Note the original post was published on my freelance showcase website.
If you are wondering about how to get a WordPress free blog without using any code, you will find the answer in this article. By the end of this post, you will have a free WordPress-enhanced site.
Also, I am not referring to the services that come with subdomains for free. I'm talking about a free blog which is developed with WordPress that you can use with your domain name.
I'm not saying it will be easy. If carefully follow me, I'll show you how to make as many WordPress free blog sites as you want. Of course, it would not be a rational attitude to make unlimited sites. You will be paying the domain name after all.
It would also be a problem to fill in the content of such free sites.
You will need some theoretical knowledge before attempting to start a free blog. It is essential that you understand this part. I promise I won't drown you in too much detail.
Dynamic websites need a server. When a visitor comes to the website, the code that must appear on that visitor's screen is sent by the server dynamically. Different information can be shown to different users when requested. WordPress is also this type of site.
What we call a server is actually someone else's ready-made computer. This someone else is actually your hosting company. For example, Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, Digital Ocean, Vultr etc.
There is also a database. These are systems that are specially designed so that all information is recorded, that can work separately from the server, and that the information is not lost.
The computer we call the server decides what information to show to its visitor. It makes this information after sending and receiving a request to the database.
For example, a set of technologies called LAMP is an example.
L ---> A ---> M ---> P
Linux: Operating system of the host computer
Apache: HTTP Server
MySQL: SQL type Database
PHP: The software language running on the server
To summarize, the following happens when a visitor comes to the site:
The server makes certain calculations according to the page where the visitor is located and asks the correct information from the database.
The format and data are combined and the final version of the web page that needs to be shown to the visitor is prepared. It is sent to the visitor.
What if the website shows the same page to every user?
Let's consider a website with who it is, what does it do, and contact information. You know these sites. Some open a site of this type because of the formality, and some find it sufficient.
If the same code consisting of HTML + CSS + JS will be sent to each incoming user, why do you need a database? In this case, a database will not be needed.
Roughly speaking, the person visiting the site should be able to access it as if they were accessing an image from your Google Drive or Dropbox.
This type of site is also called static site. These sites do not need a server. After the final version of the site is decided, it is printed out and made available to the internet after the necessary procedures.
Since they do not need a server, they are either very cheap or free. If you say why it's free, I would say the competition is the reason.
But there are also disadvantages. For example, you can't update it every time you want. Knowing the code is often essential. When you update them, they make a lot of effort.
So what if we set up such a workflow that includes a local development server and it generates the static version of the site when we update or publish a post.
Now let's come to a new type of architecture that has become very popular in recent years. With the developments in the software world, the decrease in server fees has opened the door to a new architecture.
It is basically based on two main principles. Pre-rendering and decoupling.
It is more secure than other architectures. It is cheaper. It is faster.
Following words are from the book "Modern Web Development on the JAMstack" of Netlify:
We should pause to say what the JAMstack isn’t: it’s not any one specific technology in and of itself; nor is it driven by a large company;
nor is there any standards body that controls or defines it.
Instead, the JAMstack is a movement, a community collection of
best practices and workflows that result in high-speed websites that
are a pleasure to work on.
Modern Web Development on the JAM Stack, Matt Biilmann, Phil Hawksworth
However, integration with many 3rd parties can be tiring.
Previously, the server-side process loads are now distributed to other steps here.
The database will now be provided by 3rd party services. Here, the API (Application Program Interface) ecosystem, which enables the communication of two programs, comes into play.
Finally, if there is a hosting service that will do this, it is not worth it. And even if it provides this service for free most of the time.
The pioneer of this technology is Netlify. There are many alternatives. You can get this service for free on almost all cloud platforms. Vercel, Surge, Digital Ocean etc ...
Our project will be done as follows in the light of what has just been explained above:
If there is no local WordPress development application on our PC, we will install it and run the WordPress server on our own computer.
When we make the necessary changes and think the site is ready to share, we will receive a static copy of our site.
We will install the plugin that will render our blog site statically, upload it to Netlify and make it available here for free.
When we want to update our site, we will go back to the 2nd number and continue with the remaining transactions.
Domain name (This is the only part where you will pay). You can also use the sub domain name Netlify gives you for free. It will be deemed that you own this domain name.
WordPress development application.
WordPress plugin that will allow us to get the static version of our WordPress site and upload it to Netlify
As promised, you'll have your free WordPress blog at the end of the post. I divided the things to do here into 3 parts. So let's get started
I stated that we will install our server on our own computer, and when we are going to update our blog site, we will first run this server and save all our content to it.
