You might find building your own website fulfilling, but unless you know a lot of code, you’ll probably find publishing much on the web frustrating if not impossible. Even if you have advanced coding skills, you’ll find that building your own website and content management system will take a quite a long time.
Thankfully, there’s a completely free open source publishing system you can use to power a website or blog: WordPress. Its usability, and being free, make it the most popular content management system on the web, powering over 75 million websites. It’s also very easy to install – you don’t need to know anything about web coding.
There are really two options for using WordPress – create a website on WordPress.com, or self host a website. It’s really very easy to create a website on WordPress.com, as there are step by step instructions, but the downside is there will be limits on flexibility and how much you can upload. This tutorial is about how to host your own installation of WordPress, as it’ll give you much more freedom to scale and customise your website later on.
The first step to host WordPress is to ensure you have both a domain and hosting, and that the domain is pointing at the correct nameserver. If you’ve purchased both from the same provider, then it’s simpler.
WordPress is a dynamic publishing system that uses a database – so you must purchase a MySQL database on your hosting package or you won’t be able to install it.
Download the latest version of WordPress at wordpress.org/download/and unzip the package.
Your hosting provider will have a section in your website’s cPanel called MySQL databases. You need to navigate to there, set up a database and then then create a user who has access to the database. If you only setup the database, you won’t be able to give the installation access to it, so make sure you create a user.
Open your downloaded package and rename the file wp-config-sample.php to wp-config.php, then open it up in a text file (you can use Notepad on Windows).
Scroll down to MySQL settings. There will be a series of criteria you will need to fill out according to how you set up your MySQL database and users in the last step. Basically copy the inputted data for:
Then save the wordpress-config.php file.
Once you’ve filled out this information, access your server via your FTP client. Now you need to drag and drop the contents of your WordPress folder into where you want it to appear. You can place it at the root or in a folder like /blog.
Now that it’s uploaded, just navigate to the install script. This will be at www.yourwebaddress.com/wp-admin/install.php if you installed in the root, or it will follow the folder path if you installed it in a folder. E.g: www.yourwebaddress.com/blog/wp-admin/install.php
If there haven’t been any hiccups, then WordPress should now be installed, and you’ll get a welcome message. If it hasn’t worked, it’ll be worth running through the detailed steps on WordPress.com to see where you may have gone wrong.
On the welcome window, enter your login details, then you’ll be taken through to the login page.
The most important feature of how your WordPress site will look is in Themes. If you want to change it, you can select from hundreds of free designs. There are also paid for WordPress themes to buy if you want a certain look. Beyond that, you’ll need to edit your theme’s HTML and CSS if you want to customise the precise look of your site.
At this stage, you should be ready to start publishing on WordPress – navigate to Posts >> Add new, add you’ll be able to start publishing.