Many of us have used a blog website in the past. These sites are a great way to quickly setup a personal web blog where to post stories and articles about things you are passionate about. But sometimes, the blog web sites limit a users ability to customize the blog the way they want it.
This is when most of us consider setting up a blog on our own web site. This post will identify the items you need to start installing WordPress and take you through the 4 simple steps to get your web site up and running easily.
The result will be a fully functional Installation of WordPress that will allow you to begin adding content and developing your own blog or web site using this powerful, but easy to use, content management system.
There are a lot of blogging or Content Management Systems (CMS), but WordPress has evolved from a complex tool to a simple to Install, easy to use blogging tool for all ranges of expertise. Other systems, like Joomla and TypePad, are also good, but I have found WordPress to be easy enough for a beginner to install while also offering advanced features to the most experienced web developer.
Before you Start
Before you begin the process of installing, we need to make sure you have all of the necessary access to your web server and tools to perform the necessary steps.
Here is a list of what you will need:
- Access for the Control Panel of your Web Server (web address, user name and password)
- Access to your Web Server via FTP (web address, user name and password)
- An FTP application (client) – Here is a list of some good FTP web tools
- A text editor or web site editing software
- A web browser
Note: If you have Installed a Web Server on your own computer, you should have access to the /htdocs/ directory.
Step 1 – Download WordPress
Visit the WordPress site and download the latest version.
Save the file to your computer in a directory by itself. We will need to unpack all of the files to this directory.
Once the file has been completely downloaded to your computer, right-click on the file and click on the “Extract Here” or “Extract All”. If these are not available, simply double click on the file to open it. Then click on the extract button and select a folder where you would like the packed files to be saved. Remember this location.
Once all of the files have been unpacked, you should have a directory that looks similar to the following:
Before we do anything else with these files, we need to prepare the database on the web server
Step 2 – Setup a Database
The steps for setting up the database is usually simple, but vary slightly depending upon the control panel software used by your web hosting provider. For any database that you setup, you will need to provide the following information:
- A name for your new database
- A user for the new database
- A password for the new database
To setup a database using CPanel
These steps may vary slightly depending on the version of CPanel your hosting provider is using.
- Log in to your cPanel.
- Click MySQL Database Wizard icon under the Databases section.
- Create a Database enter the database name and click Next Step.
- Create Database Users enter the database user name and the password. Make sure to use a strong password. Click Create User.
- Add User to Database click the All Privileges checkbox and click Next Step.
Once you have completed the setup of your database, record the values for these three bits of information as WordPress needs them to setup and configure the database for the installation. The hostname or database server will usually be “localhost”.
To setup a database using phpMyAdmin
Note: If you setup a web server on your own computer, you can open up the XAMPP control panel. Then click on the Admin button next to the Start button on the MySQL line on the Control Panel. this will automatically open up phpMyAdmin and you can follow the rest of the step outlined here.
These instructions may vary slightly between versions of phpMyAdmin.
If a database relating to WordPress does not already exist in the Database list or drop-down box on the left, create one in the right hand panel:
- Choose a name for your database, enter it in the Create new database field, and click Create.
- Click the Home icon in the upper left to return to the main page, then click Privileges.
We now need to Create a user for the newly created database:
- Click Add a new User.
- Chose a username and enter it in the User name field. (Be sure Use text field: is selected from the dropdown.)
- Choose a password, and enter it in the Password field. (Be sure Use text field: is selected from the dropdown.) Re-enter the password in the Re-type field.
- Leave all options under Global privileges at their defaults.
- Click Go.
Return to the Privileges screen and click the Check privileges icon on the user you’ve just created. In the Database-specific privileges section, select the database under the Add privileges to the following database dropdown. The page will refresh with privileges for that database. Click Check All to select all privileges, and click Go.
NOte: While it is not necessary to perform the Privileges steps when using XAMPP, it is a good practice and you should get in the habit of performing these steps with any WordPress installation.
Make a note of the database name, user name, password and database server (usually “localhost”).
Step 3 – Copy WordPress to the Server
Using your FTP client application, copy the files extracted to the WordPress folder in Step 1 to the web server.
Your web server probably has several folders or directories. You should navigate to the folder called ‘public_html’ or ‘www’ or ‘httpdocs’ and copy the files to this folder. This is referred to as the web root.
