Welcome to another tutorial in the Installing WordPress in the Cloud series. Today, we’re going back to the basics. We’re going to learn how to install WordPress manually. If you’ve wanted to manually install WordPress in a server all by yourself, this tutorial is for you. This tutorial digs into the basics of WordPress giving you an overview of how WordPress works internally.
With the advent of cPanel, a lot of our work has been reduced – which is an amazing thing. Almost every shared hosting provider that you find today will include a licence of cPanel in your hosting account. If you manage to find that doesn’t offer cPanel, you’re better off going with a different hosting company. Okay, so let’s break down this tutorial. We’ll first list the prerequisites and then move on to the major tasks.
- We assume you’re on a shared host with cPanel installed. If you’re having a hard time deciding which shared host to go for, you could try BlueHost.
- You have FTP access to your public_html directory. This is the folder that will hold the WordPress installation files.
- You have a standard database like MySQL
Major Steps in Manual Installation:
- Download wordpress.zip file and upload to public_html folder via FTP, or via cPanel File Manager
- Extract the contents of wordpress.zip using cPanel File Manager.
- Create a new MySQL database and user.
- Run the famous 5 minute WordPress installation.
Step #1 – Upload WordPress Files to Server
First we download the latest version of WordPress from the WordPress.org repository. Uploading the WordPress files to your hosting server can be done in two major ways.
- You could use the cPanel File Manager to upload the zip file, OR
- Upload the file using FTP access.
We’re going to highlight both the methods.
Step #1.1 – Uploading WordPress ZIP archive using cPanel File Manager
Login to your hosting provider’s Client Area and launch cPanel. If you’re unable to locate it, you could try yoursitename.com:2082 since cPanel’s defult port is 2082. In case you cannot login to cPanel, contact your hosting company’s support center.
Locate and launch cPanel’s File Manager by clicking on it.
If a message like the one shown above appears, select the Web root directory. We assume that you have one domain linked to your hosting account. In case you have multiple domains or sub-domains, we assume that you know what you’re doing, and are familiar with the web root directory of each domain or sub-domain.
cPanel File Manager
Step #1.1.2 – Understanding which Directory to Install WordPress
Alright, assuming that we’ve got one domain connected in our hosting account, the Web root directory, also referred to as the www directory is the folder containing all the files in our website. Technically speaking, the web root directory for a domain or a sub-domain is the base directory containing all the files available to the public HTML port (i.e. port 80).
If the last line is all mumbo-jumbo to you, consider an example. Suppose you’ve purchased and linked your domain to your hosting account. The content of your website, say www.yourwpsite.com will be available in the www directory. When you create a folder inside the www directory, it’ll be available in your domain through the link www.yourwpsite.com/folder-name. Let’s apply this newfound knowledge to help us decide our WordPress installation directory.
- Using the same rules, if you want your WordPress site to be available under yourwpsite.com, install it under the root directory.
- Else, you can make a folder and install WordPress there. Please remember this step as it’ll be useful when we talk about installing WordPress using automate script installers like Softaculous.
Step #1.1.3 – Upload, Extract and Move
So far we’ve downloaded the wordpress.zip file, and decided which folder to install WordPress in. Cool, now we will navigate to (or create) the folder where we want to install WordPress and extract the wordpress.zip archive in that folder.
Let’s say we want to install WordPress in a folder called ourwpsite, located inside public_html. In this case, our WordPers site would be accessible under yousitename.com/ourwpsite
In the above screenshot, we’ve created the ‘ourwpsite’ folder and are currently inside it.
Upload the Archive
Now we’ll upload the wordpress.zip file inside this folder using the File Manager’s Upload function. (Refer point #2 from the screenshot above).
On clicking the Upload button, a new tab opens up. Select the wordpress.zip file and the upload automatically starts.
Once the upload is complete, close the tab and return to the File Manager. If you still don’t see a file in the ourwpsite directory, click the File Manager’s (and not the browser’s) Reload button. You should see the wordpress.zip file now.
Extract the Archive
Now, select the file and click on Extract.
Once the extraction is complete, again click on the Reload button. You should see a folder called wordpress.
Move the Contents of the Extracted Archive
By now, you might have realized that if you leave it in this state (i.e. not move the contents of the wordpress folder), then our WordPress site would be accessible from www.yoursite.com/ourwpsite/wordpress.
Clearly, this is not something we want.
Thus, we must move the contents of the wordpress folder back to the parent (or your preferred) directory. To do this, we can either use FTP or cPanel. Let’s go for the latter.
Enter the wordpress folder and click on the Select All button. Then click on Move.
Now, you’ll find a pop-up modal asking your for target directory (i.e. where to move the files you just selected)
Since we don’t want it under a folder called wordpress, we’ll simply move the files to it’s parent directory. Thus, we remove the “wordpress” word and click on Move File(s). The files should be moved and the wordpress folder should be empty.
Navigate back to the previous folder (ourwpsite) and you should find all the WordPress files ready and waiting for installation.
Step #1.2 – Uploading the wordpress.zip archive via FTP
First off you need to download an FTP client like FileZilla. Next, you need to familiarize yourself with the concepts we discussed in steps 1.1.2 to 1.1.3. This will give you an understanding of where to install WordPress.
Once you’ve understood step 1.1.2, create the desired folder using your FTP client and upload the wordpress.zip archive there. Next, you will have to follow the instructions in step 1.1.3 to extract the files and move them to the appropriate folder.
In another case, if you’d like to keep it simple, you could extract the wordpress.zip archive in your local computer, and upload the extracted files in the desired installation directory in your server. However, the uploading process would take a substantial amount of time. On the plus side, you can skip step 1.1.3 altogether. This marks the end of step 1.
Step #2 – Creating a new MySQL Database and User
In our guide – WordPress Internal Functioning, we’ve seen that WordPress needs a database to store it’s text and configuration data. In this step we will create a new MySQL database along with a user, who would access the database.
Step #2.1 – Create a New MySQL Database in cPanel
Login to your cPanel and launch the MySQL Database Wizard.
Set a unique database name. It is a good security measure to use alphanumeric characters. In this case, our full database name is souravku_db40urwpsit3
Create a new user. Similarly the full username is souravku_usrwpex.
In this step, we use the in-built password generator tool to generate a really strong password. Copy and save it elsewhere. Click on Use Password to proceed.
cPanel will auto-fill the generated password for you. Click on Create User to proceed.
The new user is now created. In this step we will grant permissions to the user, so that he may access the database. Permission levels and components in SQL requires knowledge of databases. Luckily, we don’t need to concern ourselves with that. Simply, click on ALL PRIVILEGES to grant all the permissions. Click on Next Step to proceed. cPanel will now make the necessary changes to the user as directed.
Done! You’ve successfully created a new database and user. This concludes step 2.
Step #3 – The Final Configuration
Now that we’ve completed the installation procedure, let’s run the famous five minute WordPress installation. Head over to your WordPress directory via your domain (and not via cPanel). In our case, it would be yoursite.com/ourwpsite. This will launch the installation process.
Select the language.
This is some troubleshooting information if your wp-config.php file isn’t writeable.
Enter the database information from the last step. Make sure your table prefix isn’t “wp_“. This gives attackers an added advantage. Change it to an alphanumeric value.
Run the installation!
Now this part is simple, but important. Once crucial step is not to use admin as an username, as stated in our WordPress Security Guide. We’ve also disabled search engine indexing, since it is a temporary experimental WordPress installation.
Done. We’ve successfully installed WordPress 100% manually.
WordPress is served
We hope you’ve enjoyed this “back to the basics” tutorial as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it! If you have any questions, please drop us a comment or feel free to tweet me at @souravify. If you think I’ve missed any step or have any suggestions for us; please let us know. We’d love to hear from you! Thanks for reading! Happy trails.