David's Posts

Registering a Domain and Installing WordPress

If you don’t already have server space and a domain name for yourself, then go to Reclaim Hosting, select “sign up” on the front page, and then sign up for a personal account. You’ll need to provide a domain name that’s not already owned (it can be .com, .net, .org, or one of the other top-level domains available now) — see below for more on choosing a name. Once you’ve got a name, provide the necessary information and the coupon code (which I’m posting to Slack)

Naming your domain

Please do note that your domain name should not be tied to this particular class. (In other words, don’t register a name like “janestudent-eng219.com.”) You are not purchasing a web site! You are registering a domain name and server space, upon which you can build many web sites, and host other sorts of applications or files if you’d like to do so.

You can choose a URL based on some version of your name if you’d like (i.e., janestudent.wordpress.com or johndoe.wordpress.com). Using a version of your name has the advantage that you will be building a digital identity on the web based on your name, which can be really helpful. On the other hand, it also means that this site that you’re building will likely come up near the top of web searches for your name, so consider whether that is something you would like.

If you don’t want to publish your coursework on a site with a version of your name, you can also use some sort of pseudonym for your domain name.

It is also perfectly acceptable for your domain name to be a short word or phrase that is easy to remember and spell, and which speaks to some interest of yours or an aspect of your character (for example: my friend Audrey Watters, a noted educational technology scholar and researcher publishes a site called hackeducation.com or one of my favorite art and design blogs is called thisiscolossal.com). If you’re going to choose a title or phrase as your domain name, make sure you think about it very carefully so you don’t show up on one of those lists of the most unfortunate domain names ever, like the design firm called Speed of Art that ended up with a domain name that sounds like it’s about flatulence in a swimsuit. Note that in the case of your site, you’ll be publishing a page that’s a subdomain of WordPress.com, so if Audrey Watters were in this class her site might be called hackeducation.wordpress.com.

Installing WordPress

Once you’ve purchased your domain, you’ll be redirected either to the Client Area or to the cPanel (which is a shortened name for “control panel”). If you are at the Client Area, go to the cPanel.

The cPanel has all the various tools you can use to control your domain. For a start, you’ll install WordPress, which is a free, open-source software for building websites. Find the “Applications” section (which should be at the top of the page) and click on the WordPress icon to install the software.

The Installer page shows information about the WordPress software. Click on “Install this Application”:

The next page provides the opportunity to select a number of options for the installation. You can choose to change any of these if you want, but most of the you should leave at their default setting, except for the section labeled “Settings.” In that section, you need to create a username (I suggest something like your first initial and last name or your Emory NetID. The only thing you should definitely not use for this purpose is “admin.”) Provide a strong, unique password. And give your site a title and subtitle (these can be changed later but it helps to start with something here).

Then choose the “Install” button at the bottom of the page. It will take a few minutes for the software to fully install — you’ll be taken to a page where you will see a progress bar (it seems to always go from 0-99% in a second or two, but then take a minute to finish that last 1%). Once it’s installed, you’ll see a screenshot of the front page of your site along with 3 links: one to the public site itself, another to the dashboard where you’ll control your site, and a link to WordPress support pages.

If you click on the dashboard link from the cPanel here, you won’t need to enter your username and password (since you’ve already had to log into your cPanel to get here) but will take you straight to the WordPress dashboard. If you just type the address there into a browser tab (it’ll be “yourdomainname/wp-admin”) then you’ll need to enter your username and password to login.

Once you’ve completed the steps above, you’ve got server space and a domain and you’ve created a website at that address. Congratulations!

I’ll put instructions for configuring your new site in a separate post.