14 Aug 2019

Step-by-Step cPanel Beginners Guide | Create, Login & Manage

What is cPanel?

cPanel is a tool that allows you to manage your entire web hosting account. cPanel is secure, updated regularity and easy  to use – making it the perfect choice for people or web masters managing one or multiple websites. 

cPanel is the most popular award-winning Linux web hosting control panel, often offered for free by many website hosts. In saying that, some hosts charge monthly for cPanel, so it pays to shop around. 

cPanel has been around for two decades and is an extremely useful tool for website administration.There is some confusion as to what the difference is between WordPress and cPanel is, as well as why you should use cPanel in the first place. In this article we’ll discuss everything to do with cPanel, how to use it, who should use it, and it’s many applications.

cPanel user statistics are pretty impressive – they have over 3 million customers and support 889,970 live websites around the world. cPanel is the fifth most used Content management system in the UK. WordPress is still number one with 62% of UK websites running on WordPress and just 4.65% using cPanel as a CMS. 

 cPanel is a lot more than a CMS. You can administer your whole server direct from your web browser through their easy to use interface or API. This includes setting up email addresses, configuring domain names as well was managing content. 

This article is meant as a complete beginners guide to using cPanel in 2019, so I’ll keep it super simple and easy to follow even for the complete cPanel or technical novice. I’ll start off with the basics so that you have a foundation to work from. So if you already know a bit about cPanel you can fast forward to the more technical aspects.

What’s the Difference between cPanel, FTP and WordPress?

cPanel – is your server control panel. Use cPanel to set up domains, sub-domains, emails, user permissions, upload large files and databases for your website. 

WordPress – is a content management system (CMS) similar to Drupal or Joomla. 

FTP – allows you to upload files to your website. However, you can also do this directly from cPanel.

cPanel – A brief history

cPanel and Web Host Manager (WHM) are both owned by the same company and are based in Houston, Texas. The first version of cPanel was released in 1996 and was initially created as the control panel for a web hosting company called “Speed Hosting” – now defunct. cPanel was acquired by Oakley capital in 2018. Oakley capital also own Plesk and SolusVM.

What is Web Host Manager (WHM)?

WHM is the master account, under which you can access cPanel accounts for each of your websites. You should see a list of websites (if you own a few domain names). From here you can manage your cPanel accounts. 

What Can You Do With cPanel?

Before you jump in to use cPanel, it’s important to decide if the tool is for you. If you are managing multiple websites, cPanel is extremely useful. Here is a brief list of what you can do with cPanel:-

  • Point domain names to your website hosting
  • Create professional email addresses for your website.
  • Make website backups
  • Upload content to your website
  • Manage your usage and bandwidth
  • Install applications to your server
  • Manage security settings easily 
  • Manage databases and add new databases
  • And much more…

Although cPanel is comprehensive, they have done a great job of making the graphical user interface (GUI) easy to use. You don’t need to use all of the features to benefit from cPanel and their easy –to-use interface allows you to get as advanced as you like, once you are comfortable with the features. 

How Do I Find My cPanel?

It’s really easy to locate your cPanel. All you have to do is add “/cPanel” to your domain name, for example “mysite.com/cpanel”. Once you are there you’ll need to input your username and password, simple as that.

Alternatively you can find your cPanel account inside your hosting provider dashboard. Depending on what web hosting provider you are using, the dashboard may differ.  For example, on Bluehost you’ll find your cPanel by clicking on the word “Advanced”. If you cannot locate your cPanel via your dashboard on your hosting account then reach out to their customer support team. 

How Do I Log in to cPanel?

After you have located your cPanel account, bookmark the login page for future use. You should see the following login screen. You’ll need to set up a secure username and password to login to your cPanel, so keep these details safe to make it simple to login in the future. 

PRO TIP: Make sure to use a secure password as password breaches are possible if you use a weak password. Meaning people could easily access and hack your websites with a weak password.

Want to be a cPanel Pro?

If you want to dive in deep and get pro at cPanel, you can do this for free by visiting the cPanel Tutorials page. Here you’ll find all sorts of information on branding your cPanel (if you are setting up a hosting company or want to make your cPanel look professional). You can also learn how to set up mailing lists, forwarders, manage SSH keys and much more.

Finding Your Way Around cPanel

Great, you’ve logged into cPanel, what now? 

You should see a dashboard similar to the one below.

You’re dashboard might not look like ours but its ease enough to change the look and feel of your cPanel dashboard. 

cPanel Styling

If you want to change the look and feel of your cPanel, you can do so by selecting “PREFERENCES” and then “Change Style”. You’ll normally find this at the bottom of your screen, however this varies depending on the current theme of your cPanel dashboard. 

You should find a list of theme types, again this can vary depending on your host. We’re using the Paper Lantern theme. You can check what theme that you are using down the right hand side. 

If you scroll down to the very bottom of your dashboard you should find the “Change Style” icon.

Once in there you can choose from: Basic, dark, light and retro (we’re using “Basic”)

Reorganizing your cPanel’s Dashboard/ Homepage

Your cPanel dashboard can be customized by re-organising sections, to allow you to have the most used functions at the top. It’s as simple as hovering over the section header – for example the  “FILES” section and then dragging them to re-order the sections. 

What are cPanel Functions and How Do I use them?

cPanel calls each action that you want to perform via their user interface a “function”. “Change style” is an example of a function and “domains” is another example of a function (accessible via the cPanel dashboard). Inside each of the functions you can manage various aspects of your website. 

You can easily access functions on the dashboard by searching in the white search bar which reads “Find functions quickly by typing here”. Begin typing and cPanel will populate your screen with the corresponding function.

cPanel Navigation Bar

At the very top of the dashboard page you’ll see the navigation bar. The far left is the cPanel logo and a simple search to search the entire management system. To the right of the search you’ll see a white silhouette and the name of the specific account (we’ve covered this for privacy reasons). 

