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How to Build a Social Network Using a Free WP Plugin

Did you know that it’s possible to create a social network on your WordPress site? Well… it is! You can literally turn your WordPress into a social networking platform by using the free WordPress plugin, BuddyPress! 

Why would you want such a plugin on your website? The better question is, why would you not want to install this plugin? If you would like to turn your site into a community of users, add social media features, or attempt to build an entire social media platform with WordPress, then this is the plugin for you!

BuddyPress will allow you to take your site beyond the typical blog or business page. In recent years, BuddyPress has been used as a campus-wide social networking platform for universities, as an internal communication tool for companies, as a niche social networking for very specific interest groups, and for focused communities for products and services. It is also integrated with bbPress to enhance community forms. 

By following just a few easy steps, you can gain all the social media features that you have come to know and love from your favorite social media platforms. BuddyPress comes with multiple social media elements that can integrate directly into your site. Some of those elements include detailed user profiles, published updates, the opportunity to join groups, private messaging, group messaging and so much more. It allows website visitors to network with each other, stay updated on new information, and stay in touch with things going on in the community. This social networking plugin allows you to build your own online platform for any online or offline community!

One of the coolest things about BuddyPress is that there are over 500 plugins available to help you add unique features to your site. But, you do not have to use them! If you only want to use a select few, BuddyPress will adapt to that and only show the menu items and pages for the features you have enabled. Did we mention it is FREE?

This multi-feature packed plugin is easy to integrate into your website and it is very easy to get started! BuddyPress can be installed on your site directly from the WordPress plugin directory.  Are you ready to Install?

  1. To begin, log in to your WordPress website’s admin area and find Plugins on the left-hand panel on your screen. Hover your mouse over Plugins. You will see that you have a choice between Installed Plugins or Add New. Press Add New. On the right-hand side, you’ll see a search bar that will allow you to search for options. In that bar, search for BuddyPress. 

2. You will see that BuddyPress shows up on the left-hand side of the screen. In the BuddyPress box, press Install Now. BuddyPress then installs into your system and you will see the option to activate. Press Activate

3. After you have pressed activate, you will see this popup. 

4. The picture above is basically welcoming you to the newly activated plugin and letting you know about the recently updated version of BuddyPress. From there, you can click the X in the top right-hand corner and mess with the settings on the newly installed BuddyPress menu, located under the settings sidebar menu. 

5. You can individually activate or disable any component. This makes BuddyPress extremely beneficial for those who only want to add a few of the many social networking elements to their website.

6. Under Components, check any element that you think would fit nicely into your site. You can also uncheck elements that you do not think would look good on your site. This is really where you can add all of your social networking elements.  As you can see, the tabs next to components are Options, Pages, and Credits. The Options button allows you to access the toolbar. The Pages tab allows you to configure the pages that are using the BuddyPress plugin to show member information and their activity. You can also set up the registration and activation Pages in the Pages tab as well.  

This is what your page will look like if you do not yet have any members on your site. The down arrow next to members will allow you to associate a WordPress page with each BuddyPress component directory. Use the down arrow to view the list and choose. The options range from live web chat, to blog, to test page, to set an appointment, and much more.

From there, you can begin adding people to your social network! In addition, the visitors to your site can register to become members! Feel free to play with the different features available to see what you like the best!

Wasn’t this process easier than you anticipated? Are you ready to start your own social network? Go get ’em!

What is WordPress and How Does it Work?

In today’s modern-day of unlimited Internet access and seemingly paper-thin smartphones, it is easy to assume that a majority of people know all about web creation websites like WordPress. My assumptions were proven wrong when somebody genuinely asked me, “What is WordPress?”. After thinking about that question it occurred to me that some people are very unaware of WordPress and what it has to offer. If you are stirring in silent embarrassment because you are also asking yourself the same question, then do not worry. This article is for you. 

WordPress is known as the most powerful, straightforward and versatile website content management system (CMS) in existence today. If you own a website, it is your website’s operating system. In simple terms, WordPress is the engine to your “vehicle”. In this case, WordPress is the engine, while your website is the vehicle. 

WordPress allows you to create and customize any kind of website that you want. It provides you with interchangeable themes, fonts and styles. People have created websites that feature topics such as E-commerce, social networking, business, membership, portfolio, forums, events, E-learning, weddings or even a simple blog. WordPress originated as a blogging tool but later developed into the content management system that it is today. 

Whether you’re an aspiring business owner attempting to establish your online presence or you’re secretly passionate about gardening and want to create an online outlet, it is easy for anyone to create a website. In fact, WordPress operates over 30% of all websites on the Internet.

There are many benefits to joining WordPress’s large and powerful website community. WordPress is very simple to operate, which is one of the most intriguing elements of the website. The website content management system is very easy to use, even for beginners. WordPress allows you to create and publish your website content quickly. Another great feature is that the actual WordPress software is free to download and use. WordPress also operates on all screen sizes and devices. It even comes in the form of an app! There are two different types of WordPress websites that you have the option to use.   

