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How to Make a Website with WordPress

Are you looking to start a WordPress website? Nowadays, with everything going digital, it makes sense to start an online business or get your current business online.

But for many, building a website can seem like a scary thought. We’re here to tell you to rest assured. With today’s technology, it is now possible for anyone to have a website online.

You don’t need to be a web developer or programmer to create an amazing modern website that is 100% your own.

In this comprehensive step-by-step beginner’s guide, we will teach you how to make a website with WordPress.

NOTE: TarttWeb is reader-supported. This means that we may earn a small commission at no additional cost when you make a purchase through referral links on our site.

If you’d like to jump to the section you’re looking for, a hyperlinked table of contents is available.

Who is this Guide For?

This guide is for anyone who wants to know how to make a website with WordPress without learning to code. It is for users of all ages and skill levels. More specifically, beginners to WordPress.

Frequently Asked Questions

Before we make a website with WordPress, let’s review some of the most frequently asked questions.

What is WordPress & Why choose it to make a Website?

WordPress is the most popular free and open-source CMS platform you can use to build a website. You can freely use and modify it however you see fit. With WordPress, you can create a wide range of amazing websites.

For further reading, we recommend: What is WordPress? – A Beginner’s Guide

If you’ve already begun searching for WordPress, you will immediately notice that there are two different versions.

WordPress.org vs WordPress.com – Which one is right for you?

Despite having the same name, ‘WordPress.org’ and ‘WordPress.com’ are not the same and work very differently.

WordPress.org: often called ‘self-hosted WordPress,’ is the free and open-source software you can install on your web host to create and design amazing websites that are 100% your own. This is a zipped folder of files that you can have for free. 

WordPress.com: is a for-profit paid service that offers web hosting powered by the WordPress.org open-source software. This service is comparable to other services such as Wix and Squarespace, which include many of the same types of features.

In this article, when we say WordPress, we are talking specifically about the free-to-use WordPress.org software.

For further reading and a visual comparison, we recommend: What’s the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?

How much does a WordPress Website Cost?

The answer to this question depends on the kind of website you’re trying to build. But as far as getting started with a working website that you can customize and make your own, it will only be the initial cost of a domain name and web hosting. So to get started, you will need to purchase a domain name and web hosting.

A domain name typically costs around $16 a year with web hosting costs starting at around $7 a month.

This expense can be a lot for most people just starting out.

We recommend starting small and adding more features over time as your online business grows. This will save you money while minimizing losses and overspending.

Thankfully, DreamHost is currently offering web hosting plans starting at $2.59 a month which includes a free domain name for the first year. You also get free SSL, free domain privacy, free email to match your domain, and a 97 day money-back guarantee.

DreamHost Web Hosting $2.59 / Month

What do I need to Build a WordPress Website?

All three things listed below are required to start building a WordPress website.

  • A domain name – this is the name and address of your website, such as tarttweb.com
  • WordPress Web hosting – this is where your website files are stored.
  • And one to two hours of your undivided attention.

How to make the most of this ‘How to Make a Website with WordPress’ Guide?

This is a step-by-step beginner’s guide that will teach you how to make a website with WordPress. We will walk you through each step with easy instructions from start to finish.

Just follow the instructions, and you will have a modern, professional-looking website at the end.

Alright, we have a lot to cover, so let’s get started!

How to Make a Website with WordPress

Step 1. Getting Setup

Now that you’re ready to begin. The first step is to purchase a domain name and web hosting for your website. This is a necessary cost to have a website online.

If you already have a domain name and web hosting set up, you can skip to Step 2.

Choosing a Domain Name for your Website

Before you can start making your website, you will need a domain name.
If you don’t currently own a domain, you will need to purchase one.

If you already have a domain name in mind, you’ll need to purchase it from a reputable domain registrar.

The link below will teach you what to look for in a reputable domain registrar before making a purchase.

And if you need help creating or coming up with a domain name, check out our guides below. These articles will help you create one and check its availability.

Choosing a Web Host for your Website

Once you have a domain name registered, you’ll need to purchase web hosting to host your website. The following guide will help you understand what to look for in a reliable web host and inform you about different types of web hosting plans.

Lastly, if you purchased your domain and web hosting from two separate providers, you will need to point your domain to your web host.

