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Creating a charity website: Part 2 – Hosting your site

 

If you’ve followed the steps in part 1 you should now have picked out a domain name for your site and registered it with a domain service provider.

In this part of the tutorial we’re now going to look at getting a host for your site.  As mentioned in part 1, there are various options available for this, some free and some chargeable, but we’re going to cover the service provided by Memset.  We decided to use Memset as they provide a fully configurable service which is generously provided free to charities.  The only drawback to the free service is understandably they don’t offer much in the way of customer support to help you get your site configured.  That worked well for us as a number of us in the group work in the IT industry but may not be suitable for your environment. However, by following the steps outlined in this tutorial you should be able to get a WordPress site up and running and once that’s there, much of the configuration behind the scenes you shouldn’t need to touch again.

To get a Memset hosted service you need to follow the details at https://www.memset.com/charities/ .  Follow the links on that page to first register an account and then register your charity.  You’ll need to give them a charity number and some details of the charity.  Once that’s all been registered, they’ll configure a standard server for you to use.

When the server is setup, you’ll receive an email containing a link to retrieve a root account password.  Make sure you access that when it arrives and make a note of it.  You’ll need that, and the account password you will have created when you setup your initial account, when we come to configure your server below.

Once you have your account, follow the steps below to setup a management account for the website, register it with the DNS service you setup in part 1 and install wordpress.

Login to Memset and on the services page click on ‘1 Miniserver’ under Services (see below)

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On the page that opens, click on ‘Manage’ next to the server.

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The page which opens then will display details of your hosting package.  We’re looking to configure the host for the website, so click on the link to ‘Web Host Manager’

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You’ll be prompted for login details.  This will be the root username and password you retrieved earlier from the email link you were sent.

The first thing we need to do is create an account which will manage your new website.  To do that click on ‘Account Functions’ then ‘Create a New Account’

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This account is going to define the details of your new site.  Once you have a Memset host you can potentially run more than one site from the same server and each one of those would have a different account here.

I’ll go through the fields in turn:

The first set define the domain for the account and the username and password.

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Domain:  This is the domain name you picked earlier and registered.

Username: The username you will use to administer the site.  This can be whatever you like.

Make sure again that you keep a record of the password.

The ‘Package’, ‘Settings’ and ‘Reseller Settings’ sections can all be left as the defaults.

The next section defines DNS settings.  These can be left as the defaults except for the ‘Use the nameservers specified at the Domain’s Registrar. (Ignore locally specified nameservers.)’ which you should tick.

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The DNS servernames at the bottom of that section should change when you tick the box above from the Memset nameservers (ns1.memset.com, ns2.memset.com and ns3.memset.com) to the nameservers ran by the company with whom you registered your domain in part 1.  In the screenshot above you can see the entries for Gandi have replaced them.  This should happen automatically.  If the name doesn’t resolve you may need to wait for your DNS registration to complete (from part 1).

Finally, change the Mail Routing Settings to ‘Automatically detect Configuration’.  This will allow the mail routing from the Gandi server to work successfully when you’re configuring email accounts.

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Once all that is done click on ‘Create’ to create the account.  You should see some scrolling text detailing the account creation process and then it should be complete successfully.  Make a note of the username and password for the account you have created.

Once the account completion script has completed, the ‘List Accounts’ page should display and you’ll see a table looking something like the one below.  If this doesn’t appear click on ‘Home’ in the menu bar at the top, then ‘Account Information’ and ‘List Accounts’

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Make a note of the value in the IP Address box.  You’ll need that later on when you’re configuring your domain address to point back to your site.

Installing WordPress

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We’re now going to install WordPress on your new site.  To do that, you need to scroll down the options list in the menu on the left hand side of the screen to the ‘cPanel’ section (it’s towards the bottom).  In that section, click on ‘Install cpAddons Site Software’

 

This option allows you to install various other software packages which you can manage using the cPanel interface, which, once we have finished this step, is the interface you will use most often.

