WordPress Blog on GoDaddy WebHost – A walkthrough

This is a step-by-step walkthrough of setting up a WordPress-powered blog on a GoDaddy hosting account. Although this process is intuitive, this post may illuminate just how easy it is to do. The first step is to go to your GoDaddy Hosting Control Center and log in. If you don’t already have a hosting account with GoDaddy, then I’ll leave that to you to purchase and set up. I’m currently paying $4.99 / month for 10 GB of disk space and 300 GB of bandwidth. Anyway, log into your Hosting Control Center and then click on the domain where you want your blog. In my case, that is my only domain.

Click on Your Applications as indicated above. Then head to the blog section, search for WordPress and install it.

Pick your domain:

Create your database username and password, although you’ll probably never need to use them:

Decide where in your site to install WordPress. If all your site contains is a blog, then you should leave it in the root directory (default):

Choose your name, password, email, and site name. These you will need to remember. It’s probably a good idea to use your free GoDaddy email address here. You can always have it forwarded to your other email account.

That’s the end of the setup. You should see the following screen:

So now click on My Applications:

Notice that the status indicates Creating Database. You will probably have to wait a few minutes until the status indicates Installed. Then, click on install details:

The details of your installation might be useful as you get further into WordPress development, but for the average user they don’t matter much. Go ahead and log out of the GoDaddy Hosting Control Manager now and head to your website by typing your web address into your browser. You should see the following page:

You’re in business! Click on the link Log into Admin or add /wp-admin to your web address in the address bar to get to the Administration login screen:

At this point, you should take some time to get familiar with the WordPress administration interface called the Dashboard. Some good documentation is available at the WordPress Codex. Thanks to the WordPress developers, everything is pretty straightforward. You’ll notice that on the left sidebar of the Dashboard is a link to Plugins. I found the following plugins to be helpful:

  • Advertising Manager – Manage Google Adsense and other advertising on WordPress
  • Akismet – Protect against comment spam
  • Google XML Sitemaps – Creates sitemaps for your site for use by search engines
  • WP-Cache – WordPress caching system
  • Google Analyticator – Google Analytics tracking support
  • Thumbnail for Excerpts – Add thumbnails to excerpts and enable excerpts on main page easily
  • SyntaxHighlighter Evolved – Easily post syntax-highlighted code to your site without having to modify the code at all
  • Link to Post – Create a link to an existing article or page in another article or page without pasting permalinks.
  • Gravatar Box – Automatically detect and show a users gravatar if they have one or show a sign up link if they don’t

Note that simply installing these plugins does not make them work automatically. After you install them, you need to enable them from the Plugins menu and then configure them under the Settings menu from your Dashboard. The Advertising Manager even creates its own menu on the Dashboard called Ads that you have to use to manage your advertisements. There is a lot more to WordPress than this, of course, but I am just getting started myself, so that’s all for now!

How to Backup your Website

This site used to be based on simple HTML pages with some CSS and Javascript thrown in for eye candy. Then, it was easy to backup everything by simply opening the ftp server and dragging all the files over. In fact, my home PC was usually more up-to-date than the website itself. Now that I have a WordPress blog, though, there are a couple more steps. I’ll walk through them all in case this helps anyone. As a warning, this is all highly customized to my setup: a WordPress weblog hosted by GoDaddy. Your setup will probably be a little different.

The first step is to use the tools provided by the web-host to backup the database (in my case, it’s a MySQL database). 

  • Log in to your hosting provider.
  • These next steps will probably be different for you unless you use GoDaddy, but here’s how it works on GoDaddy
  • After you click on the domain you’re using (above), click on MySQL from the database tab
  • Then click the pencil icon to view the database details:
  • Then you can see the backup button:
  • Finally, click ok:

You might be presented a confirmation prompt asking if you want to overwrite a previous backup file. Say yes. That’s all there is to it, but you’ll probably have to wait a couple hours for the process to complete.

The next step is to download the backup file you created along with all the other files in your website. You can do this with a regular ftp client (In Ubuntu, I just use the Nautilus file browser, and in Windows, I just used Windows Explorer). You can usually just type in your domain like you would in a browser except start with ftp:// instead of http://. You should be prompted for your username and password. If that didn’t work, go back to your hosting account and use their website to get some instructions for using ftp. Anyway, with an ftp client you can simply drag all of the files and directories from your website into a directory on your hard drive. I’ve done this several times. It works fast, but it uses a lot of bandwidth and ties up your web-host’s server.

Instead of the drag-and-drop method mentioned above, you can use Wget, a command-line utility built for such things. This is installed by default on Ubuntu, but you can also install it in Windows (I’ve even seen Windows binaries for it). Here is the command I use:

wget –mirror -w 1 -p -P/home/site/Websites/site/ ‘ftp://username:password@www.site.com/’