We have 2 options to easily install WordPress on our PC. These are Bitnami and Local applications. The feature that will make the difference for us is this: Bitnami is ideal if you want to develop only one free WordPress site. If you want to develop multiple WordPress sites and maybe want to tinker with it, Local would be better.
In this article, I choose to explain using the Local application. With this free application developed by the FlyWheel host company, you can set up an isolated development environment on your PC as much as you want.
Click the Local by FlyWheel application on this address and click the Download button in the upper right corner.
Select your operating system from the window that opens
Fill in the required form information.
Download the installation file of the application to your computer with the button below.
Then wait for the application to download to your computer. Install with the downloaded file.
If you have installed the Local application without any problem, you can run it.
Click on the big (+) sign in the lower left corner of the opened application.
It will ask you for the name of your WordPress host. You can enter any name you want here. Move with the bottom right button.
Proceed again with the Preferred option selected.
On the screen that appears, WordPress Username and WordPress Password will be your admin / admin panel username and password. So choose carefully. Start the WordPress installation by clicking on the proceed button again.
During the installation, it may ask you to provide some installation confirmations. Please give your consent to these.
1.3) Running a WordPress Blog
If you have not encountered any problems, the process of installing a WordPress blog on your computer has been completed.
You should see your WordPress environment under the Local Sites heading at the top left. If there is a green light or sign next to it, it means it is active now.
If there is a green sign, you can stop working here at any time by clicking the red "Stop Site" button on the top right.
If there is no green sign, you will see the green "Start Site" button at the top right. With this, you can reactivate your WordPress environment whenever you want.
The question of how to use a WordPress blog is beyond the scope of this post. So I will show a minimal use.
If it is not your site, activate it. Then click on the "ADMIN" and "OPEN SITE" buttons on the right and open your WordPress admin page and your blog page, respectively.
When you get to the admin page, you will see that it asks you for a username and password. Enter here the username and password you entered in the last step of 1.2. You have now accessed the admin page.
The screen you see is the admin panel screen of WordPress.
WordPress offers you a world with a huge selection of plugins and themes. Some of them are free and some are paid. The vast majority of them are included in the economic plan called "Freemium". Consisting of the words "Free" and "Premium", these "Freemium" plans allow you to use some features free of charge. They charge a fee for some more advanced features.
Let's choose the theme for your free WordPress blog site.
For theme selection, click the "View" button on the left side of the admin panel. You can see the currently installed themes here.
Click the "Add New" button on the top. Here you can see the themes you can install. You can also search from the right.
When you move your pointer over a theme you like, install that theme on your blog with the "Install" button that appears.
You can play with the settings of your free WordPress theme by clicking the "Customize" button in the mini-window that opens when you move your pointer to the "View" button on your WordPress admin screen. This free blog will allow you to make visual changes to your site.
You are now a creator of content. While now is not the time to write your first blog post, it may be time to write an essay post.
Click the "Articles" button on the left panel. Hello World is the first generic article written when starting almost all programming languages. Here, too, you will see an exemplary article titled "Hello World".
If you wish, delete it and click the "Add New" button above.
Here is WordPress' cutting edge block editor named Gutenberg. This is a very powerful editor. It allows you not only to write, but to design a website from top to bottom.
Submit a title for the first post of your blog site. Then click either the blue button at the top left or the black [+] button that appears under the caption.
Here you will find the most installed options of the Gutenber editor.
After entering the content of the article, share your article with the "Publish" button on the top right.
Then click the button labeled "W" on the top left to go back to the WordPress admin console.
We now have a free WordPress blog on our own computer. However, this works on a server on our computer. We don't want that. What we want is a plugin that will take all the output of this server and turn it into a static site.
In this section, we will install our first plugin. WordPress has a very rich plugin ecosystem.
We would like to express our sincere thanks to Leon Stafford, who wrote the plugin we needed.
There are 2 ways to download the plugin. Choose any.
If you wish, you can download it by clicking the green "Code" button on Github where the source code is located.
You can download a copy of me by clicking here.
Come to your WordPress admin page and click the "Plugins" button on the left.
Click the "Add New" button at the top.
Click the "Upload Extension" button at the top.
Click the "Select File" button in the expanding section, select the file named "static-html-output-plugin.zip" that you just downloaded and upload it.
When the installation process is finished, click the "Activate" button to activate it.
After the plugin is installed, you may see some errors on the screen. If you have problems. Try to refresh the page first. If the problem still persists, I suggest you stop and restart the server from the Local application. However, I guess it will not be a problem.
Now we will be able to get the static output of our WordPress site. We came to the last chapter.
