First off all – What is WordPress?
WordPress is a software program that allows anyone to easily build a website or a blog without any programming experience. In order to use WordPress, you have to install the software onto your web host server. Once installed, you can login to the admin interface of your site and start adding content and customizing the design and/or layout.
WordPress offers two different types of blogging platforms; both of which are provided free of charge. One, is WordPress.com, which is a hosted blogging platform – sort of like Google’s Blogger / Blogspot. Once signed up, you can start blogging immediately. The other is WordPress.org, which is a stand-alone software that you can download and use to build your site. WordPress.org is an open source project in which a group of volunteers collaborate to bring improvements to the platform.
If you’re like me and want control of all of your site files and database, you’ll definitely want to go with the self-hosted option of WordPress.org. On the other hand, if you don’t mind having your site hosted on a 3rd party domain and server, then WordPress.com may suffice for you.
Another difference between the two options is that — with WordPress.org, you’ll have to invest a little money upfront for a domain name and web hosting, while with WordPress.com, you won’t have to spend a dime. But, don’t worry – it has never been more affordable to get web hosting. Plus, some web hosting companies offer a free domain name if you sign up for a web hosting service through them.
I would personally recommend going with WordPress.org. This way you can sleep easier at night knowing that you “own” all of your site files, databases, and intellectual property. Building your site on top of someone else’s domain is risky because you have no control over your content. Can you imagine having a thousand pages disappear overnight because somebody messed up on their end?
The following is the installation process for the self-hosted version of WordPress.
Step One: Get Web Hosting
By now, you should already have a domain name picked out because you will need a domain name to sign up for a web hosting account. Signing up for a web hosting plan and registering a domain name can be completed through one company, however, you do have the option to do it separately if you want. It all depends on your preference. Some people like to keep their domain names and web hosting service separate just in case a dispute arises with the web hosting company. Others don’t mind and will register a domain name with the web hosting company, but keep in mind that the web hosting company may be a domain reseller and not a direct registrar.
There are thousands of web hosting companies all over the world. For someone just starting out on the Internet, it may be a daunting task to choose a web hosting company. However, if you’re open to advice, take it from me or many other industry veterans – you can’t go wrong with HostGator. Founded in 2002, HostGator has proven themselves, year after year, to be one of the most reliable and easy-to-use hosting services. BlueHost is another company I can safely recommend. But, feel free to use whoever you like.
Tip: To save money on web hosting, use a coupon code or sign up when they have a promotion going on.
Step Two: Installing WordPress
At this point, I will assume you have signed up for a web hosting account.
Download the newest new version of WordPress via https://wordpress.org/download/. Unzip it and leave it on your desktop for quick access.
Log in to your hosting cPanel account. You should have received your login details shortly after you signed up.
If your main domain is what you will use for your WordPress install, go on to the database creation step. If you are using a new domain for your WordPress site, you can do so by going to the Domains section and clicking on Addon Domains.
On this page, you’ll be able to add more domains assuming you have signed up for a hosting plan that allows more than one domain.
Next, create a new database. Go to the Databases section and click MySQL Databases.
In the image below, at the top where it says Create New Database, enter a database name. The database name can be anything you want to call it. After you click Create Database, your new database will appear in the Current Databases section. Now, you need to assign a user to the database before you can use the database. If you haven’t created a MySQL user yet, you need to do so. Again, the username and password can be anything you want. Once you’ve created a user, you must now Add the User to the Database. That’s at the bottom of the page. Choose the user and database and click Add.
Below is the next page. Click the All Privileges checkbox at the top of the table, then click Make Changes at the bottom left. This completes the database setup.
The next step is to upload the WordPress software files onto your hosting server. Before you upload WordPress, there is a little prepping you need to do. Look for a file called wp-config-sample.php in the root directory of the WordPress folder. This is the database configuration file. Open it up and you should see a section like this:
/** The name of the database for WordPress */
/** MySQL database username */
/** MySQL database password */
/** MySQL hostname */
/** Database Charset to use in creating database tables. */
/** The Database Collate type. Don’t change this if in doubt. */
Fill out the first 3 parts: database name, username, and password that you created in your hosting cPanel. In most cases, you can leave the rest as is. Be sure to preserve the server name prefix before the underscore (_). Save and close the file. Rename this file to: wp-config.php.
Now, you’re ready to upload WordPress onto your hosting server.
You can upload the WordPress files via FTP using a FTP file transfer client, like SmartFTP or FileZilla. Both of these FTP software are free by the way. You will need your FTP login details to access your FTP account. This info should have been included in the welcome email you received from your web hosting company when you signed up.
Once you have connected to your FTP account. You should see some folders and files on your host server. Look for the folder that says public_html. Open it up – it should be empty or have one folder called cgi-bin. If you are using your main domain for your WordPress site, copy (or drag and drop) all the contents of WordPress into the public_html folder. If you are using an add-on domain, you should see a folder within public_html for the domain you are using. Drop the contents in there if that’s the case.
It is important that you copy the contents of WordPress, and not the folder itself.
Once all the files have transferred over to the server, you are ready to finalize the installation.
Type your domain name into the web browser and you will see a page like this:
Fill out the fields. Site Name = whatever you want. Username = whatever you want. Password = whatever you want. Email = you will receive notifications to this email. Privacy = leave it checked if you want to allow the search engines to index your site.
Now, you’re all set!