WordPress is used by nearly 30% of the internet. Why? Because it makes building and managing your website easy.
How to Build a WordPress Website
It has everything you need to create a blog, landing page or fully fledged online store. You can change the look of your website by changing your theme, or add new features with a few clicks when you install a new plugin. Since you can change virtually every aspect of your website without having to learn PHP, HTML, CSS or any other code yourself, WordPress is one of the most user-friendly options on the web.
But before you start building anything with WordPress, you’ll need hosting. Web hosting provides you with server space that you can then use to install WordPress. It’s easy to find hosting options and deals with a quick Google search. But selecting the right hosting for your website can be a bit overwhelming.
All About WordPress Hosting
There are a LOT of hosting options out there (shared, managed, VPS, cloud, etc.). And, if you just Google “WordPress hosting” you’ll end up with literally millions of articles outlining all the different plans on the web. Assuming that you’re new to the wonderful world of WordPress, we’d like to recommend managed hosting as your best bet. There are many factors to consider when choosing one hosting plan over another, but there are a few key reasons why we always recommend managed hosting to new WordPress users:
- Preconfigured and optimized server settings: This is probably one of the main advantages to using managed hosting since it can take years to really master how web servers work, what software combination is best, and which settings can be tweaked specifically for WordPress.
- WordPress is pre-installed: With managed hosting, your WordPress website is ready as soon as you finish signing up for your account. WordPress is pre-installed so all you have to do is log in to add your theme, plugins, and content.
- Automated core WordPress upgrades: You’ll never miss a core WordPress update since your host will handle that for you. Updating should be a part of your standard security procedures (along with using strong passwords, and regular site backups). And, while we typically recommend testing updates on a staging site before applying them to your live site, automatic updates are a good fallback.
- Regular website backups: When it comes to website maintenance the saying “hope for the best, plan for the worst” certainly applies. While it’s easy to think that nothing will ever go wrong with your website, sometimes bad things happen. Regular backups make it easy to restore your website to its former glory. And, managed hosts often make it as simple as clicking a button or opening a support ticket.
- Dedicated WordPress support: Most managed WordPress hosts employ whole teams of WP (WordPress) experts to help you troubleshoot any theme or plugin issues you might run into. This means you’ll always have help when you need it. Even when it’s not a server related question.
Even if you are on a budget, we would still strongly suggest you consider managed WordPress hosting before you get pulled in by one of those $1/month bargain plans. Yes, managed hosting will cost more than basic shared hosting plans. But, you’re getting so much more for your money. It’s definitely a worthwhile investment for any serious blog or business. Now that you have a general understanding of what managed WordPress hosting is, we’d like to introduce you to.
ThemeKeeper Hosted & Why It’s The Best Choice for Those New to WordPress
is one of the latest offerings from ThemeKeeper, pairing your pixel perfect premium theme with super fast managed WordPress hosting – a match made in web development heaven. Even better, there are a ton of extra perks that make ‘Hosted’ particularly awesome for those new to WordPress. Here’s a quick run down of their current features:
- Amazon AWS infrastructure with a 99.9% uptime (basically it’s built on a cloud server with almost no downtime, typically just for server updates)
- Support for up to 100,000 monthly visits, 5GB disk space, 100GB monthly bandwidth
- Free website migration, and/or assistance pointing over your domain
- 24/7 WordPress support providing help with all things WordPress all day, every day
- WordPress maintenance and security (including updates, site monitoring, and malware scans)
- Daily backups with easy one-click restore site option
- 10% off ThemeKeeper Studio Services
- FREE pre-installed premium theme from ThemeKeeper (assuming you stick with them for at least 3 months, but why would you leave?)
And, if you opt for an annual plan you’ll also snag bonus features including:
- 40% off your monthly bill
- 3 Customized pages
- Customized sliders
- Theme settings configuration
- Website pre-launch guidance
- Extra 10% off ThemeKeeper Studio Services (so 20% off)
The only feature you won’t find at ThemeKeeper Hosted is multisite. However, this is typically a non-issue for most WordPress users. But if you really want to create more than one website you can add to a new plan for each domain you want to point over – simple as that.
But, the feature we’d really like to highlight here is the fact that the premium theme of your choosing is already included, and installed for you at no extra charge. This goes above and beyond what other hosting services offer.
Installing a theme can present challenges for new users. You need to correctly download a zip file, upload it to WordPress, and in some cases even edit server upload settings for file sizes (which is the case with most cheap shared hosting plans). With Hosted this entire process is already complete the moment you process your payment. In any case, we feel that these features make Hosted one of the best choices for WordPress users; new users especially.
So, if you’re interested in how to get started with Hosted, or even if you just want to take a look at what’s under the hood, keep reading as we dig into how to build your WordPress website with ThemeKeeper Hosted.
A Step by Step Guide to Setting Up Your WordPress Website with ThemeKeeper Hosted
ThemeKeeper Hosted makes the process of building your website with WordPress even easier. By centralizing themes, hosting and even customizations all in one place you can build a beautiful website with little to no experience.
