WordPress is an incredibly powerful platform and provides you with the ability to create all sorts of websites. Themes allow you to control how your site looks and plugins provide the flexibility and functionality to handle every need.
The difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org
It should be noted at this point that wordpress.com and wordpress.org are two different products, with different features. This guide is tailored towards those using wordpress.org (self-hosted WordPress). If you’re not sure about what you need, or what the differences are, then read this guide I put together first.
In order to install WordPress, you need to get hosting arranged first, so that you’ve actually got somewhere to install it. Once you’ve arranged that, you can proceed with installation.
WordPress essentially consists of two components; the core fies and a database. In my opinion, it’s best to start with the database.
Setting up the database
Here’s a general guide that should point you in the right direction. Obviously every web host has a slightly different setup and/or control panel, but so long as you can work your way through the steps, you should be fine.
- Create a SQL database with a random name. Take note of the name.
- Create a database user with a password. Make both the password and the username as random as possible, but take note of them again.
- Add the user to the database, giving the user all privileges if asked.
Uploading the files
Now you need to access your server to upload the files, so you can either create an FTP account and use FTP software to log in, or a good host (particularly those that use cPanel, like HostGator do) will provide an online file manager, where you can log in using your browser. Once you’ve logged in to your server:
- Go to wordpress.org and download the latest version of the WordPress software.
- Upload the zip file to the public_html directory and extract it there, or unzip it on your machine and upload the entire file structure. (Bear in mind that all the files are contained a parent directory labelled wordpress – unless you want your site to be accessible from http://www.yourdomain.com/wordpress/, then you’ll want to move the contents of the wordpress directory into the public_html so that the site will be accessible from http://www.yourdomain.com.)
- In the root directory is a file called wp-config-sample.php. Open it up for editing for the next few steps:
- Find the section that looks like this:
- Enter your database information that you noted down earlier (database, username and password). Unless your host says otherwise, localhost is probably the right setting for the hostname.
- Go to https://api.wordpress.org/secret-key/1.1/salt/ and copy the seemingly random code it will display. Paste that into the section of your config file that looks like this – these are your security keys:
- Find the following section and replace wp with a random string of letters and numbers. This will help prevent SQL injection attacks:
- Save the wp-config-sample.php file and rename it to wp-config.php.
- For extra security, move your wp-config.php to your server root (public_html’s parent directory). It is then not accessible to the web, but WordPress can still find it.
Now that your files are all in place, you’re almost there.
- Go to your new website and you’ll be presented with a dialog asking you to choose a username, password and email address for your admin account.
- Enter that information, using any username other than ‘admin’.
- Select whether you want your sites to be searchable by search engines.
- Save your changes and you’ll be told that you can now log in.
You’re now free to start publishing your content to the web. You’ll find that WordPress has a lot to offer and I hope to share some of that with you on this site (subscribe to the RSS feed or newsletter to get updates). But in the meantime, explore and enjoy creating your content!