How to Install WordPress for the New Writer
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Many new writers and would-be bloggers hesitate to buy their own domain name for a personalized website due to being intimidated by the technology required to run a website. With the advent and maturity of content management systems such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal over the past decade, the web has never been more open for non-computer scientists to post content on their own site. This tutorial assumes that you have obtained web hosting and a domain name. I’ll do another post explaining how to do these in more detail at a future point if you don’t know how. I have been using Hostgator web hosting since late 2007 and have been pleased, but there are a large number of hosts out there for you to pick from. The following instructions explain how to install WordPress manually. There are some faster ways to do it, but I’ve stuck with the first way I learned in order to have more time to write
Steps to Install WordPress
Step 1: Download WordPress
First you need to download a copy of WordPress. Go to the Word Press website and download the latest version of the content management system to your computer. Click the “Download WordPress x.x” link that you see on the main page. This will then take you to a subsequent page to pick between a .zip or .tar.gz formatted file. If on a Windows machine, I recommend picking the .zip file since you will likely have a version of the operating system that can unzip the file. If on a Mac or Linux, pick your favorite format.
You will then see a file dialog asking if you want to open or save the file. You should choose the save option. I included a screen shot here primarily because I’ve seen some folks get stuck at this point…
Step 2: Get Your Web-host Ready for WordPress
Ok, this step kicked my rear-end the first two times I setup a WordPress blog somehow…and I had created non-CMS sites before. Primarily a lack of understanding of how MySQL names databases really. At the high level, WordPress uses the PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) server side scripting language to produce dynamic web pages. PHP uses MySQL as its database engine to more efficiently store the content, images, comments, etc that you will create in your blog which helps show your web pages more quickly, enables backups, and other neat stuff not possible without a database. What’s even neater if all of that has scared you off, is you can be a Poet, and only have to know how to give your database a name and a password in WordPress to make it work. So, here are the steps to setup the WordPress Database for your new website:
1 – Open your cPanel for your website. If this is your first site, your web hosting provider will provide a link to your cPanel in your registration email. Once opened, the cPanel for Hostgator looks like this:
2 – Scroll down until you find the database section on the cPanel. This is located about 2/3′s of the way down on the cPanel. Double click the “MySQL Databases” icon. You will then be taken to your host’s MySQL databases page.
Once you get to this page, scroll to the bottom of the screen to the “MySQL” users section and input a username and password to use for the database. Although you may be tempted, I would recommend not reusing a password you use for email, the website, etc…just in case you sell it, someone hacks it, etc, then uses it to say spend your paycheck. You will have to input the password twice and then click “create user”. Once this is done, you will return to the top of the MySQL page of your CPanel.
3 – Create the database for your site by entering a name for the database in the “Create New Database” field.
4 – Now for the final database step on the cPanel. Go to the “Add User to Database” section of the page. Pick the username that you just made from the menu and pick the database, then choose the “Add” menu button. You notice that there will be a prefix prepended to each of the names (login and database). You will reuse these later for your WordPress configuration. It will be something like: yourwebsite_loginname and yourwebsite_databasename. The next step is to give the user privileges. You can choose the “All Privileges” check box and then proceed.
Step 3: Put WordPress on Your Web Server
You can do this one of two ways: 1 – extract all files on your computer and then upload, 2 – Upload the WordPress zip to your web-host and extract using the cPanel. Step 2 takes the least time but requires that you be on at least cPanel version 11. If you use Hostgator or GoDaddy they will. Any other web-host, and you’ll need to check. To do this:
1 – Upload the WordPress zip file to the root drive of your web-host. To do this, you can use an FTP client, or program such as FileZilla. When you are looking at the folders on your webserver through FileZilla or another FTP client, you will want to choose the “public_html” folder and upload the zip file there. If you’re like “File What”, then you can also upload the Zip file to the same folder by selecting the “File Manager” on your cPanel and choose the website to open to the root followed by the “go” button.
Then, choose the “Upload Files Page”, choose the “Browse” menu button and select the WordPress zip file on your computer. Choose “Open” and then “Upload” to begin transferring the file to your webserver.
2 – Extract the WordPress zip file. On the File Manager, single left click the zip file, then choose the “Extract File Contents” menu option. The File Manager will then extract the files. Please note, this step saves you on the order of 30-45 minutes if you have a 3G or slower connection over manually uploading the files.
Step 4: Create Your WP-Config File
Now, the tricky part. On your cPanel, you will first rename wp-config-sample.php to wp-config.php. To do this, put a check mark next to the file, then choose the “Rename A -> B” menu choice. After you have done this part, select the “Edit” menu option for the file, and find this part of the file:
// ** MySQL settings – You can get this info from your web host ** //
/** The name of the database for WordPress */
/** MySQL database username */
/** MySQL database password */
/** MySQL hostname */
Remember when we created the database and user name before? That’s the information that we’re going to put here. Do not forget to put the fully qualified username and database name or it will not work. I have always left “local host” in place, though you can put your Host Name there as well.
Now, go to WordPress secret key and copy the information that you find into this part of the Wp-config.php file:
define(’AUTH_KEY’, ‘put your unique phrase here’); define(’SECURE_AUTH_KEY’, ‘put your unique phrase here’); define(’LOGGED_IN_KEY’, ‘put your unique phrase here’); define(’NONCE_KEY’, ‘put your unique phrase here’);
Step 5: Run the WordPress Installation Script
For this part, I think its best to just quote WordPress:
“Run the WordPress installation script by accessing wp-admin/install.php in your favorite web browser.
- If you installed WordPress in the root directory, you should visit: http://example.com/wp-admin/install.php
- If you installed WordPress in its own subdirectory called blog, for example, you should visit: http://example.com/blog/wp-admin/install.php
That’s it. You’ll now be ready to configure your WordPress Blog and start adding content.