When you are new to creating websites or blogs, you might be a bit confused, even scared. There is so much information on the Internet, so many different platforms, tools, plug-ins to choose from. Where should I start? Which tools to choose? What if I do something wrong? I know how it feels. I’ve been there myself.
When I first started it took me two weeks to create my first website. I made a lot of newbie mistakes. I chose a bad hosting provider, bought a stupid domain name and generally made things difficult for myself. I had no guidance and tried to figure out stuff on my own (turns out I can be quite stubborn…!). Since then, I have created many websites and developed routines and processes that make it super easy for me to create a website or a blog. And now, I will share my experiences with you!
In this article, I will show you in detail how to create a brand new blog/website with Kinsta’s Premium WordPress hosting. Using this step-by-step guide, you will be able to create a fully functioning WordPress website on your own. The purpose of my guide is to help you with each step of the process without omitting important details. If you are like me, you will want to do things right the first time and not realise your mistakes at a much later stage when things aren’t working out.
The WordPress installation per se is very quick and easy. But we will dedicate some extra time to get your site protected with a free SSL certificate which is a must for a modern site. On top of that we will make your website faster connecting it to a CDN. All this is needed to assure a better user experience for your future visitors. It will also help your site rank higher in search engines so that you get more free traffic.
Alright. Let’s get on with it!
It All Starts with Hosting
Your future website needs a home. For websites, their “home” is where they are hosted, ie. the hosting provider. So in order to create a website you need to select a hosting provider that is right for you.
In my blogging career I have tried and changed hosting companies and concluded that hosting is something I don’t want to try to save money on. It always comes back to bite you in the end. This is why I nowadays use the best WordPress hosting company there is — Kinsta, which is powered by Google Cloud.
Why Kinsta and not some cheaper alternatives?
Kinsta is a premium WordPress hosting company. The quality of their services is what sets them apart from a number of cheap, heavily-marketed hosting companies, such as Bluehost and GoDaddy.
Kinsta offer a variety of hosting plans that suit any website, whether we’re talking about a brand-new website or the website of a large corporation. In other words, Kinsta is an option for anyone who wants the best hosting available.
With Kinsta’s Starter plan you get:
- super fast website
- amazing support
- easy-to-understand dashboard to manage your site
- premium features such as CDN and a free SSL certificate
On Kinsta you get all the premium features on all plans, including the starting ones.
Most starter plans provided by other companies won’t give you access to the best infrastructure to make your website fast, and you won’t get the quickest support. Also, you will have to pay an extra buck for a CDN that makes your website load faster. All that comes at a price. But these are things that really matter. A lot.
If you are serious about your project, hosting is the one thing you can’t be cheap about. I personally prefer to save money on something that is less important for starting a successful blog, such as a fancy logo or other branding-related costs that can wait. After all, if your website gets little to no traffic due to poor loading speeds, no one sees the branding anyway. So first things first. A fast-loading website is the prerequisite for any future traffic these days, so be careful not to do concessions in this area.
If you are serious about your blog or website, and especially if you want to start making money online, you have to invest in your business. This is how business works. If you treat your project as a hobby, don’t expect quick results.
So, let’s get busy and create a brand new website for you.
Part 1 – Choose Your Hosting Plan
First of all, go to Kinsta’s website and choose a plan that is right for you.
If you are about to create your first blog, the Starter Plan will be just enough for you.
The price for the Starter Plan is $30/month if you pay on a monthly basis. You can save $60 if you decide to pay for the whole year. This equals to two months of hosting for free, which obviously is a great deal of money. I personally would choose this plan if I had a small budget to spend. The sixty bucks you saved you can invest into a premium WordPress theme.
To recap, you are now getting super fast hosting for the whole year plus a great looking website (for FREE). Isn’t that great? I love starting projects on a high note 🙌🏼
Once you selected your hosting plan, monthly or yearly, press the “Choose” button.
Part 2 – Create Your Kinsta Account
Get started by registering a new Kinsta account.
For this you will need to put into the form your name, email and come up with a strong password.
Also, when you are done with creating your account, head to your user settings (left bottom corner) and enable two-factor authentication. This will help secure your account further than just a good password. It’s recommended to use two-factor authentication on all websites you register at. Your website’s security is important, so make sure that you take the time to secure your website.
Next, fill in your billing information. If you have a company, put down your company’s details. Otherwise, choose “Individual” at the top of the form.
Note that due to new tax regulations, from 1st of July 2019, you will have to pay an additional sales tax if you are located in some states in the United States.
If you are from Europe and buy hosting for your company, remember to put in your EU VAT. This way you won’t have to pay VAT on top of the hosting price.
Lastly, fill in the card details and wait until the payment goes through.
Once your payment is approved, you will be redirected to Kinsta’s admin dashboard.
Congratulations! You have now registered your hosting account! Well done!
Part 3 – Create a New Website at Kinsta Hosting
Now you are going to create your first blog or website.
