Installing WordPress manually, not using a hosting account automated installation process, is not an extremely difficult process, but there are several steps involved and for someone new to the Internet it can seem to be a daunting project. We’ll try to make it as clear as possible and give you some hints along the way that may make things easier.
What you will need for the installation
1. A domain name. You will need to register a domain name of your choice and then point it to the location where you will be installing WordPress. You can learn more about domain name registrations here.
2. A hosting account. If you registered your domain through a hosting company the ‘pointing’ process is done for you. Otherwise, you will have to add the domain to your hosting account and then go to the account where you registered the domain and change the DNS (Domain Name System) settings called NameServers to point to your hosting account servers. Your hosting account will provide you with the proper NameServer settings when you add the domain to your hosting account.
NOTE: Changing the NameServers to point to a new hosting account must propagate throughout the Internet in order to become effective. One way to check that the change is completed is to place a simple html file in the root directory of your hosting account. Name the file index.html and have it just display a “Coming Soon” message. When the NameServer change is completed you will be able to navigate to your domain name and see this html file displayed. Don’t forget to delete it to complete your WordPress installation.
3. A copy of the latest version of the WordPress software. You can download your copy at WordPress.org as a zip file that you can then unzip and have in a folder on your computer.
4. An option that will be of use in your future programming efforts, a File Transfer (FTP) Client program such as Filezilla, SmartFTP or CyberDuck can be used to move files and folders from your computer into your hosting account.
Once you have these things available on your computer you can start the installation process.
You will need to move all of those unzipped WordPress files from your computer to the location in your hosting account where you want your website to live. Most hosting accounts come with an account control panel (cPanel) that includes a section available for File Management.
There are two ways to move the WordPress files. You can use the hosting account File Manager function in the Control Panel (cPanel) to transfer your files or you can set up an FTP account in your hosting account and transfer the WordPress files using an FTP Client.
Either method begins in your hosting account cPanel. The File Management area of the cPanel will probably look something like this:
In most cases, if this is to be your primary domain in your hosting account, you will want to place the WordPress files into the root directory of the hosting account. This area is usually called something like /public_html. Upload all of the WordPress files and folders to the root directory of your hosting account and you’ll be ready for the next step.
WordPress uses a MySQL database to store your pages, posts, users information, etc. Since this is a manual installation of WordPress you will have to set up an empty database that WordPress can use during its installation process.
Generating a new database to be used by WordPress is accomplished from your hosting account cPanel:
Clicking on the MySQL Databases link will take you to a page where you will see all of the databases currently established in your hosting account. The page will also enable you to establish a new MySQL database and a database user for that database. BE SURE to write down the database name, database username and the database password. You will need these details when you start the WordPress configuration process in step 3.
Now that you have placed The WordPress files and folders into your hosting account and have set up an empty database for WordPress to use, open a new tab in your browser and navigate to your website domain name – http://yoursite.com. This will automatically start the WordPress setup process. You should see a window that looks something like this:
The options default to English (United States). If that is what you want just click Continue.
The next screen you see will see will remind you of the information that you will need to complete the WordPress installation. The Database name, username and password were established when you set up the empty database in Step 2 above. The Database Host for most hosting accounts is “localhost”.
When WordPress is installed that empty database that you established will automatically be populated with a series of database tables that will be used to store your website data. The tables each have a prefix placed at the beginning of the table name – such as wp_options. The ‘wp_’ par is the table prefix. One possible way to make your WordPress installation a bit more secure it to use a random database table prefix for your installation. You can use pretty much whatever you want as a prefix as long as it ends with an underscore. I usually try to keep it to 3-4 random letters just to keep the database table names a reasonable length – something like your initials or first letters in your business name.
This screen also refers to the use of a text editor to manually edit/establish the WordPress configuration file (wp-config) if the automatic process fails. Be sure to use a good text editor. This does not mean using Microsoft Word. It is possible to use the Windows utility NotePad (Windows, all programs, accessories, Notepad) but you will be better off in the long run by downloading and installing the free software Notepad++ or the Open Source program Brackets or the paid program Sublime Text 3. Apple users can also try Coda, TextWrangler, TextMate or appropriate versions of Brackets and SublimeText.
The WordPress core files include a file called wp-config-sample.php. Open this file in your text editor, enter the database connection information in place of the sample data and then save the file as wp-config.php.
The next screen will give you places to enter the database connection information:
When you have completed the entries on this page and click on Submit the process will check the information you have entered by seeing if it can access the database. If everything works correctly you will progress to the next screen:
Clicking on Run the Install will complete the process and provide you with an operational basic installation of WordPress that is using one of the default WordPress themes that is included with the WordPress files.
Let the fun begin!