How to get a Free Domain Name

We recommend and use DreamHost, an officially recommended WordPress web hosting provider that offers a free domain name for the first year and is an excellent choice for beginners because of their One-Click Install feature.

They currently have a web hosting special starting at $2.59 a month that also includes free SSL, free domain privacy, free email to match your domain, and a 97 day money-back guarantee.

Step 2. Installing WordPress on Your Web Host

Now that you have successfully purchased a domain and set up a web hosting account, you can start installing the WordPress software.

If you’re feeling nervous, don’t worry, we have written an entire guide about installing WordPress. If you have chosen a good web hosting provider, they will often have some type of One-Click or Auto Install option to make things easy.

To get started installing WordPress on your web host, please choose one of the two guides below. Once you have finished, return to this page and move on to Step 3.

Step 3. Logging into the WordPress Admin Dashboard

In this section, you will need your WordPress login credentials. If you used a One-Click install option to install WordPress or your web host auto-installed WordPress, your login credentials should have been emailed to you by your hosting provider.

In the URL bar of your web browser, type in your domain name and add /wp-login.php to the end. You will then be redirected to the WordPress login screen.

WordPress Login Screen
— WordPress Login Screen

For example, if your domain name is coolwebsite.com, your login URL would be https://coolwebsite.com/wp-login.php. Enter this into your browser’s URL bar.

Alternatively, you can simply add /login to the end of your domain, which will redirect you to /wp-login.php.

To learn more about logging into WordPress, please read our guide on how to log into your WordPress site. You will learn several different ways to log into your site, including adding a login link to your site along with some troubleshooting tips.

When you see the WordPress login page enter your Username or Email Address and Password, then click on the ‘Log In‘ button. Doing so will log you into the WordPress admin area with the Dashboard selected.

Step 4. Get to Know the WordPress User Interface

Managing your WordPress site is all done from the WordPress Admin Area.

You can see all of your admin options neatly laid out on the left side of the admin area. This is called the Main Navigation. There is also a toolbar at the top with various options.

WordPress admin area dashboard

Below is a brief description of each admin option on the main navigation:

  • Posts: Posts are your blog content. This is where you will add, edit, and manage all your blog posts.
  • Media: This is where you manage all of your media, such as images, audio, and videos.
  • Pages: Here you can create, edit, and manage all your static pages such as About Us, Contact Us, and Privacy Policy.
  • Comments: You can moderate comments left by your readers here.
  • Appearance: From here, you can customize the look and feel of your website, including themes, widgets, and menus.
  • Plugins: This is where you manage your WordPress plugins. Plugins add more features and functionality to your site.
  • Users: This is where you can add, edit, and manage user accounts.
  • Tools: From here, you can access some valuable tools for your site, such as Import, Export, and Site Health.
  • Settings: This is where you configure how your website works.

Step 5. Configure your WordPress Settings

Before you start creating content for your WordPress site, it’s a good idea to configure your WordPress site’s settings. Because there are a lot of settings to cover, we have created a complete guide that will walk you through and explain each setting.

Once you have finished configuring your settings, return to this page and continue to Step 6.

Step 6. Installing a WordPress Theme

There are a few different ways to install a WordPress theme. In this section, we will show you how to install a free theme from the WordPress theme directory.

Navigate to the Appearance Themes Screen

On the main navigation, from the left side, use your mouse cursor to hover over Appearance, then click on Themes.

WordPress Appearance Themes Screen Link

Doing so will redirect you to the Appearance Themes screen. From here, you can manage your WordPress themes, like choosing your active theme, adding new themes, and removing themes.

Appearance Themes Screen
— Appearance Themes Screen

Click on Add New Theme

At the top of the Appearance Themes screen, click on the Add New button.

Top of Appearance Themes Screen
— Top of Appearance Themes Screen

Alternatively, you can click on Add New Theme, located among your installed themes.

Appearance Themes Screen Add New Theme link

Clicking on either option will load the WordPress theme directory.

Find a Theme

At the top of the Add Themes screen, you will see the number of WordPress themes in the directory, along with some filter options and a search box to the right.