If you hover over the arrow to the right of your username then there is a user preferences tab where you can reset your password, change security, change language, change style, update contact information and reset page settings. There is also a notifications bell that lets you know about cPanel updates, and finally – a link to logout. 

Updating Your Password

Make sure to keep your password safe, changing it periodically is a good idea for security. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to change your password and keep it safe.  

1. Hover over the arrow to the right of your username

2. Select “Password & Security”

3. Enter your old password in the top box that says “Old Password”.

4. Click the “password generator” to automatically generate a new strong password

Or

5. a) Input a strong password of your choice

6. Press the blue button at the bottom of the page that says “Change your password now” to save your new password.

7. Keep your new password safe by following the “Protect Your Password” tips at the bottom of the page.

Update Your Contact Information 

Make sure to keep your contact information current. cPanel uses this information to keep you up to date with your configuration. You mustn’t use an email address on the domain name that you are managing as a contact email, because if your domain name goes down you’ll not be able to find out.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to update your contact information.   

1. Hover over the arrow to the right of your username

2. Select “Contact Information”

3. Add in a few email addresses that you can be contacted on

4. Contact Preferences (Recommended: select all of the checkboxes)

The check boxes at the bottom of the page are selected so that you get information about any suspicious activity on your account, SSL certification expiry, when your account reaches bandwidth etc… So it is a good idea to have all of these selected so that you’ll get alerted if there are any changes to your account. 

5. Once you have updated your email address then make sure to hit the blue “save” button at the bottom of the page.

Navigating the cPanel Side Bar 

On the far left of your screen (just under the cPanel logo) you’ll find some icons. These vary depending on your web host provider. On mine I have “home” that takes you back to the main dashboard and “user manager”.

Depending on what your host offers, you may have more icons with additional features like “statistics” (where you’ll be able to overview the bandwidth and usage). I don’t have this feature on this particular domain. 

The cPanel “user manager” icon that appears just under the “home” icon in my account allows the management of additional users on your account. Simple – right?! You can check what rights the users have, for instance – do they have FTP access or email accounts? You can add, edit and delete user preferences in this area. 

How to Add a New User in cPanel 

Why would you want to add a new user to your cPanel account? New users can be added for anyone else who wants to manage your websites. This may be a business partner, web developer, colleague or anyone else you want to be able to access your cPanel. 

1. You can access your user manager from the icon on the left of the screen, under the logo (or by going to the preferences section on your dashboard). Once selected you should see the following screen:

Here you can see I have two users – “veganhealth” and “veganhealth_logs”. I am currently logged in as veganhealth. You will see all of your registered users here. 

2. Next to the account you can see three icons – an envelope, a vehicle and a server box.

a).The Envelope –The envelope tells you if the user has an email registered. Grey means there is no email registered; blue indicates that they do have an email registered.

b).The Vehicle – The vehicle lets you know if the user has an FTP account. Grey means they don’t have an FTP account; blue indicates that they do have an FTP account.

c).The Server Box – The server box icon lets you know if the user can access the web discs. 

3. If you are the administrator of the account you can change their password, delete user.

How to Add Users to Your cPanel Account 

1. Tap blue “Add user” button (top right). You should now see the following screen:-

2. Fill in the new user details on the form, including their name, username and email. Account notifications and password reset confirmations to this email address you provide.

3. Create a secure password for your new user

The Services Section 

4. In the services section you can set preferences that will be shown next to your new user as the icons I outlined above. Email, FTP and Web Disc space.

5. Email: Toggle to enable and disable the users email address

6. Email: Allocate the amount of email resources that they have as the allocated “quota”.

7. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol: FTP access gives the user permission to upload files to your server. 

8. FTP: You can enable or disable FTP access. 

9. FTP: Allocate what directory (folder on your server) that the user can access. Like the email setting you can allocate the amount of space they can use on your server.

10. Web Disk: So long as you allocate the correct folder to the user, they can only alter files in that area. However, to be sure, save the Web Disk space for admin users that you trust. 

11. Web Disk: You’ll see that you can select Read-Write or Read-Only. Read-Write allows the user to delete and write over files. Read only is for users that you want to be able to read the files but not over write them.

12. Save User: To save the new user click the blue “Create” button, alternatively you can cancel or decide to go ahead and create another user account.

Managing Your Domain Names in cPanel 

To manage your domain names you need to go to the “DOMAINS” section on the main dashboard. You can simply begin to type Domains and be taken directly to the domain name function section of your cPanel dashboard.

Adding/ Modifying Domain Names 

To add a new domain name to your cPanel account you’ll want to select “Addon Domains” as seen above. Just click the green “plus” sign. You should then be taken to the screen below:

Adding/ Modifying Domain Names 

To add a new domain name to your cPanel account you’ll want to select “Addon Domains” as seen above. Just click the green “plus” sign. You should then be taken to the screen below:

To find out more about this feature you can review the cPanel documentation here.

1a) Type in the domain name that you own in the top field, omit the http://www. And just put “yourdomain.com” – substituting “yourdomain.com” for your actual domain name and extension.

1b) After you have added in your “New Domain Name” the subdomain field will automatically populate with the domain name when you click on it.

1c) The domain root will automatically fill in

1d) Tap “Add Domain” to save your add on domain.

Modifying Domain Names

2a) If you scroll down on the addon domain screen you should see the modify domain name screen (shown below)

If you have already set up subdomains you can manage them on this page

3. Fill in the “Subdomain” field with the subdomain you want to add to your site 

4. Click the blue “create” button to save.

Subdomain Redirection

Once your subdomain is set up you’ll want to decide where it is pointed. 

To do this you can follow these steps:

1. Scroll down to the “Modify Subdomains” section (at the bottom of the subdomains page)

2. Hit “redirection” next to the subdomain you want to point.

3. Add in the url of the page that you want your subdomain to point to

4. Press the blue “save” button (alternatively you can disable the redirection that you’ve set)

Why Create a Subdomain? 

