Previously in the series (Building a WordPress Site), I was talking about the foundations – your domain and hosting. I explained why choosing a good domain isn’t as easy as it seems, and how to do it properly. I also pointed out two great web host companies where you can go to get a WordPress-compatible hosting account.
Now, I’m happy to inform you that this is the third part and we’re finally getting to some strictly WordPress-related business. Today’s edition is all about various ways of installing WordPress on your hosting account.
Note. Before you can do this step you need to have a hosting account and your own domain name. Also, if your domain is maintained by a different company than your hosting account then you also need to connect the two together. Feel free to check this article to find out how: How to point your domain to your web host.
How to install WordPress
Basically, there are three main ways of installing WordPress:
- Automatic installation.
- Semi-automatic installation (sounds good, doesn’t it?).
- Manual installation.
Before I get into the details let me just say that the whole process shouldn’t take you more than 20 minutes in total.
How to have WordPress installed automatically
If you have the possibility, I would advise you to go with the automatic installation. It’s the fastest and it happens in the background without much effort on your part, so to speak.
You can have WordPress installed automatically in one of two ways. If you have a good hosting plan you might also have free WordPress installation process as part of your package. This is a situation where the support team at your webhost takes care of the installation.
If such an option is available, take advantage of it. You don’t have to get your hands dirty, and if any issues sprout up on the way, you won’t be the one getting frustrated to fix them.
The other way of having WordPress installed automatically is via a one-click installer in your hosting admin panel (most hosting platforms use cPanel).
There’s a handful of these one-click installer scripts. The most popular ones are: Fantastico and Softaculous.
Chances are that you’ll find one of the following icons somewhere in your hosting account’s admin panel:
These are both great tools, and there’s not much difference regarding the final effect they produce.
If you select Fantastico, you’ll need to go to the left sidebar and select Blogs > WordPress (Fantastico can also help you installing other scripts and website management platforms). Once you provide your site’s details* you can click the Submit button and you’re done.
Working with Softaculous is very similar. Just select Blogs > WordPress, go to the “Install” tab, fill in the details* of your site and click Submit.
*No matter what automation you use for your install process, you still need to provide the basic details of your site (name, admin account, etc.).
Actually, there’s one more automatic way of having WordPress installed, or should I say auto-magic way…
Various marketing companies, social media companies, SEO firms, and such, offer installing WordPress as part of their services. If you’re convinced that you’ll be working with such a company, then you might as well have them install your site too. Often they do it for free if you declare to use their services alter on.
How to install WordPress semi-automatically
This is how I’m doing all my installations.
I call this semi-automatic because you don’t have to play with text files by hand, but you do have to take care of some other things (instead of having them done for you).
Now, before you can get into this you need to set some things beforehand.
Create a blank database
Every WordPress blog runs on a database. This is the point where you need to create one.
Go to your hosting account’s admin panel (most likely it’s cPanel). Go to Databases > MySQL Database Wizard. The process itself is pretty straightforward as you only need to fill out some forms.
When you’re done, you’ll have a username and a password you’ll have to use later on during the installation process.
FTP and WordPress
You have to somehow upload WordPress to your hosting account. I recommend FileZilla. It’s free, easy to use, and it has all the features you’ll need.
Oh, let’s not forget about WordPress itself. Get the newest version at wordpress.org.
Now extract the WordPress archive and upload it to your hosting account’s root directory, or to a subdirectory if you want to go with a slightly different setup.
At this point you can go to the online installation process.
Fire up your web browser and navigate to your domain name. You’ll see a welcome screen and one button that you simply need to click to begin the installation.
The next screen will inform you about the mandatory things you’ll need to get in place in order to continue with the installation. Simply click the big button and proceed to the next step.
This is where you get to input your database details.
The next screen is just a confirmation that everything’s going well.
This is the last step of the installation process. Input your site’s title, username for the admin account (don’t go with “admin” – it’s too obvious), password, your email, and the main privacy setting (make sure the checkbox is checked).
The next screen presents a confirmation message. This means that everything went well and you can now begin taking care of the initial settings of your site.
How to install WordPress manually
This is a very similar approach to the previous one, at least to a point.
Proceed just like with the semi-automatic installation, but once you download and extract the newest version of WordPress from wordpress.org, do one more task before uploading it to your hosting account.
Find the wp-config-sample.php file,and rename it to wp-config.php. Now edit the file and fill in the missing details:
- DB_NAME – the name of your database.
- DB_USER – the name of the user account used to connect with the database.
- DB_PASSWORD – password.
- DB_HOST – the address of your database. Usually it’s localhost.
At this point, you can upload your whole WordPress directory to your hosting account.
Next, visit the online installation script (http://your-domain.com/wp-admin/install.php) to get other settings set in place. Things like your site’s title, and the admin account credentials.
This pretty much covers the different ways you can install a WordPress site. Finally, if you need some more assistance (like dealing with common installation problems, or installing WordPress in some other way) feel free to visit the official guide about installing WordPress.
Now it’s time to take care of the initial settings, crucial plugins, and selecting a theme. More on this in the next episodes of this series.
Don’t get me wrong, WordPress is a great tool, but not everything is set correctly right from the get-go. That’s why you always need to spend an hour or so tweaking stuff, installing plugins, and fine-tuning your theme.
For now, feel free to shoot me a comment and share your opinion on the installation process of WordPress, do you find it hard for a beginner to carry out?