This tutorial is about setting up professional WordPress site only for the cost of a domain name registration, which you could do in some cases for less than 1$. We will skip that for now and discuss it in the last part since there are lots of things ahead that could be done for free. Before starting the tutorial I should mention that this article is not recommending or advertising any commercial organisation including domain name registrants or WordPress or any other free HOST/VM providers. If I mention any organisation or company name that ‘s because I have been through this before and now I only want to share my experience. Some of the facts may change over the time, so the solutions and offers provided in this tutorial may not be available as the time pass. In that case please, inform me through comments so that I will try to update the tutorial as soon as possible.
For the first step you need a valid email address/account from GMail (Google). Why? we are going to use a lot of services provided from Google like Google Cloud for the hosting of web services we will need and as you finish installing WordPress you are not done with Google. There are a lot of other services such as Captcha, Analytics, Map and … that you may use for your website and you could do all these from one Google account. Use this link to sign up for new gmail account. If you are going to use this email address as the owner of the new domain name you want to register, it is better for you to use valid information in the sign up form.
At the secound step we are about to enable Google Cloud. Go to the Google.com sign in to your Google account from the link in the upper right corner of your browser. Then navigate to cloud.google.com. You will see the following page.
By clicking on “TRY IT FREE” button we will start enabling the service for our Google account. In the next page (following image) as you see you have to chose your country of residence and agree to Google Cloud Platform service terms and then click on “Agree and Continue”. On the right hand side you may notice that Google will add a value of $300 USD as a gift card to your account in order to be able to use Cloud Platform different products for a period of one year. This is the option which will give our WordPress site a hosting on virtual machine for free.
In the next page Google will ask for your credit card information. This is mandatory for registration purposes but you will not be charged for any amount even after the trial period ends. If you wish to upgrade your account to a paid one after one year, you should do it manually. Or you could just open another account and move all your data and backups to the new one (of course if the free trail is available by that time). Any way you would n’t lose any thing after one year. Worst case scenario you will be required to move your backups to a new hosting (free or paid), it is completely possible. Before proceeding from this page make sure to change the account type to individual and fill all the required information such as name, address and your payment information. All these fields are compulsory and should be filled. Click on the “Start my free trail” button and your billing information will be processed (But you will not be charged) and the service will be created for your account.
You will receive a welcome message at the next page that indicates your 12-month free trail is already started and you have $300 USD credit in your account to spend. It will also remind that don’t worry, you won’t be billed (after you ran out of your account credit) until you give the required permissions.
The upcoming page is so called Google Cloud Console page. After this whenever you navigate to the cloud.google.com you will see the button “Go to the console” instead of “Try it for free” which will take you to this page.
At the left hand side you could see the Google Cloud Platform menu and in the right side it’s Cloud Platform Dashboard, provides you with some shortcuts to the different common resources and settings. If you couldn’t see the menu like the above figure click on the menu button available at the left upper corner of the page. From the menu choose “Cloud Launcher” option.
At this page you will be allowed to deploy available software (such as WordPress) quickly on Google Cloud Platform. Type WordPress at the search box and chose “Virtual Machines” as filter type from the left panel.
Among the available options choose the WordPress by Google (Click to Deploy) and click to start the deploy. At the next page you will see an estimated cost per month which will be charged to your gift credit. Also you will see overview of the virtual machine and the software which are about to install. The default operating system is Debian 8 with Apache 2.4, MySQL 5.5 and PHP 5.6 and WordPress 4.7. For the hardware the default configuration is a virtual machine with one CPU, 4 GB of memory and 10 GB of disk space. It is an amazing configuration for free, is n’t it? But later we will reduce the cost by changing the VM instance configuration, so that you may spend more money on other products. You could monitor your resource usage and if they are overused you can switch to upper configuration any time you want with out loosing your information. Moreover, the Google will alert you if your current resources are overloaded. Click on the “Lunch On Compute Engine”
The deployment will start and take some minutes. Then you will be asked to configure your virtual machine instance or accept the defaults. This is the place you could reduce the cost.
Give a name to deployment name. Chose a zone that you think include your most target audience of your site. In the Machine Type choose small (1 shared vCPU) instead of 1 vCPU. It might be enough for startup days of the site, later when your audience number increase you could switch up to 8 vCPUs without upgrading your account to a paid one. Enter the administrator email, this will be used by WordPress. Enable install phpMyAdmin. You could change to SSD Persistent Disk in order to increase efficiency. Allocate more disk size if you need more (I recommend you stay with the minimum which is 10 GB) and finally left the HTTP and HTTPS traffic enabled and click Deploy.
Next you will be redirected to Deploy management page. In this page your required resources will be allocated and the software will be installed.
While every thing is done you will get an IP address, WordPress administrator username (admin) with password for it and your MYSQL and PHPMyAdmin username (root) with password. You could use the information provided in this page to login to WordPress and start working with your website. All you need is to click on the IP address. This will take you to your site homepage.
You could login to your WordPress Administration page using http://[IPAddress]/amexlogin/ or http://[IPAddress]/amexlogin.php
This is your website administration page in WordPress 4.7 with default template (twenty-seventeen) being activated.
And now the Virtual Machine Instance page in Google Cloud would look like this.