Today I took some time to set up a hosting site with the new StudioPress Sites managed WordPress hosting. (I announced the rollout of this new hosting service here.)
Not just another WordPress site is how they’re describing it, and they’re absolutely right.
Note: This tutorial is for those who’ve decided to use StudioPress Sites hosting. Here’s more information about the new hosting service if you’re not there yet.
Here’s a quick walk-through of the signup process, and some thoughts on what’s inside.
Sign Up for StudioPress Sites
Navigate to StudioPress. You’ll see this screen.
- If you click the big “Launch your new site today” link, you’ll see information about the hosting service. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the actual signup button, or, if you’re ready to go, click the Create a Site link at the top of the page.
- Alternatively, if you’re ready, click this link. You’ll see a page that looks like this — just scroll down to see the choice of plans and start the signup process.
- Fill in the required information, including your credit card info. When successfully completed, you’ll arrive at this screen.
Setting Up Your New Site
#1. Click the Set Up a New Site button.
To do so, you must provide a domain name, a site name, and a username. This information is necessary for setting up your hosting server, and it will populate the WordPress Settings. As always, keep in mind your WordPress username is not private and invisible to the public, so choose accordingly.
If you’re creating a brand-new site, click Set Up My Domain on the right. If you’re moving an existing site, click the See Migration Options button on the left to see some helpful information about how to migrate your site.
Setting up your domain involves going to your domain name registrar to change some settings. They provide information on exactly what to change and how to do it (or at least, how to access your registrar’s instructions).
Working with your StudioPress Sites Hosting Account
Once you’ve completed the step above, you’ll see a small dashboard.
You’ll want to save this information in a secure document! Click the X at the top right to close it when you’re done.
#2. Return to the dashboard, and click the second icon
You’ll see it indicates a staging site is coming soon. This is good news, because a staging site gives you an easy way to make changes (like changing a theme, for example) without those changes being visible to the public. Then, when you’re ready to make it public, it’s usually just a click of a button.
#3. Click the third icon to set up SSL on your site.
This is optional, but StudioPress Sites is offering a free Let’s Encrypt account and with Google’s emphasis on secure sites, you should probably take advantage of it.
#4. The last icon leads to 3 important instructions.
It includes links to Domain Settings and, Migration instructions, as well as an important link — Report Site Down. If your site is down, you can go to this link to send a priority help ticket.
#5. Click the link under your domain name to go to the WordPress login screen.
You’ll need the information provided in step #2 above.
Working with WordPress on StudioPress Sites
At first glance, once you’ve logged in, it looks like a normal WordPress installation. There are a few important additions, though.
Notice in the WordPress Dashboard menu, there’s an item labeled StudioPress.
Click to expand it.
- Site Tools takes you to a screen where you can view and download information about your theme and plugins.
- StudioPress Themes is a collection of 20 Pro themes from StudioPress, which you can use on your site at no additional charge. They’re all mobile responsive and HTML5 ready. Here’s a list of the included themes (an * indicates I’ve previously reviewed the theme:
- Partner Plugins includes eleven plugins. Some are available free from WordPress.org/plugins, and some are freemium, meaning you can start with a free version and upgrade to a paid version if you so choose. Included are tried and true plugins like Woo Commerce and Ninja Forms. Others are more interesting, at least to me. For example:
- Design Palette Pro — a plugin which lets you change background, font, and link colors, along with the background color for specific locations like the header and navigation areas. No code required. It also lets you choose from among 14 fonts.
- Beaver Builder — this is the Lite version, so you’ll need to upgrade to paid for additional functionality. It gives you drag and drop functionality for building WordPress pages, and works with any theme.
- Restrict Content Pro — gives you a membership site with a half-dozen built-in payment integrations.It takes only a single click to install any of the included Partner Plugins.
- Content Optimizer is a tool to help you optimize your content for SEO.
- Mobile Menu Bar gives you additional choices for the way your menu will display on mobile devices. I really like this one!
- SEO Settings is a good tool to use for SEO. However, if you prefer something like Yoast SEO, installing and activating Yoast will turn it off.
Your site on StudioPress sites comes with four Genesis plugins pre-installed. (You don’t have to use them, and in fact, you can uninstall them if you want.)
- Genesis eNews Extended is a solid plugin that’s been around for a while. It creates opt-in forms like this one.
- Genesis Simple Social Icons provides social follow icons for your sidebar or footer. It’s very easy to adjust colors to match your site, without code.
- Genesis Simple Edits makes it easy to change what shows up at the very bottom of your site’s pages, the area that looks something like this.
- Genesis Simple Hooks helps coders modify some of the theme code using the “hooks” built into the theme. If you don’t know what this means, you don’t need to use this plugin.
You can install, activate, deactivate, and delete other plugins here just like you would with WordPress on any other host. The only difference is, if you try to install a plugin that’s on their blacklist, they’ll stop you (and rightfully so!).
WordPress on StudioPress Sites comes with the most popular permalink — postname — already preselected.
It’s Still WordPress!
Even with all these nice additions to the basic installation, a WordPress site on StudioPress Sites is still regular WordPress. You don’t have to learn a new interface, as you do with the Rainmaker Platform. If you’re already familiar with WordPress, you’ll be very comfortable. If this is your first site you can follow regular WordPress instructions and tutorials to learn your way around.
A Word About the Hosting
StudioPress Sites provides hosting that’s a cut above regular shared hosting. The server environment is optimized for WordPress, and WordPress alone. They’re not hosting sites built on a variety of platforms.
That means, your site:
- is more secure
- loads faster
- runs more smoothly
- no surprises — if you write some content that generates a traffic spike, good for you! You don’t have to worry about added charges
- they keep WordPress and themes updated, at no charge. This makes the hosting a great bargain — the entire hosting package costs less per month than what many people pay monthly for an updating and maintenance service.
- support is friendly and knowledgeable
If you’re ready for managed WordPress hosting, click here to set up your faster, more secure site at StudioPress Sites.
Yes, these are affiliate links. I’ve trusted Brian Clark, Brian Gardner, and the teams at Copyblogger and StudioPress for years, and I have no hesitation in recommending the new StudioPress Sites hosting to you. If you purchase hosting from a link on this site, I’ll receive a commission. It helps me keep this site running, and lets me charge lower prices for my services.