How to Build a Website – Beginners Guide
Part 1 – Creating a hosting account with $100 free credit and building your first server.
For all my websites I use DigitalOcean as my main hosting provider. This guide to building your first website will be using DigitalOcean as your hosting provider.
Why use DigitalOcean?
Having worked over 15 years building and running websites, I have used all the big hosting companies from dedicated servers, VPS hosting to shared hosting. DigitalOcean, to me, is simply the very best you can get for the money you pay. For example, recently, I migrated a website from Hostgator where the client was paying $355 per month for his website hosting. I migrated the website over to DigitalOcean onto a $20 droplet and the site is running much faster, saving the client $335 per month for his website hosting.
DigitalOcean is cloud VPS hosting and you can rescale resources to suit your website traffic with the click of a button. It does not have a control panel, saving money on cPanel or Plesk licenses, so everything you do is done by command prompt in terminal or putty. This will put many people off, however, my guides will show you how to survive without cPanel or Plesk. Afterwards, you will realize that there really is no need for a control panel when running a WordPress website.
You can spin up a server at any time from $5 a month running almost any operating system. As long as you follow my guide you will be able to build a server and host as many websites as you wish on the one server. We will start with the budget $5 VPS (droplet) for one website and if you wish to add more you can upgrade to the $10, $20 and so on. My main server hosts over 20 websites and I pay $40 per month for 8GB RAM and 150GB disk space. It is running at under 60% full resources, just to show you the power you have with DigitalOcean and the money you save compared to other hosting options.
A Droplet is basically a server or VPS (Virtual Private Server). So from now on we will refer to the terms server and VPS as a Droplet. The following guide will show you how to signup to DigitalOcean and get $100 free hosting credit and also create your first droplet that we will use for your website hosting.
- First register at DigitalOcean using this link https://m.do.co/c/c08a36ec894f you will get $100 free hosting credit to use over a 90 day period.
- Inside your DigitalOcean account, click the green “Create” button and select “Droplets”…
- On the next page, click “One-click-apps” and select “LEMP on 18.04″…
- Choose the $5 droplet size…
- Add backups leave as “No”. You also don’t need “Block Storage” so leave that as it is…
- Choose a region, select any you wish to use, preferably the one nearest your own location or where your website will be based. Also check “IPv6” and “Monitoring”…
- You don’t need to add SSH Keys and leave the number of droplets as it is. All you need to do next is enter a “Hostname” which can be anything, I normally just use my domain name. Enter a hostname and click create…
Ok that is your first Droplet created running LEMP on Ubuntu 18.04. You don’t need to know what that means, however, it is an NGINX server which is probably the best type of server for WordPress sites.
Next check your emails from DigitalOcean, you will receive a Droplet IP and a password. You need these for the next step which is to login to your droplet via terminal or putty and change the password. I normally use the password in the email from DigitalOcean and add a character at the end such as * or (.
Ok so you have the Droplet IP and password next follow these steps:
- Open Terminal or Putty and enter the following command:
(replace dropletIP with your droplet IP from the email).
- Enter the password from the DigitalOcean email.
- Enter the password again.
- Enter your new password.
- Enter your new password once again.
You have now unlocked your Droplet and can proceed to Part 2.