How to Install WordPress

If you are new to WordPress, then one of your first tasks is to install the WordPress framework.  Many web hosting companies do this automatically for you with the press of a button.  So this tutorial here will attempt to walk you through the installation assuming that you have no access to special scripts or shortcuts.  Think of this as installing a local copy of WordPress into your private development area.

How to Install WordPress

Installation Steps

The installation steps are roughly as follows

  • Preparation tasks
  • Create a MySQL Database
  • Setup Source Files
  • Copy Files to WebHost
  • Run the Installation Wizard

Let’s jump right in.

WordPress Installation – Preparation Tasks

Preparing your environment for installation is actually one of the most important and time consuming tasks.  WordPress has several minimum compatibility requires that your web service provider needs to meet in order to install and run WordPress.  If you are controlling your environment on your own, then these requirements include:

  • Ability to access your web server and transfer files (via FTP, etc)
  • Ability to create a MySQL database

Current recommendations for minimum compatibility are as follows:

  • PHP 7.2 or higher
  • MySQL 5.6 or higher

SSL support is not required – but is strongly recommended.

If you want to setup a development environment for WordPress on your local computer, you can do so using the WAMP or MAMP environments.

Installing WordPress Tutorial - MAMP Dashboard

Example MAMP dashboard.  These platforms allow developers to run instances of Apache, MySQL and PHP on either their Windows based or Macintosh based computers.

WordPress Installation – Create a MySQL Database

Access your MySQL environment.  Create a Database to use for your WordPress installation.  For now, just create the database, there is no need to create any tables.

Installing WordPress Tutorial - New Empty Database

Once the Database is created, create a new user account in MySQL that has all privileges to access and modify your recently created database.  It is best to create a unique user just for WordPress as this user information will be used by the WordPress code to access and interact with the Database.  Should this access information ever be compromised, you can easily change the credentials.

WordPress Installation – Setup Source Files

Your next tasks will be around downloading and setting up the WordPress source files.

Start by navigating to https://wordpress.org/download/ to download the latest version of WordPress.  Unzip the contents of the download file to a location of your choosing.  You should now see the following:

Installing WordPress Tutorial - Unzipped Files

Go ahead and delete the WordPress ZIP file.  That file is no longer needed and can be re-downloaded at anytime from WordPress.org.

Rename the file “wp-config-sample.php” to “wp-config.php”.  Now open up the “wp-config.php” file using your preferred IDE (a text editor will also work).  This file holds all of the base configuration settings for your WordPress installation.  We need to find and change the Database login information.  Find the following code snippet and change your database login information as appropriate.

// ** MySQL settings - You can get this info from your web host ** //
/** The name of the database for WordPress */
define( 'DB_NAME', 'database_name_here' );

/** MySQL database username */
define( 'DB_USER', 'username_here' );

/** MySQL database password */
define( 'DB_PASSWORD', 'password_here' );

/** MySQL hostname */
define( 'DB_HOST', 'localhost' );

As an example, a properly configured connection string may look like the following for a Database named “wordpress-demo” a username of “wordpress-user” a password of “wordpress-password” and a hostname of “localhost”.

// ** MySQL settings - You can get this info from your web host ** //
/** The name of the database for WordPress */
define( 'DB_NAME', 'wordpress-demo' );

/** MySQL database username */
define( 'DB_USER', 'wordpress-user' );

/** MySQL database password */
define( 'DB_PASSWORD', 'wordpress-password' );

/** MySQL hostname */
define( 'DB_HOST', 'localhost' );

Additional information about the settings found in the wp-config.php file can be found here: https://codex.wordpress.org/Editing_wp-config.php

WordPress Installation – Copy Files to Web Host

Next we need to copy the contents of the “wordpress” folder into our destination destination web server.  Note:  place these files and folders in the exact folder that you want your root of your WordPress installation to be.  Below are 2 examples to illustrate what is meant here assuming we have a url “http://www.example.com”

  1. Root Folder Placement.  If you want your WordPress installation to run when a user visits “http://www.example.com” then you need to install WordPress in the root folder.  Webhosts generally name this folder something like “public_html” or “www” or something similar.  In short, it is whatever folder your URL is pointing to.
  2. Sub Folder Placement.  If you want your WordPress installation to run only when a user visits a sub-section of your main website such as: “http://www.example.com/blog” then you need to install WordPress in a dedicated sub folder named “blog”.  This would require the creation of a folder under the web host root named “blog”.  The WordPress files should then be installed there.

Copy the files over to the desired location without changing the WordPress file structure.  This is usually best achieved using an FTP or other similar program.

WordPress Installation – Run the Installation Wizard

Now that you database is setup and your webhost has your WordPress files, it is now time to run the WordPress installation wizard.  This script will help initialize your site performing actions such as creating your database tables and validating file permissions.

Navigate to your installation location, keeping in mind whether you decided to install it in your root web folder or in a sub folder (http://www.example.com vs http://www.example.com/blog/).  You should see a language selection screen that looks similar to this:

WordPress Installation Tutorial - Language Selection

If you don’t see this screen – it is most likely caused by some database or config related issue.  See our troubleshooting pages for more assistance there.

Select your appropriate language and hit continue.  Your next step will be to fill out certain site setup details including your admin username and password.  Choose a non unique admin username and a strong password.

WordPress Installation Tutorial - Admin User Setup

Once the admin user is created, you will then be taken to login page.  Go ahead an login using the admin username and password you entered on the previous setup screen.

WordPress Installation Tutorial - Login Screen

Once you have finished logging in your setup is now complete!

Conclusion

WordPress is famous for its easy to use installation routine.  Many web hosts will even take care of the installation for you by running a script on your behalf to setup the database and required files.  If you want to setup WordPress on your own we hope that this WordPress installation tutorial was helpful for you.

For more detailed information about the various installation steps, we recommend consulting the WordPress installation guide which can be found here: https://codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WordPress

References

The following resources should be consulted for additional information on any of the topics presented here in this tutorial: