WordPress is a insanely popular blogging platform, and with every release it gets better. It’s also very easy to install, even for those who have never installed a CMS on their server before.
The first step is to head over to WordPress.org and download the WordPress file. Click on the Download button on the top right of the screen.
This will take you to the following page. Unless you know you’ve got a reason for downloading the GZipped version, download the ZIP file.
Unzipping and Uploading
Next unzip the download to somewhere on your computer. You’ll see a wordpress folder inside the unzipped files. You’ll need to upload everything in the wordpress folder to your server with FTP. FileZilla is my FTP client of choice.
Creating the database
While the files are uploading head over to your hosting control panel to create a MySQL database for WordPress to use. If you’re using cPanel I’ve written instructions for creating a MySQL database in another post. There are tutorials for other control panels in the databases category.
Change your permissions (for now)
You will need to temporarily change the settings of the folder where you installed WordPress to allow creation of new files so that the wp-config.php file can be created. On a Linux server this is 777. After the installation be sure to go back and change the folder to 755 so that it cannot be changed.
Browse to your site
Go ahead and browse to where you installed WordPress. You should see a page which looks like the following. The page title says Error, but don’t worry about it for now.
Click on the link to ‘Create a Configuration File’ to continue.
The next page is just informational. Read it if you’d like and then click ‘Let’s Go’.
The next screen prompts you to enter the database settings for your blog. The Database Name field is the name you gave your database when you created it. Be sure that if your host puts a prefix on your database names that you include that prefix as well. The username and password fields are for the user you created to access your database, and the same prefix hint applies to your username as well.
Database host is almost always localhost. Although some hosts, notably GoDaddy.com, have a separate MySQL server rather than localhost. Odds are you can try localhost and if it doesn’t work check with your host.
The table prefix is only needed if you are going to be using the same database for multiple web applications. For example, if you are running one photography blog and one programming blog but only have one database as part of your hosting account you can use prefixes to keep them separate.
Once you’ve entered the database information click on Submit to continue.
If WordPress was able to successfully connect to your database you will see the following screen. If not, then you will need to double check your settings.
Click on ‘run the install’ to continue.
You will see another informational page that you can skip over. Click on First Step to go on.
For the first step you will enter the title that you want to give your new blog and your email address. Give some serious thought to your title. The blog title will show up in most of your page titles and can have a significant influence on your future search engine traffic.
You generally want to leave the checkbox option checked under your email address. Most people post to their blogs in hope that they will get traffic from search engines. If you don’t want that you can clear the checkbox and WordPress will insert code into the HTML that will tell search engines you don’t want to be indexed.
Click on ‘Continue to Second Step’ to go on.
Your admin information
If you see the following screen you have successfully installed WordPress to your web server.
Be sure to write down the username and password as you will need them to login for the first time. Click on the wp-login.php link and use the username and password to start administrating your new blog.
The first thing I would suggest is changing your admin password. The more complicated your password is the more difficult it will be for a hacker to get in.
Be sure to change the permissions of your WordPress folder back to 755 in case you didn’t earlier.
After that, start blogging. You wanted to start sharing your writing with the world, so get after it.
Help, something went wrong!
Couldn’t get your server to do what it was supposed to? WordPress not working like it’s supposed to? Feel free to post your questions on our forum and I’ll see what I can do to help. I’ve setup quite a few WordPress blogs and probably have a suggestion where to start. WordPress also has a great support board with very helpful members.