Since the other posts on running a serial WordPress (WP) website were well received, I thought I would start from the beginning. For web-saavy people, this will be basic information. For most, they have no idea how websites work and the process can be difficult the first time. Note: this site is hosted by Arvixe so I’m using them as my example. There are a lot of good alternatives out there with various services and pricing. Shop around. There are two things we need to consider before setting up a WP site:
First, WP runs through PHP (the front end language) and SQL (the back-end database). These are native for Linux so make sure your provider runs Linux-based servers. Some, like Arvixe, have the option for either. If you want WP with the fewest hassles, get on Linux. You can run WP on a Windows server but it requires extra steps and not as supported if you need to Google a tech issue. If you wanted something like Dot Net Nuke (DNN), or another VB.Net or ASP.Net-based framework, then you would use Windows. So back to Linux…
To keep costs down, your website will likely be on a shared server. Each site will just have a directory for your files, everything else will be hidden from other users. If you look at the Linux-based plans at Arvixe, you can get setup for $4/month. You can also setup six total domains for the basic plan. I’ll explain more about that in a moment.
Okay, so now we have picked a plan in our budget, we need a name for the website. Easy, right? Not quite. You have to pick a name that has a domain name available. I would not call the website Jeff’s Future Classics (although that does have a nice ring to it) and then use ThePenintheStone.com. Your domain name should be your website’s name. So how do we find out what is available?
So back to the Arvixe main page (there are literally thousands of websites you can use for domain name searches). Look for the Domain Search box. That’s where you can search. Type whatever you want, just remember domain names usually are one long word of letters and numbers or hyphen, but don’t use it. People will forget to add it and you will send them to someone else (that doesn’t have the hyphen in their name) or they will get a ‘site doesn’t exist’ error. It causes confusion. This is also true with websites other than .com and as a last resort, .net. Find a website name you are happy with using .com. It is the most common and easiest to remember. If you find the PERFECT name only available in .net, good luck. You will lose some traffic to the owner of the .com from the confusion but it is the PERFECT name. You should do research on the .com address as well. It might become available again in the future and you can then snatch it up. It is a very common tactic to use .com and .net to point at the same site (domain alias).
Remember when I mentioned the six domains above? No, scroll up and read it again. Ok. That means you have six websites on that same plan. You just have to provide the domain names. The domain alias above does not count either. So if your domain name is the name of your best-selling book, you could put the five sequels as their own domain name on the same plan. Or, you could use one of the other domains as an author’s website. All the domain pointing to the right server and fun techie-stuff will be handled by your hosting company. You just have to wait for the emails to tell you when it is done. In the meantime, you can install WP on your website either through the hosting company (many offer to install WP for you) or manually (my method).
Next Up – Installing WP Manually