WordPress is the most highly ranked and most popular publishing and blogging platform available and about a quarter of all websites on the internet are now powered by WordPress.
This guide covers the steps on how to set up a hosted WordPress website/blog, including the steps on how to register a domain name, finding the best and most reliable host, and preventing your blog from hackers.
Registering a Domain Name
The first things that you need to purchase is a domain name and a web hosting from a reliable provider. Before registering a domain name, here are some of the things you should consider.
A domain name is vital as it gives a person or a brand identity online. The domain name should, therefore, be easy to spell, be a representative of your brand, easy to remember and pronounce, and short and unique.
Reasons to Register a Domain Name
- A domain name helps in building credibility and trust with customers and profoundly influences how customers respond to what is being offered to them.
- A domain name provides an excellent platform for marketing opportunities. This is because it helps to build and improve online presence, therefore making it easier for the customer to find you.
- A domain name gives a person or business a professional image, and this adds credibility and trust to the customers.
- A domain name can improve search engine rankings as it provides an opportunity to include keywords and even use your domain as your keywords.
Finding a Reliable Web Host
After choosing and registering the domain name, the second step is to find a reliable web hosting provider. There are thousands of web hosts to choose from, but it’s important to ensure that the host you choose meets the WordPress minimum requirements.
HostMarks is a great website which provides a list of the best web hosting providers along with detailed reviews which are best rated and voted by real customers allowing you to make an informed decision before choosing a hosting provider.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Hosting Provider
- The hosting providers’ services should be fast and reliable. The hosting provider should also provide a guarantee for its uptime; the minimum uptime should be 99%, and a partial refund should be provided when the uptime falls below this figure (you will usually need to ask to be compensated).
- The cost of your hosting account should be reasonable, (the sign-up and the renewal prices). Some of the host providers have a sign-up fee that is relatively cheap but has high renewal prices. It is therefore important to ensure that you check with the renewal prices before selecting host provider.
- The technical support for the host provider should also be a consideration. It’s important to choose a hosting provider that provides prompt technical assistance round the clock, even during weekends and public holidays in order to avoid any inconveniences.
- Nowadays, most hosting providers provide users with an automatic installer to install WordPress with just one click. This means that as a blogger you do not have to waste time with the old-fashioned manual installations, which is tiresome, cumbersome and somewhat confusing to beginners.
Protecting Your Blog from Hackers
Having your WordPress blog or website hacked can be a nightmare and potentially damaging for your business.
If your blog is ever compromised, your web host might be able to help you recover access to it and remove any threats or malicious files. You can also use a service like the WordPress Hacked service from FixMyWP in order to recover it.
There are also several ways to prevent unauthorized access to your blog. Here are some things you can do to drastically reduce the chances of being hacked.
Secure Password Usage
Strong passwords are essential for protecting your administrator accounts from getting hacked. Without strong passwords, your blog account will be highly vulnerable to attacks since most of the hackers will easily guess your password through brute forcing. With strong passwords, the chances of brute force attacks are significantly lowered.
A strong password should include the use of at least 1-2 numbers and use of uppercase and lowercase characters. Special characters should also be used (&*$#@ etc.).
Scan the Downloaded Plugins for Viruses
Nowadays it’s easy to download and install plugins within seconds to your blog. Some plugins contain codes with viruses intended to compromise your blog. As a result, it’s highly recommended that you scan plugins that have been downloaded from sites other than WordPress before installation.
Delete the Default Admin Account
By default, WordPress set the username for admin account as “admin”, without changing this username, malicious users/hackers are already halfway in hacking your blog account. To do this you have to follow these simple guides:
- Create a new admin account that has a username hard to guess
- Then log out
- Login with the new admin account and password
- Delete the old “admin” account
- Ensure you delete the inactive users
Apart from being annoying, inactive users also pose a security threat to your blog. Some of the users create weak passwords when signing up for your blog. Inactive accounts can be a pathway to hackers to access your blog. To do this without breaking anything, go to WordPress dashboard, click users and this leads you to a page with all users listed, then delete the inactive users.
Install a WordPress Firewall
Shield WordPress Security is a plug-in that protects your blog from hackers. The plug-in alerts you when someone tries to hack your account and also blocks the hackers attempt to hack your account. It’s advisable that you disable the plug-in while making changes to your blog since it will also prevent any changes to the blog regardless of whether you’re the admin or not.
Use HTTPS Instead of HTTP
HTTPS is a more secure version of the HTTP and is more secure. It ensures that information sent is encrypted rather than sent in clear text. Encryption makes it harder for hackers to intercept any information that you send over the internet and limits their ability to decode this information. To achieve this, you will need to install an SSL certificate at your web host.
Hide the Login-in Errors
Ever noticed that upon login with an existing username but a different password that you get a message that says “ERROR, INCORRECT PASSWORD”, but when you log in with a non-existent username and password that you get a message different from the first one that says “ERROR: INVALID USERNAME.” This is a common way that hackers use to access your blog, and it’s highly recommended that you hide such error messages from appearing on your blog.