How to Build a Website

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Lesson Overview

In this series of lessons, we will learn How to Build a Website and where to go for Design Inspiration, Image Assets and Adobe Software. In this particular lesson, we will:

  • Create a Webspace Folder
  • Create an FTP Account
  • Create a Database
  • Download, Transfer and Instal WordPress
  • Download, Upload and Activate Divi

Go to IONOS for Web Hosting

Go to Cloudways for Managed Cloud Hosting

Download WordPress

Download Divi


Lesson Transcription

Welcome! I’m Leighton, your webmaster. In the previous lessons, we learned the fundamentals of website design. But why? Why didn’t we jump right into building a website? While I’m a huge proponent of on-the-job, hands-on learning, would you hire an electrician who doesn’t know how electricity works? A plumber who doesn’t understand sewage, drainage, pipes? Why would you not hire those people? Because they don’t fully understand what they’re doing. I love learning hands-on, but we can’t discount the value of learning the fundamentals.

Now, we’ve done that, we’ve laid the foundation of our website design business. We learned domains, hosting, emails, SSLs and WordPress, and now the time has come to build a website! In this particular lesson, we’re going to prep our server. That means getting it ready to build our website. You’ll end up doing this for every client, it might seem daunting at first, but it gets easier once you’re more comfortable, to the point where it just takes a few minutes.

In the following lessons, we’ll dive right into designing and developing one-page, multi-page, eCommerce and mobile-friendly websites.

Later, we’ll consider how to get inspiration for our designs, where to find images and graphics, and what software we might need.

First, let’s prep the server! So we’re going to do this on your IONOS hosting account. These steps will generally apply to any traditional or shared hosting package. Afterwards, we’ll consider the steps for a Managed Cloud Hosting package like Cloudways.

(Walkthrough Demonstration of Server Prep)

So what did we just do in this walkthrough? In order to prepare the server for our new website, we…

  1. Created a Webspace Folder
  2. Created an FTP Account
  3. Created a Database
  4. Downloaded, Transferred and Installed WordPress
  5. Downloaded, Uploaded, and Activated Divi

Now we’re ready to start building your website! Again, those steps would apply to any traditional or shared hosting account, basically anywhere that gives you a webspace, FTP and database. You can also accomplish this through cPanel, if your hosting account uses that, but IONOS does not.

So now you might be wondering, how does this process work on a Managed Cloud Hosting platform like Cloudways? If you’ve taken your agency to the next level with Cloud Hosting, let me show you just how easy these premium platforms make it to prep your server!

DEMONSTRATE: Cloudways Platform > Add Server, Add Application, Install Divi. Launch on a Domain. Cloning and Staging.

And that’s it! Managed Cloud Hosting is a premium solution, so they handle all the technical stuff for you, making it quick and easy to deploy websites and start building!

I’m Leighton, and now you know… how to prepare your server!


Lesson Homework

You watched me do it. Now it’s your turn. Open up your IONOS hosting server, create your web space, FTP account and database. Next, install WordPress and activate Divi.

If you are on a Managed Hosting platform like Cloudways, Add a Server then Add an Application onto that Server.

Cloudways    IONOS    Elegant Themes WordPress Logo



Lesson Notes & FAQs

  • Question: Hi Leighton, I had a question about this lesson (Section 2, Lesson 9 – How to build a website). I set everything up on Ionos (webspace, SFTP, Database). I then uploaded the newest version of wordpress through FileZilla, and added the Divi theme. I used the “systemsdomain only” link, adding the file folder I created in webspace at the end of the address so I could finish the wordpress installation. It went smoothly. I then built out a landing page to test it. The site looks great on there, but how do I then connect it to my real domain?
    Once I had everything the way I wanted it, I checked my actual web address and all I see is a default site with some random link/ads on it. It seems to redirect to Normally I’ll see this page before I actually make the wordpress site go live, but I don’t see any option or button on the wordpress dashboard to allow me to make the site live. This is the first time I’ve built out a WordPress site this way, so I was wondering if you have any suggestions about what I’m doing wrong.
  • Answer: Great question! To launch your website on your real domain name, go to the WordPress Admin > Settings > General. Check the Site URL on that screen! You might also find value in the free plugin “Better Search Replace,” which lets you change all references to your test domain to the real one!
  • Response: This worked – thanks!  I decided to use the free domain that came with Ionos to create a client portal. I created a sub-domain of that website ( to build out my client’s site. This way they could preview it, note changes, etc before we put it live on their domain. The question I have is – once everything is ready, do I just download all the files from the server onto my computer, then FTP them back up in their webspace folder. I know I have to change the wp-config.php file to update the new database info. Is there anything else I should be aware of? I was using Local to build out the site, but I quickly realized that their “Live Link” feature only allowed the client to view their site while I was online, and none of the images were showing up. It’s free to set up a sub-domain, so I am using it as a work-around.
  • Answer: Once everything is ready, if the files and database are already in your IONOS account, you don’t need to download and re-upload anything — just change the Site URL in WordPress Admin and connect your domain to your webspace.
    If you have a completely local development environment, then yes, you need to upload your files and database to your live hosting server.
    Otherwise, if you build your test site on your IONOS subdomain, then you don’t need to upload anything. Just swap out the URL and domain.