Step 1: Choose Your WordPress Theme
Your first step is to go shopping for a theme. To choose an awesome WordPress theme that’s a part of with Hosted you can either browse ThemeKeeper to check if your favorite theme is available (you should see the “Get Theme with Hosting” button just like the image above), or you can go to the main page to browse by theme designs. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll be using the Total Multipurpose WordPress theme. But, the setup process should be similar no matter which theme you choose.
Step 2: Purchase an ThemeKeeper Hosted Plan
Once you’ve selected a theme you’ll be able to move forward to purchase.
Choose from a monthly or an annual plan. Since the annual plan includes perks (40% off your bill plus a handful of bonus customizations and added ThemeKeeper Studio discounts) it’s the better option for most users.It’s important to note that you will need an ThemeKeeper user account to check out. So, if you don’t have one yet, now’s the time to get one. Either fill out the details for a new account or sign into an existing one, then continue to follow the prompts to process your payment and complete payment.
Step 3: ThemeKeeper Hosted General Settings
After completing signup you should be redirected to your brand new ThemeKeeper Hosted control panel (for us it took less than a minute to load the panel, and less than 10 minutes for our site to go from “activating” to “live”). From here you’ll be able to access all the Hosted websites you create with your account, as well as the features that go along with them. At this point, you can jump ahead to your WordPress dashboard, since ThemeKeeper Hosted provides you with a temporary staging URL. But, we’re going to walk you through a few pages that you should be aware of.From the main Control Ppanel page, click on the gear icon next to your domain. This should open a dropdown with links to your Backups, Add Domain, Details, and SFTP. Let’s click on the “Add Domain” option first.
Add A Domain
This step is important to complete so your website can exist on an actual custom URL. But, since ThemeKeeper provides a temporary staging domain you don’t have to feel rushed.
For an existing domain, you have the option to point it over yourself or to use the assisted domain transfer option. But if don’t have one yet (or if you want a new one) you can purchase a domain name through your ThemeKeeper Hosted account. Just select the option to register a new domain, and for $14.99 you can have your pick of what’s available (note: this price does not include privacy protection and your domain name will need to be renewed on a yearly basis).
Migrate Your Current Website
If you’re moving your website from another hosting company, and you’re not sure how to get started, we highly recommend taking advantage of ThemeKeeper Hosted’s migration assistance. This can be accessed from the main control panel page by clicking on the gear icon next to your domain, or by clicking on the “WordPress Migrations Request” option under the “Support” tab.
To move your website just fill out the form, and the ThemeKeeper Hosted team will get to work moving your site data for you. You may experience a bit of downtime during the transfer, but that’s completely normal. The only important factor to note is that the Hosted team does take weekends off, so it might be best to save any site migrations for during the work week.
Restore From A Backup
When managing your website, it’s also a good idea to know where your site backups are stored. From the main control, panel page
From the main Control Panel page click on the same trusty little gear icon next to your domain, then select the drop-down for your “Backups.” From here you can view up to 30 days’ worth of website backups, as well as download your own copies, edit the backup notes (such as to “pre-plugin update” if it was a manual backup) or begin restoring your website with just a click.
Hosted SFTP Information
Lastly, ThemeKeeper Hosted does provide SFTP access (again – click on that gear icon from the main page). Though unless you’re familiar with editing WordPress files manually, you probably won’t need this information. What you should have a look at, though, is your “Usage Stats.” Not only will this let you know what resources your website has been using, but it will give you a bit of insight into your traffic.
Step 4: Setup Your WordPress Installation
Now that you’ve had a look around the control panel (and perhaps even purchased a brand new domain name) it’s time to move on to your actual WordPress installation. When you first created your ThemeKeeper Hosted account, you should have received two or three emails.
If you created a new ThemeKeeper account, the first email will be to confirm that account. The second email should be to welcome you to Hosted. But, it’s the last email we’re interested in, which should include the temporary login information for your ThemeKeeper Hosted website.
Open this email to learn your admin username, and a click the link to reset your password. Once you’ve done that, log into your WordPress website using the credentials you just confirmed.
You can also access a quick link to your temporary staging domain (or your official domain if you’ve purchased or pointed one over) from your Hosted control panel.
ThemeKeeper Hosted Tour
When you first log in you’ll be taken to the ThemeKeeper Hosted welcome dashboard. Of course, you can follow the 13 step walk through, but it’s completely up to you. It asks about some of your preferences, and for social media accounts (you can preview all the steps by clicking on the “Show All” link). Personally, we skipped ahead to get started building out our website.
Edit or Add Users
After this, we chose to change our admin username. By default, ours was “wpadmin” and we don’t love the idea of a generic admin account name for security reasons. We simply created a new admin user, logged out of WordPress, then logged back in with the new admin account to delete the old one. From here you can also create new accounts for any of your blog contributors or other staff members who will need access to your website later on. Normally, the next step would be to install your WordPress theme. But, since this is ThemeKeeper Hosted, and one of the main perks is a premium, pre-installed WordPress theme, you don’t have to lift a finger. The theme you selected at checkout should already be installed, and active (you can go to Appearance > Themes if you’d like to check).