You may already have a default file in this folder called ‘index.html’ or ‘default.html’. Once you copy all of the files to the web server, you should rename this file to something like ‘old-index.html’ so that WordPress does not get confused during the installation process.
Step 4 – Run the WordPress Installation
Try to access your website by typing in the domain and location of the installation. So if you have installed WordPress in your web server root directory, type in:
Replace “mydomainname.com” with your domain name.
If things are working properly, you will receive a error.
Yes I know this is odd but this is ok as WordPress will now show you what is missing. Don’t worry, it’s simple.
Click on the “Create a Configuration File” button.
WordPress will then present you with a very informative message on setting up the configuration file for your installation.
Read this carefully!
You should have recorded the information of items 1,2,3 and 4 from Step 2. For item 5, we can use the default so don’t worry this at the moment.
NOTE: Some web servers are configured in such a way so that they do not allow scripts to write files to the root directory of your web server. This is a security precaution. During the next step, if there is a problem, you will need to edit the file named “wp-config-sample.php” and save it to your web server as “wp-config.php”. Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through the process.
Click the “Let’s Go” button.
Enter the values for each bit of information as follows:
- Database Name – Enter in the name of the database you created in Step 2
- User name – Enter in the name of the database user you created in Step 2
- Password – Enter in the password for the User you created for the database in Step 2
- Database Host – This value is most likely “localhost” and you can leave the default value if this is the case. Otherwise, enter the correct value.
- Table Prefix – Leave this as the default value “wp_” for now.
Click the “Submit” button.
Oh No! I got an Error. Now what?
If you did NOT receive an error, you can skip to the next section. But here are a couple of common problems that you may encounter if things didn’t go as planned.
Error establishing a database connection
If WordPress could not connect to a database, you will see the following error message:
Check each of the steps below. If an entry is not correct, fix it and click the “Submit” button again:
- Click the back button on your browser to return to the Settings screen
- Is the database name correct?
- Is the User Name entered in correctly? Remember it is “case-sensitive”.
- Is the Password correct?
- If you are running a Web Server on your own computer, have you started the MySQL Service? If not, start the service and try again.
- Have you purchased a database option from your hosting provider? Some hosting packages do not include a database.
- Is the name of the database server something other than “localhost”?
Hopefully, one of these items has fixed the problem. If it hasn’t, feel free to send us a comment to help you fix the problem.
Error creating the configuration file
As I mentioned previously, some web hosting providers enable security so that scripts cannot create or edit files on your web server. If this is the case, perform the following steps:
- Using your text-editor application, open up the file “wp-config-sample.php” on your computer
- Add the values for your database between the quotes in the appropriate section. You need to edit ONLY these values:
- Save the file as “wp-config.php” and then copy that file to your web server in the same directory as the “wp-config-sample.php” file on the web server.
These are the most common issues related to an install. Other issues may arise from not having an updated version of PHP or MySQL on your server. In such an instance, you should contact your web hosting provider to upgrade them or change your hosting provider.
Great! It looks like everything worked
Congratulations! You have successfully setup a database for your WordPress installation.
Now it is time to setup some of the basic features for your blog before you can start adding content.
Click on the “Run Install” button.
The first bit of information you need is the Title for your site. What will you call your web site? How will you refer to it when talking about it to other people?
The name should be one or two words and describe your web site or business.
Another User name? Yes. But this sis different from the user name and password for your database. This User name and Password is what you will use to login to your web site to add content, approve user comments, and add plug-ins and themes.
The User name defaults to “admin”, but it is good security practice to change this to some other User name as “admin” is the most commonly used. Also make sure you use a strong password that no one else can guess.
Your email address is also important as this will be used by WordPress to send you information about your web site such as when a user leaves a comment, or if you forget your password.
If you want your web site to be entered into the Search Engines, make sure the box at the bottom is checked. If you “uncheck” this box, it will configure your web site to send away search engine crawlers and your site will not appear in the popular search engines.
After entering the information, click on the “Install WordPress” button.
You have successfully installed WordPress!
You can now Login to the Administration Panel and customize your Installation.
Take note of the web address (URL) to login to your Administration panel. It should be something similar to http://www.yourdomanname.com/wp-admin/. It is a good idea to book mark this for later use as you will no doubt be accessing it many times to update your new web site.
Happy WordPress-ing!Tags: setup, wordpress