WordPress Theme Directory in Theme Management Screen
— WordPress Theme Directory

If you already have a theme in mind, enter it into the search box. If you are unsure of the theme you want to use but have some ideas about the type of site you want. You can narrow down your results using the Feature Filter button. This will filter the theme results based on the specific features you have checked.

WordPress Add Themes Feature Filter
— WordPress Theme Directory Feature Filter

Preview and Install a Theme

Once you have found a theme you are interested in trying out, hover with your cursor over the theme, then click on the Details & Preview button to learn more about it and see a preview.

Preview and Install a Theme from the WordPress Theme Directory

To exit the preview, click on the X on the top left or click on Install to try it out.

WordPress Theme preview toolbar

Once the theme installation is complete, click on the Activate button to make it your active theme.

Activate a WordPress theme in preview mode

That’s it! You now know how to install a free theme from the WordPress theme directory. Pretty easy right?

If you want to switch themes, simply go back to the Appearance Theme screen, add a new theme from the directory, and activate it.

If you need help installing a downloaded or premium WordPress theme, please read our guide on how to install a WordPress theme.

Some Popular Free Themes

Here are a several popular WordPress themes to help you get started.

You can also take a look at our list of the top 20 best multipurpose WordPress themes for beginners.

OK, now that you know how to install a WordPress theme, let us look at how to install WordPress plugins.

Step 7. Installing WordPress Plugins

WordPress plugins are applications that can be used to enhance your website with new features and functionality.

In this section, we will show you how to install a free WordPress plugin from the WordPress plugin directory.

Navigate to Plugins > Add New

On the main navigation, hover over Plugins, then click on Add New. Doing so will open the WordPress plugin directory.

WordPress add new plugin link

Search for a Plugin

If you already know the plugin name you have in mind, type it into the search box at the top right and use the filter options to narrow your results. You can also type in the functionality the plugin should have.

Search the WordPress plugin directory

To learn more about an individual plugin, click on the More Details link.

Click the Install Now Button

Once you’ve found and reviewed the plugin you are interested in, click the Install Now button next to the plugin.

WordPress plugin install button

Activate Your New Plugin

That’s it! You now know how to install a free WordPress plugin using the WordPress plugin directory. Now click the Activate button to start using your new plugin.

Some Popular Plugins

Here are some popular plugins that you might want to consider installing.

If you need help installing a downloaded or premium WordPress plugin, please read our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Now let us look at how to add content to your WordPress site.

Step 8. Adding Content to your WordPress Website

Now we will explain how to add content to your WordPress site. Your content will be your most important asset. You’ll want to create lots of quality content for your readers.

Removing Sample Data

The first step to adding content is to go ahead and remove the sample data that comes preinstalled with WordPress. There are three locations that contain sample data which are Posts, Pages, and Comments.

First, we will remove the sample comment. On the main navigation, click on Comments, then hover with your cursor over the sample comment and click on Trash.

Remove Comment Sample Data

Next, let’s remove the post sample data. On the main navigation, click on Posts. Now hover over the sample post that says ‘Hello world,’ then click on Trash.

Remove Post Sample Data

Lastly, we need to remove the sample page data. On the main navigation, click on Pages. Next, hover over the page that says ‘Sample Page,’ then click on Trash.

Remove Page Sample Data

You will also notice a Privacy Policy page that is in draft mode. Do not delete this page. It will come in handy later on when you are working on your own privacy policy.

Remove any Unused Themes & Plugins

To keep your website secure and from becoming bloated you need to remove any unused WordPress themes and plugins. The following links will show you how to do this.

Creating Categories

Categories are an important part of your website. They provide a way to structure and organize your website into broad groups of related content.

Additionally, a good category structure can help visitors easily find topics they’re interested in and improve search engine optimization (SEO).

Learn all there is to know about creating categories by reading our guide on how to add categories in WordPress.

