You've decided that you want to run your website using the excellent content management system that is Wordpress. You've made a good choice, resources are plentiful and Design Spin can give you a head start with our 'Getting Started' series of articles.
Installing Wordpress is easy when you've had experience of using many different hosting providers varying configurations. Because there are too many variances to explain from one hosting provider to the next, some things in this article may not line up with what you're seeing. In those instances, you should reach out through the support channels provided by your nominated host. With that said, we'll do our best to get the ball rolling for you.
Requirements for a Wordpress Install
To get up and running you're going to need a domain name and the services of a decent web hosting provider. If you've never setup hosting or registered a domain name before, you may well be best off choosing a company that can do both for you, avoiding domain configuration. Many hosting providers realise how popular Wordpress is and make it simple for you to install through a simple wizard-like experience.
When choosing your hosting provider, be sure that they have everything needed for running Wordpress. Take a look at the recommended requirements as you source a hosting provider and reach out to them to be sure it will work. Alternatively, just go with one of the Wordpress recommended providers.
Whichever you choose, don't be shy about using their customer service support features to seek help. If willing to take your money month on month for a service, they should also be able to offer appropriate help and advice in a timely manner.
In addition to the recommended providers, some of our clients claim a good experience using WPEngine, a managed hosting solution.
The 5-minute Install
If the hosting company you have chosen does not provide anything for installing Wordpress then you're going to need to do the installation yourself and the easiest way to do that as a beginner would be via FTP ( File transfer protocol ).
Before installing an FTP client lets also download the latest version of Wordpress, save and unzip it to somewhere you'll remember later on.
There are many FTP clients available for free on the internet, so take a look around, but for this demonstration, we've chosen to use Filezilla as there are both Mac and PC versions available. Download the software and install it on your machine, then open it.
FTP Account Credentials
When you set up your hosting account, you will in all likeliness been given access to a control panel. From your control panel, you should be able to locate information on FTP accounts, you'll need to note down the FTP credentials from there. You'll need the FTP host address, a username, and password.
This area is vague because hosting platforms vary greatly. If you can't locate the credentials then reach out through your provider's support and they will almost certainly be able to help you with this.
Setup FTP Client
Upon opening Filezilla you'll need to add your FTP credentials to access your host's file system. This can be done via the menu and navigate to File >> Site Manager
After doing that you'll be presented with a popup, here is where you will enter your sites FTP details and name your configuration details. Filezilla will save your details so you can quickly connect back at a later date.
On the bottom left of the popup window, click the button that says new site and type a name for the site, I usually just write the domain name of the site the FTP details are for. Then to the right of the popup, you're going to need to populate the fields with the FTP details you retrieved from your hosting provider previously.
In the host field enter the FTP address, this is often the same as your domain name and sometimes prefixed with 'ftp.', It could also be an IP address, numbers separated by dots.
For the drop-down field named protocol you should select the 'SFTP - SSH File Transfer Protocol', if your hosting provider supports it otherwise leave it as it is.
Change the drop-down field Logon Type to 'normal'. Then fill in the text fields User and Password, using the credentials acquired from your hosting provider previously.
On completing the form, click the connect button on the bottom right of the form. If the details were correct and you have an internet connection you should now be connected.
Transferring The Files
Now you've connected it's time to transfer the files you unzipped and saved earlier into your sites root folder, which is typically named 'public_html' or 'www'. In the bottom area of Filezilla, you'll see two panes, the left pane is your local filesystem and the right is the server.
In the right pane open the root folder by double-clicking the folder icon named 'public_html'.
In the left pane navigate to wherever you stored and unzipped your Wordpress files. Inside the folder, you will see a series of files and a few folders. You need to select all the files and folders, you can do that by clicking the first item in the folder, then holding the shift key click the last item in the folder. If you got it right they will all be highlighted. If you then right-click and select upload, your files will be copied to the right pane, which is your server.
Setting Up A Database
In order to store all the great pages and blog posts you're going to be creating, Wordpress will need a database. This is something else you may need to contact your hosting provider for to seek support, for how you go about setting one up can vary from host to host.
The things you will need to obtain are the name of the database, a username for the database and a password. The user will need to have all privileges granted in order to work.
On your host control panel, you may find an icon that reads 'MySQL Database Wizard', if that's an option getting the details above will be a breeze as it's simple as following the wizards prompts to a result.
If there is no wizard, look for an icon that says 'MySQL Databases' and click the link. In the page you arrive on, look for a section allowing the creation of a new database, use the form provided to add a database and note down its name.
After creating the database, there will be a section on the same page allowing you to create a user, create a username and password using the form and note them down.
Finally, you'll need to assign the user to the database, there will be another form for that on the same page, after assigning the user to the database when prompted about privileges be sure to select all.
You're Almost Done
Your files are in place and the database is set up, are you ready for the best bit? In your web browser, you should be able to now visit your website with the domain name you registered. On arriving there you will see a Wordpress logo and language selection, go ahead and select your native language and hit the blue continue button. If your native language is not English, well done for making it to this point in the article!
After language selection, you'll be asked for the database configuration details you noted down earlier whilst setting up your database. Go ahead and enter those details and submit the form.
After submitting this form, if everything was successful you'll receive a message telling you that things are going well. You can go ahead and click the button that says 'Run the installation'.
You'll now be presented with a welcome page and it's at this point you can start some site setup. You'll be asked to set up a title, username, password and email address. There is also a checkbox at the bottom of the page to discourage search engines, bearing in mind that after initial setup your site will be contentless and may not appear quite how you want it to be, it's probably worth checking initially. Avoid using the username 'admin', and be sure to double check your email address is correct before finally clicking the 'Install Wordpress' button.
On completion of this form, you should be notified that your installation is complete and a button showing which enables you to log into Wordpress dashboard where you will be managing your content. But how all that works is for another article.
If you managed to get Wordpress installed, then well done.