How to Install WordPress – Manual Edition

How to Install WordPress – Manual Edition

If you don’t have access to the Fantastico script set that I described on Wednesday, you may need to install WordPress manually.  Don’t worry – this isn’t as difficult as it sounds!

First things first…

Learning to FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol.  FTP is the fastest way to transfer files from a computer to a website.  Knowing how to FTP is essential to installing WordPress manually and will be used to move the WordPress script files to your website host server.  The website server is where all website files are stored.

Most FTP software is provided free through the Internet.  Some website hosts also provide a free FTP client through some of their hosting packages.  FileZilla is one of the best free FTP clients available and can be downloaded here: http://www.filezilla-project.org/

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Connecting To the Website Server

Before connecting to your website through an FTP client, you will want to make sure your domain name is set up with a hosting account and all name servers have had time to propagate. In order to connect to your web hosting server through FileZilla you will need the following information:

URL – An URL is needed when connecting to your server via FTP.  In most FTP clients the website URL should be sufficient.  However some website hosts also provide you with an FTP URL, or you can set one up yourself.  The FTP URL can also be used to connect to your server via FTP.  The URL will need to go into the “address” field when connecting to the website server via an FTP client.

Username – Most website hosts will give you an FTP or Cpanel username when setting up a new hosting account.  In your FTP client you will want to enter this username provided in order to connect to the server.

Password – Again when setting up a hosting account your web host will provide an FTP or Cpanel password which will also be needed in order to connect to the server via FTP.

Port – A port number is how a server identifies the message that has arrived via FTP.  For most servers the default port number for transferring files is 21.

Now that we know what information is needed to connect to our server via FTP.  We will now look  at some other definitions that are good to know when using an FTP client to transfer files to your website.

Local Site – Most FTP clients have a side where the “local site” files are listed.  The local site is also known as your computer, and the files listed are the files stored on your computer.  All the files being uploaded to your web hosts server will be found under “local site.”

Remote Site – The remote site is where all the files hosted on the website host server are listed.  When installing WordPress all of the script files will be transfered from the local site (your computer) to the remote site (your website.)

Learning how to transfer files to your website via FTP can be a bit overwhelming at first.  However practice makes perfect, and you will soon get the hang of using an FTP client to transfer files from your computer to your website.   FTP is definitely a skill that opens many doors to help grow any online website.

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Setting up a Database

When installing WordPress manually, you will need to have access to at least one database through your website host.  The database holds the meat of the WordPress blog.  When doing research on a website host, be sure they provide at least one database in so that you can install WordPress on your website.

When signing up with a website host they will provide you with information to log into your client control panel.  Most website hosts use what is called Cpanel, and this is where most web masters manage their website files, databases, and email accounts.  We’ll be using the Cpanel interface as a base for this tutorial.

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Step #1 Create a Database – After you log into your Cpanel, find the icon that says “MySQL Databases” and click on it. 

On the next page you will see a box that says “Create New Database.”  There you will enter the name of the database that will be used for your new WordPress blog.  After you enter the name click create database.

Step #2 Create a User – In order for the database to work you will need to assign a user and user privileges.  On the page you created the database you will find a section that says “Add New User.”  Here you will pick out a username, and a password for the new database user. 
Please keep write down the password assigned to the user as you will need this information later on when configuring WordPress for installation.  It is a good idea to create a strong database password to avoid being hacked.

Next you will want to add the new user you created to the database you created.  This can be done on the same page in the section titled “Add User to Database”:

On the next page you will need to assign user privileges.  Just click “All Privileges” and then click make changes.


On the page where you created the database you will now see your database, and the user name.  Write down the database name, and database user name.  Keep this information together with the password you wrote down in a previous step.


Step #3 Editing Your Wp-Config.php File – The wp-config.php is how you will connect your WordPress blogging script to the database you just created.  If you haven’t already downloaded the WordPress script to your computer then now is the time to do so.  The latest version of WordPress can be downloaded here: http://wordpress.org/download/

Once you’ve downloaded the files to your computer, you’ll need to unzip the files.  Next open up the wp-config-sample.php file in your text editor.  Edit the following fields with the database information you wrote down in the previous step:

Save this file as wp-config.php within your WordPress folder that holds all the other WordPress script files. 

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Uploading WordPress Files

Now that we know how to upload files via File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and have a database ready to go, all we have left to do is install the WordPress script and complete the set up process.

Open your FTP client and browse to find the WordPress files on your computer.  In this tutorial we will be using FileZilla as our FTP client.
In FileZilla all computer files are viewed on the left hand side under “local site” – which also means “your computer.”  In FileZilla browse your computer to find the WordPress files downloaded from the WordPress website.  The left hand side of FileZilla under local site should look something like this:

Next, you’ll want to connect to your website in FileZilla.   The information needed to connect to a website via FTP is: website or FTP URL, username, password, and port # (the default port number is 21.)

Once you’re connected to your website, you’ll notice in FileZilla that your website files are listed on the right hand side under “remote site” which also means “your website.”  In the right hand section, you’ll want to browse to the public_html folder or the root domain. 

Note:  The files located within the root domain is what website visitors first see when they arrive at your website.  For example if you install WordPress on your root domain the WordPress blog will appear on the following URL: http://yourdomainname.com

However if you would like to install WordPress in a sub folder of the domain you can do this as well.  In order to install WordPress in a sub folder you will want to create the folder within your root domain.  Just create a new folder within the public_html folder.  Name the folder whatever you would like,  for example if you want your WordPress blog to be located at http://yourdomainname.com/blog then name the folder “blog.”   Then open that folder and upload the WordPress files within that folder.

Next we’re going to upload all WordPress files to the public_html folder.  You’ll want to be sure you’ve already configured the wp-config-sample.php file with the database information and save it as wp-config.php within the WordPress files located on your computer.  Be sure to upload ALL files, including the new wp-config.php file you just created.

Once all the WordPress files are uploaded, you’ll then want to go to your website URL to run the install script.  To run the install script, go to the following URL: http://yourblog.com/wp-admin/install.php (replace “yourblog.com” with your actual URL.)

Note:  If you installed the blog in a sub directory, you’ll need to add the folder name within the URL like this: http://yourblog.com/foldername/wp-admin/install.php

Next, you’ll want to enter your blog information:

On the next page, you’ll receive the log in information to your WordPress dashboard.  Be sure to write down your password and don’t lose it!

Congrats!  You’re now the proud owner of a self-hosted WordPress blog!   Now, find a fancy theme, some cool plugins, and start blogging!

Any questions?  Ask them below in the comments!

One Response to How to Install WordPress – Manual Edition

  1. Jon says:

    Great reference, Sarah. This is certainly a bookmark-worthy post for people looking to manually set up their own WordPress blogs or for client installs.

    The biggest challenge is to not become overwhelmed. If people just take one step at a time using your instruction it’ll all make sense as they proceed.

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