Installing wordpress the manual method is quite easy, specially if you are using cpanel based web hosting. Cpanel provides easy tools to manage databases and files.
The typical steps for a manual wordpress installation include:
- 1. Create a Database - Note its name
- 2. Create a database user - Note its username and password
- 3. Assign the database user to the database created - Simple process
- 4. Download wordpress zip file (or tar.gz) from wordpress.org
- 5. Upload the wordpress archive to the file manager inside cpanel in the public_html directory.
- 6. Extract the wordpress files.
- 7. Access wordpress index.php from browser and it will start installation process.
- 8. Follow the wordpress instructions until installation is complete
- 9. Login into WordPress Admin
- 10. Configure stuff
Finally you can access your fully functional wordpress website.
1. Create a Database
Once you have logged into cPanel, look for the button named "Mysql Databases". It should be in the box titled "Databases". If you cannot find it right away use the Ctrl+F feature of your browser. This should not take you more than a few seconds.
Click Mysql Databases and on the next page you should see something like this with a section on the top titled "Create New Database". A database is basically a bunch of files that will store all the data of your wordpress site include the posts, pages that you create. Basically databases store information in a more organised and easy to retrieve manner compared to plain text files.
In the text field enter a name of the new database. It can be anything of your choice. Try not to make it too long. Next click the "Create Database" button.
Important: Note down the name of the database in a text file or document. You will need it later
Good job now you have create a database. Note that in most cases when you use a shared or vps/dedicated hosting server running cpanel, the database name will have a prefix. This is a part of the full database name.
2. Create a Database User
On the very same page where you created a database, if you scroll down, you should see a section titled "Mysql Users". This section allows you to create a database user account that can access data in the database we created. In the section "Add New User" enter a username and password and click Create User button.
Important: Before you click Create User, note down the username and password in a text file or document. You will need this later. And also its not possible to view the password beyond this step. If you forget to copy the password, you would have to reset it to get it again.
This will right away create the user account. Now we have a mysql user account for our database. However one more step is left for database configuration.
3. Assign the database user to the database created
In this step we basically connect the user to the database so that it can access it. Scroll down and find the section "Add User to Database". Select the user we just created and the database we just created, and click Add
On the next page you shall see a lot of checkboxes. Just click "All Privileges" on the top and click the "Make Changes" button at the bottom.
You should see a green popup with a success message. That's it. Now we have successfully setup the database needed for wordpress installation. Next task is to setup the wordpress files.
4. Download wordpress zip file (or tar.gz)
WordPress is distributed as a bunch of php files that are packed in a .zip or .tar.gz archive and can be downloaded directly from wordpress.org
In case you didn't know, wordpress is completely free to download and use! LOL
Go to: https://wordpress.org/download/
Click the Download WordPress button
Download the zip or .tar.gz archive (cpanel can extract both). Save the file on your computer somewhere. This will be uploaded to the cpanel server next which is also going to be a very simple step.
5. Upload the wordpress archive to cPanel
The next task is to upload the wordpress installer archive to cpanel. Click on "File Manager" icon in the section titled "Files". This will open a new kind of interface where you can manage all the files that run your website.
On the left panel you will see some folders (or directories). Look for a directory named
public_html. Any file placed inside the public_html directory will be visible on the website url when opened from a web browser like chrome or firefox.
This is the directory where we need to install wordpress.
On the top horizontal menu look for the Upload button and click it. It will open yet another page which will allow you to select the wordpress file from your computer and upload it. Do the needful.
Once the upload is complete the progress bar will turn green.
6. Extract the wordpress files.
Now that you have uploaded the wordpress zip file in the public_html folder, the next task is to extract or unzip the contents in the very same directory.
Simply right click the wordpress zip file and click Extract from the context menu.
Note: WordPress will be extracted in a sub-directory named wordpress
We will need to edit the files slightly so that it can work from the root url of our website.
Got inside the newly created wordpress sub-directory and look for index.php. Right click the file and click "Move" and move this file outside the wordpress sub-folder and into public_html.
It should look something like this:
Now again right click the index.php file and edit it. Initially it would look something like this:
<?php /** * Front to the WordPress application. This file doesn't do anything, but loads * wp-blog-header.php which does and tells WordPress to load the theme. * * @package WordPress */ /** * Tells WordPress to load the WordPress theme and output it. * * @var bool */ define( 'WP_USE_THEMES', true ); /** Loads the WordPress Environment and Template */ require __DIR__ . '/wp-blog-header.php';
Change the last line to something like this:
require __DIR__ . '/wordpress/wp-blog-header.php';
We made this change becauce the wp-blog-header.php is inside the wordpress sub-directory with respect to the index.php file.