Creating Your Administrative Pages

The first thing you need to do is to start working on your administrative pages. Below is a list of standard pages that visitors will expect to see:

  • Homepage: This page is the front of your website so it should look appealing to your audience and be easy to navigate with clear sections.
  • About: The about page should be all about you or your business and provide insight into who you are and what you do.
  • Contact: You’ll want to provide a page where people can contact you. Typically you’ll want to provide a contact form, a phone number, and maybe your location.
  • Services: If you are offering any services, you will want a page that lists your services and pricing. You will also want to include a services section on your homepage.
  • Blog: One of the best ways to keep your website relevant and up to date is by publishing blog posts.
  • Privacy Policy: Your privacy policy page will need to inform users how your website will collect, store, protect, and utilize personal information. Learn more.
  • Disclaimer: Your disclaimer page should protect your rights over your intellectual property against infringement by other people. Learn more.
  • Terms & Conditions: This page acts as a contract between you or your business and your website’s users or customers. Learn more.
  • Other pages: Depending on the type of website you are starting, there may be other pages you’ll need to add, such as Portfolio, Team, or Testimonials.

Adding a Page

WordPress pages are meant to be static and intended for content that is considered timeless.

As an example, an about page should not have a date attached to it. Yes, your about page will have a date stored in the database when you edit or update it. But it doesn’t make sense to have an About page 2022, About 2023, and so on.

Navigate to the Add New Page Screen

On the main navigation, hover over Pages, then click on Add New. This will redirect you to the WordPress page editor, where you will see the WordPress block editor (Gutenberg).

Link to add a new WordPress page
Add a Page Title

Within the block editor, where it says ‘Add title,’ type in a page title for your new page.

Add Your Content

When you have finished adding a title to your page, it’s time to add some content using the block editor.

The WordPress block editor was designed to make creating and editing pages and posts in WordPress a simple and intuitive process. It functions as a page builder that allows you to use blocks to create media-rich pages.

The block editor allows you to easily create rich content and build complex layouts quickly by using WordPress block patterns and reusable blocks.

Below is a list of the most commonly used blocks that you can use to create content for your page.

  1. Heading – Use headings to organize content that helps visitors understand your content’s structure. These also play an important role in your website’s search engine optimization.
  2. Paragraph – This is the default block used in the block editor to create a paragraph of content.
  3. Image – You can use the image block to add images in three ways, uploading, from the Media Library, or inserting from a URL.
  4. Buttons – This block allows you to add a button or a group of buttons to your content.
  5. List – The list block has two options, bulleted or numbered.
  6. Quote – Gives quoted text visual emphasis.
  7. Cover – This block lets you add an image or video with a text overlay. This is great for headers and call-to-actions.
  8. Gallery – Use the gallery block to display multiple images in a rich gallery format. This is great for portfolios.
  9. Video – The video block lets you embed a video from your Media Library, upload a video file, or insert one from a URL.
  10. Audio – The audio block lets you embed audio from your Media Library, upload an audio file, or insert one from a URL.
  11. File – The file block you add a downloadable file to your content.

To add content to your page, you can either start writing, click the Add Block button, or click the Block inserter toggle at the top to view all blocks.

Adding blocks in the WordPress block editor

After inserting a block into your page, use the block settings on the right to customize it. If you don’t see the block settings, click on the gear icon at the top right next to the Publish button.

Publish Your Page

Finally, once you have finished with your new WordPress page, click on the big Publish button at the top-right.

To learn all about adding WordPress pages, please read our guide on how to add a new page in WordPress, where we explain the different page settings, scheduling a page, how to delete pages, and some frequently asked questions.

Adding a Post

Unlike pages, WordPress posts are intended for dynamic content that is considered timely, such as news items. They almost always include the author and a published/updated timestamp.

Posts are your blog content, which is displayed on your site by date in a reversed chronological order. So your newest blog posts start at the top.

Navigate to the Add New Post Screen

On the main navigation, hover over Posts, then click on Add New. Doing so will redirect you to the WordPress post editor, where you will see the WordPress block editor (Gutenberg).

Link to add a new WordPress post
Add a Post Title

Just like we did before when we added a new page go ahead and add a title to your WordPress post.

Add a title to a new WordPress post
Add Your Content

Now you can add some content to your post. You can do this in exactly the same way when you added content to your new page. Simply start writing or use the block editor to add your content.

Remember to use the block settings on the right to customize your content blocks.

Publish Your Post

Lastly, once you are finished creating your new post, click on the Publish button at the top-right; so you don’t lose all your hard work.

To learn all there is to know about creating a new post, please read our guide on how to add a blog post in WordPress, where we explain each of the different post settings, like adding posts to categories, setting featured images, and scheduling your posts.

