I was speaking to someone the other night about blogging and a topic that was brought up was, the difficulty of installing WordPress on your own server and thus having full control over it and your data. Now my obvious initial reaction was the problem in this statement:
…the difficulty of…
I think it’s a misconception that WordPress is hard to install and that i wonder if people even know that you do not need to use wordpress.com, blogger.com and all the rest of the blogging communities out there. This is especially true if you want to break away from the restrictions placed on you by these sites or if you want to keep your content a bit more secure.
This made me think that there are actually not to many articles out there about setting up WordPress and how easy it is to get going with your very own self-hosted installation of the award winning software.
Step 1 – Hosting
The first step to getting your very own WordPress installation is taking out a hosting account. This is where you will store the files needed to run WordPress and it is also where you will keep all the content you upload. Our website is hosted (by us obviously) but the point I am making is that every website will need to be hosted somewhere on the internet so that people can see it.
Finding the best hosting package is all down to personal preference. There are hundreds of companies that offer hosting for WordPress alone nevermind in general. You can look at our hosting packages or you can go have a look at the hosts WordPress recommend. Whoever you choose all you need to do is make sure they give you FTP access and can support MySQL and PHP 5, but you can also check this before signing up.
If you are lucky enough to have a host that supports one-click installs then you do not need to do any of the following just go to step 2 already.
Once you have signed up you should get a whole load of access details sent to you. Some hosts will give you access to a backend and FTP and let you sort out the rest while other hosts will give you console access, FTP access and pre-setup a MySQL database for you.
If you do need to set up a MySQL database contact your hosting provider to get information on how to do it and note down the database name, database location, database username and database password.
Step 2 – Installing WordPress
If your hosts allows one-click installs for WordPress then simply follow the instructions and head to step 3. If not then you need to read on.
This is probably the most complex part of setting up WordPress although they are now famous for the 5-minute install process. Here is how you do it:
- Set up a MySQL database noting the database name, username and password. If the database is hosted elsewhere then you need to take that down as well.
- Head over to wordpress.org and download the latest version of WordPress and unzip it to a location of choice.
- Use your FTP details and a FTP client like FileZilla or Smart FTP to upload all the files within the wordpress folder you just unzipped (you should see wp-content, wp-admin etc. and a few other files) to a location on your server. Usually hosts have a folder called “public-html” or “wwwroot” where you need to upload the files to – whatever is in this folder will be accessed from www.yourdomain.com. If you want to have your WordPress setup in another location like www.yourdomain.com/blog or www.yourdomain.com/wordpress then you just need to make that folder in your “wwwroot” or “public-html” folder.
- Now that you have uploaded the WordPress files all you need to do is install it. To do this just browse to the location you installed WordPress on. For example http://www.yourdomain.com/wordpress. You will now see a button asking you to install WordPress. Click it.
- The next page asks you for your database information (remember point 1?) and this is where you enter it all in. After you have done that you can submit that form.
- Database name is the name of the database you set up.
- Username is the username you set up for the database.
- Password is the password you set up for the database.
- Database host is the location where the database is hosted. Usually it is on the same server (enter localhost) but if you were given another location by your hosts then you can enter that here.
- The prefix is only used if you want to have multiple WordPress installation on the same database. You can make it whatever you want but it’s generally fine to leave it as “wp_”.
- WordPress will now check your database connection and if everything works it will ask you to begin installation. Once you have cliked to begin installation almost instantly WordPress will be installed and you will be on the final page asking you for your information.
- In the final step you can enter your blog title, admin email address, username and password, and if you want your blog to be listed in search engines. Enter this all and complete the process.
That’s it; you now have your very own installation of WordPress that you can do anything you want on. To access your backend you just add /wp-admin to the location you installed WordPress at, for example www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin, and you will then be taken to that oh-so-familiar WordPress Dashboard.
Step 3 – Customisation with Themes and Plugins
Now all you need to do is make your blog/website more… well… you. This is where the magic of having your own WordPress installation happens.
In the themes section (Appearance in your Dashboard) you can install a theme that you have dowloaded or you can search for one if you have not. There are plenty of options out there and a quick search for “WordPress Themes” will give you 18 500 000 results in Google. If you more inclined to have quality you can have a WordPress theme developed (by us) or use anyone of the premium theme developers out there (some of the best actually come from South Africa).
The plugins section is where you will find the most exciting enhancements. You can search the web for some of the most interesting and handy plugins for WordPress and I am pretty sure you will find quite a few options that suite you and your blog/website’s needs. If you come back over the next few weeks I will compile a few lists of ones we recommend and some that are usefull.
If you find anything hard to understand please let me know in the comments below and I will be glad to help. If you understood it all, did you find that it helped you out?