How to Get Started In Second Life in 10 Easy Steps

Tina Sieber 29-09-2009

Second LifeIf you don’t yet play Second Life (SL) Second Life - What is the Hype? Read More then I’m sure you have heard a thing or two about it.


Are you curious? Or do you think SL is crap? What is SL anyways and what does it offer?

SL is a 3D virtual reality, it’s an interactive graphics chat world, SL is a game and a playground, it’s all about sex, it’s a role playing game, people in SL have relationships and families, it’s an online community, it’s all about money, SL players spend real money, people with various skills make real money, SL can be experienced for free, SL is for geeks, SL allows the “socially handicapped” to connect, SL supports charity (e.g. Relay for Life), and that’s just a small selection. Maybe something caught your attention and interest here. Curious now?

Getting started in SL takes some time and patience. The initial learning curve may appear steep, but isn’t that true for everything new you try? With a bit of common sense it’s not that hard. The following Second Life step by step how-to guide should help

1. Start Slow!

Go to the Second Life website, sign up, download the client, install, and log in.

second life how to step by step


Your first login will take you to Orientation Island. Take your time to go through all the tutorials and get familiar with the software. It will help you tremendously in your future Second Life experience. You will also have to pass some tests before you may proceed to Help Island.

Help Island is restricted to fellow newcomers and mentors. Pick up all the free stuff you can find and play with it. Don’t hesitate to chat with passers by or ask for help from a mentor. You never know, you might as well meet your first SL companion. In any case remain open-minded.

2. Drop the Newbie Look!

second life how to step by stepEveryone starts out looking more or less the same. There are different female and male avatars to choose from when signing up. These avatars are only good for the first couple of steps and are frowned upon by advanced residents.

To blend in you should demonstrate individuality in shaping your individual character. Start by editing your appearance and sculpt your avatar until you like what you see.


In the store at Help Island you will find a few alternative outfits, try them on and also browse the public Library, which is part of your inventory, for more clothes. Later I will show you where to find more free stuff, including shapes, skins, hair, shoes and clothes.

3. Work on your Profile!

Your profile gives everyone an impression of who you are. It’s part of your character. Leaving it empty doesn’t make you mysterious, it makes you look like the noob you are.

When in SL, right-click on your avatar and select > Profile… from the pie menu. Go through the different tabs and fill in some details about yourself. To view the profile of another avatar, just right-click on their body or name-tag and select > Profile… from the pie menu.

second life how to step by step


4. Work on your Skills!

Help Island offers tutorials on building and inventory management. You’ll find a sandbox, an area where you can drop items from your inventory or start building. Use it to get familiar with the tools you have, it’s free!

To start building, right-click on the ground and select > Create from the pie menu. From the menu that comes up you can select the type of object you would like to create, then click onto the ground again and the item will apear. Now go ahead and play with it.

second life online game

5. Know what is Expecting you!

On Help Island you will also find a lot of posters. Some give out information in the form of notecards. Just left-click them, accept the inventory offer (blue menu in the top-right of your screen) and keep the notecard that is being given to you. All of this is valuable information that you should not pass up on. My advice: read, read, read!


6. Explore

What is the first thing you would like to see in Second Life? A club, a park, people, a shopping mall? Whatever it is, by now you should know how to find it.

Use > Search button in the bottom of your viewer, jump to the > Classifieds, > Events or > Places tab and proceed to discover your first destination. > Showcase features some of the hottest locations in SL.

second life online game

When you think you’ve found an interesting destination click the > Teleport button to leave Help Island. Alternatively, you can use the Exit at Help Island which will send you to a welcome hub on the mainland.

In the next hour or so take some time to explore. Visit the landmarks you received on Help Island or find other adventures. Walk, run, and fly, collect impressions of land and people, and don’t worry too much about still looking like a newbie.

Remember to keep a landmark (> World > Create Landmark Here) of the places you might want to check out again later.

7. Collect Free Stuff

After seeing what is possible, you might want to pick up some new clothes and a nicer skin. Search the > Classifieds for “free” stuff in the > Shopping category. Many stores offer freebies for L$0 or Dollarbies at L$1. For now you don’t want to spend any Lindens, so go with the L$0 stuff.

second life online game

Many stores have special offers for newbies 30 days old or younger. This is your chance to lay your hands on high quality apparel and body parts for free. So watch out and take advantage of this opportunity.

In > Groups search for lucky chairs or dumpster diving to find groups dedicated to sharing places where you can pick up free stuff.

8. Collect Linden Dollars

Search for “money tree” in the Classifieds or even better the Places tab. While you are 30 days old or younger you can pick up Linden Dollars hidden in money trees. Other residents leave them there for new players.

second life demo

9. Get Involved

Talk to people around you, make friends, if you have some more time browse the events calendar (> Search > Events) and visit a party, join groups and try to have a good time. Meeting people and making connections or friends is the best part of SL. You never know where these encounters may take you. In the end you might open a SL business.