You might want to expand on a certain area of your site, for example a blog or a recipe section. A subdomain gives you more flexibility to add on whole new sections and features to your website.

Create Custom Email Accounts 

You can create professional looking email addresses for your domain directly from your cPanel. To do this simply go back to dashboard and follow these steps.

1. Search for “email accounts” on your cPanel dashboard

2. Click “email accounts” and you’ll be taken to the following screen:

3. To create a new email address hit the blue “create” button – neatly circled in red above.

4. Select your website from the dropdown shown in silver – make sure you have added your domain name to cPanel. If not then add it as shown above.

5. Then you’ll want to enter the email address for your website, for example “info” or “hello” 

6. Create a secure password for your new email address. You can do that with the “generate” button next to the password field

7. Set Mailbox Quota, that will be the amount of data in email format that can be stored in this mailbox. Set a reasonable limit depending on the amount of space you have on your server.

8. Click on the blue “Create” to set up your  new email address

How do I use my New Email Address? 

Good question! Once you have set up your new professional email address you need to be able to access software to send and receive emails. You can do this with either:

1. Email Client – eg. Gmail or Outlook

2. Webmail

Let’s roll with Webmail to start with. Here is a step by step guide to setting up Webmail to use your email address. 

1. Select “Check Email” on your email accounts page – next to the email account you are trying to access. I was offered two options as seen below:-

1. I then selected “Roundcube” which is an open source software that is completely free

2. I can now send and receive emails this way, super easy!

Accessing Your Webmail 

Whenever you want to go in and send and receive emails you can simply go back to the “check email” tab next to your email address and check your mail.

You can also access your webmail by adding the suffix /webmail to your domain name in the URL navigation bar. You then need to enter the email address and password that you set in your cPanel. 

PRO TIP: Webmail is great when you are setting up multiple email addresses as they can be set up free and easily shared with team members. 

Email Forwarding 

You might want to manage all of your emails from a central email address. If so, you’ll want to set up an email forwarder. 

1. Back on the dashboard, search for “Forwarders” and you’ll find it in the EMAIL section

You can choose to forward a single email address or all email addresses for a domain.

The blue “Add Forwarder” button allows you to add a forwarder for a single email address. The blue “Add Domain Forwarder” allows you to add an email forwarder for all emails on that domain.

Let’s focus on the first “Add forwarder button”.

Step 1 – Click the first blue “Add Forwarder” button and you should see this screen

Step 2 – Add the user part of the email address, for example “your.name” or “hello” (eg. If you wanted to forward your email Michael@yoursite.com you’d simply input Michael into the “address to forward” field.

Step 3 – The domain section is a dropdown of all available domain names on your cPanel account. Tap the arrow to the right and select the domain name of the email address that you want to forward. (eg. Using our previous example Michael @yoursite.com – you’d select yoursite.com from the dropdown)

PROTIP: You’ll only see domain names that you own and are on this current instance of cPanel in the dropdown field.

Step 4 – Choose the destination by selecting “forward to email address” and inputting the email address that you want your “address to forward” (email on  your domain) to forward to.

Step 5 – Make sure to tap the blue “Add Forwarder” button at the bottom to action your email forwarding.

How to Set Up Spam Filters 

This part is important, as you won’t want your email address filled with pointless spam emails. Software like Gmail puts spam in a folder, however with your Webmail account you need to set up these filters. 

Step 1 – On your cPanel Dashboard select “Spam Filters” from the EMAIL section. You should now see the following screen:

Normally the spam filter is enabled as standard. However, it’s a good idea to check this and also select what preferences suit you. As you can see my spam filter (Apache SpamAssassin) is enabled.

Step 2 – You can also choose to Automatically Delete New Spam.  However, that means that you might miss out on an email that was marked as spam by mistake. Instead I’d suggest putting your spam emails in a spam folder so that  you can double check it when you want. 

Step 3 – Select the toggle – “Move New Spam to a Separate Folder (Spam Box)” – and the slider will go blue. You can empty your spam folder

Step 4 – Empty your spam box periodically to free up disc space by selecting “Configure Spam Box Settings” and then emptying the spam box folder by clicking on the “Empty the Spam box older for “youremail 

Using the cPanel File Manager 

Use your file manager to upload files, backing up your website and FTP management.  The “File Manager” is a really handy tool for managing all of the files on your site. You can do this directly from the file manager section of cPanel, without needing to use an FTP tool, which is great as FTP tools are a bit daunting for the beginner. 

1.  Search for “File Manager” on your dashboard – select this option and you should see the following screen:

PROTIP: Be very careful, and double check everything when you are in the File Manager section. 

Navigating the File Manger

The left pane shows your root folder, which is the main folder on your website. You can click on the plus sign next to the folders to expand the section and see the subfolders inside the file.

The middle pane shows the files that you have double clicked on. 

2. To Create New Folder follow the following steps:

Step 1 – Click on the “+ Folder”  icon seen below:

Step 2 – Give your new folder a name and decide where the folder will be created – the destination of the folder

Step 3 – Save your new folder by tapping the  “Create New Folder” button.

Using File Manager to Upload Files

Step 1 – Select the folder that you’d like to add your new file to

Step2 – Tap on the “Upload” icon as seen in the screen shot below:

Step 3 – Select the file that you want to upload from your computer. 

Managing FTP Accounts 

In the “FILES” section on your main cPanel dashboard you’ll find both a link to your FTP accounts and FTP connections. You’ll find your main (root) FTP account details at the bottom of the page under “Special FTP Accounts”.

If you select the action “Configure FTP client” then the section should expand and let you know more details about your FTP account. Depending on your host, you might be able to access your root FTP account with the same details as your cPanel account.

Creating a New FTP Account

Creating a new FTP account for people to access a specific area of your server is good practice.  To create a new FTP account follow these steps:

Step 1 – Search for FTP accounts on the dashboard. When you click through you should see the following screen:

Step 2 – Create the username and password for the new FTP account. 

