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Day 1: Set Up Your Website

How To Install An SSL Certificate And Configure WordPress

Action Plan

Step 1: Install An SSL Certificate In SiteGround

Note: You might need to wait until your nameservers have been updated (from the previous tutorial) before you can install your SSL certificate. This usually takes less than an hour, however, sometimes it can take up to 24-48 hours.

Complete The Following Tasks

Install the Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate in your SiteGround control panel. (Websites > Site Tools > Security > SSL Manager). 
An SSL certificate is extremely important for both security and Google search engine rankings. After installing the Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate your website’s URL will be using https://. This tells your visitors that they are accessing a secure connection and their personal information will be protected.
On the SSL Manager page, choose your domain from the first drop-down. In the second drop-down, choose Let’s Encrypt. Click the Get button to activate your SSL certificate.
In the sidebar, go to the HTTPS Enforce page and enable Enforce HTTPS.

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Why This Step Is Important

An SSL certificate is extremely important for both security and Google search engine rankings. After installing the Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate your website’s URL will be using “https”. This tells your visitors that they are accessing a secure connection and that their personal information will be protected.

Step 2: Configure Your WordPress Settings

Warning: The following settings are extremely important. Your website might not work correctly if you don't make these changes (specifically the https settings and permalink settings).

Complete The Following Tasks

Log into your website's WordPress dashboard.
To log into your WordPress dashboard, first log into the SiteGround control panel and go to Websites > WordPress Kit > WordPress Admin.

This will launch the WordPress dashboard for your website. You can bookmark your website's WordPress login page after we show you how to change the URL structure later in this tutorial.
Exit the WordPress Starter setup by clicking the Exit link at the bottom of the page.
WordPress Starter is a plugin developed by SiteGround that walks you through a different method for launching a WordPress website. You can de-activate this plugin since it will not be needed for our tutorials.
In your WordPress dashboard, switch to the default layout by clicking the switch to default link at the bottom of the page.
De-activate and delete any unnecessary plugins.
De-activate and delete the WordPress Starter plugin by SiteGround.
Go to Plugins > Installed Plugins and click Deactivate and then Delete.

WordPress Starter is a plugin developed by SiteGround that walks you through a different method for launching a WordPress website.
Leave the SG Optimizer plugin activated.
This plugin was created by SiteGround to help improve your website’s speed and performance. I recommend leaving it activated.
Adjust the Settings > General options.
Add your site title (This should be your company name or brand name.)
Delete the tagline and leave that field empty.
Change the WordPress Address (URL) so that your URL is using https://.
Because you activated the Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate in the previous tutorial, you now need to make sure your website is using secure https:// URLs.
Change the Site Address (URL) so that your URL is using https://.
Because you activated the Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate in the previous tutorial, you now need to make sure your website is using secure https:// URLs.
Change your admin email address if necessary.
Your WordPress admin email will be the default email address used by WordPress and other plugins such as Elementor. For example, when you create a contact form with Elementor, form submissions will be sent to your admin email address by default.

Once you save your changes on this page, WordPress will send you a confirmation link to the new email address. Please note that your admin email will not be updated in WordPress until you click that confirmation link.

In a future tutorial, we will show you how to create custom email addresses for your domain, such as [email protected] You may want to wait until then to change this email address.
Click Save (you will be logged out since you changed your URLs to https://).
Bookmark your new login page and log back into your WordPress dashboard.
You can use this new URL to log into your WordPress dashboard instead of going into the SiteGround control panel.

Your WordPress login URL will be https://yourdomain.com/wp-login.php.
Adjust the Settings > Discussion options.
Uncheck Allow people to post comments on new articles.
I recommend keeping comments turned off until your website grows and you have enough traffic for meaningful discussions.
Click Save.
Adjust the Settings > Media options.
Uncheck Organize my uploads into month- and year- based folders.
I would turn this off so that your image URLs don’t show the year you uploaded each image (it can make your content seem old).

For example, let’s say five years from now I’m reading one of your blog posts and I notice that the image URL for one of your images is five years old. That might make me feel like your content isn’t up-to-date.

I prefer to hide any evidence of when my content was published so that it always feel current for the user.
Click Save.
Adjust the Settings > Permalinks options.
Select Post name.
The Post name permalink structure uses the titles of your Pages and Posts as your URLs. This is really important for SEO (search engine optimization) since it makes your URLs more relevant and easier to read.

Keep in mind you can also manually choose your URLs each time you create a new Page or Post in WordPress. We will discuss this in a future tutorial.
Click Save.
You Earned A Badge!

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Why This Step Is Important

Before you can start using WordPress it is extremely important that you use our recommended WordPress settings. This will ensure that you don’t run into any problems in the future as you work through our course.

FAQ


Why do I get an error when installing the SSL certificate?

If you’re seeing an error message that says “You have no Let’s Encrypt certificates installed on your account,” you might need to wait a little longer until your nameservers have been updated (from the previous tutorial).

This usually takes less than an hour, however, sometimes it can take up to 24-48 hours for the nameservers to be updated. Once your nameservers have been updated, you can try installing the SSL certificate again.

If you’re still having issues, contact SiteGround’s chat support and they can set this up for you.

Why don't I see an option to install the SSL certificate?

This could mean your SSL certificate has already been installed by SiteGround.

On the Security > SSL Manger page, if you scroll down to the bottom and it says “Active” in the “Status” column next to your domain name, then your SSL certificate has already been installed. However, you still need to enable the HTTPS Enforce settings. To do that, go to the HTTPS Enforce page and enable “HTTPS Enforce”.

Why am I seeing a "WordPress Starter" setup page?

WordPress Starter is a plugin developed by SiteGround that walks you through a different method for launching a WordPress website. If you’re seeing the WordPress Starter welcome page, you can scroll down to the bottom of the page and click “Exit”. I would then de-activate this plugin since it will not be needed for our tutorials.

What is the "WordPress Starter" plugin?

WordPress Starter is a plugin developed by SiteGround that walks you through a different method for launching a WordPress website. You should de-active this plugin since it will not be needed for our tutorials.

What is the "SG Optimizer" plugin?

SG Optimizer is a WordPress plugin developed by SiteGround to improve the performance of WordPress. This plugin is automatically installed by SiteGround. You can leave this plugin installed and activated.

Why does my WordPress dashboard look different than in your videos?

This is probably because you still have the WordPress Starter plugin activated. This plugin is automatically installed by SiteGround. You should de-active this plugin if you are following our LaunchParty tutorials, it will not be needed.

You can also switch to the default layout in your WordPress Dashboard by scrolling down to the bottom of the page and clicking “Switch to default” link.

What are permalinks?

Permalinks are the URLs for the Pages and Posts you create in WordPress. The Post name URL structure that we recommend will use the titles of your Pages and Posts as your URLs. This is really important for usability and SEO (search engine optimization) since it makes your URLs more relevant and easier to read.

Why should I turn off "Organize my uploads into month- and year-based folders"?

I turn this off so that my image URLs don’t show the year I uploaded each image (it can make your content seem old). For example, let’s say five years from now I’m reading one of your blog posts and I notice that the image URL for one of your images is five years old. That might make me feel like your content isn’t up-to-date. I prefer to hide any signs of when my content was published so that it always feel current for the user.

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Day 1

Set Up Your Website

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