Before going into a basic overview of how to install WordPress, it’s worth just re-iterating that there are two flavours of WP. Flavour 1 is “wordpress dot com” which not suprisingly you’ll find at http://wordpress.com. Flavour 2 is “wordpress dot org” – found at http://wordpress.org.
There is a free worksheet here which describes the differences between the two flavours in some detail, but at a very basic level:
wordpress.org is more powerful and more configurable – but correspondingly more complicated when you’re getting started.
wordpress.com is much easier to set up but has a number of limitations.
We’re going to do a really quick whistle-stop tour through installing a wordpress.org instance. It’s going to be high-level, not least of all because the installation will vary depending on your host. For a much more in-depth overview, either have a look at your host’s help guides or take a look at the WordPress Installation Guide.
Note that the quick list below does not cover lots of pretty important things like making sure your permissions (both database and filesystem) are set correctly, so please make sure you figure this out for your particular host and environment. If in doubt, ask the web or send your host an email.
There are lots of different types of hosting – but one of the good things about WordPress is that because it is so common you’ll find most hosting packages will support the things you need. In order to run, WordPress needs:
- a database: normally MySQL
- a host that supports PHP (preferably a recent version..!)
- enough webspace: WordPress itself is only about 25Mb, but you’ll need to allow for the media files that you’ll upload as you populate your site
To install WordPress, you do these things in this order:
- Download the latest version of WordPress
- Unzip it
- Connect to your host via FTP or SSH and navigate to the place you want to install your site
- Upload all the WordPress files to this location
- Login to your hosting control panel
- Create a new MySQL database, and note down name and connection details
- Create a MySQL user for this database, and note down username and password
- Navigate to your site root via a browser
- Follow instructions, and input your details from steps 6 and 7 into the relevant form fields
- Wait for WordPress to install, then login.
If your host has an autoinstaller (and most do), you can use this to skip steps 1-9 above 🙂
First steps once you’ve logged in
There are several first steps you’ll almost always want to carry out when you first login and look at the dashboard of your new WordPress installation:
- Update everything. Go to Dashboard > Updates and make sure that WordPress core is up to date, ditto all your Plugins and Themes
- Delete the test posts and page – go to Posts and then Pages and delete the dummy pages that WordPress has created for you
- Update permalinks by going to Settings > Permalinks and choosing the option you want. Basically, choose any of the options apart from the default setting. Why? It’s to do with SEO and readability of URLs – there’s more detail here if you need it..
- Uncheck “Allow people to post comments on new articles” in Settings > Discussion. This is only a temporary measure: you’ll almost definitely create pages first and blog posts later on and it’s unlikely you want to allow comments on the fomer. Once you’ve created all or most of your pages, go back in here and check the box again, provided you want to allow comments on posts..
- Create a new page called “home”
- If you want a news section, create a new page called “news” (or if a blog, call it “blog”)
- Go to Settings > Reading and change the “Front Page Displays” option to “static page”, then select your “home” page as Front Page, and “news” or “blog” as your Posts Page.
That’s it. Now you’re ready to go nuts fiddling with your theme, adding content, etc…