A business is difficult to create but a website is easy. Here is how you can create a website, regardless if it’s a blog, a portfolio, or an online shopping site, with your own domain name, at less than $4 a month.
In this guide, I will also show you an easy way to host with HTTPS so that when visitors come to your website, they can see the “Secure” sign in their browser. This way, your website will look more legitimate and be slightly more secure against attacks.
To create your own website, generally, you need 3 things:
And no, you don’t have to code.
Before you start
In this article, I aim to give you the straightest route in creating your website in minutes. The tools/platforms I will be using are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cloudflare, and WordPress themes. You do not have to use these exact platforms to achieve the same result. I earn nothing whether you use these services or not. However, I have figured this to be the easiest and cheapest way to get a decent website up and running.
If you are ready, then let’s get started!
1. Get a domain
Think of a domain you want to get. Things you might want to consider is whether you want to go with the traditional ‘.com’ suffix or any suffix is fine. In the past, websites with a ‘.com’ suffix have a disproportionately higher success rate than any other suffix. However, as people get more tech-savvy, there are other websites that have been doing very well with other suffixes such as Musicly.io and About.me.
Another consideration is that you might want to use this domain for your email. So, you want it to look good without it being difficult to remember. A domain is part of your branding after all.
To purchase a domain, go to any domain provider. Some popular ones include GoDaddy.
For this tutorial, go to AWS and sign in.
Click on Services > Route 53
In the Route53 Dashboard, you should see an interface for you to search for any available domains. You can choose the type of suffix you want. Once you are ready, follow the on-screen instruction to purchase the domain.
Once you have purchased the domain, AWS will now do the technical stuff to make sure your domain is purchased and owned by you. This might take a while. From my experience, this can take up to 10 mins.
Meanwhile, let’s move on to the next step.
2. Prepare to host website
For this tutorial, we will use… You guessed it, AWS!
Again, navigate to Services > Lightsail. Click on Create Instance.
Edit where you want your website to be hosted. If you expect your target audience to be near a certain location, then it’s best to pick a location nearer to them.
Next, pick Linux and WordPress as shown.
Leave everything as default and scroll down. Time to pick your plan! Typically, for initial less popular websites, especially when you are just starting out, it’s rational to expect lesser traffic to your website. In that case, pick the lowest plan. It should be sufficient for most uses of a website. When your traffic grows, you might want to upgrade your plan or change your host entirely. It’s up to you!
For now, let’s pick the lowest one at $3.50.
Scroll down further and type in the name to identify your instance. This name is merely for your own usage to identify the instances you created. No one else can see it. Then, click Create Instance.
3. Host the website
By now, your domain should be populated and ready for some settings change. Let’s get your website hosted!
Log in to Cloudflare. Click on Add a Site. Type in the domain you just registered. As you move through the instructions, at some point, it should prompt you to add the nameservers to your domain. Just pause there and read on to see how you can change your nameservers.
Go to AWS. Navigate to Services > Route53.
On the left sidebar, click on Registered Domains. Click on your domain name. You should see unfamiliar information about your domain. Look for the Name Servers field. Click on Add or Edit Name Servers.
Cloudflare uses the following for their name servers:
Update it accordingly in AWS Route53.
Once you have updated, go to AWS, navigate to Services > Lightsail.
You should see something like the following. Take note of the IP address. IP address in the example below is 188.8.131.52. Your IP address will be different. Copy your IP address. Then go back to Cloudflare.
You should be able to select your website and see a few icons in the top menu. Click on DNS.
Note: If you cannot navigate there, simply check back again in 5-10 mins.
Click on Add Record. Insert the two following records.
- First record:
- Type: A
- Name: yourowndomain.com
- IPV4 Address: <enter your IP address> e.g. 12.34.567.890
- Click Save.
- Second record:
- Type: A
- Name: www
- IPV4 Address: <enter your IP address again> e.g. 12.34.567.890
- Click Save.
Once you are done, navigate to SSL/TLS from the header menu. Select Flexible.
As of now, you technically have your website hosted! However, to really get it up and running and ready for visitors, you have to give it a theme.
4. Set it up
Go to your website. So, if your website is thisismywebsite.com, simply type that into your browser and hit enter.
You should see some jumbled up mess. Now, go to the admin page. You can do so by adding ‘/wp-admin’. So, if your website is thisismywebsite.com, enter thisismywebsite.com/wp-admin into the browser and hit enter. You should see a login page.
Your username is user. To get your password, go back to AWS, navigate to Services > Lightsail.
From the instance you have created, click on the terminal icon.
You should see a terminal pop up.
Type in the following command into the terminal:
The output is the password you can use to login the wp-admin page. In the example above, to log into my wp-admin page I would use:
(Don’t worry, the instance is only for example. It is deleted by the time you read this.☺ )
Once logged in, you should see an admin dashboard. While this tutorial does not cover selecting the type of themes or how to drive traffic to your website, there are a few necessary setup I think you should take.
First, go to Users > Add New. You can use the username and password of the new user for your next wp-admin login. Make sure to select the role as Administrator.
Next, to make your website appear with the secure logo, navigate to Plugin > Add New. Search for Really Simple SSL. Install and activate it.
Lastly, you might want to use a theme for your website. Navigate to Appearance > Themes. From there, you are able to use a variety of default free themes. If you have a theme you would like to use instead, simply click on Add New > Upload Theme and upload the zip file of your custom theme.
With that, you are done! Congratulations! Good job on following through this tutorial, you now have your own custom website! BareThoughts is actually created with these exact steps!
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below. If you like this post and think it is useful, please share this guide with them! Have fun with your new website!