Welcome to WordPress 101!
In this series I will walk you through the basics of WordPress. This series is designed to help beginners or those new to WordPress acclimated themselves to their new blogging platform. This series focuses on self-hosted or WordPress.org, not WordPress.com. Some of what will be discussed in this series will apply to WordPress.com users, however, many posts including this one will not be applicable. Watch for new WordPress related posts every Wednesday for both beginner and advanced users!
If you are looking for a brief overview and resources to get started with WordPress (the TLDR version of this series) be sure to check out this post. It will give you all the basic info you need to get started on your own.
WordPress 101: Installation 2 Ways
There are two ways to install WordPress on your server. Before we get to those methods let’s clear up a few common questions. Before we get started installing WordPress you will need to have your host set up so we have some place to put our WordPress installation.
1. Do I need a host?
Yes. You need a host. Remember, a host is not the same as domain. A host will give you space on a server somewhere, this is where you will keep your blog’s files, including WordPress.
2. Do I need a domain?
Yes. While you can have a host without a domain, to access your site you will need to type in an IP address, which is a long series of numbers. This isn’t very user-friendly is it? So you will need a domain name. Most hosts provide domain names free when you purchase a hosting plan.
3. What host should I use?
*Disclaimer: The links below in this answer and in the answer to question #4 are affiliate links. Should you sign up via these links I’ll receive a small bit of monetary compensation. I’m a happy Blue Host customer and have been using them for nearly 10 years, so I heartily recommend them! ASO also has great reviews and is my go to second choice for hosting.
I recommend Blue Host and A Small Orange. If you are just starting out and need something super affordable, ASO has a great plan for only $35/year! That’s a great deal! Blue Host also has affordable plans which start at around $3.95/mo.
4. Where should I get a domain name?
You may be able to get it for free with your host. If that is not the case, or if you already have a host my preferred domain registrar is Namecheap. I’ve tried a few others, but what I love about Namecheap is how easy it is to use, they don’t spam you with emails, and they have very cheap domain privacy! Domain privacy is great because it protects your identity, and while most registrars charge around $10 a year for it Namecheap’s domain privacy was only around $3/year when I purchased it last.
Installing WordPress the Easy Way
This is the easiest way to install WordPress. It requires little effort on your part other than entering in some information and clicking a few buttons. No technical know-how needed! This method should be supported by most hosts. I know for a fact that Blue Host does support this method.
Go to your hosting account & Log in.
Go to Your Cpanel if you aren’t there already. If you are on Blue Host it should look like the screenshot below. Other host’s appearances may vary slightly.
Go to “Install WordPress” or “One Click Installs”.
It should look similar to this screenshot, or you will see a list of programs that you can install. If you have a list locate “WordPress” and click “Install”.
Fill in all of the relevant information. To start out with you will see any domains and sub-domains (something.yourdomain.com) associated with your account. If you wish your WordPress to be in a sub-folder within your domain (yourdomain.com/somefolder) you also have the option to enter it there. Select the domain you want to have the installation created then click “Check Domain”. The server will then check to make sure you can install WordPress there. Once you get the okay you can move on to the next step. Agree to the terms and conditions (after reading them of course!) and enter your information as required by the screen prompts. A word of advice, do not choose “admin” as your administrator account name. It’s the very first account name hackers will try to break into your WordPress with as it’s usually the default username.
Once the installation is complete you will be notified and given the information needed to log into your new WordPress site. Congrats! You have successfully installed WordPress!
How to Install WordPress The Manual Way
Your host might not have a handy WordPress installer. That’s okay! You can still install WordPress yourself, but you will need a few tools and a bit of technical know how (or the willingness to learn!).
Download the necessary tools. In this case you will want to download the latest version of WordPress here. Then you will need a ftp client. I prefer WinSPC, however you can choose any you might be familiar with. Some great ones for both Windows and Mac are listed here. Additionally you will need your ftp log in information. You can obtain this information from your web host, it’s usually provided to you in the initial emails they send you when you purchase your hosting plan.
Steps 2 – 5:
Fire up your FTP program and log into your ftp server. WordPress has a handy installation guide. It will walk you through the entire installation process. I prefer the 5 minute installation guide. It’s short and easy to follow. Follow along the WordPress tutorial to install your WordPress installation.
Step 6: Profit
Congrats you have installed your very own WordPress!
The best place to start your troubleshooting is here. WordPress has solutions to common installation issues. If you can’t find a solution there, try the forums or reach out to your host’s support system.
Next week on WordPress 101: Welcome to Your Dashboard! We take a look at your Dashboard and learn how to navigate it and what it all means.