So you have decided you want to create your first website, using WordPress (here are the pros and cons if you are not yet convinced), but you don’t know where to begin. In this article you will learn how to install WordPress locally, on your computer, design the website and move it to your host. It may or it may not be the best way to go, but it’s the way I do it and it is a good starting point.
Create a testing environment
Being the first website, a lot of changes will take place until you get the result you want. For this reason, I think it is better to first create your website on a local server. To do that you will need to install a software like MAMP or XAMPP (there may be other options as well, but I did not use them). I have tried both and I am currently using the first option.
The first step would be to download the latest version of MAMP and install it on your computer. You can find it HERE.
Next, download the latest version of WordPress. Unzip it and make a copy inside the htdocs folder of MAMP (it is usually C/MAMP/htdocs). At this point the folder name is not very important, since you are going to move it to your hosting account later. It should be easy to type and remember.In the MAMP window, clicking on “Open Start Page” will open a browser window with information regarding the MAMP installation. In this window you will find a link to phpMyAdmin, the place where you will create the database for your website.
After you have created the database, the next step would be to edit the wp-config-sample.php file. This file can be found inside your website’s folder. A nice and free tool I like to use for editing code is Notepad++. You will need to rename it to wp-config.php and update the following fields (database-name will be the name of the database you have just created in phpMyAdmin):
Save the file and type “localhost/new-website” in the address bar of your browser (where “new-website” is the name of folder inside htdocs). This will start the WordPress installation.
In the first stage, you will have the option to choose the language, while the second stage will let you choose the website title, username, password and e-mail address. Avoid at all costs using an easy to guess username, like admin, administrator or user and always choose a strong password.
Clicking on “Install WordPress” will launch the installation. Congratulations! Now you can log in to the dashboard of your website.
Designing your first WordPress website
Now that you have installed WordPress you can start working on the look of the website. You can choose from a whole variety of templates, free or premium. The free themes have limited functions but you can get a decent website without problems. The more knowledge you have on HTML, CSS and PHP, the more you can customize your website.
After the design is made and you are happy with the result, it’s time to go live. There are multiple ways to do it and one of them is by using a plugin called All-in-one WP Migration. You need to install this plug-in and activate it. If you go to the plugin’s options and choose export to file, it will generate a .wpress file that you can download and import later to your live site.
Moving your WordPress website from local to the host
Let’s assume that you already have a hosting account and your domain name is set. First, you have to install a fresh WordPress on the host. You can do it manually, using the ftp, or automatically from the host, with Softaculous or a similar service.
Next, install the plugin All-in-one WP Migration and activate it. From the options, choose import and select the previously downloaded file (the .wpress one). Note that after the import finishes you will need to log-in using the username and password from the website created locally. After you log-in, go to Settings > Permalinks and click save twice. Some themes (like Avada) require an extra step, because the icons and images don’t show. To solve this, just go to the theme options and click save (without making any changes).
Congratulations, now you should have an exact replica, of the locally developed website, up on your host.