Customise the settings for your WordPress site

There are many settings which affect how WordPress works and at some point you should go through them all and configure them to suit your preferences.

Some settings depend on the type of website you want or your personal likes and dislikes, so there isn’t a right way or wrong way to set them. It is up to you.

Some settings are specific to and they are not in self-hosted versions of WordPress. They are not covered here because our website is just a stepping stone to a more powerful self-hosted setup.

Plugins can add items to settings and the section expands as they are installed. However, plugins are not available on, it is one of the limitations, so the settings are simpler.

Here are a few settings common to all WordPress installations.

Explore the settings

Log into your website admin interface by going to

Click Settings in the sidebar on the left. Below are several sections and clicking each one displays the configuration options.

Select the General section and at the top is the title and tagline for the website. We took a brief look at this right at the start of the course and it is one of the first things to change.

WordPress settings


Posts vs Page

Select Reading in the sidebar under Settings. At the top is an option to choose what people see when they visit your website.

Front page displays can be set to Your latest posts or A static page.

WordPress settings

This is probably the most important setting of all and it completely changes how your website looks and works.

Your latest posts: Show a list of posts in chronological order with the most recent first. This is typical for a blog and it is a way to present visitors to your site with the latest news, latest articles, you latest thoughts and musings, your latest photos, and so on. Bloggers often choose this setting.

A static page: You can create a page or a post and select it as your home page. This is useful if you have a website that offers products or services. For example, if you are an artist or designer, you can create a home page that describes the services you offer and tells people how they can hire you. Your home page is basically there to pull in new customers.

The theme determines what appears on the home page and how. It can completely change it and a static page can show your latest posts.

Sometimes a theme comes with instructions and you must follow them.

That might sound confusing, but basically a theme controls everything. Check the documentation with a theme to see whether it requires you to select Your latest posts, or A static page. If it doesn’t say, it is up to you, otherwise select the setting that is suggested.

Discussion and spam

Select Discussion under Settings in the sidebar. Among the settings are options to email you whenever anyone posts a comment or a comment is held for moderation.

This is your choice. It is useful to enable these options when creating a new website because you are notified whenever someone engages with your comment.

You might only get one comment a week at first. As your website grows and gains more visitors, commenting becomes more frequent and you will want to turn off the emails. It just becomes too much.

WordPress settings

Comment must be manually approved

Comment author must have a previously approved comment

These two options should be disabled at first, but if you get a lot of bad comments on your site, enable them and comments will not appear until you have approved them. (Select Comments in the sidebar to see comments people have left, approve them or trash them.)

People will visit your website and write junk comments in order to promote their products, services or websites. The comment always includes a link because they are trying to direct people to their website.

Set Hold a comment in the queue if it contains to 1. This means that if a comment is added that contains a link, it will not appear until you have approved it.

Most genuine visitors don’t post links. Most spammers do. So by withholding comments with links you will prevent spammers. If a comment with a link is genuine, you can see it and approve it by selecting Comments in the sidebar.

Comments can also be withheld for approval if they contain certain words. By adding words to the Content Moderation list, you can avoid spam. For example, if someone keeps posting “Visit my gambling site,” you could add the word ‘gambling’ to the list and their spam comments will never appear on your site.

There is a longer and more detailed article on blocking spam here: How to stop spam comments on your blog or website without plugins

Action points

  • Go to Admin > Settings and read every section.
  • Choose between a static page and a list of blog posts for the home page
  • Set the discussion settings so as to block spam