Step 3 – Select the domain name from the dropdown

Step 4 – IMPORTANT – make sure you select a folder that will be the highest level of access for that particular FTP account. You don’t want to leave the field blank as that’ll give the user full access to the main or root FTP account. 

Step 5 – Decide on the maximum amount of space that user will have, you can select unlimited or decide on a quota.. 

Step 6 – Tap the blue button “Create FTP Account”, to create the new FTP account.

PROTIP: You will find the FTP accounts listed on the same page at the bottom. You can search for FTP accounts if you have a lot of them and manage the permissions on the same page.

Create & Manage Databases 

You can create and manage databases associated with your website directly from cPanel. Firstly lets look at creating a database:

Creating a Database

Websites that use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress,  will always require a database to run them. 

You can use either MySQL or Postgre SQL databases with your cPanel account. 

Step 1 – Search for MySQL and then choose “MySQL Database Wizard” from the “DATABASES” section of your cPanel dashboard.

Step 2 – Type in a name for your database.

Step 3 – You’ll then be taken to a page titled “Create database users”, create a username and secure password

Step 4 Select option “ALL PRIVILEGES” to assign privileges to that user. 

To see it, go back to the main page of cPanel and click on “MySQL Databases”.

PRO TIP: You can go in and view/ edit your databases by searching for MySQL Databases on your cPanel dashboard.

Manage Databases & Users

To manage your databases go to the MySQL database section on your dashboard and scroll down to view “Current Databases”.

You can rename or delete a database directly from this section of the page

If you scroll down you can manage users under the “Current Users” heading. Here you can change the user’s password, rename or delete the users.

Software & Installation 

Depending on your hosting package, you might be able to install apps with one click using the “Softaculous Apps Installer” under the SOFTWARE section in your cPanel dashboard.  If you have access to the “Softaculous Apps Installer” then you’ll be able to install apps like WordPress with one click. 

Website Backups with cPanel 

Loosing your website and content can be costly and devastating. Ensuring that you’ve properly backed up your website will keep your website and content safe in the event that your site gets hacked, corrupted or the server dies. Here is a guide on how to create website backups with cPanel:

Step 1 – Search for “Backup Wizard” on your cPanel dashboard. You’ll find it under “FILES”. Then you should see the following page:

FTP client” then the section should expand and let you know more details about your FTP account. Depending on your host, you might be able to access your root FTP account with the same details as your cPanel account.

Creating a New FTP Account

Creating a new FTP account for people to access a specific area of your server is good practice.  To create a new FTP account follow these steps:

Step 1 – Search for FTP accounts on the dashboard. When you click through you should see the following screen:

Step 2 – You can begin a full or partial backup by clicking the blue “backup” button. 

PROTIP: Keep your website backup on a different server or external drive. 

Step 3 – Wait for the backup to complete and then download it. 

Manage Disk Usage 

You normally get allocated a certain amount of disc space to upload files to your server. If you have a great host, you might even have unlimited space. 

PRO TIP: Check your disc space at least once a month to see where you’re using the most  space and free it up by deleting un-necessary files. 

Check the right hand “STATISTICS” section on your dashboard to view your used disc space. 

All in All 

cPanel is really easy to use, even for the complete beginner, mainly thanks to the fact that more advanced options are not shown immediately. The user interface is extremely simple to use and navigate, especially when following the steps in this guide. I hope that you found this guide to cPanel useful.

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16 May 2019

How To Build a Website from Scratch (Beginners Guide)

Building a Website from Scratch is Actually Easy!

Once you have chosen your website creation tool of choice, you then need to figure out how to use the thing. In this article, we’ll explore how to create a website from scratch.

This is designed as a step by step guide for someone just starting out in the online space. I’ll cover everything so that all you need to do is follow the guide.

As a complete beginner using a website builder is advisable. This will make the whole process of creating a website so much easier. For this example I have chosen Wix and WordPress, however in the end I decided that WordPress was a little bit complex for complete beginners, and would advise Wix. I’ll explain why…

Ok I’ll have to admit, after owning and creating websites for years I was a bit of a WordPress snob. Wix just seemed to be a bit naff. But I have completely changed my mind today, sorry WordPress! Wix is so easy for beginners to get up and running inside just a few minutes. The whole process is completely streamlined – I’m now a Wix fan.

Before You Get Started

It’s a good idea to own a domain name or buy one for your new website. This will be your online presence. I never made this a step in the process; because you don’t actually need a domain name to get started with Wix, which is awesome.

Both Wix and WordPress.com guide you to purchase a domain name, however if you are feeling adventurous then you could even snag a completely free domain name and point it to your WordPress or Wix website.

Recommended: 10 Ways to Get A Free Domain Name (In Less than 1 Minute!)

Setting Up A Website With Wix

BEST FOR – Complete beginners who want to get up and running quickly

All you need to get up and running with Wix is an email address and an idea, simple.

STEP 1

Head over to Wix.com and hit “Get Started”.

One great thing about Wix.com is that you can sign up in seconds with your Facebook or Google accounts. Alternatively you can input your details to create your account (which takes a few seconds longer).

You’ll then be taken to a fill in the blanks style questionnaire

STEP 2

Fill in the blanks on the questionnaire to let Wix know more about the type of website you are creating – the answers appear as a prefilled dropdown so it’s really easy to follow.

STEP 3

If you’re a complete beginner then the “Let Wix ADI Create a Website for You” is free and makes life so much easier. Simply hit the “Start Now” button (on the left) to be guided through the process from creation to publishing your website in minutes (literally).

You’ll then be asked a few questions about your blog or website. I chose a “Health Food Blog”, however you can fill in a few keywords and select the type of website that best suits your project or organisation.