In MyKinsta dashboard select “Sites” in the left navigation and click either of the “Add Site” buttons. A pop-up will appear. Let’s see what you should do next.
First of all, you need to choose a server location where your website will be hosted. This might seem like an easy task, which it technically is, but it is actually a strategically important step that will have direct consequences on site-loading speeds for your visitors, depending on where they are located.
In short, server location is an actual physical location where your website will be stored and from where it will be served to your visitors. You should select a location closest to your ideal audience. The closer the serve is to your visitor, the quicker your website will load for them. Right now Kinsta offers 20 locations all over the world, so you have the luxury of choice. Think about who your website is targeting and then choose the server closest to them.
Name of This Site
This is a “work” name of your website. This name will be shown in the admin dashboard and you should note that it cannot be changed in the future. So, once again, choose wisely 🙂 However, your visitors won’t see what you put here, so maybe you don’t have to spend hours when making this decision. It is simply for your own use.
When you create a new WordPress website at Kinsta, it gets a temporary URL. This URL will be something like yoursite.kinsta.cloud. The reason to why you get a temporary URL first is that it enables you to access your website immediately after creation even if you don’t have a domain yet. You can, and should, add the final domain later at any time.
Now there is one thing about Kinsta that you should know. Unlike most of the hosting providers, Kinsta doesn’t sell domain names on their website. You need to get domain name somewhere else and then add it through the dashboard. This is anyway no big problem. For instance, you can get one from CheapNames.com or GoDaddy.com.
If you already own a domain name, select “I’ll use my own domain” and add it to the field that appeared. Be careful! Only fill in this field if you already bought a domain name. If you use your own domain, a temporary domain will not be created.
Part 4 – WordPress Installation
In the drop down menu select “Add a Brand New WordPress Install“.
The other options (“Don’t Install WordPress” and “Clone Existing Environment”) are only needed if you manually migrate an existing website from another hosting or you need to create a total copy of a website you already host on Kinsta.
I assume that you want to choose “Add a Brand New WordPress Install”, which will create a brand-new WordPress website.
WordPress Site Title
Enter the name of your blog/website here.
The Site Title will be visible to your visitors in the browser tab and some other places depending on the theme you install.
Remember that you can easily change the name later, so don’t waste your time on this if you don’t have anything interesting in mind. Use our guide on how to come up with a perfect blog name if you need any help.
WordPress Admin Username
An Admin Username is needed to access your website. You cannot change it in the future so try to make it right from the start. Also note that your username will be visible in the URL, for example, yoursite.com/author/yourusername. So don’t use anything too personal or anyhing you will be ashamed of later 🙂
You will be able to add another users after your site is created.
WordPress Admin Password and Email
Kinsta will automatically generate a strong password for you. Remember to write it down or copy (ctrl+C) the password, because you will need it later when accessing your newly created website.
If you decide to change the password, make sure your new one is really strong. It is easy to figure out your username (see above) so the password must be as secure as possible.
Next, enter an email that you want to attach to your website. You can change it later so don’t worry too much which to choose if you have many.
Select a Language
Choose a language your site’s dashboard will be in. You can choose any language you are comfortable with. This is made for your own use. Your website’s content can be in another language. You can change it later, too, so no worries.
Kinsta is a great hosting provider and they do their best to make your job as easy as possible. When you create a fresh WordPress site, you can with just two clicks install one or both popular plugins: WooCommerce and Yoast SEO.
WooCommerce, as the name suggests, is a free plugin that allows you to start an online shop on your website. You don’t need to install it right away unless you are 100% you are going to use it and or you already have a WordPress theme that integrates with WooCommerce.
Yoast SEO, on the other hand, is one of the plugins that every blogger and website owner should use. It’s totally free and it will make it super easy for you to optimise your blog for search engines. I have it installed on all of my websites and I just can’t state it enough how helpful this tool is.
When you’re ready with all fields, press the “Add site” button in the top-right corner.
Allow the system a few minutes to create your new website. It might look like nothing is happening but your website is actually being created now. When the process is completed, you will get a notification via the admin dashboard. If nothing happens in 3-4 minutes, try to refresh the browser page. This might help.
Now your WordPress site is created but there are still a few things we need to do to make it work.
Part 5 – Add Your Domain to Kinsta
Our next step is to point your custom domain name to Kinsta where your website is now hosted. This is needed so that Kinsta’s servers can deliver your website to visitors.
To add your custom domain to Kinsta, go to “Kinsta DNS” in the navigation menu on the left. Then select “Add your first domain“.
In the pop up window, enter your domain, for instance, yoursite.com. Click on “Add domain” button.
Kinsta will generate Amazon Route 53 Nameservers for your domain. After that you can proceed by adding these records at your domain registrar’s DNS settings.
DNS information for your domain looks something like the following:
Now you need to go to the website where your domain is registered and input all four nameservers Kinsta gave you in the previous step.
