Day 3: Get WordPress for Free – Set it Up Right

How to Set Up WordPress on Hostgator

by Nicholas Tart · 0 comments

“I started my blog when I had no idea what blogging was. I thought that blogging was writing up what you had eaten for breakfast. It was probably about six months until I really got a grip on everything online: WordPress, Google, Search Engine Optimization, and all of the social network sites.”
Jacob Cass

Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1440. Then, a whole lot of nothing happened for 563 years.

Everything changed in 2003, when Matt Mullenweg developed WordPress – a free application for creating blogs (and just about any other type of website).

WordPress has since become not just the most popular way to make a website, but also the best: it’s like a big, efficient printing press that never breaks down or smudges the ink.

If you want your website to be as good as it can be, you’re going to need to know how to set up your WordPress account. The good news? It’s free, easy, and we’re going to walk you through exactly how to do it below.

Why WordPress?

“If I wanted to publish a blog, I would research on my own, find WordPress, and follow my gut.”
King Sidharth

WordPress is taking over the internet. It’s the best tool to quickly and easily build a website that can do almost anything.

This site is a WordPress site. 14 out of the 25 young entrepreneurs we interviewed use WordPress. As of September 14, 2010, it holds 85% of the content management software (CMS) market. And 7.8% of the top one million sites in the world are built on WordPress.

But why should you use it?

  1. It’s free.
    And if you bought your hosting through HostGator, we’ll help you set it up for free too.
  2. It’s simple.
    WordPress is easy to set up and it has the most intuitive user interface in the world. So you’ll be able to figure out how to use it almost instantly.
  3. It’s secure.
    JuniorBiz was hacked three times when I was using Joomla. I’ve been on WordPress for about a year without incident. We’ll show you how to maximize your security later.
  4. Google prefers sites that are constantly updated.
    WordPress is for bloggers, right? Yep! And that’s what you’ll be doing if you want traffic. “Blogging” is internet-language for regularly updating content on your website. It’s the best way to get targeted traffic and WordPress makes this as simple as possible.
  5. Plugin for almost anything.
    WordPress is open-source software which means people can develop their own software to improve it. The community has developed over 11,000 plugins to help you do almost anything with your WordPress website.
  6. Not starting on WordPress was one of my biggest mistakes.
    I spent six months switching from Joomla to WordPress. It’s like switching your AOL email to Gmail.

Mark my words: five years from now you’ll be hard-pressed to find a content-based site that isn’t built on WordPress.

Young Entrepreneurs

Alex Fraiser, Farrhad Acidwalla, Mark Bao, Stanley Tang, Adam Horwitz, King Sidharth, Syed Balkhi, Lindsay Manseau, Marshall Haas, Michael Dunlop, Lauren Amarante, Alex Maroko, Jacob Cass, and Andrew Fashion all have WordPress sites. Collectively, they are visited by over 1.5 million people per month and make about $2.5 million per year.

Right now, you can use WordPress to make a blog, a membership site (where people can login), a simple social networking site, or a minimal ecommerce platform. If you want to build a robust social network or ecommerce system, your best bet is to hire someone to develop it from scratch. Otherwise, WordPress is where it’s at!

QuickInstall by HostGator

“As soon as I saw a blog pop up at my school that became this huge thing, I decided that there must be something there.”
Adam Horwitz

So quick and easy, you might not even realize you’re doing it.

HostGator Uploads Your Files and Creates Your Database

Once again, assuming you purchased your hosting through HostGator, installing WordPress is going to be incredibly simple. They offer QuickInstall which will upload WordPress and create your database in three clicks.

We’ll walk you through this below.

Make sure you upload WordPress straight to your domain (not a subdomain or subdirectory). Do this by leaving the area next to your domain blank in the “Install WordPress” window.

Create a WordPress Account

“I read a lot. Surfing the web, I have came across some other successful entrepreneurs – like Matthew Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress. I’ve read about their web startups and it has inspired me.”
Farrhad Acidwalla

It’s essential – like deodorant. You need an API Key and a Gravatar to complete your setup.

WordPress API Key

The main reason you need a WordPress account is for a WordPress API Key. You’ll need your API Key for certain plugins like Akismet (spam monitoring plugin) and WordPress Stats (stat tracking plugin). This is like a password, so protect it.

Your API Key is located at the top of your “Personal Settings” page within your account on

Nick Tart

My API Key is nuny0b1zn3ss. It’s 12 characters.


Gravatar is not the highest grossing movie in the history of movies. However, it’s important. Your Gravatar is the image that will show up when you comment on a WordPress site. It will also appear throughout your site depending on your theme.

You will upload a Gravatar in your account. Yep, we’ll show you how to do it below.

Mystery Man

A fair amount of the commentors on JuniorBiz don’t have Gravatars, so you’ll see the “Mystery Man” image next to a lot of the comments. On Alex Fraiser’s site, Blogussion, most of his community has Gravatars so almost of his comments have the commentor’s image next to them.

Make sure your primary email address is the one you use to create your WordPress account. Always use this email address when commenting. This is how WordPress knows what Gravatar to post with your comment.

Take Action

Install WordPress

Beat the best: it took me three minutes.

  1. Login to your HostGator cPanel (The easiest way to access the cPanel is to go to “[yourdomain].com/cpanel”.).
  2. Scroll down to “Software/Services” and click “QuickInstall”.
  3. Click “WordPress” (top left).
  4. Click “Continue”.
  5. Make sure you’re installing WordPress on the correct domain if you have multiple domains.
  6. Leave the box to the right of the domain blank. This will install WordPress to your homepage, which is what you want.
  7. Input your admin email.
  8. Type in your blog title. This will be what shows up in the header on your website (i.e. “JuniorBiz”).
  9. Install Now!
  10. Visit [yourdomain].com!
  11. Now go to [yourdomain].com/wp-admin and log in with the username and password they just sent you!

Create a WordPress Account

My time: seven minutes. I bet you can’t top it.

  1. Go to
  2. Click the orange “Sign up now” button.
  3. Enter your username, password, confirm password and primary email address.
  4. Read the Legal Flotsam and agree to their fascinating terms of service.
  5. Select “Just a username, please.
  6. Next –>
  7. Check your inbox and click the link in the message they sent you.
  8. Enter your first name, last name and 1-3 sentences about yourself.
  9. Go to and login in the upper left.
  10. Ignore the “Get another blog in seconds.”
  11. Go to “My Accont” and “Edit Profile”.
  12. Upload your Gravatar” on the right.
  13. Choose an image, “Next”, then “Crop and Finish”.
  14. You best be able to click “G”.
  15. Finish filling out your profile on this page making sure to add a link to your site at the bottom.
  16. Click “Update Profile”.
  17. Find your API Key by clicking, “API Key and other Personal Settings.
  18. Add your Website (i.e. near the bottom and “Save Changes”.

That’s all for now!

See you at the top,
Nick Tart and Nick Scheidies

P.S. This page is just one bite of a complete guide to making an awesome website. Hungry for more? You’ve got your website but, next time, we’ll show you how you can make it all pretty using your very own design template. In the meantime, you can learn more and sign-up for the full-course meal here.

P.P.S. If you were one of the lucky few to get this course for free, we ask that you “Like” it, “Tweet” it and otherwise share it with as many people as possible. You can do that below. Thanks!