STEP 4

Decide what features you want on your website. If you are not sure you can skip this part for now. However, I’d advise selecting a few features that you think that you might use from the available options which are as follows:

  • Live Chat
  • Online Store (eCommerce solution)
  • Bookings
  • Video
  • Events
  • Instagram Feed
  • Paid Plans
  • Subscribe Form
  • Music
  • Bandsintown (display upcoming bands in your area)

I chose the following features for my blog – subscribe form, paid plans, Instagram feed and bookings. However, if you want to display videos or sell tickets to an event then you might choose the features “Video” and “Events”.  You can even sell online plans and programs, which is pretty neat.

STEP 5

The intuitive questionnaire will populate your website with some relevant content and you can select the right template to fit your needs. All you have to do is select the type of theme you want and select from the displayed choices (my options are shown below).

The theme options are fairly limited with Wix.

STEP 6

You can easily edit the theme by hovering over areas and pressing the “edit” button (shown in the image below)

When editing your website design, you’ll see a panel appear on the left hand side of the page that will allow you to change the text and images.

Pros

✔ You get a FREE Wix domain name

✔ There is an option to use your own domain

✔ Creating and publishing a site is free and easy

✔ Questionnaire style web creation makes the process fun

✔ Set up a feature rich website in minutes (seriously, it’s that easy!)

✔ Great features like live chat, bookings etc…

Cons

✘ Limited scope for customizing templates

✘ Wix advert displayed on free options

✘ Bandwidth is limited

Setting up a website on WordPress.com

BEST FOR – More competent website owners or small businesses

Creating a website with WordPress is not as straightforward as Wix. You’ll require a domain name to get started. You can get one from WordPress.com easily; however bear in mind that you’ll need to pay for the DNS service. Even if you have your own domain name, WordPress.com wants paid for you to have the privilege of using your own domain host.

Transferring your domain to WordPress.com or purchasing a domain name from them seems to be their preference. If you are happy to host your domain name with WordPress.com then the process is straight forward.

Creating a WordPress website is a great option if you want to scale your business up in the future. There are unlimited options and additional plugins that you can get to upgrade your WordPress website. I’d suggest going for a .com domain name extension and taking the time to learn WordPress (or employing someone to upgrade your theme) if you are serious about your online presence.

STEP 1

Go over to WordPress.com and hit the pink “Get Started” Button.

STEP 2

Create your account using your email address, create a new username and a secure password. Unfortunately you can’t sign up with Facebook or Google like you can with Wix.

STEP 3

Pick the type of website that you want to create from the following 4 options:

I decided to choose a food blog as I want to write about raw living foods and share recipes. However, you might want to choose a professional portfolio site, if for example you are a Graphic Designer or Photographer.

STEP 4

This is where your domain name comes in. You have three options, you can either choose to buy a new domain name, transfer your domain name to WordPress.com or map your domain to your WordPress.com (which costs $14.50)

STEP 5

Choose a theme by clicking on “Themes” down the left hand side menu. There are a great number of themes to choose from. To find a theme that suits you then use the search bar (where it says “business”) and enter keywords relevant to your theme to narrow the search.

There are both free and premium themes to choose from and you can toggle between both (depending on your preferences). Your theme will decide the look and feel for your business, and can be changed at a later date with ease.

STEP 6

Customize your theme by hitting the customize button on the top of the page. Here you can change the title of the page down the left hand side menu. You can also many other aspects of your website appearance.

STEP 7

By default your website homepage will show your latest blog post, to change the website to a static homepage instead (With content of your choosing).

To create a static homepage create a new page (from the menu on the left).

Then call this page “home” and set to a “static” page type

STEP 8

The entire website can be customized further for example you can change the colors of the site by choosing colors and backgrounds on the menu.

Then you can choose a color scheme that matches your brand

Your WordPress website can be tweaked over time, keeping the blog content intact.

Pros

✔ Easy to upgrade to a feature rich professional WordPress website on your own hosting if you should choose to at a later date

✔ Great for adding in blog content in the WordPress CMS area

✔ Lots of plugins

✔ Content can be downloaded at any point

✔ Lots of templates to choose from

✔ More customizable website options

Cons

✘ No completely free option

✘ You’ll need to buy or own a domain name

✘ The interface is hard to use for a beginner

✘ If you use a domain name you own you’ll still be charged an extra $14.15 per year to keep your domain name on your current DNS/ domain name hosting provider.

✘ Time consuming & confusing

✘ No Facebook or Google signup option

In Conclusion

If you are looking for a TRULY simple way to get up and running then Wix is your best option. The whole process is streamlined and perfect for beginners. However if you want to get more indepth and are not baffled and bewildered by the huge amount of customizable features, then WordPress is the best option. To get WordPress looking like you want can take days or weeks. However, Wix can be up and running within a few minutes – so defintetly the more convenient option.

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15 May 2019

10 Ways To Get A Free Domain Name (In Less than 1 Minute!)

Need a domain name, but don’t want to pay for it? Believe it or not there are many ways to get a free domain name. If you’re looking to get started in the internet space then a business domain name is essential.

Normally the best way to get a FREE domain name is with web hosting. Many hosts and website builder companies offer a promotion where they’ll give you a free domain name for a year. After the free year has expired you could transfer your domain name and hosting to another provider (if they also offer free migrations, this could be a good option). However, in some cases domain registrars will offer completely FREE domain names.

10 Ways to Get a Completely FREE Domain Name #FREE #domainname Click To Tweet

You’ll normally only get a free domain name for legacy extensions like .co.uk, .com or .net. Premium extensions like .club, .coach or .academy are not often offered free of charge from many domain hosts, with the exception of Bluehosts, Dreamhost and Hostinger, who offer a wide range of extensions for free.

1. Hostinger

BEST FOR – grabbing a free domain name from a reliable website host (£2.15/Month)

For just £2.15 per month, you can get hosting and a free domain name from Hostinger. You also get access to a free web builder, so you can be up and running within a day.