 

 

 

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Right now we’re looking to install WordPress, so tick the checkbox next to ‘cPanel Blogs WordPress’.  Slightly confusingly this won’t actually install wordpress, but it will give us the option to install it later on when we get to use the cPanel interface.  Next click on ‘Update cPAddonConfig’  You see some text scrolling past giving details of the installation and hopefully eventually it should all succeed.

This is the final step for the Web Admin interface.  All things being well you should be able to run all the rest of your site administration using WordPress and cPanel.

To connect to the cPanel interface you need to go back to the original Memset interface (see the top of this post) but instead of clicking on ‘Web Host Manager’ as you did before, click on ‘cPanel’ instead.  You’ll be prompted for a username and password.  For this login, you need to use the account you created above to manage the website.  Add in the username and password and you should then see a screen similar to the one below:

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This is the cPanel interface and most of the tasks you need to perform on your new site can be done through this page.  You can view the files stored, manage backups, view logs of who has accessed your site and many other functions from here.  For now though, all we are going to do is install WordPress.

To do that, scroll down the page to the ‘Software and Services’ panel and click on ‘Site Software’

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A list of options for software which can be installed will be displayed.  If the wordpress install above worked successfully, then you should see ‘WordPress’ as an option under ‘blogs’.  Click on that link.

CharityWordpressSetup14We now need to create just one more account.  This will be used to administer the WordPress site itself.  There are also a number of other options we need to specify to detail how the site will be deployed, but I’ll go through those below.

 

 

 

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Admin User and Pass:  

This is the username and password you will use to login to wordpress.  These can be whatever you like, but make sure you make a note of them.  You’ll be able to create additional accounts for other people within WordPress itself later on, but this will be the initial admin account.

Installation URL:   

This should have defaulted to your original site URL, but the textbox allows you to specify whether you want your wordpress site to sit at the root level of your URL (so you will access it directly using http://yourdomain.com) or else via a directory below it (for example http://yourdomain.com/wordpress).  If your default site pages are always going to use WordPress I would recommend installing it at the root level and keeping the textbox clear, alternatively, if you are going to have additional unconnected pages then specify a directory in here.  For this site I installed the site using the root and so cleared out the textbox.  Don’t worry about deleting existing content, at this point we haven’t installed anything else in the directory.

Blog Name/Description:  These will be used as the initial title pages for your site.  Don’t worry, you can change these later on if required but if you have a title and description, put them in now.

You can leave everything else as the default and just click ‘Install’.  This should then generate an initial deployment and show a final page confirming your admin user details and the URL for your page.

Don’t worry if this doesn’t currently work however.   Make a note of the details, but we need one final step before your site will be visible to the world.

Pointing your URL to your new site

We’re on the home stretch now.  All that remains is to point your domain to the IP address of the site you have just created so you can load it in a browser.  You’ll need the IP address you wrote down earlier.\\

Once you have that, log back into the domain provider site you used for part 1 of this tutorial (Gandi.net if you followed our examples) and click on ‘Domains’ to view the domains you have registered.

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Click on your domain name to open up the details.

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We need to edit the ‘Zone files’ to change the address to point onto our new IP address, rather than the holding page where it is currently pointing.  Before we can do that we need to create a new copy which can be edited so click on the ‘Copy to edit’ link highlighted above.  It will prompt you to ‘Create a New Version’  as the current one is in use.  Click on the ‘Create a new version’ button to confirm.

You’ll now see a list of various entries.  These define how our domain is directed for various services like web browsing, email and so on.  For now, the only one we need to worry about is the A record.  That’s the base IP address which we want this domain name to map onto.

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Click on the little pencil and change the current value to the IP address you wrote down earlier in the tutorial from the Web Host Manager account page above.

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Click on submit and then make sure that the domain is set to use the zone file version you have just edited.  It should have a little tick next to it.  If the page says it’s not being used, then click on the ‘Use this version’ button to enable it.

And that’s it!  You will have to wait a few hours for the change to propagate so don’t worry if your URL still points to the old holding page for a while, it should eventually update to the new address and then you should see a basic WordPress template on your site ready for you to configure as you like.

In the next part of this tutorial we’ll look at configuring web and email forwarding for your new domain.

 

 

 

 Posted by at 8:48 pm