How to setup a Buzzfeed clone in 1 day

The birth of

Ideas are shit, execution is everything.

In college, my mind was always seemed to be bursting with idea after grandiose idea, yet I never was able to build anything of substance. So, as a young bright eyed and bushy tailed new-grad, I headed off to San Francisco with one major goal in mind. To learn to go from idea to conception in a single weekend. Since then, this skill has become a vital part of my entrepreneurial tool belt.

My most recent endeavor is in the vaping space. I’ve been intrigued with it ever since vaping turned out to be the solution to the life long problem of getting my mother to quit smoking cigarettes. The industry is going through a ton of turmoil right now as it tries to find its footing in a rapidly changing climate of regulation warring with innovation. I found there was a dearth of consolidated, curated quality content in the space and decided to create a content site in order to learn more about the industry and get my feet wet.

This article is a step by step guide on what it takes to get a Buzzfeed clone site setup in a single day. This is not some crazy technical feat, we have gotten to the point where most web design is commoditized and trivial to setup. However, I thought it would be useful to put each step in a single place, so anyone can come follow if they want to get pen to paper, exit the idea phase, and Just Do It. (TM etc etc)

The Steps

  1. First off, you will need a name. As most entrepreneurs know, this is the most infuriatingly trivial, but seemingly impossible task to accomplish. If you really care, read what Paul Graham has to say about this. Or, better yet, spend at most 15 minutes brainstorming ideas related to your idea, narrow the list to ideas you like, and pick the first one that you can find the domain name and social accounts for.
  2. Register the domain name. I have used NameCheap in the past, but my current suggestion is to use Google Domains. Google seems to be pretty good at this whole internet thing.
  3. Get email for your domain setup. There is really no beating Google Apps for this as far as quality goes, however I like to use Zoho Mail for a free alternative.

Wordpress? Really another Wordpress tutorial?

A quick aside about the reasoning about the next section before continuing. I decided to use Wordpress for the content site. Remember how I said that basic web design is commoditized? Well it is, and it’s name is Wordpress. In addition, even the social Buzzfeedy theme is commoditized and it runs on Wordpress.

One non-standard decision I made was to self-host on Amazon EC2 rather than using some cheap shared hosting plan on Host Gator or Blue Host etc. This decision admittedly is mostly due to my nature as a programmer and wanting to have full control over my technical stack. Most shared hosting plans don’t allow you full root access to the machine and pigeon-hole you into using their shitty noob-panel interfaces. Also, just like any good product, your first hit is free! Amazon has an amazing 1 year free-tier plan which allows you to get started.

On we go

4. Create an Amazon AWS account.

5. Follow this amazing tutorial on how to setup a LAMP stack on an EC2 machine.

6. Follow this other amazing tutorial on how to setup a Wordpress install on the aforementioned LAMP stack enabled EC2 machine.

7. Point your domain’s DNS to your EC2 server. I’d suggest provisioning an Elastic IP so that the IP of the machine is static first. Once you have done that, add the proper dns settings in your domain registrar (Google Domains, NameCheap etc). There are many tutorials online on how to do this, but this one works fine: Link

8. Buy Bimber. This is the de facto standard Wordpress theme for Buzzfeed clone sites.

9. You need to make a change to your EC2 instance’s php settings file in order to upload the theme file. By default php.ini only allows for files 2 megs or less. You will need to increase this to more than 5 megabytes.

Edit the php.ini file

$ sudo vim /etc/php.ini

Seach for the line which says:

; Maximum allowed size for uploaded files.
upload_max_filesize =2M

And change the 2M to something over 5 megabytes. I put mine to 20M. It should look like this afterwards:

; Maximum allowed size for uploaded files.
upload_max_filesize =20M

Save the file. (:wq for vim)

10. Install the Bimber theme by going to your Wordpress Admin -> Themes -> Add New -> Upload, and upload the .zip file that you received from your purchase. Note: You may need to unzip the first zip file you downloaded to find the actual theme file inside.


That is it. You did it, you put something on the internet. Now for the actual hard part, creating content people want to consume. As for that, I’ll let you know when I figure out how to do it :)

If you enjoyed reading this, please follow me for future updates.

If you want to hire me, check out my personal site for details.

Checkout Vape Casa, the content site I built.

If you vape, and want to buy e-liquid, check out Ravn Drop.


David Brian Ethier