We have come to the last stage of our free blog post. In this section, we will first open a Netlify account. Then we will redirect our domain to Netlify. Finally, we will upload our site to Netlify.
We go to the Netlify address and click the "Sign up" link on the top right. Then we choose the Email option at the bottom. We enter our e-mail account and password information. Then we click on the link in the confirmation email that will be sent to our email.
On the page that opens, we enter our name and choose the Personal/Blog option. There will be no problem in case of a different screen.
As I promised you, we will publish your WordPress site with your custom domain name for free.
I assume that you already have a domain name for this.
If not, you can create an account via the referenced GoDaddy link where you can make discounted purchases and get your desired domain name.
You are already logged in to your Netlify account.
Click the "Domains" link in the top menus.
Select the "Add or register domain" button.
Enter your domain name into the box. (For example webmeister.org)
Click the Verify button.
Select the "Yes, add domain" option on the screen that appears.
On the next page, select "Continue".
Now take note of the records on this screen. There will probably be 4 Name Server records.
Then click the "Done" button.
Return to your home page by clicking the green Netlify logo at the top of the page that appears.
Now we will enter these NS (Name Server) records we received into our domain name provider.
No matter which company you are in, there are a few steps you need to do.
Sign in to your domain provider.
Select the domain name you want to use.
Find the DNS settings section for this domain name.
In the DNS settings section, there will be a section called Name Server or NS. Delete all the records that are there.
In the previous section, enter the records Netlify gave us separately.
Record your transaction.
Thus, when our domain name on the internet is entered into the browser, all queries to be made will be directed to Netlify.
There is only one final step left in routing the domain name. As I just mentioned, all queries go to Netlify when you go to the domain name. We need a site for Netlify to re-direct these queries to our site. Since we haven't created a copy of our site yet, I will suggest a shortcut.
Create an empty folder on your computer and drag and drop it into the Sites area on your Netlify home screen. Thus, we will have started our first project in Netlify, even if it is empty.
Then click the "Domain Settings" button.
Click the "Add custom domain" button under the "Custom Domains" heading.
Enter your domain name here. Click the "Verify" button.
Select the "Yes, add domain" button.
Now your domain name is directed to this project in Netlify. Let's move on to the next step.
We came to the last step. Let's move on to the WordPress admin panel, which I think is open in our browser. Click on the "Static HTML" link on the top left and switch to the plugin we have installed for this purpose.
Look at the first box on the screen that appears here. This option provides information about the output of our static site. There is currently a file option with a zip extension. Change it to Netlify.
If you wish, you can leave it this way and get the whole output in zip file. You can upload this folder to Netlify, which you will extract to the folder later.
However, it will be tiring to do this every time. Therefore, select the Netlify option from those boxes.
Then we will write the URL of the domain name we want to use in the "Destination URL" section. (For example: https://webmeister.org) While you were creating your WordPress site, all links were adjusted to your local server. The links of the pages and articles will be replaced with the domain name you enter in this box.
Click the "How do I get this" link next to the "Personal Access Token" section. The Netlify page will open. You can type anything in the box. I'm typing "local-wp".
Then click the "Generate Token" button to generate your Token.
Now copy this Token consisting of many letters and numbers and paste it into the "Personal Access Token" box on the WordPress page.
Enter your custom domain name on Netlify in the "Site ID" box. This will not work if your custom domain name has not been propagated in DNS. You can wait for a while.
Or write the ready domain name of your project in Netlify. On the Netlify page we just processed, select the domain name under the "Custom Domains" heading. This domain name would look like this: "quizzical-northcutt-0845.netlify.app". Copy similar domain name with "netlify.app" extension and enter it into the "Site ID" box.
If we have to repeat:
Shows what needs to be done with a static copy of your website
Displays the domain name your website will use.
Displays the Token that identifies you when uploading to Netlify.
Indicates which project in Netlify will be loaded.
WordPress helps to get the static output of your local site.
Allows you to save the settings.
Now, we click on the "Save current option" option among the buttons you see below. This will help us save the settings we made.
Then, when you scroll down the page, you will see the "Test Netlify Settings" button. With this you can test whether you have gotten your Netlify connection right. If you do not see the success message, check all the steps from 3.3.1 again. If not, try to zip your Static output and upload it to Netlify.
Finally, click the "Static site export" button at the bottom left.
Currently, a static printout of your local WordPress blog is being output. This may take a while. This output will then be uploaded to Netlify. After the static output process is over, you can go to your domain name and test it your WordPress free blog.
It was a relatively long article that try to show How you get a WordPress free blog with JAM Stack approach. Thanks for reading..