WordPress is powerful stuff. Its CMS is the most popular in the world. Almost 75 million sites use it and it powers over 26 percent of websites worldwide, including many big names such as The New Yorker, Forbes and BBC – and no wonder. WordPress provides a simple way to publish content, upload images and add a few complicated (in appearance) touches – much of it at the click of a button. While you can do most everything you would want on a WordPress hosted site, you would be missing out on a wide range of functions and customizations. Read on to learn how to install WordPress on your own web host. If you’d like a detailed video on how to do this, check out the video embedded below:
Secure Your Domain and Hosting Account
The first step in using WordPress for your site is to secure a domain name and a hosting account. The domain name is the URL address people will use to visit your site, while the hosting account is where you will store your files. The latter acts as a sort of personal server that is connected online. To use WordPress’s metaphor, the hosting account is like your house and the domain name is the street address.
Many companies let you shop for both at the same time, but you can always buy them separately if you prefer. Just make sure that the hosting account you choose supports WordPress. As popular as the CMS has become, many hosting companies do not provide support for WordPress.
Next, you will need to actually download WordPress. It comes in a zipped file. You can download the latest version here. WordPress updates the files frequently.
Note that you will probably need to use a cross-platform archive manager. The WordPress files you are downloading are zipped, so you will need to extract them, which takes special software. WordPress recommends 7-Zip, but there are lots of other companies that offer similar products.
Set up a Web Host
After you have downloaded and extracted WordPress, you will need to connect to your server (a.k.a. hosting company) through another software called FTP, or file transfer protocol. This lets you drag and drop files from your computer directly to your website.
It might sound a little complicated, but the process is pretty easy. Just download an FTP provider like Cyberduck and open the connection to your domain. Your hosting company will provide you with your server name and login information. Once you log in, you will see a folder named “public_html” or “htdocs” depending on which FTP provider you choose. The files that you place into this folder will be accessible from your domain name. This is where you want to install WordPress.
Setting up a Database
You will also need to set up a database. For this set, you will use a software called cPanel. Most hosting providers have this feature built in. Clicking on the icon will walk you through the process. Essentially, you are going to name the database, create a username and password, and set up your user privileges (make sure you click “All Privileges”).
After you have opened the FTP connection and created the database, and you are in the right folder, drag and drop your WordPress files over to the folder named “public_html” or “htdocs.” The files you drop here will be accessible from your domain. Occasionally, it will take a while to move these files (especially as your web pages become more elaborate). If the transfer process is interrupted for any reason, just delete the file and try again. Odd things happen when the files are not complete.
Note: If you’d rather install WordPress as a test and make your site available at:yourdomain.com/test/, all you have to do is create a folder called “test” within your “public_html” or “htdocs” folder.
Then, you will go to your domain name and you’ll be directed to the installation page. You will start by entering in your database information (database name, username, password). Once WordPress connects to your database, you will need to set up a username and password for your website. This should be different from your database login information for your site’s security.
At this point, you will be able to access your site’s WordPress administration panel by going to yoursite.com/wp-admin
A WordPress template or theme is a way to change the look and some of the basic functions of your website. You can choose one template for one part of your website and another for a different section. When you first install WordPress, you will have the three different themes from which to choose, but there are thousands of others available. Normally, the WordPress template developer establishes his or her own set of instructions for installation as each template is a little different.
In general, you can install a template via your cPanel or FTP. In both cases, you will want to download the zipped template files and extract them. You would then upload the files there to the folder labeled “themes.” Once you are ready, navigate to the Administration Panels in WordPress. Select Appearance, then Themes and finally Add New. The change will be immediate.