How To Start A WordPress Blog With WP Engine
*Photo courtesy of Create Her Stock
BIG NOTE: Since writing this WP Engine completely changed their pricing structure so the screenshots may look a little different than what’s posted on the live site. If you notice something drastically different while going through the process feel free to reach out to my personal Twitter account so I can help you out.
Also, if all of this is too much for you we can build your blog for you for a very reasonable price. Check it out here.
Ok now on to the post…
I wrote an entire blog post detailing how to choose a blog host. If you’re coming to this post from that one (heyyy girl) and if you haven’t read it here’s the deal.
WP Engine is a great web host to use if you want your site to be on WordPress. I’m definitely a WordPress girl through and through because it’s free and very flexible to work with.
A lot of people don’t want to start off on WP Engine because it’s a little more expensive than other options like Hostgator (which I also recommend for different reasons). Once I crunched the numbers I realized WP Engine doesn’t really cost that much more. Once I looked at the amazing benefits I get right away with WP Engine it seemed like a better deal compared to a cheaper hosting plan. WP Engine also provides managed hosting which gives more WordPress specific benefits that other hosts don’t provide.
Like I said, I also use Hostgator but I switched the sites that get too much traffic for a shared server to handle. I chose WP Engine over a dedicated Hostgator server because it’s cheaper and they have more tools that I need.
WP Engine is built specifically for WordPress and they know WordPress in and out. One of the biggest draws for me is the ease of their staging sites. I design websites for other people a lot so this comes in handy.
WP Engine also does automatic daily backups (which most hosts charge extra for) and your plan comes with a free SSL Certificate. I like that WP Engine updates my install for me and I have the ability to scale faster along with extra security.
WP Engine also has a very easy to understand interface without a lot of clutter since they focus on WordPress alone. It’s really easy for beginners to understand so if you’ve never set up a website before you’ll like that. You can’t buy a domain through WP Engine because they only focus on WordPress hosting but it’s very easy to purchase your domain from Namecheap and set it up to work with your account which I’ll walk you through in this tutorial.
The personal plan is $35 a month (or $350 a year which gets you two months free). This gets you one website, more than enough storage, 24 hour support, and a free SSL certificate which is usually an extra cost with other hosting plans. My code will also get you an extra 20% off your first order which is pretty amazing. As I said earlier they back your site up every day and make it really easy to back up your site when you want to make changes. (Pro Tip: ALWAYS backup your site before you do anything, especially when you don’t know what you’re doing).
The professional plan (the one I use) is $115 a month (or $1150 a year which gives you two months free). You can have up to 5 installs along with all the other perks as well.
If you’re interested in WP Engine click this link for the 20% off and then follow the instructions below so we can have you and your blog set up in no time.
Ok, let’s get started.
Once you click the link above you’ll see this screen which automatically applies the 20% discount.
The steps are really easy to follow. I’ve always said that if you can’t figure this part out then blogging might not be for you because it’s honestly common sense. I recommend purchasing your hosting plan for at least a year for two main reasons. The first is that you need to make a commitment to blog at least a year anyway. If you don’t blog for a year you won’t be able to grow your audience and you won’t be able to make money. The second reason is that you’ll get a 20% discount off the entire year instead of the first month. Blogging is extremely rewarding so I promise it’s worth it.
Once you’ve filled out the form and your account has been created you’ll sign in at my.wpengine.com
Click install > add install on the top left side of the screen.
Next you need to add an install aka your website. It’s pretty self explanatory but be really careful when filling out the install name because that’s your CNAME. This is how you connect your domain to your install via Namecheap. I recommend making it a shorter version of your domain name for instance Brown Girl Bloggers would be bgb or browngirlblogs.
When I created my first site with WP Engine (this one), I didn’t realize that the install name is the CNAME (which duh of course it is) so the CNAME for this site has nothing to do with Brown Girl Bloggers and I’m forever annoyed by that.
Once you’ve filled out the form and clicked create install, the next screen you’ll see is your overview.
The cool thing about WP Engine is that they create your WordPress install for you. You’ll receive an email with all your details that looks like this.
Click reset WP-Admin password and set up your new WordPress Install.
Congrats! You have a website.
Now you need to connect your domain name to your WP Engine install. If you already own a domain and you purchased it from a company other than Namecheap you should google “how to connect my XXX domain to WP Engine.” You’ll definitely find your answer.
I’ve always used Namecheap to purchase my domains so I’m going to guide you through the process of purchasing your domain from them and connecting it to your new install.
First up click this link to go to Namecheap‘s homepage.
Once there search for the domain you want.
The domain you choose is up to you. I like to stick to .com or .co for my websites. I think any type of domain will do on the internet today although other people will disagree. Make sure to keep your domain memorable and don’t add numbers or dashes unless absolutely necessary.
Once you find the domain you want click the grey shopping cart to add it to your cart and then click the orange view cart button.
The cart looks like this…
Next hit confirm order to be taken to this page.
If you don’t already have an account go ahead and create one now. Once you’ve created your account you’ll be directed to fill out your contact information.
Once you fill out your contact info and move to the next screen click the orange continue button on the right side of the screen. This will take you to the billing page which is self explanatory if you’ve ever purchased something online. I like to use Paypal over putting my card info in but you do what you do.
I didn’t actually purchase the domain from this tutorial as I was just walking you through the steps but once you have an account and a purchased domain it’s time to connect it to your WP Engine install.
Once you’ve logged into your Namecheap account you will see a button titled ‘Domain List’ on the right side of the screen. Click it.
Next navigate to the domain you’d like to work with and click manage.
On the next screen click Advanced DNS
On the Advanced DNS screen you will set up your CNAME record and A record for your domain.
I’ve blocked out my info but your A Record will be:
Value: The IP Address given to through your WP Engine account which you can find on your overview page.
You CNAME record will be:
Value: CNAME you have on WP Engine. Make sure to type the entire thing. From the example above my CNAME is forbgbtutorial.wpengine.com. I always just copy and paste my IP Address and CNAME.
Now, you just have to wait until it goes through. Although it says automatic on Namecheap that rarely happens. I’ve had it take up to 48 hours for my domain name to go through.
Ok so now you have a WordPress install through WP Engine and a domain.
It’s time to start creating you blog posts now. We have an ebook in our free resource library that breaks down everything you need to know about navigating WordPress. You can sign up and download it here.
Here is a blog post I wrote featuring a few feminine WordPress themes you may like.
I hope your blog turns out AMAZING!
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.