WordPress is one of the most popular blogging software programs available. Today we are going to review how to self host WordPress and create a self install instance of it.
Self Install WordPress vs Hosting Install of WordPress
You are probably asking why would you want to bother to learn how to self install WordPress when your hosting package has a one click button to do it for you. Well, here’s some reasons (from past experience):
- You don’t know what version of WordPress the hosting’s one click button will install.
WordPress is constantly improving it’s security. Quite often the one click install buttons at your hosting company are not kept as up to date as if you had gone to the WordPress site and picked up a copy yourself.
- You don’t know what features the hosting company has disabled.
Especially as a new blogger, you won’t know what features come with WordPress and which of those features the hosting company has disabled.
- Some make it difficult to backup the database and your WordPress files.
Another mystery why they would do this, but it does happen. One should not rely on the web hosting to backup your site as you never know when they do it. You could have spent a whole day tweaking your WordPress blog and adding content and then a few hours later the web server crashes. If this happens between the web hosts last backup and their next one, all your work is lost if you have not backed up the site yourself.
With a self installed instance of WordPress you will have all the features that come with WordPress, be able to backup the database and backup your WordPress files.
WordPress Hosting Requirements
When selecting your web hosting company and account type to sign up for you need to check that it has the specific requirements WordPress needs to run. As of this writing, the requirements for the version of WordPress coming in the Spring of 2011 are:
- PHP version 5.2 or greater
- MySQL version 5.0.15 or greater
- Apache mod_rewrite module – important for making search engine friendly urls
If you have come across this article after the Spring of 2011 you can check the current WordPress requirements on the Hosting WordPress page of the WordPress.org site.
What You Need to Self Install WordPress
There are a few things you need before installing WordPress:
A Domain Name
The point of doing a self install installation of Wordpres is that your blog is hosted on your own domain name.
If you have not secured a domain name yet here are a couple of articles to read about choosing and purchasing a domain name:
The latest version of WordPress for self install is available on the WordPress.org website on the WordPress Download page.
There is a download button over on the right.
Download the .zip version of WordPress and save it to your computer somewhere where you will remember where it is.
Unzip the WordPress Installation Package
You will need a program to unzip the file you download from WordPress.org. We use WinZip but there are free programs available.
It is easier to upload the WordPress files via FTP than using your web hosting file manager screen. See our FTP software post if you need help setting up your FTP software.
A Folder on Your Computer to Unzip WordPress into
Create a folder on your computer to unzip the WordPress package into.
A Plain Text Editor
You will be editing the configuration file for your WordPress install therefore you need a plain text editor like Notepad. You can use your HTML editor in code view to do this if you wish but it has to be in code view.
A Database Set Up at Your Web Hosting
WordPress uses a database to file all the content of your blog.
Instructions on how to set up a database on your specific web hosting account would be available through your web hosting help section.
You will need to write down the following information from the installation of the database:
- Database name
- User name
- Database password
- Database host name
Unzip WordPress Package
Using your Zip software, unzip (extract) the files from the WordPress zipped file into the folder you made for your installation of WordPress.
WordPress creates a folder called wordpress with all the files required inside it. If you are a more experienced zip software user, you can just unzip the contents of the wordpress folder into your new folder.
Set Up the WordPress Configuration File
Within the wordpress folder is a file called wp-config-sample.php. Open it with your text editor and save it as wp-config.php.
Scroll down the file until you see //** MySQL settings. This is the start of your database information that needs to be filled in. There are comments within the file indicating what information goes where so there is nothing to be nervous about.
e.g. The first part of the database information you enter is the database name.
/** The name of the database for WordPress */
Replace putyourdbnamehere with the name of your database you wrote down. Now
fill in the rest of the database information in the next spots:
/** MySQL database username */
/** MySQL database password */
/** MySQL hostname */
The next two sections leave as is. Scroll down to
* Authentication Unique Keys.
WordPress uses a key for security. The instructions on how to get the key are right in the cofiguration file below the comments shown above. Once you have done that, scroll down where it says
* WordPress Database Table prefix.
By default WordPress uses the prefix in your database table as wp-. For better security, change the wp part to something else.
That’s it for the wp-config.php file. Save the file and close it.
Upload WordPress Files
Using your FTP software, upload all the files within the wordpress folder to the location where you want to install WordPress.
If you want your blog at the root of your domain name (www.myblog.com/) then these files are uploaded to the root of your webspace. For situations where you decided to add your blog to an existing site you upload the files to the folder for your subdomain or folder that is going to contain the blog.
That’s it. Close your FTP software.
Start WordPress Installation
Open your browser and type in the path to where you want WordPress installed with wp-admin/install.php at the end. e.g. If installing WordPress in the root of your domain name the path would be www.mydomain.com/wp-admin/install.php
This part is really easy! Just follow the instructions on your screen as WordPress installs itself. Write down the password you are given! You will need it to login and make further changes to your WordPress install.
Experiment with Your Self Installed Worpress Blog
Now that you have installed WordPress you can experiment with different themes, create a post and create a page.
As you experiment and learn more about WordPress you will really appreciate that you went the self install route with WordPress.
Having problems installing WordPress? Contact us and we will give you a hand.
This post was created as part of the V7N Blogging Challenge with a Twist