Another important part of your computing environment is your email client, which you can use to send and receive emails. For the purpose of this tutorial, we will be using the widely used Gmail app to configure our email accounts.
To get started, navigate to Settings (top right corner) -> Apps -> Download Now and install the Google Apps package. Once this is done, you will be able to log in to your Gmail account and begin configuring services on your WordPress site.
Step 8: Set Up the Blog’s RSS Feed
A content management system like WordPress enables you to quickly publish content and then share that content with interested parties via RSS feeds. An RSS feed is essentially a listing of the content published by a blog in the form of a list of articles. Every time a new article is published, an RSS feed will notify you via email of the new content, making it quick and easy to stay up-to-date on any changes to your blog’s content.
To set up an RSS feed for your blog, visit Dashboard -> Settings -> Permissions and make sure that the RSS option is selected. Then simply type in the name of your blog (e.g., techcrunch) and choose a feed address from which you want to receive new content (e.g., http://feeds.techcrunch.com/). Press Save Changes and your feed will be set up.
Step 9: Set Up the Site’s Homepage
Your website’s home page is simply the front page (index.php) that is displayed whenever someone visits your site via a web browser. To create a homepage for your site, visit Dashboard -> Settings -> Reading and make sure that the home option is selected. Then simply type in the address of the page that you want to use as your homepage (e.g., http://www.techcrunch.com/) and make sure that you save changes.
Step 10: Install a Favicon
Favicons are small, colorful images that appear in the corner of a web browser’s toolbar, signaling to the user that they are visiting a website. They usually represent the name of the website owner or the brand associated with the site. For example, the WordPress mascot, Max, is represented by the image file max.png.
To make your favicon, simply go to Dashboard -> Settings -> Reading and make sure that the Favicon box is checked. Then, in the HTML code for the homepage or a designated image for the site, type in the image’s URL (e.g.,
http://maxcdn.bootstrapcdn.com/font-awesome/4.1.0/css/font-awesome.min.css). Finally, save changes and voila—your favicon will be installed.