Creating & Adding Tags

Learn what tags are, how to use them, and how to create them in our guide on using WordPress tags.

Step 9. Adding a Navigation Menu

Now it’s time to learn how to add a navigation menu to your WordPress website. In this section, we are using the WordPress Twenty Twenty theme as an example.

Navigate to the Appearance Menus Screen

From the main navigation, hover over Appearance, then click on Menus. Doing so will redirect you to the Menus admin screen.

WordPress appearance menus link

Name Your Menu & Select a Display Location

In the Menu Name box, enter a name for your menu, like Main Menu, Top Main Menu, or Primary Navigation. Now under Menu Settings, select the display location.

The menu display locations available are dictated by your active theme. In our case, there are five menu locations, Desktop Horizontal, Desktop Extended, Mobile, Footer, and Social.

Creating a new menu in WordPress

Tip: To figure out your menu display locations, you’ll need to try each one and look at the front of your website. For mobile display locations, simply resize your browser window to a smaller size.

Once you’ve finished, click on the Create Menu button. This will expand the menu area and should look something like this:

New menu created in WordPress

Next, we need to add some items to our menu.

Adding Items to Your Menu

On the left of the menu area, underneath Add menu items, you can see multiple tabs that say Pages, Posts, Custom Links, Categories, and so on.

To add items to your menu, expand a tab, check the box next to each item you want to add, then click on the Add to Menu button.

Below is an example of adding pages to our menu.

Adding pages to a WordPress menu

Now that you have some items on your navigation menu, you may want to organize them. You can do this by simply dragging and dropping menu items into place.

WordPress menu drag-and-drop feature

When you’ve finished setting up your menu, click on the Save Menu button to save your changes. Now visit your website’s front end to see how it looks.

For a complete walkthrough, please read our guide on how to create a menu in WordPress.

Step 10. Customizing your WordPress Website

For the last step in this, how to make a website with WordPress guide, we recommend customizing your site after you’ve added some content. Because it’s hard to customize your site when you have no content to see how it will look.

Using the WordPress Theme Customizer

The WordPress theme customizer is a built-in feature that allows you to change how your website looks. The customizer options available are determined by your active theme. This means that every WordPress theme will have different customizer options.

With the theme customizer, you can add and change your logo, change website colors, upload a site icon also known as a favicon, and more.

Learn how to use the customizer by reading our beginner’s guide on how to use the WordPress theme customizer.

Where to go from here?

So you’ve made it to the end of our, how to make a website with WordPress guide. Now, you are probably wondering where to go from here. Below is a list of tips to help you out.

Continue Your WordPress Education

From here on out, you will need to continue your WordPress education. You can find guides right here on TarttWeb and countless other websites across the web.

Doing a simple search in your web browser will often yield many results. Try typing in what you are trying to do or what you’re looking for.

Backup Your Site Often

It’s a good idea to make a habit of backing up your WordPress website. Make a schedule and set a day and time. You can do this weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or however you see fit. Just make sure you do it regularly.

Here are a few popular WordPress backup plugins.

Keep WordPress, Themes, & Plugins Updated

Some amazing people are working hard to make WordPress better for everyone so look out for updates. These updates can contain improvements to enhance WordPress, including important security fixes like vulnerabilities and bugs, so keep your WordPress updated to the latest version.

When a WordPress update becomes available, set aside some time to install the update. When the update has finished, test your site thoroughly and make sure everything is working fine.

WordPress Dashboard Updates Link

Updating WordPress is easy. To check for updates, click on Dashboard, then click on Updates on the main navigation.

Outdated WordPress themes and plugins can present a huge security risk, so it’s important to keep them all updated. This can be done in the same way by going to Dashboard > Updates.

Create New Content Frequently

When it comes to your website, content is king. You’ll want visitors to return to your site, so keep your site updated with fresh content. This will increase your chances of visitors returning and help with search engine rankings.

The amount of new content you need to create will depend on your specific niche and target audience.

For example, if you are running a news-based website you will need to post new content daily. However, if you are running a website for your landscaping business, you can probably get away with posting every couple of weeks or so.

The best thing you can do is to create a schedule and stay organized. The main idea here is to keep your website updated with lots of new and fresh content. Give your visitors a reason to return.