Recommended – View our full Hostinger review here

Pros

✔ Free professional domain name

✔ Cheap hosting

✔ Bitcoin payment accepted

✔ Custom email address

✔ 99.9% uptime guarantee

✔ Website builder

✔ 24/7 support

Cons

✘ Free domain only available with annual hosting package

2. Wix (FREE .com)

BEST FOR – small businesseses with limited technical experience who want a .com domain

You can get a free .com domain name from Wix when you sign up for one of their website builder plans. Wix is ideal for people who are just starting out online and have limited technical experience. Websites can be made with templates and customized with drag and drop tools.

Click Here To Visit Wix

Pros

✔ Great for novice

✔ FREE .com domain name for 1 year

✔ Easy to use web builder

Cons

✘ Free domain name only available with web builder

✘ Restrictive in terms of web development

3. Bluehost (FREE .com)

BEST FOR – Best for – WordPress hosting and domain names for a professional business

 

With Bluehost you have peace of mind that you own your domain name. They allow you to transfer it to another hosting provider and access your chosen domain name, which is great. You can also get access to a wide range of domain names, even premium domain names like .club and .tech. They offer a free domain credit (worth $11.99) if you don’t select your domain name straight away.

Recommended – View our full Bluehost review here

Pros

✔ Site builder included

✔ Free domain name

✔ 24/7 support

✔ 1-click WordPress installation

✔ Reputable domain host

Cons

✘ Prices displayed are for a 36 month term

✘ VAT is not included

✘ No monthly billing, only annual billing offered

4. Dreamhost

BEST FOR – offering a wide range of domain name extensions

To qualify for a free domain from Dreamhost you must sign up for one of their hosting packages. Starter Shared/ Unlimited Shared hosting or DreamPress plans all come with a free domain name. You can choose from a wide range of domain name extensions including: .blog, .club, .com, .global, .info, .net, .online, .org, and .shop

Pros

✔  You own your domain name and can transfer it

✔  A wide range of domain name extensions available

✔  Easy to set up hosting within the control panel should you need it

✔  Domain name credit can be redeemed at a later date

✔  Unlimited subdomains

✔  Straight forward domain management tools

Cons

 ✘ Free registration must be redeemed within the first month (otherwise it expires)

 ✘ Limited opening ours for customer support

5. 1&1 IONOS (FREE .co.uk)

BEST FOR – FREE .co.uk with optional hosting

Want a domain name for free with no hosting? Then look no further than 1&1 IONOS. Provided you are looking for a .co.uk domain name, then you can snag one 100% free of charge for one year. This offer is unusual as hosts normally tie you into a hosting agreement to get your free domain name

Pros

✔ You don’t need to buy anything to get your free domain name

✔ Freedom to use your domain name as you like in the future

✔ 1 email account

✔ SSL Wildcard included

✔ 10,000 subdomains

Cons

Offer only available for .co.uk domain names

✘ Not for the novice

6. Weebly (FREE subdomain/ .com)

BEST FOR – early stage start-up/ personal projects

If you are not too fussed about a professional domain name and are happy with a subdomain (eg. yoursite.weebly.com) then Weebly could be an option. Weebly is a website builder designed for complete beginners. On the other hand, if you upgrade to their $8/ month package then you can get a free professional .com domain name.

Pros

✔ 100% free option (for both domain name and hosting)

✔ Free professional domain name with hosting purchase

✔ Website builder available

✔ Easy to use

Cons

 ✘ Ad supported (your site will have adverts on it unless you upgrade)

7. Dot.tk (FREE.tk)

BEST FOR – small projects or those that want to raise awareness of Tokelau.

FREE .tk extension domain names are available at dot.tk “Free domains for all”. Dot TK is a project of the government of Tokelau in the South pacific. Dot.tk was created to offer free .tk domain names that would raise awareness about Tokelau throughout the world. The only thing is they don’t offer hosting or website builders should you require one. You can however, transfer your domain name to another host.

Pros

✔ Completely free domain name

✔ Raise awareness about Tokelau

Cons

✘ Can only register for one year

✘ No website builder or hosting

8. Biz.nf (FREE .co.nf)

BEST FOR – projects or small businesses who need FREE hosting and FREE domain

If you’re looking for a 100% free domain name with free hosting then you can get these from Biz.nf. Unlike other free domain name services, you can register your free domain name for an unlimited time. Normally hosts only allow you to register your FREE domain name for a year. A decent free service to get you up and running

Pros

✔ FREE domain name

✔ Register domain name for unlimited period of time

✔ FREE hosting available

✔ Good for info sites or sites where the domain name extension doesn’t matter too much

Cons

✘ Unusual domain name

✘ No legacy or memorable domain name extensions available

✘ File size restricted to 15MB

✘ Domain name non-transferable

9. One.com (.co.uk, .com, .uk, .org)

BEST FOR – wide range of credible free domain name extensions

One.com offers the widest range of credible domain name extensions. You can secure your business identity on all the major extensions like .com, .co, .co.uk, .org and .uk for FREE. The only thing I would point out here is that they do apply a monthly $1.24 DNS fee, so the domain name is not really free. Bummer.

Pros

✔ Wide range of credible “free” domain names

✔ No hosting required to claim free domain names

✔ Website builder can be added on for under $5

Cons

✘ Tempting to fill your basket with free domains

✘ DNS fee of $1.24/ month is applicable (eg. not free)

10. Names.co.uk (FREE .co.uk)

BEST FOR – companies that want a UK presence with a free .co.uk domain name

If you want to register a domain name for free then you can do so with Names.co.uk. You can get a FREE .co.uk domain name without ordering hosting from names.co.uk. If you do decide you want hosting for your domain name, then you can take advantage of the free website builder and email service offered by Names.co.uk

Pros

✔ Part of a reputable domain registry group

✔ 100% free domain name

✔ Free Email

✔ Free Suite builder

✔ 24/7 support

Cons

✘ $0.99 for domain name privacy

In Summary

Whether you are looking for a  domain name for a personal project, or want to get your new idea off the ground there are plenty of FREE domain name options, for example DOT.tk or Biz.nf. A professional brand should still be on a .com domain name, so if you are looking to expand in the future then you can get a .com from Wix, Bluehost, Dreamhost, One.com or Weebly. It’s a good idea to consider what is important to you, do you want a website builder? Or would you like a one click installation for WordPress?

