WordPress Training

Before you Begin Guide

Before attending one of our WordPress Jump Starts, there’s a few essentials “before you begin” steps that that we recommend every attendee complete before attending a workshop.  Throughout this post readers can follow along step-by-step as we cover:

  • the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
  • registering a domain name
  • selecting a hosting solution
  • other software downloads

These steps will help you to prepare for a WordPress workshop.

Understanding the difference between WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org:

It can be quite confusing but there’s actually two types of WordPress. In the following, I’ll explain the differences between working with WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org:

WordPress.org is where individual users can download the open-source code to create their own WordPress driven site on their own web server and domain. This is where the WordPress theme and plugin repositories are found. Unless specified, this is the website, or project, that our Chicago WordPress workshops are centered around.


WordPress.com is a free blog service where users can register for a blog hosted on WordPress’ servers. For example, a WordPress.com blog address is typically something like username.wordpress.com.  Other similar blogging platform services include products such as Google’s Blogger.com and Xanga.com.

Ok, now that we have that out of the way, the following we recommend addressing the following steps prior to attending one of our upcoming WordPress workshops.

Step 1:  Register a domain name

A domain name is the web address for your website. For example, the domain name for this website is http://chicagowptraining.com. Domain names are registered, or leased, for a annual fee with an average cost about $10 a year. You can register a new domain name with your hosting purchase, which is the following step.

Step 2: Secure a WordPress hosting solution

Your WordPress website needs to live somewhere on the internet and we need to install your WordPress software into a web server.  Like registering a domain name, there are many options for hosting ranging from $7.00 a month to $170.00 a month.  As the old expression goes, you get what you pay for but if you’re just starting out with website development then I would suggest something middle road. SiteGround hosting utilizes Chicago-based servers which is can be a huge advantage if you’re developing in the Windy City.  Their price is moderate and their performance is pretty powerful.


Step 3: Download and install a FTP program

Whenever we’re dealing files in the cloud, we need to be able to send-and-receive files from our web server. This process of sending-and-receiving is call File Transfer Protocol or FTP for short.  I recommend Filezilla as it’s free and it just works.  You can download it for free from the project’s website at filezilla-project.org, you will want the client and not the “server”.

Step 4: Download a Plain Text Editor

Even if you’re not planning on being a code writer, even basic WordPress users – from time to time – need to change configuration files.  It’s best to do this with a “plain text” editor that shows lines and can color-code markup.  For Mac users, you can simply download the free Text Wrangler program from Bare Bones Software.  It’s also available in the Apple OS App Store. That’s it! If you have any questions about the above, please feel free to drop us a line or leave a comment below.


Also, Don’t forget to register for our next WordPress Jumpstart!

Before you Begin Guide

Before attending one of our WordPress Jump Starts, there’s a few essentials “before you begin” steps that that we recommend every attendee complete before attending a workshop… Continue Reading