Optimize Your Site for Search Engines

Search engine optimization or SEO is the art of optimizing your website for search engines so that your site shows up in search results. By default, WordPress includes many SEO benefits like SEO-friendly URLs and neat content structures. However, this is often not enough to get to the top of search results.

To take full control of your SEO and increase your chances of getting visitors to your site, you’ll need to add a WordPress SEO plugin. SEO plugins allow you to optimize your website and content with meta tags, keywords, descriptions, and more.

Best SEO Plugins to Optimize Your WordPress Website.

RankMath
RankMath Screenshot

RankMath is easily one of the best WordPress SEO plugins on the market. This plugin offers a clean user-friendly intuitive design along with many great features to help you maximize your SEO.

Key Features:

  • Setup Wizard
  • Content AI (Artificial Intelligence)
  • Role Manager
  • Smart Linking Suggestions
  • 5 Focus Keywords
  • Google Search Console & Analytics Integration

Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO Screenshot

Another excellent SEO Plugin for WordPress is Yoast SEO. With over five million active installs, Yoast SEO has many great options to help you optimize your site.

Key Features:

  • Internal Linking Suggestions
  • Keyword Optimization
  • Full Control over Site Breadcrumbs
  • XML Sitemaps
  • Keyword Optimization

The SEO Framework
The SEO Framework Screenshot

The SEO Framework is another great option to take control of your website’s SEO. This plugin is best known for its user-friendly design and simplicity. It includes lots of useful features that are preconfigured for easier management.

Key Features:

  • Strict Privacy Policy
  • Automated Meta Tags
  • Overview Pages with Color-coded Guidelines
  • Prevents Duplicated Content Mistakes
  • Helps you Optimize your Metadata

Study Your Site’s Analytics

To get a better understanding of how your audience interacts with your site, we recommend you add Google Analytics. Doing so will give you insights into your most popular content, including a look into the demographics of your audience, like age, location, browser, and more. You will be able to look at all your website traffic. And best of all, it’s free.

The first step is to sign up for a Google Analytics account. Simply go to the Google Analytics Website to sign up. Once you are on the website, click the Get started today, button.

Next, you need to log in with your Google or Gmail account. If you don’t have one, you will need to create one.

After that, create your Analytics account by filling in your account name and data sharing settings. Then you need to enter your website details like your Website Name, Website URL, Industry Category, and Reporting Time Zone.

Once you have finished, the last step is to connect your Google Analytics account to your WordPress website. You can do this manually or by using a plugin.

For beginners, we recommend using Site Kit by Google. Site Kit is a WordPress plugin that provides up-to-date insights from multiple Google products such as Analytics, Search Console, PageSpeed Insights, and more.

Support for Your WordPress Site

So you now know a lot about creating a WordPress site. But what if something breaks? You need to know how to get support if something happens to your site.

There are a few different options for WordPress users. The first option is to check out the WordPress Support Forums. WordPress is free and open-source software that includes a worldwide community of talented experts who are ready to help.

Another option is to look and see if the WordPress product you are using has some type of support. Good WordPress themes and plugins will always have some form of dedicated customer support. Always look at what type of support a WordPress product has before you download or make a purchase.

Finally, there are thousands of WordPress websites across the internet with lots of helpful information. Do a web search and type in what it is that you need help with but be sure you use the word WordPress in your search.

Wrapping Up!

Alright! So you’ve made it to the end of our, how to make a website with WordPress guide. Hopefully, you were able to get through this guide without too much trouble.

Before we wrap up, let’s revise the steps needed to make a website with WordPress.

  • Buy a Domain & Web Hosting
  • Install WordPress & Log into Your Admin Dashboard
  • Configure Your WordPress Website Settings
  • Select a WordPress Theme, Install, & Activate
  • Add More Features to Your Site by Adding Plugins
  • Create & Add Content to Your Site
  • Customize your Website
  • Optimize Your Site for Search Engines

We hope this article made the process of making a website with WordPress easy for you. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments section.

If, you found this article helpful, let us know in the comments section, follow us on social media, or subscribe to our newsletter for more. If you need a guide or article written, contact us and select article request in the dropdown.

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Editorial Team

The Editorial Team at TarttWeb is a group of passionate people that love to help others, led by Jeff Tartt.

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