10 Ways to Get a Completely FREE Domain Name #FREE #domainname Click To Tweet

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13 May 2019

9 Best Domain Registrars in 2019

Building a website? You’ll need a domain name. Your domain name is separate from your website hosting, but most hosting companies offer domain names. To encourage you to have your domain name on their server, some hosts will even throw in a free domain name.

I’d suggest that you think about this in depth because for the past 20 years I’ve found:

Having your domain names on a different domain host is preferable #domain #host Click To Tweet

What is a domain name?

A domain name is your website’s online address. Computers find web servers via a long string of numbers known as an IP address. These numbers are hard to remember so instead we use domain names like “YourBusinessName.com”.

Why keep your domain name/s on a registrar?

Keeping your domain names and your data on two separate hosts has many benefits. For example, if you don’t pay for a domain name – all that happens is a domain name becomes inactive (normally for about a month). While it is inactive you can still pay for your domain. Think of it like a grace period. If you don’t pay for ONE domain name after it has been inactive for a month, and you have TEN, then you can keep the other NINE. You’ll just loose the one that you didn’t pay for, ideal.

On the other hand if you decide to keep your domain names and host on the same hosting provider, then it’s a case of having all of your eggs in one basket. Let me explain…

 

Profit from Domain Names

A domain name, in and of itself can increase in value. You can even flip domain names to make money online. In fact, you can buy and sell domains to turn a serious profit on sites like EmpireFlippers.

Domain names have inherent value and so you should keep them in a safe place. You can also make money from your parked domains (domain names that you are not using) with GoDaddy’s CashParking service.

The domain name cars.com sold for $872 million #mostexpensivedomain #host Click To Tweet

Why Is Keeping My Domains On ONE Host Not Advised?

The main reason that you should keep your domain names separate from your host is that you don’t want to lose access to your domain. A domain name is your brand identity and important for any business or website.

Say for instance you decide you don’t like your host, and wanted to change. If for any reason the host decides you need to clear an outstanding bill or similar, then they can lock you out of your account. This will in turn lock your domain name (even if you have bought it for 2 years).

When selecting the best domain hosts/registrars we consider the following:

  • Are there any additional (or hidden) fees for transferring your domain name?
  • Longevity, history and reputation of the hosting company
  • Cost (I’ll compare prices of .com and .net)
  • Make sure the company is: Internet Corporation for Assigned of Names and Numbers (ICANN) Accredited
  • Do they provide easy domain transfer and forwarding services?
  • 24/7 customer support
  • WHOIS registration policies (and associated costs)
  • Renewal – Both manual and automatic is preferred

 

1. GoDaddy.com

BEST FOR – cheap .com domains and domain flipping

GoDaddy has been around since the very early days of the internet (founded in 1997). They are the largest domain name registrar in the world and have registered over 73 million domain names.

FUN FACT: GoDaddy used to be called Jomax Technologies #domain #hosting Click To Tweet

With more than 17 million customers, GoDaddy is a reliable and stable choice to store your domains. GoDaddy offers great features for domain management that makes organising your domains simple. You can also create forwarders and subdomains easily with GoDaddy.

Read our full GoDaddy review here

Domain Pricing & Features

GoDaddy is probably the most feature rich domain registrar. With features like bulk domain search, domain privacy and protection, domain value appraisal, domain auctions, discount domain club, domain investing and CashParking. The introductory price for a .com domain is very nice!

  • $0.99 for a .com for the first year ($14.99 thereafter)
  • $12.99 for the first year (19.99 thereafter)
  • WHOIS privacy protection costs an extra $7.99 per year

Click Here To Visit GoDaddy

Pros

✔ Domain name transfers are free (for .co.uk domain extensions)

✔ The largest domain name registrar in the world

✔ Offer a wide range of web and email tools

✔ 24/7 customer service via phone and chat

✔ Amazing domain investment & management tools

Cons

✘ Price rises after first year

✘ Prices displayed exclude VAT

✘ Cluttered DNS management interface

2. Domain.com

BEST FOR – 24/7 customer support

Domain.com was founded in the USA in 2000. Domain.com is owned by Endurance International Group which is massive company with over 2500 employees. Keeping your domain names on Domain.com is a great idea as you’ll always remember that URL – feels organised.

Domain Pricing & Features

Pricing with Domain.com is average; however they don’t have any low introductory prices like Godaddy.com offers.

  • $9.99 per year for a .com
  • $12.99 per year for a .net
  • Free domain with hosting
  • WHOIS privacy protection costs an extra $8.99 per year.
Pros

✔ Feel organised with all of your domains on Domain.com

✔ Pricing is reasonable

✔ Get a free domain with hosting

✔ Reputable, longstanding company

✔ 24/7 customer support

Cons

✘ It is tempting to get hosting with a free domain

✘ You need to pay extra for WHOIS Privacy protection

3. Namecheap.com

BEST FOR – free Whois Guard privacy protection

Namecheap.com is one of the biggest domain registrars in the world. Founded back in 2000, Namecheap now has over 3million global customers. Namecheap is accredited by ICANN.

Domain Pricing & Features

Namecheap.com has cost effective domains and great value-add bonus features like: 100% free email forwarding services, secure DNS, free WHOIS privacy feature and custom name servers. I’m a fan of their FREE WHOIS privacy protection. Also after the free period WHOIS protection is still really cost effective.

