Are you an aspiring blogger? Small business owner? Person who wants a website but doesn’t know how any of that magical web stuff works? Well then, this is the tutorial for you. Here’s How To Set Up A Website If You Know Nothing About Web Design.
Toolbox For How To Set Up A Website
WordPress (Your Content Managment System)
Google Compute Engine (Your Server)
Server Pilot (Your Control Panel)
Something Cool You Probably Don’t Know
If you have a business G Suite account, Google gives you a 30GB server that you can do whatever you want with. You can put as many websites as you can cram on to that little server. For $5 a month, plus whatever your domain name costs, you can have your own website.
Here’s how this is gonna go:
Step 1: Buy Domain Name & G Suite Business
Step 2: Hook Domain Name Up To G Suite Business
Step 3: Set Up Server
Step 4: Set Up Control Panel / WordPress / DNS For Server
Step 5: Boom. You Have A Website.
If You Don’t Have A Busines G Suite Account
You’ll need to set this up.
Step 1: Buy A Domain Name
First, you’ll need to buy a domain name to hook your Business G Suite account up to.
I personally recommend using google domains, or name.com. If you use name.com, do yourself a favor and buy the who.is privacy. This makes sure your personal contact info can’t be looked up by any random person who wants to know who owns your domain name. If you don’t buy this (it’s like $3) you will get spammed all over the place by random Indian web designers looking to sell you something.
NOTE: Whatever you do, don’t buy your domain on GoDaddy. Their a pain in the ass to deal with and their customer support won’t help you if anything goes wrong.
Step 3: Buy G Suite For Business
Step 2: Hook Your Domain Name Up To Your Business G Suite
Once you’ve signed up for your Business G Suite account you’ll just need to go into your Admin Settings > More Controls > Domains and just follow the instructions from there. This is pretty easy to set up, and Google has good documentation on how to do this, even if you don’t know how to set up a website it should be easy to follow.
Don’t Be Afraid Of DNS
You’ll need to edit the DNS of your domain to make this stuff work, and it’s a lot simpler than it looks. DNS stands for Domain Name Server and all it is is the thing that tells your internet what domain name is connected to what server. There are a bunch of different types of DNS records and you don’t need to know about most of them.
These are just Text Records. Google uses them to verify that you own a domain. They’ll give you a little code thingy to add as a TXT record.
The instructions Google gives you tells you to edit the MX records. MX records are just a type of DNS record. No big deal. MX records are Mail Exchange Records. These attach your email to your domain name so that you can have a cool custom email like firstname.lastname@example.org. If you screw with these later, your email will stop being able to send and receive emails until you reconfigure it, so once you set these up don’t touch em’.
To connect your little google server to your domain name, you’ll need to add an A Record to your DNS. You’ll add this after you set up your little google server.
Don’t add this before you set up the C Panel or it WILL MESS UP EVERYTHING (for technical reasons that even I in my infinite wisdom don’t fully understand). I did this the first time I set one of these up and I had to get someone smarter than me to fix it so YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.
If you’re wondering what this is, it’s Time To Live. It’s just the number of seconds it takes your DNS to update when it’s edited. Leave it at the default number unless instructed otherwise.
This is the priority level of your MX records. It just tells servers where to send your mail. You don’t need to worry about this.
Time To Set Up Your Server
If you’ve never set up a server before, or even know how servers work, don’t worry. You don’t need to know anything to do this, it’s pretty simple, we’re just configuring settings. You should be able to follow this even if you dont know how to set up a website.
Just go into Google Compute Engine, and go into VM Instances. A VM is a Virtual Machine, it’s literally a computer within a computer. That’s how hosting companies can use one server to host multiple peoples websites.
The Server Setup
Click the Create Instance button. Name your instance “server-pilot”.
Step 1: Machine Type
Click “Customize” and set it up like this.
Step 2: Zone
You’ll need to choose a Zone, which is just the location of the physical server. Choose the one closest to you.
Step 3: Boot Disk
Next, you’ll also need to change the boot disk to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, and you can make it up to 30GB.
Step 4: Firewall
After that just enable HTTP & HTTPS access under Firewall.
That’s all the settings you need to worry about configuring. Click Create.
Now you’ve got a server.
The Control Panel Setup: How To Set Up A Website
This is where Server Pilot comes in.
Step 1: Sign Up
Sign up for the free version.
Step 2: Connect The Server
Click “+Connect Server” and input the external IP address.
Your site should show up at the designated domain shortly (though it may take up to a few hours). After that you can follow the wordpress setup instructions, and choose a free theme. And that’s How To Set Up A Website kids.