Import Sample Data
This next step will vary based on the Hosted plan you’ve selected, and the theme you’ve chosen to go with it. If you went for annual billing, site setup is free, so you don’t have to install sample data yourself. One of Hosted’s qualified WordPress techs will be happy to get your website setup with your theme, sample data, and a few customizations.
For those who chose monthly billing, site setup is left to you. But if you’ve selected a theme like Total this might be easier than you think. The Total WordPress theme specifically includes a custom demo importer that enables options to install any of the theme’s 40+ demos with just a couple clicks. Browse, and preview the demos from the Theme Panel to choose which is right for your website.When you select a demo, the importer will prompt you to install the required plugins for that specific demo, and confirm the sample data you’d like to import (Total offers options to import sliders, widgets and customizer settings in addition to the core site content). Just confirm, wait a few seconds for the sample data to upload, and then voila! Your website is ready to go!When you go to your live site, it should be identical to the demo you’ve selected – complete with all the same sliders, pages, posts, products and more.
Editing Your WordPress Website
With your theme and sample content installed, you can begin editing your website. Whether or not you have blog posts, portfolio items, staff pages or a pricing page will depend on your theme. Some themes also come with bundled plugins or extra options in a theme panel or customizer. For the most part, WordPress is intuitive, and you can learn by trial and error. If you do need help you should be able to reference the theme documentation. Otherwise, you can always reach out to the ThemeKeeper Hosted support team.
Step 5: How to Request Support
ThemeKeeper Hosted offers a huge online knowledgebase that includes answers to many customer questions about their service. But, if you can’t find an answer you always have the option to open a support ticket. One of the best features of ThemeKeeper Hosted is that your inquiries need not be limited to hosting only. They’re happy to help with anything, and everything WordPress, and theme related (assuming it’s a theme you purchased through your Hosted account, of course).
Step 6: Changing Your WordPress Theme with ThemeKeeper Hosted
Once you’ve gotten started with your WordPress site you may decide it’s time for a new look. The easiest way to change up your site design is a new theme, and Hosted offers three different methods to give your site a facelift.
Option 1: Upload a new theme by navigating to Appearance > Themes > Add New > Upload Theme. Select your theme zip file then install and activate.
Option 2: Activate your ThemeKeeper Market account to have access to all of your ThemeKeeper (and СodeHolder). The ThemeKeeper Market plugin should already be installed on your WordPress site, so once it’s active you’ll be able to install and update your themes with just a click.
Option 3: Open a Hosted support ticket to have your website switched to a different Hosted compatible theme at no extra cost. Just go to your Hosted control panel, and click on the “Support” tab. Click on the button for “WordPress Theme Support” to submit your theme transfer request (just be sure to let them know which Hosted theme you want to switch over to).
Bonus: Add Plugins
Now that you have a fully functioning WordPress website, you can consider adding new plugins for features that perhaps weren’t included with the theme you chose. This is, of course, completely optional. But, we thought we’d share a few key plugins we’ve found to be extremely helpful when creating a new website. And, if you’ve completed the account registration for the ThemeKeeper Market plugin, you’ll be able to install and update any of your СodeHolder purchases from within your WordPress installation.
Yellow Pencil Visual CSS Editor
If your theme doesn’t include built-in customization options, then Yellow Pencil is a great option. This point and click live CSS editor is perfect for making tweaks to your website to make it your own. You can easily change element colors, select new fonts, customize backgrounds, add animations, and more.
While there are plenty of themes with “grid” modules included in their page builders, Essential Grid offers features you won’t find anywhere else. With this plugin, you can create custom grid layouts with your posts, portfolio, images, shop products, videos, pricing, and more. Plus it includes a visual skin editor to further customize your grids to match your theme.
Since advanced mega menus aren’t typically built into themes you’ll likely need to use a plugin if you want to add one. Uber Menu is an amazing plugin that offers powerful options for menu column layouts, custom icons, built-in maps, forms, dynamic item generation, and more. Plus, the plugin is responsive and mobile optimized with the option for custom breakpoints.
On the off chance, this wasn’t already bundled with your theme, Slider Revolution is one of the top slider plugins for WordPress. With this plugin you can easily create animated, responsive sliders with images, videos, buttons and more. Plus there are a ton of awesome templates included when you purchase your own license, making it even easier to create impressive slider section for your website.
Most themes don’t include built-in forms and instead recommend compatible third party plugins. Instead of settling for a free plugin, let us introduce you to Form Craft. This lovely plugin offers advanced, and customizable forms with options for over 20 fields. Use Form Craft to create contact forms, surveys, quizzes, and more. Plus, the plugin even offers form analytics so you can monitor their performance.
Hopefully, you’re able to use this guide to get your website started with ThemeKeeper Hosted. It really is one of the easiest ways to build your website with WordPress. Managed hosting that also includes access to the top selling themes, ThemeKeeper Studio discounts, and 24/7 tech support – what’s not to love? Not only is ThemeKeeper Hosted extremely new-user friendly, we see huge advantages for web developers setting up client sites (you could literally have them setup in an afternoon).
Let us know if you give Hosted a try for your next project – we’d love to hear what you think of this new managed WordPress hosting option.