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Campaign site setup checklist

You will have received a zipped file which is a backed-up copy of a starter “boilerplate” website, and login information for the site. This page explains how to use this file to complete setting up your site. I suggest you bookmark this page, and keep it open in your browser while you follow the steps.

Things I expect have already been done

  • You have a domain registered.
  • You’ve arranged for web hosting (or it’s been arranged for you).

If you don’t have hosting, please refer to my list of recommended website hosting providers. If you haven’t registered a domain, do it through your hosting provider.

Setup WordPress

This may already have been done for you.

If not, use the Control Panel or Manage function or Site Tools or whatever they call it on your hosting provider’s website, to install an instance of WordPress in your domain. There’s a way to do this for free — don’t pay them to do it for you. Don’t buy any extras, such as site monitoring. Be vigilant. You may have to uncheck some things they opt you in for by default. We want as plain an installation as they offer.

Go to your new website

If you registered a domain, there will be a delay of a few hours while the information about the location of your new website is communicated to the world, before you can use the new website. Take a break to let that happen. You should be able to tell when it’s done by trying to go to your new domain in a browser and seeing whether you get an error.

Once you can browse to your website, proceed:

If you just installed WordPress, there’s probably a link to your site’s administration screen on the current page, or it will have been sent to you by email. Otherwise, go to your website’s administration screen via the URL (you’ll be prompted to login using credentials you just created).

Check what plugins are installed

The default installation will normally install a few plugins. Click Plugins in the menu on the left.

Notice which plugins have been installed and are active. Different hosting companies have their own special plugins, which do nice things for you and you probably want to keep (e.g. SiteGround gives you SiteGround Optimizer, which is nice). So copy the list and keep it somewhere for later, because we’re about to clobber the entire site and overwrite your plugins, and you’ll need to reinstall any of these you want to keep.

A few you may find that you might not want to reinstall:

  • Hello Dolly! It’s a nice song, but nobody actually wants random lyrics on their website.
  • AKismet. If you need comment spam blocking, Antispam Bee is better.
  • Classic Editor. This is your call, but I think you might as well get used to the default Block editor, because It Is The Future.

Install the Restore Code

The zip file you were given, is a complete backed-up website created using the WPvivid Backup Plugin. On the Plugins screen of your website’s dashboard, click Add New and search for this plugin. Its full name is “Migration, Backup, Staging – WPvivid Backup and Migration Plugin”, but a search for WPvivid will find it. Install it and activate it.

Run restore

In your website’s dashboard, navigate to WPvivid Backup. In the Backup & Restore tab, click the Upload tab. Upload the zip file you were given.

When this is done, switch to the Backups tab under Backup & Restore. There you’ll find the “Uploaded Backup”. Click “Restore” and follow the steps to restore that backup.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll be logged out. The previous administrator account will no longer work because the whole site has been replaced, including all the user accounts. I’ve complained to the WPvivid people about this and they may fix it at some point.

Anyway, for now, login using the account information you were given along with the zip file.

Create a new administrator user (delete the old one)

Must delete temporary admin account!

Because everybody who sets up one of these sites gets the same temporary administrator account and password, your site is not secure until you delete that administrator account and replace it with a new one with a password you create.

On the dark toolbar at the top of your site, hover over New and select User. Create a user profile for yourself. You’ll be forced to choose a strong password. Make the new user account an Administrator.

Note: I recommend the use of a password manager program such as Bitwarden.

Once you save your changes, logout (hover over the word “Howdy” at the upper right to see the Logout selection).

Login with the new credentials.

Go to the Users screen of the dashboard. Hover over “DeleteMe”. Click the Delete control.

Reinstall overwritten plugins

If you earlier made a list of plugins that were in the original installation, that you want to restore, this is a good time to do that. From the Plugins screen, click Add New, and search for the plugins by name. If there are several it’s easier to install them all without activating them, then go to the Plugins list and activate them from there.

Activate other plugins?

The site restore includes one plugin, WebP Converter for Media, which is installed but not active. Some hosting providers may already supply a plugin to compress images into WebP format. The SiteGround Optimizer does this, for instance. If there’s already WebP image conversion in the plugins you activated in the previous section, delete this plugin. Else, activate it.

Follow instructions on website

Go to your website’s homepage, which contains further instructions for setting up your site.