How to create a WordPress blog in the cloud for less than $20 (A beginners guide)

WordPress powers 27% of all websites and blogs on the web.

This guide shows you how to setup your own blog in the cloud and secure it using a free SSL certificate from letsencrypt.

First of all, you will need a domain name. This is the name that users type in the browser in order to access your website. Facebook.com and Google.com are examples of domain names.

Getting A Domain Name

Shopify has a free tool called domain name generator that you can use to come up with a cool domain name.

Enter a generic name related to the blog that you want to start. In this case, I will try out the term marketer.

Shopify will then display a list of available domains as shown below.

I particularly like the Digital Marketer Group name. Let’s go ahead and register it with namecheap. We are using namecheap because it’s cheap and has an active community so finding any help will be easy.

To register the domain; open Namecheap and type in the domain name you generated in the above step. In my case; I will type digitalmarketergroup.com then click on search.

On the following page, click the cart icon next to the domain to add the domain to the cart then click on view cart to complete the checkout process.

NOTE: Use the coupon code SPOOKYDOMAIN to get a discount.

Change the DNS of your new domain to point to namecheap by:-

  1. Click on domain list from the left sidebar.
  2. Locate the domain you registered above and click on manage.
  3. Find the Nameservers section then fill them with digitalocean nameservers as shown in the image below.
  4. Click on the checkmark to save your changes.

Now that we have a domain name; let’s set up a VPS to host the domain.

Setting up a VPS with Digitalocean

Setting up a virtual private server with Digitalocean costs only $5 per month and is easy to set up.

Create a new account on digitalocean. You will receive $10 in free credit once you deposit some funds into your account.

What that means is that if you deposit $10 after signing up, you will be awarded $10 extra. This allows you to host your website for the first 4 months using just $10.

Enter the promocode LOWENDBOX when choosing a payment method and get $15 more in free credit. $15 + $10 + $10 = $35 = 7 months worth of VPS hosting with just $10 USD.

Create SSH Keys

SSH keys are used to connect to any droplet/vps that you create on digital ocean. You can easily create ssh keys using this online tool.

Leave the password phrase field and comments field empty. Set the key size to 2048 then click on GO.

The tool will generate new keys for you. Copy the public key to a safe location and save the private key to any file on your desktop with a .ppk extension.

Add the keys to DigitalOcean

Click on Add SSH Key

You can do this in your security settings page. Click on the Add SSH Key button and fill in your public key and a name that you can use to identify the key then submit the form.

You have successfully created a new SSH key.

Next; we will create a new VPS server (droplet).

Creating a digital ocean droplet

Create the droplet using this using this link. Most of the fields have been filled for you. Scroll down to the SSH keys section then select the key that we created in the previous step and submit the form.

Connect your domain to the VPS by clicking on the networking tab and filling in your domain details as shown in the image below.

Adding a domain in DigitalOcean.

After adding the domain name, you will be asked to fill in its DNS records. The only one you have to fill is an A record pointing to your new droplet.

You can do this by typing @ in the Hostname field and selecting your droplet in the will direct to field. Click on Create Record to create the record. See the image below for an example.

Creating a new dns record in DigitaOcean

Try visiting your new domain. If everything went fine you should view the following page.

If you did not see the above screen, you probably did something wrong.

Logging into your droplet

You can log into your DigitalOcean droplet using SSH. Not a problem for Linux and Mac users.

For Windows users, you can use a free app called Remote Terminal. It is found on the official Windows store.

Android users can use JuiceSSH which is also free.

Use the private keys we created earlier in the tutorial. All you have to do is log in and your droplet will configure WordPress for you.

While we are at it, let’s add a free SSL certificate to our domain. This is done using a client known as Certbot.

To install Certbot on your new droplet; enter the following commands into the SSH terminal.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:certbot/certbot
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install python-certbot-apache

Next, use the following command to create a new certificate.

sudo certbot — apache -d example.com -d www.example.com

Note: Replace example.com with your droplet’s domain name. In case you expect to use the certificate for any other subdomain, add another -d parameter followed by your subdomain.

Since the certificate expires after 90 days, it might be a good idea to set up auto renewal. This can be done by setting up a cronjob that will renew the certificate for us.

Setup a new cron job by typing the following in your SSH client.

sudo crontab -e

Your default text editor will open up a new file that contains a list of all cronjobs. Add a new cron job that will run at 3:15 am, every day. This is done by appending the following line to the file and saving it.

15 3 * * * /usr/bin/certbot renew --quiet

Visit your domain and complete the 5 minutes WordPress installation.

Everything that you will need to configure WordPress is found in the settings page of the administration page.

To change your theme, you can visit the themes page in your WordPress admin dashboard and chose a new theme from the thousands of free themes that are available.

Finally!

If you are a developer and would like to sell your software; we have a free WordPress eCommerce plugin.

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