Although there is an automated way to install WordPress, the manual way is not overly complicated. Regardless of the methods used, the following will help you better understand WordPress installation and how WordPress sites work.
For those who have never set up a website before, you first need to select a domain name and have WordPress hosting. The domain name being used for the site must be pointed to the proper nameservers for the hosting account (ask the domain register you bought the domain from to see how this is done), and the domain must be added to the hosting account (this is done through the hosting control panel).
Automatic WordPress installation
Some website hosts offer a very convenient feature for site administrators to automatically install WordPress and other free, open source website scripts. HostGator and other well-knowing hosting services that run servers using the Linux operating system will offer cPanel as the back end administrator system. Using this system, it is extremely simple to create a new site running WP.
Fantastico and QuickInstall are some of the most common auto-installer scripts included for this purpose. If they are installed on your hosting, simply follow the script instructions to set up your site.
Installing WordPress manually
WordPress offers fairly easy installation steps for anyone familiar with installing websites here. However, first timers can find them confusing. If you have trouble with their guide, the following is more graphical and hopefully more user friendly.
- Download WordPress and unzip the package
- Login to your hosting, find the MySQL Database Wizard and click on it. Note that this guide is based on cPanel hosting, which is the most common. Some hosting uses a different interface, but they all are pretty similar.
- Follow the steps to create a database, database user with password and give the user all privileges (make sure you save the database name, username (the entire database and user name before and after the underscore line) and password as they will be needed in the next step).
Edit the wp-config file
- Go into the folder you extracted in Step 1. Find the wp-config-sample.php, right click on the file and remove “sample” from the name (rename the file wp-config.php).
- Enter the database, database user with password information you created in Step 3 into the wp-config.php file as shown (in this case, Dreamweaver was used to open the file, but Notepad or another software can be used) and save your changes. Note that you will need the full name (both proceeding and following the underscore). These need to be entered exactly. An extra space, period of some other error is the number one cause of errors when installing WordPress.
Add security keys
Although it is not a requirement, it is highly advisable to add security keys at this time. The process is simple.
- Use this online generator to create your keys
- Copy and paste the keys generated into the wp-config file as show below:
Using FTP to upload WordPress
Now that a database exists for the site, the actual software can be installed on the web server, but it will first need to be uploaded. This is best done with FTP.
For those who do not understand FTP, just think of it like the file browser on a normal computer, except the files are actually located on the web server and file transfers can be made from a local computer to the server. This is done with FTP software.
- Use free FTP software, such as FileZilla, to upload everything into the root directory. Unless you are using a subdomain, this should be the public_html folder. (If you need help with using Filezilla, there is a instructional video here.)
Once a connection is made with the site using FTP software, the entire WP package needs to be uploaded to the site. This includes all the folders as well as the individual files in the main folder and all sub-folders.
Complete the process of installing WordPress
After the script is uploaded to the site and a database exists, it is time to run the WP installation script. To run the script, simply visit it in a web browser. It is named install.php and it can be found by visiting http://example.com/wp-admin/install.php in a web browser.
- Go to http://example.com/wp-admin/install.php (replace “example.com” with your domain name), run the install script and follow the final steps to set up and login to your site, making sure you choose a secure username and password.
This script will automatically take care of the rest of the installation. Use a valid email address as this is where messages from your site will be sent.
That is it. Login and start building your site!!