Here are instructions on how to change nameservers with some popular DNS registrars :
- How to change nameservers with Namecheap
- How to change nameservers with GoDaddy
- How to change nameservers with Google Domains
- How to change nameservers with Bluehost
- How to change nameservers with Siteground
Don’t know how to do it with your registrar? Just Google “How to change nameservers with [your registrar’s name]”.
When you are done with the previous step and pointed your domain to Kinsta, your WordPress site will require an A Record and CNAME to function properly.
Sounds scary, right? Don’t worry! It’s way easier to do it than to understand what it really means 😆
In order to complete this step, you will need to copy the IPv4 address Kinsta has assigned to your website.
Where to find it?
The IPv4 address of your WordPress website can be found in your admin dashboard. Click “Sites” in the navigation and go to your website. Then under your site’s “Info” tab you will find your IPv4 address. This is the IP address that you should point your site to.
Copy this number.
Now go to “Kinsta DNS” in the left navigation menu and click “Manage” link.
Next, click on the button “Add the first DNS record“. Paste the copied in the previous step IP address into the field “IPv4 address“. Leave “Hostname” field empty and press on “Add DNS record“.
Part 6 – Secure Your Site with a Free SSL
If you are running an online shop, accepting credit card payments, or passing information (like member/client logins) that needs to be encrypted, you MUST install an SSL certificate on your WordPress site.
However, it is recommended to get SSL certificate for all websites, including informational sites and blogs.
SSL slightly effects your sites positions in Google, so it’s just better to have it right from the start. It is harder to install it later on as it could affect your ranking positions. You also lose your social media share counts which is a shame. Long story short, do it right away when it is easy and won’t affect your site in any negative way.
Below, I will show you how to install a free SSL Certificate with Let’s Encrypt. It will literally take you two minutes to get the job done.
Now, let’s get you a free SSL Certificate for your new website.
Step 1. Go to “Sites” section in your dashboard and click on the name of your website.
Step 2. Click on the menu “Enable HTTPS” and select “Generate a Free HTTPS Certificate“.
Step 3. If you have come this far in this article I assume you have already added your domain and pointed it to Kinsta. If not, go back to the part 5 and 6 of this tutorial. Otherwise, click “Next” to proceed.
Now, all you need to do is to tick the domain/domains on which the SSL certificate should be installed. Click on “Generate Certificate“.
That’s it! Your job is done now. It will take a few moments to get the certificate working. Wait a minute and refresh the browser. Once your free certificate is installed, you will see a green badge at the “Enable HTTPS” section.
It will look like that:
Your website is almost ready! We have just one more step left 🙂
Part 7 – Enable Kinsta CDN
Kinsta CDN is another premium feature you get at Kinsta. The great thing is that you get access to it even on a Starter Plan. Woohoo! That means that you get a faster website and save your server’s resources (which, if exceeded, could result in an extra cost).
Things you should know before switching Kinsta CDN on
- You cannot use two CDNs simultaneously. You have to choose between Kinsta CDN, CloudFlare or another third-party CDN. Don’t enable Kinsta CDN until the moment you stoped using other CDN or you risk to break your website.
- Kinsta CDN will only serve static content from wp-content and wp-includes folders and files that are smaller than 100 MB. If you have a website with heavy media files (videos, movies, audios, ebooks or pdfs), you should use streaming or storage service like YouTube and Vimeo for videos, Soundcloud for podcasts and music, and AWS S3 or Dropbox for large downloadable pdf files.
- Kinsta CDN may not be 100% compatible with multisites and custom setups. Contact Kinsta’s support if you have any issues.
- Important: if you are manually migrating your website to Kinsta [why would you even do that? 🙂 ], install Kinsta MU plugin before enabling CDN. If you have troubles, reach out to support to help you.
Alright, enough has been said in favour of Kinsta CDN, so let’s finally do the job and enable it.
How to Enable CDN at Kinsta? A step-by-step guide
Step 1. Go to Admin Dashboard and click on the name of your website.
Step 2. Click on the “Kinsta CDN” tab and then press on the “Enable Kinsta CDN” button. You will get a reminder pop-up where you need to press on “Enable CDN” button one more time.
Remember that if you use third-party CDN such as CloudFlare, you need to disable it first before proceeding with Kinsta’s CDN activation.
You will have to wait for a few minutes so that your CDN domain name is created. It can take up to 15 minutes, so be patient. Use this time to make yourself a cup of coffee or tea 😀
When your CDN domain is created, you will see it in the “DNS zone details” section. It will look something like this: sajbdjkdbajadb8ajab0.kinstacdn.com. Your domain is created first but you still need to wait until the CDN gets enabled. When it’s ready, your dashboard will change and look like that:
From here you can disable the CDN if needed as well as purge CDN cache.
Oh well, all good comes to an end. It was very fun creating a new website with you — a real journey, isn’t it? Now your website is live and you are ready for new challenges. Fancy another WordPress trip with me? How about going to the next step and make your website beautiful? Then you will be ready to publish your first post and maybe even get your first visitors.
For now, let’s say goodbye. Hope to see you again on Blogging from A to Z! 😀