I am one of those people that has no idea how to really work with computers or electronic setups of any kind. I’m the person that when I am forced to unplug the tv or xbox for any reason, I use handfuls of carefully labeled masking tape to help me replug in everything correctly.
Websites are a bit of the same thing for me.
I’m not at all a computer person, so setting up a mySQL server sounds like the most intimidating thing I can imagine, and, well, it still is. Honestly, I’m not even sure if “setting up” is the right turn of phrase. All I know is that I click boxes, tinker with things, and before you know it–but far after you expect it, but right around when you’re ready to give up–you have a functioning (more or less) wordpress site.
If I can do this, I can at least walk you through a little bit it, and if nothing else, I can point you in some directions to where you can find better answers!
I feel as if I should point out: I’m not dumb, I just have a different skillsets, and because of this I have a variety of coping mechanisms.
For example: I take copious amounts of notes. These instructions are from a few years ago, when I was setting up another subdomain* site for a now defunct comic I was working on called “smallworld”** The notes still work though, because I used them to set up another website just this morning.
Step 1 (the stuff we do before actually touching wordpress)
Do you want to have wordpress host it, or do you want to host it under your own site name? If you want them host it, go here (https://en.wordpress.com/signup/) and follow the instructions. The rest of this blog post is unimportant to you and you are now ready for the fun “picking out a theme” game!
If you want it to look snazzy like mine, and you want to own it free and clear, and you want to do whatever you want with it, well then you’ll need to download wordpress (http://wordpress.org/download/) and keep reading!
Wait, what’s the difference?
One of the problems I’ve found when friends host with wordpress for free, (or even when you pay wordpress to host your site) is that you are limited as to what themes you can use. Now, this may or may not be true, but it certainly seemed that way when I tried to help friends who took that route. You’re also limited to how much CSS** you can affect in the guts of the site when hosting through wordpress.
The upside is that it’s cheaper.
However, as a comic artist I need to be able to go in and tweak my site and play with the art and the CSS to make the site look as visually good as I possibly can. If you’re just doing a regular blog or site, you may not have to do that. No matter what hosting you go with though, I’d strongly recommend you buy your domain name.****
Domains & Hosting
I use aplus.net to buy my domain name, and I host it at ixwebhosing.com. These aren’t affiliate links or anything, I just like their prices and their services. Check around though, you might find something cheaper that you like!
Also, talk to your friends that have their own websites: they’ll tell you who they like to use, and maybe they’ll even be willing to help you set them up! Having a friend or two go over this with you is invaluable!
Because I use two different companies (one for hosting, one for the domain) I have to do a thing where I set up the name servers. This SOUNDS complicated, but was really easy.
I logged into ixwebhosting and created a new “domain” listing using my brand new site name. They gave me the two “domain name server” names that I would need for the next step. I copied those down and logged into aplus and selected my new website. Under “managed domain” I then changed the domain name servers in the required boxes, and then sat back to wait for the next 48 hours for the changes to take effect.
It was really easy! The only dumb thing I did was copy the ENTIRE address for the new domain name server (including the numbers and dots and stuff) but I didn’t need any of those, just the part that said: “nsXX.ixwebhosting.com” and I was all set.
This is a really long post, so I’ll continue how I actually installed wordpress tomorrow!
* Ah, remember subdomains before there was multi-sites? What. A. Nightmare.
** Too funny! Small World, Giant Monster was the precursor to Era of Great Wonders, but all I had was that I wanted to draw giant monsters. After showing John the scraps of art I’d done and begging (and pleading) with him to write it, he started Era!
*** CSS stands for “Cascading Style Sheets.” If you’ve ever done any html before but aren’t sure about CSS, don’t worry: it’s super easy to learn! I’ll talk more later, but for now, check out stackoverflow and w3schools.
****Your domain name is your website name; mine is “typodmary.com” Now, it’s a little confusing because something like typodmary.wordpress.com LOOKS like a domain that I own, but it’s not: wordpress owns it, they’re just “allowing” me to use a subdomain. If they decide to delete it, I have no say in the matter.