  • WordPress.org: This site is known as the self-hosted and free version of WordPress. This WordPress software is, in fact, free and is considered an open-source. Open-source means that you have the freedom to build, use, and modify the software in any way that you’d like without having to pay a fee. It also means that it’s licensed under the GNU Public License and it isn’t owned by one single company. With this software, you essentially install your own web host to create your website. This site does not generate any income. It also does not offer any support for its users. Using this site gives you more ownership as well as access to all the website’s perks. Anybody can download this version. WordPress.org is managed by the nonprofit WordPress Foundation.
  • WordPress.com: This is a paid, profit-geared service that is operated by WordPress.org software. WordPress.com is a simple site that any person can navigate and use. With this service, you are essentially paying WordPress to host your site and handle everything for you. This service relieves you from the responsibility of building and managing your website. Many people choose this service because they want a professional website, created and operated by actual professionals. Once you pay for the WordPress.com service, you are paying to not have to worry about those things. This is a fantastic option for someone who has a business but does not have time to create a website. WordPress.com is a for-profit business owned by Automattic that uses WordPress.org open-source software. 

To get started with a self-hosting WordPress website, you will need to pay for web hosting and a domain name. If you choose to continue with a web hosting provider, the domain name, website and many other features will come with the package.

WordPress is used by all kinds of people for various reasons and goals. It is used by individuals, small businesses, large corporations, nonprofit groups, and many more. For example, the official White House website, BBC America, The Walt Disney Company, Vogue and so many more use WordPress to power their site. Take a look at each company’s website, the design, and how it correlates with the culture of the company or business. These examples depict an attractive outline for how a well-constructed website can look. Although these widely-known businesses utilized WordPress.com to their advantage, you can still create a free site using the open-source software. WordPress makes building a website easy and available to everyone, even people who aren’t developers!

A Novice’s Guide to Web Hosting

Think about all the websites that you visit daily. You might be scouring the Internet to get some grocery shopping done, to chat online, read up on the latest news, or reply to emails. Regardless of the websites that you visit, you are only able to view and interact with those sites because they are hosted by a web hosting service provider. You may be wondering, “What is web hosting? What is a web hosting service provider?”. 

There are countless details and features to web hosting that can make it difficult for a newcomer to understand and navigate. 

Web hosting is a service that allows organizations and individuals to post a website on the Internet. It is home to where your website lives and where all your files are stored and made public. A web hosting service provider, like us here at Hostirian, is a business that provides the services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed on the Internet. A web hosting provider allocates space on a web server for a website to store its files. These services cannot take place without an active server.

A server is a computer (software or hardware device) that receives and responds to requests made over a network. Essentially, servers host and store the websites from a service provider. The process is simple: 

  1. An Internet user types a website address or domain into the browser.
  2. The user’s computer will connect to the website’s server.
  3. The web pages will be delivered to them through the browser.

When someone enters a domain name into the browser, the domain name is rendered into the IP address of the web hosting company’s computer. Generally, web hosting service providers will help you create a new domain if you do not already have one. If you have one, they will work with you on building your website, generating leads, and growing your online presence. 

As previously discussed, web hosting is the process of renting or buying a space to accommodate a website on the Internet. Think of a website domain name as the address of the house while web hosting is the actual house that the address leads to. There are a few things to remember before you begin creating your website. 

Some companies allow you to create a website for free, but you will have to essentially “start from scratch”. By that I mean, you will need to learn how to work that site on your own, buy a domain, create your business email, fix the website’s problems if the site goes down and so much more. By teaming up with a web hosting provider, you can run your business or website without any worry of internal or technical problems, site navigation, creation, or troubleshooting. It is crucial that you do not team up with just any web hosting service provider. You want to make sure that the company is reliable and persistent in helping you create the best website possible. You want to create fewer problems for yourself in the long run.

Signing up for a web hosting service offers so many benefits, including instant access to customer support to help with troubleshooting, problems with sending and receiving email, domain name renewal, script debugging, and more. Your web hosting service team will complete all of the “behind the scenes” work, leaving you with a hassle-free and uncomplicated experience. 

When getting started with web hosting, it is important to choose a web hosting service provider that is a good fit for you. Many web hosting companies strive to make the process as easy as possible for you. The team will take the confusion out of the process and leave you with an enhanced understanding of content management and website creation. 

All web hosting services provide some basic features such as email accounts, FTP access, databases, and WordPress support. You can create domain email address accounts through features provided by your hosting company. FTP, or File Transfer Protocol, access allows you to upload files from your computer to your web server. If you build your website using HTML files, you can transfer your files through the web server through FTP. That allows your website to be accessed through the internet. A database is an organized collection of data, generally stored and accessed electronically through a computer system. WordPress is a powerful blogging and website management tool. WordPress operates over 30% of websites on the internet. Some web hosting services may provide additional unique features such as generating leads for your social media, SEO boostability, reputation management, web design and hosting, business listings, 24/7/365 customer support, and DataVault information backup. 

The amount of space allocated on a server depends on the type of hosting that you are using. There are many different options to get your site on the web. They each offer contrasting elements that cater specifically to the website owner’s needs. There are six types of web hosting that you will most often come across, which include shared, virtual private server, dedicated server, cloud, managed, and colocation. These different types of web hosting can be differentiated by the kind of technology used for the server, the server management and the additional services per offer. 

When it comes to deciding which web hosting service provider or type of hosting you’d like to use, leave that to the professionals. They’ll help you find the best fit to begin your website building process. 

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