A while back, our blog had an article on setting up a WordPress blog, which included great information on choosing a domain, finding a host and setting up themes. While the article provided some information on actually installing WordPress, I wanted to elaborate on it. Many website hosts include ways to install WordPress with just a few clicks, but what do you do if you don’t have that option?
If you’re wondering why you can’t just host a blog on WordPress.org and make it easier on yourself, the answer is that a blog that isn’t on your domain is much less valuable than a self-hosted blog on your own domain. Having the blog on your site not only brings more authority and value to your domain, but it also gives you much more control over your blog. It’s definitely worth the time and investment.
With that being said, let’s move on and go through the steps of manually installing WordPress, which is a lot easier than you might think. First you’ll need to download the script itself, which you can do at WordPress.org for free.
Once you have download the file itself, unzip it to a directory of your choice, in which you will find a bunch of files laid out like this:
You will see in the list of files that there is one called, “wp-config-sample.php”. You want to rename this so it is titled, “wp-config.php”. You then want to open this file in a text or web code editor, such as Notepad or Dreamweaver. Once you do, you’ll be presented with a bunch of PHP code like this:
If you’ve never worked with PHP code before, this might seem a bit intimidating, but don’t worry. There are only four areas you’ll need to enter within this bunch of code:
This is MySQL database information you either create yourself through your hosting panel or obtain by contacting your host or IT person, depending on your situation. Creating a MySQL database through most hosts is quite easy within their panel. Here is an example of a typical cPanel, which includes a link to MySQL databases, which you can create and manage from the tool:
In creating a MySQL database, you will need the following four pieces of information:
- The name of the database
- The user name for the database
- The password for that database user name
- The address of the database host
These can vary from host to host. For example, some hosts will use “localhost” as the database host, while others could use “mysql.yoursite.com” for the name of the host (where “yoursite” is your base domain). Once you have the database created and the information for that database, you enter this into those four lines of the “wp-config.php” file, like this:
Once you have completed editing this file and have saved it, it’s time to upload everything to your FTP server using an FTP client like FileZilla, who we recommend. You want to upload the files into an empty directory, whether it is the root directory on your site or a sub-folder (i.e. http://www.yoursite.com/blog/). Here’s an example:
Once all of the files have finished uploading, you now will need to run the install script through your browser. If, for example, you uploaded the files to the /blog/ subdirectory of your site, you would type this into your browser bar:
Once you do, if you set up the “wp-config.php” file correctly, you will be presented with the installation screen. Here, enter your site title, username, password and email address, and make sure it is 100% correct, or you’ll have problems if you forget your password). When everything is completed, press the “Install WordPress” button, and you’ll see this screen:
Congratulations, you’re finished! Now that you’re done, log in and start adjusting your blog to your preferences. Once it’s set up the way you like it, with the right theme and plugins, start filling it with your best original content on a constant basis, at least three times a week. Having this content will only help your site become more valuable and authoritative, both in the eyes of search engines and, more importantly, the users who visit and comment on your blog. Good luck, and have fun in your newfound blogging career!