10. Get a Job

Unless you have met someone who has offered you a job, your quest starts with searching again. Browse all available jobs in the > Employment category of the > Classifieds section and reply to those that sound interesting. Remember to tick the “Include Mature content” box if you’re ready to explore all there is to offer.

And that’s it, welcome to Second Life!

What is your experience with SL or other virtual worlds? Did you find this little guide helpful for your start into a Second Life? What’s missing? Leave your feedback in the comments!

Related topics: Multiplayer Games, Online Games, Virtual World.

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  1. Dixie
    February 20, 2020 at 2:53 pm

    Wow i love this guide it really made me more interested in the game. Thanks so much

  2. Nachtengel
    November 27, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    actually you DON'T need a credit card as such. I verified my paypal and my account with my debit card.

  3. Sean
    September 30, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    What does Second Life offer to someone with experience with 3D modelling? Are there monetary possibilities?

    • Tina
      October 1, 2009 at 1:13 am


      among others there are monetary possibilities for builders. If you know how to create sculpted prims (building blocks) with 3D modeling software such as Maya, Blender or Wings 3D, to create a texture (aka scultp map), from which the prim inside SL derives its shape information, then you're in business.

      See here:

  4. LVW
    September 29, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    When you are first starting out, it's also helpful to look for New Resident friendly locales to help you learn your way around. Places like New Citizens Inc and The Shelter are full of people willing to help you get started.

    • Tina
      September 30, 2009 at 12:50 am

      Thanks for the suggestions LVW, I should have added that! :)

      New Citizens Inc can be found in groups and there are several NCI destinations listed in places, such as NCI Kuula. The group organizes all sorts of in-world classes for new and experienced users too.

  5. Anonymous
    September 29, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Second Life isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

    Also BEWARE Second Life has allot of griefers that will continue to haunt you because the people who deal with abuse reports wont care to do anything about it. I've been dealing with three griefers for a year now, and still nothings been done to stop it.

    • Tina
      September 30, 2009 at 12:52 am

      Unfortunately, SL has a bad side, too. Sadly, griefers is one of them.

      However, the regular player who is not a landowner will have little to do with them. At least I have never been haunted by a griefer in 4+ years. I have seen them do their harm, though.

      • Bibi
        February 8, 2010 at 12:17 am

        What is a griefer? And (betraying my SL ignorance here), what does being a landowner mean?


        • TheTruthHammer
          March 26, 2016 at 11:18 am

          There is no such thing. It is just people playing as intended. In fact, THEY MAKE THE GAME ITNERESTING. If you go to youtube and search: Britbong or Scandinavian Prince, you will see that there is no such thing as griefing. Basically: The hardcore players that invested tons of cash create an ambience of "be one of us. Look like one of us. Speak like one of us. Or get out". You can see hints of this in this actual guide: " These avatars are only good for the first couple of steps and are frowned upon by advanced residents." - LOL I.e. if you do not look like a stripper and have a voice like a 50 year old chain will get banned in the worlds you explore. They are clsoed minded and not "open minded" as this article wants you to think. They basically say "open minded" because the game caters to low lives that enjoy pedophelia and beastiality. you can find videos of dog sex in this game, and no, not furry,a ctual realistic looking dogs that can get erections and human women models that perfrom sex acts, or male, or whatever....
          I am fine with the freedom this game has in sexual orientation. I find it creative...but their banning and crying about "griefing" is over the top. It is actually THE FUN part of this game as it basically puts the mirror in front of these people, and they don't like what they see, so they freak out and try and ban you. And I am talking about REAL "griefers", not to be confused with people that just insult (hate speech), which, interestingly, is what each of these players results too when they get exposed...Watch the videos..It is worth it :p

  6. gm
    September 29, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    2nd Life is for losers!

  7. Daren O'Shea
    September 29, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Honestly, I've already gotten an account on this. However, i have no way to verify my PayPal so i can actually send to/receive from SL, with the fact that i don't have a credit card. Know a way how i can get this done WITHOUT a real credit card?

    • Tina
      September 30, 2009 at 12:54 am

      Do you need a credit card to verify PayPal? Sorry, it's been so long that I've done that.

      • Anonymous
        October 1, 2009 at 12:48 pm

        Yes you need a creit card to verify paypal. Same goes with Second Life as you already know.

    • Anonymous
      September 29, 2009 at 8:43 pm

      Daren you have a few choices.

      1.) Verify your paypal.

      2.) Add your credit card to your Second Life account on the Second Life website.

      3.) Try and find a job in Second Life that pays enough to buy things without having to add a credit card or paypal account. (good luck on that idea unless you know how to build, or script)

      4.) Find a sugar daddy in Second Life who wont have a problem buying things for you. (You can find plenty of those in Second Life)


      Do nothing and continue using Second Life for free without using real life money.


      6.) Close your Second Life account.

    • Alyssa Myers
      September 30, 2009 at 12:18 am

      You can get a VISA, MasterCard or American Express gift card at many stores or banks these days. Can you try something like that?