7. Access wordpress index.php from browser and it will start installation process.
Now all the wordpress files and database has been setup correctly. Its time to start the web interface for installation.
We need to access the index.php file from the browser. Since it is directly in the public_html directory, it should be accessible from your website.
So if you website is example.com, then the file should be accessible at the following url:
www.example.com/index.php or just www.example.com/ if the configuration is set right.
Open your browser and type in the url and try to access it. You should be presented with a first-time wordpress installation screen. Its the installation wizard that will guide you through the quick and easy process.
You should be presented with something like this:
Select your language and click Continue.
8. Follow the instructions
The wordpress installation process will ask for a few details that you need to input correctly and keep clicking next. After a few pages the installation should be complete.
The first url to load would look something like this:
Once you select the language and click Continue:
You should have all the database details noted down in a document file from the previous steps, which are going to be used now to install wordpress.
On the next screen you shall have to fill in the database name, username and password. It should look like this:
When you fill in the details correctly and click Continue, it will confirm that the database connection working properly and show a confirmation message like this:
Now you have to finally click "Run the Installation".
This process will create all necessary data tables of wordpress in the database you had created earlier. These data tables store all the information of your site like the post contents, settings, comments, categories, tags and other things.
When installation completes, the next screen will ask for some information about your site.
Fill in the information as per your website and click "Install WordPress".
Finally it will show that everything is complete and you are ready to login to the admin panel.
9. Login into WordPress Admin
If everything goes fine, its time for you to login into the wordpress admin panel and do further setup actions and customizations to make the site as per your needs.
Once you have logged in, you should see your WordPress Admin Dashboard.
Once you are inside the wordpress admin panel you can configure the following things.
10. Configure Stuff
Now there are a couple of important things that you need to configure first. Lets do these step by step. On the left panel click Settings > General
You will see a wordpress address and a site address. The wordpress address is the directory inside which the wordpress files are residing. The site address should be where the index.php is residing.
If you recall from the previous steps, we had moved the index.php file outside the wordpress directory. So in our case the site address should not have the "wordpress" sub-directory part. It should be just the site domain. For example https://www.example.com/
Also add a Tagline for your site. Things should look somewhat like the screenshot shown below. Note that the site url for my wordpress installation is different from yours.
Once done, scroll down and click Save.
The next setting is called permalinks.
Now visit your site from browser using the site url and you should see wordpress working fine.
After you have done the basic setup discussed above, open your site main url in browser and see if it shows the hello world post. If everything shows fine then you have installed wordpress properly and can now continue doing other things.
Next steps would include installing a theme of your choice, installing essential plugins as per your site requirements, and then finally creating content for your site.
You would typically need a plugin for the following essential things:
1. Caching plugin - To speed up the website.
2. Backup plugin - To take backups of your wordpress installation.
3. Sitemap plugin - To create xml sitemaps for seo purposes.
4. Social sharing plugin - To share your posts on social media sites.
That was the hopefully simple process of installing wordpress manually inside cpanel. Most hosting providers like Bluehost, Hostgator, Hostinger, DreamHost, Siteground, Inmotion etc provide cpanel based hosting.
The process of installing wordpress will always be the same for any cpanel hosting environment. You just have to repeat the same steps in order with a few minor changes here or there.
Whether you purchase a shared hosting plan or a vps or dedicated server, the server would most likely be running a whm/cpanel setup. In shared hosting you just have access to cpanel. Whereas in case of vps and dedicated servers you get access to both whm and cpanel, which allows greater control over the server and its resources.
There are many other alternative ways of installing wordpress through automated scripts like Softaculous which is bundled with many cpanel installations. The installation page of softaculous does things in fewer steps but looks more complicated like this:
An interesting feature of softaculous is that it allows you to select from multiple different wordpress versions incase you wan't to install a version other that the latest one.
Softaculous even has its own wordpress plugins like Backuply, FileOrganizer etc that can be checked at this url: https://profiles.wordpress.org/softaculous/#content-plugins
Softaculous tries to make it a single click installation process compared to the above shown multi-step process. Some users may prefer it. However if you are a developer or someone who wants to have full control over the installed system, its always a better option to install manually. The manual process also has the least amount of vendor specific bloat-ware.