How to Make Your Own Website for Free, Part 3

Okay, so you have your website at and have setup a database for WordPress to use (if you don’t go back and read parts 1 and 2 of this series, then come back here).

Now it’s time to setup WordPress itself. WordPress is what allows you to write web pages and blog posts with little technical knowledge. WordPress is generally acknowledged to be the best of the blogging software, not least because it can be customized nearly beyond recognition. What we’ll get started with is a plain vanilla installation.

Log in to your account and get to the main control panel.

Click on the “Application Installer” icon along the left (circled above). The next page that displays shows a list of the software that can be installed into your website.

Some of these applications are for blogs, some are for online stores, and some are for discussion forums.  There’s quite a range of applications you can use on (not the variety that you get with paid hosts, but they’ve hit all the big applications). 

Click the radio button next to “wordpress” (circled above). You also must provide a target directory…this is the location where your blog will live. Name it whatever you want, but remember that what you enter will show up in the web address of your blog. For example, if I enter an installation directory of blog, then the web address for the blog will be

Once you’ve entered your installation directory, click the “Install Now!” button at the bottom. The next page looks alarmingly like an error message:

Don’t panic! This is just WordPress telling you that it needs some more information before your blog is ready to use.  Click on the link that reads, “create a wp-config.php file through a web interface”.

We’re now into the WordPress setup. As the first page says, it’s going to ask you for your database name, database username, database password, database host, and database prefix. We’ll walk through these one by one. For now, click the “let’s go!” link at the bottom of the page.

On the next page is a form where we can enter the required information.

Database Name: You do remember this from Part 2 of this series, right? This will be something like username_databasename, where username is your user name and databasename is whatever you called your database. If you don’t remember this information, you can go back to the control panel and back into the “Create/delete MySQL database” section to see what it is.

Username: This is the database username, not your username.  This comes from Part 2, and will be of the form username_databaseusername.  If you don’t remember what it is, you can go back to the control panel and back into the “Create/delete MySQL database” section to see what user you created.

Password: This is the exact password you entered when you created the database user in part 2.  If you don’t remember this, you’ll have to go back to the control panel and back into the “Create/delete MySQL database” section, and create a new user with a known password.

Database Host: Leave this as is. It should contain localhost.

Table Prefix: You can leave this as is, too. The idea with this field is that you can run multiple blogs using the same database by using a different table prefix for each blog. So if you start a second blog on the same database, you’d want to change the table prefix for the second installation.  If none of that made sense, don’t worry, because you can safely ignore it.

After you’ve filled in all the fields, click “Submit Now”.  Unless you entered something incorrect, you should see this page:

If you did enter something incorrect, this page should give you an error message that hints at what went wrong.  Typically its because you entered a bad database name, username, or password.  Make sure both the database name and username have your username on the front (e.g. jshaffstall2_blog, jshaffstall2_user). 

Once everything you see the above page, click the “run the install!” link.

We’re not quite done yet, now we need to tell WordPress some basic information about our blog. On the next page that comes up, click the “First Step” link to get to the next page:

The basic information required is the title of the blog and your email. The title you enter here will be displayed across the top of the page like a banner.  The title can be whatever you want (e.g. “My Blog”, “Jay’s Splendiferous Ravings”, etc). 

Enter your title and email and press “Second Step”.  Do not click anything on this next page until you read below.

This page shows two things you need to write down. One is the user name you can use to log into WordPress (should be admin) and the password you will use. The password is randomly generated, so if you do not remember it, you’ll have to go through the entire WordPress install all over again.  Your best bet is to highlight the password and copy and paste it into a Word document for safekeeping for the next few minutes.

With your username and password safely stored somewhere, click on the “wp-login.php” link.

Enter the username and password from the previous page and click the “Login” button.

Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of an Internet blog.

One thing you want to do before you leave your blog is to change your password to something easier to remember. On the WordPress Dashboard (the page that comes up when you log in), click on the “Users” link across the top (circled below):

You’ll get to a page where you can edit your personal information. You will eventually want to fill something out in most of these fields, but for now, scroll down to the “Update Your Password” section.

Type your new password into the two boxes provided, then click the “Update Your Profile” button at the bottom of the page.  Your randomly generated password has now been changed.  Don’t forget what you changed it to!

Since customizing WordPress is the reason to use it, I’ll cover some basic customization in a later post. Enjoy, and write some posts! When you’re ready for visitors, post your link in the comments below.

2 Replies to “How to Make Your Own Website for Free, Part 3”

  1. Hi Jay,

    These are great instructions. For any of your readers that have a 1and1 hosting account, there are similar instructions for installing on 1and1 at:

    It shows the full install process with using FTP to load up your files, but the key thing for some of your readers would be the differences for the MySQL database setup.


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