WordPress – How to manually install wordpress on any web host

WordPress is one of the most widely used and popular content management systems for producing anything from blog sites to e-commerce websites. If you want to join the millions of people already using WordPress I have detailed below how you go about installing WordPress on your website.

I should probably note at this point that some hosting providers will have in their control panel “one click install” options for WordPress. However, I generally find that it is a much better idea to go through the process yourself (it really isn’t difficult or time consuming), then if any problems occur you are better equipped to fix them.

Don’t want to read the article?

Should you not have the time, or the patience, to read through the article below I have also made a video available which takes you through the process step by step:

What do I need to install WordPress?

There are a couple of prerequisites before you install wordpress:

  1. An active domain name
  2. A hosting provider

A domain name is literally the name of the website. In my case “thetestspecimen.com”. You can purchase domain names from a multitude of registrars. I personally use namecheap as it is simple to use, well laid out and competitive on price.

A hosting provider is the place where all of your website’s files, media and databases are stored. Think of it as being like an offsite computer that is always on and accessible to the world. I have written a post which details my recommended hosting providers (and ones to avoid) here. Note: at the time this article was written I was using Hostgator as a host…I wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole now.

(make sure you point the nameservers of your domain name to the hosting provider, otherwise the website won’t load. I will put a tutorial up for this at some point, but for the moment take a look on youtube for some guidance. If you are using the same provider to get your domain name and hosting, chances are it’s already done for you.)

I have a domain and host. What do I do now?

The first thing you need to do is download the installer for wordpress, which is a zip file, and can be downloaded directly from the wordpress.org website here:

WordPress Install

Once you have downloaded the file, save it somewhere accessible like your desktop.

Time to log in to your hosting provider’s control panel

Now you have the zip file downloaded you need to upload the zip file onto your host.

To do that you need to log into the backend of your website. In my case Hostgator uses Cpanel, which is open source and therefore used by various hosting providers.

To log into cpanel you need to type in the domain name, forward slash “Cpanel” as per the below:

www.mydomainname.com/cpanel

(remember to replace “mydomainname” with your actual domain name)

Cpanel Login
Cpanel Login

Fill in you username and password in the login screen, and then you should arrive at the cpanel dashboard. Which looks something like this:

Cpanel Control Panel
Cpanel Control Panel

I know that some hosting providers use a different backend, such as GoDaddy (which I don’t recommend using), but don’t worry you should be able to follow along as the process is not too complicated. Go ahead and log into the hosting dashboard and if you have any problems let me know in the comments.

Upload the wordpress zip file to the host

Now that you are in the control panel find the “File Manager” icon and click on it. This should take you to the folder structure of the host. (If you first see a poppup giving options as to where to access, make sure you select “web root”.)

File Manager
File Manager

Check that you are in the folder public_HTML, if not navigate to it. The folder you are now in is effectively where the files should be stored for your website. If you are using a subdomain or addon domain, you should navigate to the necessary folder (if you didn’t understand the previous sentence, it probably doesn’t apply to you so ignore).

public_html
public_html

You now need to hit the upload button towards the top of the screen. This will open a navigation window. Find the wordpress zip file you downloaded earlier and hit upload. As the file is quite small it should only take a minute or so to upload.

Once uploaded right click on the file and select “unzip”, and make sure the extraction folder path matches the folder you are in. Then extract the files.

Once extracted you need to “reload” the folder and you will see a new folder called “wordpress”.

wordpress folder
wordpress folder

Go into the wordpress folder and select all of the files. Right click on the files and select move. Another dialogue will come up to confirm the folder path. You need to delete the “wordpress” at the end of the folder path and hit “ok”. You should see all the files disappear from the folder. Go up one level and you will see they have moved to the original folder you were in. You can now delete the folder “wordpress” and the original .zip file you extracted.

The files are now ready.

Setup a MySQL database

Now we need to setup a database.

Find “MySQL Databases” in the cpanel dashboard.

MySQL Databases
MySQL Databases

Once you enter you should see an area where you can create a new database. Type a new database name and click create.

Create a Database
Create a Database

You then need to create a user. In the create user section type a username and password and click create.

Create a User
Create a User

Associate the newly created user to the newly created database. In the drop-down boxes near the bottom select the correct database and user and click “add”.

Add user to Database
Add user to Database

You will then be prompted to assign privileges.

All Priveleges
All Priveleges

Select “all privileges” and click “make changes”. Then you are done!

Installing WordPress

You should now open a new browser window and type in the domain name of the website that you have just extracted the files for. In my case this is “http://wpexample.thetestspecimen.com” in your case it will be “http://www.yourwebsitename.com” (with the yourwebsitename bit replaced with your websites actual name).

You should then be greeted with the WordPress install page which will prompt you to pick a language.

Wordpress Install Page
WordPress Install Page

The next thing you will see is the information you will need to install wordpress. We have all of this from the previous steps so hit “Let’s Go!”

The next thing you will see is a form that requests specific information:

Wordpress Details
WordPress Details

All of the above information you already have from the setup we did in the MySQL part of the tutorial. The only two additional items are “Database Host”, which 99% of the time should be “localhost” as above. If this is not the case then you will need to contact your hosting provider to get the correct value.

The second is the table prefix. This can in effect be anything followed by an underscore. I would suggest you use anything but “wp_” as it gives you more flexibility going forward.

You will then need to “Submit” the form and on the next page select “Run the Install”. You should then be greeted with a welcome page that asks for some additional info:

Wordpress Information
WordPress Information

The information that you put in the form above can be anything you like. It is in no way related to the MySQL information we entered earlier. It is essentially the information that you will use to log into wordpress later. You can see above that I have a “very weak” password. I would suggest that you use a password that is strong and makes that bar go green rather than red. Remember this is what is securing your site!

Once you hit the “Install WordPress” button you will (quite quickly) be presented with a login screen:

Login Screen
Login Screen

Enter the details you entered on the previous page and hit “Log In”, and you should see something like this:

Wordpress Dashboard
WordPress Dashboard

If you do then you have had success! This is the backend of your new WordPress website (take a bow). You can make all the changes to your site from here, including making posts and adding themes and apps.

To see what the frontend (i.e. what a visitor to your website sees) you need to click the house symbol in the far top left of the screen next to your website name. Once you do that you should see something like this:

Website Frontend
Website Frontend

If you have got to this point you have installed WordPress! You can now start customising and creating something the whole world can see.

I hope you found this tutorial useful, but if you found anything confusing or you would like clarification on a certain point please let me know in the comments and I will get back to you as fast as I can.

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TestSpecimen

TestSpecimen

TheTestSpecimen is the creator of thetestspecimen.com and the Wanderfile app (https://wanderfile.app). Passionate about technology, coding, photography and travel.

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