  • $8.99 .com for a year
  • $12.99 .net for a year
  • FREE WHOIS Guard for a year ($2.88 thereafter)
Pros

✔ Great security features

✔ ICANN Accredited

✔ Domains are simple to transfer

✔ 24/7 customer support via help desk

✔ Free privacy protection from WhoisGuard

Cons

 ✘ Domain extensions can be expensive

✘ No phone number to contact customer/ tech support.

4. Bluehost.com

BEST FOR – organizing and locking down domains

Bluehost is the host of choice for many, even WordPress.org recommends Bluehost. Although they are a bit more expensive, they do offer a good range of tools and a nice 30-day money back guarantee.

See how Bluehost stacks up against HostGator in our review

Domain Pricing & Features

Bluehost offers a few nice features for domain management, such as an easy to navigate interface and control panel. It’s possible to enable and disable auto-renewal so that you don’t need to remember when your domain name expires. You can even lock your domain down so that it isn’t subject to any unwanted domain transfer, which is great to protect your online brand identity from hackers.

  • $11.94 for a .com for a year
  • $12.99 for .net for a year
  • Domain Privacy Protection – $11.83 per year
Pros

✔ 24/7 live chat, phone & email ticketing

✔ Decent domain management features

✔ Auto and manual renewal possible via control panel

✔ Free domain offered with hosting package

✔ 30-Day money back guarantee

Cons

✘ Expensive domain registrar

✘ Domain privacy costs extra

5. HostGator.com

BEST FOR – being an experienced and reliable host

HostGator is a popular host that also has a decent web-builder called Gator. Founded in 2002 and also owned by Endurance International Group, alongside Domain.com and Bluehost, so you know that you are getting good tools and an experienced domain host provider. I would say that you probably shouldn’t have your domains on one Endurance International Group site and then your hosting with another of their subsidiaries.

Read our full HostGator review here

Domain Pricing & Features

HostGator are really expensive for domain names, however they are an experienced and reliable host.

  • $12.95 per year for a .com (or $2.99 per year if you host with them)
  • $12.95 per year for a .net
  • WHOIS privacy $14.95 per year
Pros

✔  Tutorials and live chat support

✔  Get free unlimited domains with reseller, WordPress hosting, Baby Cloud and Business Cloud

Cons

 ✘ Privacy is $14.95 per domain per year, which is expensive

 ✘ No ticketing support system

 ✘ Pricing is not transparent

6. Name.com

BEST FOR – feature rich, secure domain management

Founded in 2003, Name.com is owned by Right Side Group and between the two companies they control 16.5 million domain names. Name.com well established and cost effective domain name host that has a fantastic range of premium domain extensions to choose from for instance .live .film or .best.

Domain Pricing & Features

Domain pricing from name.com is reasonable. Domain names from name.com come with FREE URL and email forwarding, FREE Two-Step Verification, FREE forwarding to social media and FREE DNS management.

  • .com cost $8.99 per year
  • .net costs $10.99 per year (usually $14.99)
  • WHOIS privacy is $4.99 per
Pros

✔ Free domain name with hosting

✔ Security conscious host

✔ Bulk domain search

✔ Expiring domain search

✔ Feature rich

✔ ICANN-accredited domain name registrar

Cons

✘ Customer service only via email ticket and live chat during limited office hours

✘ Domain transfers cost $8.25

✘ SSL Certificates from Name.com are expensive

7. 1&1 IONOS

BEST FOR – offering a FREE wildcard SSL certificate

1&1 is one of the oldest domain hosts around and was founded back in 1988. 1&1 is a massive company with over 7,000 employees. Transferring domains is free and easy to do with 1&1 IONOS, which is awesome.

Read our full 1&1 IONOS review here

Domain Pricing & Features

1&1 offer some nice features with your domain hosting including free email address, free privacy protection, free wildcard SSL certificate and if you get hosting from 1&1 you can get a free domain for a year. They also have a domain transfer lock on all domains, so that people can’t transfer your domain anywhere (unless you authorise the transfer).

  • .com $1 ($16.99 thereafter)
  • .net $9.11 per year for the first year ($20.83 thereafter)
Pros

✔ 24/7 customer support via live chat, phone, email, and social media

✔ .CO.UK domain names free for the first year

✔ WHOIS domain privacy protection is free

✔ Free personal consultant

✔ Free privacy protection

✔ Free SSL

✔ Easy to use subdomain feature

✔ Professional email addresses are easy to set up

✔ UK company

Cons

✘ Prices displayed exclude VAT and rise considerably after the first year

8. Register.com

BEST FOR – those looking to host with one of the longest established domain hosts

Register.com is a massive domain name host that is possibly the oldest. Founded back in 1994 in New York before most people even knew the internet existed. Register.com currently control over 2.5million domain names. Register.com is already an awesome domain name, they also own web.com which is a comprehensive knowledgebase and the owner of Register.com.

Domain Pricing & Features

Register.com has all of the features that you might expect from your domain host. However they are extremely expensive when compared to other providers.

  • .net $38 for 1 year
  • .com $38 for 1 year
  • WHOIS privacy protection $11
Pros

✔ AutoRenew feature included

✔ Established domain company

✔ Domain Expiration Protection can be added for $10

Cons

✘ Extremely expensive domain registrar

✘ $12.00 transfer fee

✘ Website is a bit sluggish

✘ Private domain registration is $11 extra

✘ No live chat

✘ Only open during office hours

9. InMotion Hosting

BEST FOR – feature rich domain management 

InMotion is an American hosting provider founded in 2001. A much smaller domain provider, with just 300,000 registered domains.

Domain Pricing & Features
  • .com $14.99
  • .net $14.99
  • Privacy protection $12.99
Pros

✔ Automatic domain renewal

✔ Free domains with some packages

✔ 24/7 customer support

✔ Free domain transfer

✔ Free domain with hosting

✔ Secure Transfer locking

✔ Automatic domain renewal

✔ Intuitive domain management control panel

✔ 90-day money back guarantee

Cons

✘ Pay extra for privacy protection

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