Start Selling Online #3 – Creating your WordPress Installation

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OK, so we’ve got our domain name, we’ve signed up for a hosting package with 1&1, we’re now going to begin setting up our WordPress installation so we can begin building our online business.

WordPress used to be a little tricky to set up. You would have needed to understand how to use FTP to transfer the core installation, you would have needed to know how to setup a MySQL database, and how to use a text editor to configure a ‘wp-config’ file. Thankfully, web hosts make it much easier now to get up and running. If you want to understand a little about the process of manually understanding how to install WordPress you can click here. Otherwise follow the simple instructions below…

So let’s begin. Visit your 1&1 hosting account and visit your start page. It will probably be an address similar to https://my.ionos.co.uk/projects-app-selection – Click ‘Get started’ next to WordPress.

You may then need to choose your 1&1 contract on the following page. After you have chosen this you will be taken to the WordPress installation page. Let’s give our site a title. My site will be Sell Stuff Online to reflect the name of the website URL. Then click ‘Create Website’.

You will then need to create a username and password for your website. You should ensure that both of these are unique to prevent brute force logins to your site. Use a secure password generator to maximise the security of your login.

MAKE A NOTE OF THIS USERNAME AND PASSWORD. WE WILL NEED THIS SOON!

On the next page we can choose to have either a ‘Managed WordPress’ installation or a standard installation. A managed installation will provide you with a site that will be more difficult for you to break, but will not allow you to have full control over your site. A managed installation will allow you a choice of recommended themes and plugins, rather than the full range of customisations that are available with a standard installation, so let’s go with ‘Continue with WordPress’.

The next page will allow you to select the domain name that you chose when you setup the hosting account. Select it from the dropdown and then click ‘Assign Domain’. 1&1 Will then complete the installation process on your server. If we’ve followed everything sucessfully we’ll see a sucesss screen notification like the one below. If we see this, then let’s go to the ‘Edit Website’ option at the top.

We’ve now almost completed the basic installation. You should now be at the login page for your website. Enter the Username and Password that you created earlier, and hit ‘Log In’.

On the following page, the 1&1 helper will ask you if you want any help setting up your site. This will guide through suggested themes and functionality. We’re going to do this ourselves so you can confidently select ‘No thanks, I’m an expert’. You’ll now be taken to the main WordPress dashboard that will look something like this…

Activate SSL for your domain

Our 1&1 package came with a free Wildcard SSL Certificate. This will add a layer of security to our website, and will display the green padlock next to our address in the browser searchbar. We can activate this in our hosting package.

Go back to your website page in 1&1, you should be able to find this at https://my.ionos.co.uk/projects-overview – And select ‘Manage website’. Next to your domain name you should see a red open padlock. Click on it…

Next up we’re going to choose the SSL Starter Wildcard option by clicking ‘Activate Now’ at the bottom left of the screen.

On the following Domain Assignment page, agree to the Terms of Use by checking the box highlighted in blue, and then select ‘Set Up SSL Certificate’.

If all is well you’ll see an ‘Operation Successfully Completed’ message. Sometimes you’ll have to wait a while if your website is new, git it 24 hours and try again and you should be OK.

So let’s confirm that everything is working properly. Visit your domain in a new browser window and ensure you use https:// instead of http:// – In my case I’m going to visit https://sellstuffonline.co.uk – If everything is working fine we should see the beginnings of our website, and most importantly we’ll see that we have a padlock next to our address showing that the user has a secure connection to your website.

There’s two more things to complete the secure part of our site, to make sure we always get the secure padlock. Firstly, we’re going to go to Settings > General, and change the WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) to https, as shown below:

Secondly, we’re going to install our first plugin. Go to Plugins > Add New. In the search box type ‘Really Simple SSL’. Youj’ll then see a results screen like the screenshot below. Click ‘Install Now’ for ‘Really Simple SSL’, then click ‘Activate’, once it’s installed.

We now need to activate the plugin, so go to Plugins > Installed Plugins. There should be a panel on the plugin page advising you to ‘Go ahead, activate SSL!’, so click this button.

Now we’re properly secured. Go and check out your address, even with an http:// address your site will be served via https:// (Google also favours https:// connections so your site will rand better because of this.)

That’s all for this part of our tutorial, next time we’ll look at adding a coming soon page to our site and installing some essential plugins for security and additional functionality.

Start Selling Online #4