How to manually install WordPress on your own domain

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There we go again, talking about WordPress, the most used CMS in the web! Everyone knows how reliable a WordPress website is and how many possbilities it has to offer thanks to the huge number of third-party plugins out there. It is easy to use, simply to mantain and very fast when it comes to add content!

WordPress is so widespread that nowadays most of the hosting solutions companies also offer a “WordPress package” providing a pre-installed version of WordPress together with hosting and domain services.

However, these offers are defintely more expensive than a plain hosting+domain solution, and it is not uncommon that the difference in price is not worthy at all if you know how to manually install a WordPress website by yourself, especially if you think that WordPress itself is totally free.

For this reason, I’d like to share with you this beginner guide so to show you how simple it is to install WordPress by yourself and save some money!

Knowledge Requirements

I’ll tell you immediately: no coding skills are required to follow. This tutorial is dedicated to total beginners and this is what you need:

  • Being able to use a computer. (Unzip folders, copy paste, surf the web, install programs)
  • OPTIONAL: Basic knowldge of what a domain and a hosting server are.

Domain? Hosting? What? (OPTIONAL)

If you know what I am talking about, skip this paragraph!

Else, if you felt lost reading these terms don’t worry, I’ll explain you what you need to know without going deep into technicalities!

Basically, when you go to any website, let’s say www.medium.com, you are typing an address on your browser address bar, right? Very well, put it in the simpliest way, a domain is an address on the web!

Therefore, if your name is John Doe and you wish to have your blog available at www.johndoe.com then you need to buy the johndoe.com domain. You just need to google “johndoe.com buy domain” and, if the domain is available (meaning it has not been bought by someone else), you will find many companies with different offers for you.

However, the domain alone is but an address. It’s like buying an empty plot of land. In order to build on your land, you need an hosting server. Allow me a very little bit of technicality here.

When you visit a website, your browser is showing you some web pages, which are the result of a series of files, coming to your computer from a hosting server. In other words, the hosting server is a computer, located somewhere in the world, that hosts some files in it. In order to have your own website, you will need to buy a piece of the memory in one of these computers. Anytime someone will browse to your domain, then the files will go from your hosting server to the computer that is surfing your website.

Usually, most of the companies provide both domain and hosting (and it surely is a good idea) but it is entirely possible to buy the two things from separate providers.

Prices and offers also vary based on how big the space in the hosting server is and by the number of databaes (required to store content and settings on your websites). I understand how difficult could be to approach all the offers but see the next chapter for the minimum technical requirements you need to look for when picking your hosting services.

Technical Requirements

In order for you to be able to install and run a WordPress website, you must ensure that your provider includes in the offer:

  • At least one SQL database
  • PHP 7 installed on the server
  • At least 2GB of storage space (the more you have, the better)
  • FTP Access (A way of connection that allow you to browse the folders in your server)

When you have purchased your domain and hosting, your provider should send you these information, which are crucial to install Wordpress:

  • FTP host name
  • FTP user name
  • FTP password
  • Database name
  • Database username
  • Database password
  • Database host

If you miss some of these pieces of information, you can ask support from your service provider!

Step 1 — Getting WordPress

Wordpress.org
Wordpress.org

As stated above, WordPress is 100% free and it is available for download at wordpress.org.

Once you download the .zip file, you can unzip it and navigate inside the unzipped folder until you find awordpress folder with this content:

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Let’s leave this folder aside for now and let’s proceed to step 2!

Step 2 — Access your hosting server folders

As we explained above, a hosting server is just a simple computer phisically located somewhere in the world. You bought a space inside this computer, and as its owner you must be able to browse into your folders.

You can do so through some access credentials and the FTP which stands for File Transfer Protocol. As its name suggests, it is a way to not only browse the server, but also transfer files from your pc to the server and viceversa.

In order to access via FTP, you need a particular kind of sofware called FTP clients. There are many programs around, but in this tutorial I will use one of the most famous: Filezilla Client which is freely downloadable here!

Once you installed the program you can open it and you will see an interface, divided into 2 parts as shown in the picture below:

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As you see, the left side shows the files in our pc , while the right side is dedicated to the files on the hosting server. It is blank, because you still have to connect to the it.

In order to connect to your hosting server you will need 4pieces of information, provided by your service provider:

  • the FTP host name (commonly ftp.johnnoe.com for www.johndoe.com )
  • the FTP user name
  • the FTP password
  • the PORT (usually 21)

Insert this information in the upper left fields as shown in the picture and click the Quickconnect button to connect to your hosting server!

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Once you connect to your hosting the right side of the interface will finally show some content. The content you see is different for each service provider. What is sure, is that there will be a folder whose file will be exposed to the web. That is the public folder and there is where we will have to place our WordPress files.

In my case, the public folder is public_html (see pic below). This folder represents for me the root of my website. This means that, given my domain (marcolanci.it) if I place my WordPress files directly there, then you will see my website at www.marcolanci.it. Else, if I were to put my WordPress files in a folder named hello and then place this folder inside public_html , my WordPress website woud be reachable at www.marcolanci.it/hello.

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On the left you can see my hosting server content and my public folder

Now, let’s stick with the initial idea: you have a johndoe.com domain and want your WordPress website to be reachable at www.johndoe.com . This is what you need to do: first of all, you need to identify which is the public folder on your hosting server, your provider will give you this information, and in some cases, it is also possible that when you access your FTP you are placed directly inside your public folder.

Once you found your folder, open it in the right side of Filezilla Client. On the left side, navigate into your files to the folder containing the wordpress files, the one we downloaded in step 1, so to have a situation like shown below:

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At this point all you have to do is to select all the files on the left from wp-admin to xmlrpc.php and drag them into your public folder on the right! If you see some files on the right side, don’t worry about them.

note: you can also drag the files directly from your computer folder to the right side of filezilla, it makes no difference.

At this point, you will notice that the tabs on the bottom left of Filezilla Client interface will start displaying some numbers. More precisely, the number on the Queued files tab on the left will constantly decrease while the number on the Successful transfers on the right will constantly grow. This means you are correctly transfering the WordPress files to your hosting server!

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The process may take a long time so don’t worry, just wait untill the Queued files tab reaches 0.

It is possible that during the transfer a popup like this may appear. Don’t worry: just select the overwrite option check the Apply to current queue only.

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A few pop ups like this may appear during the transfer.

If you see some number on the Failed transfer tab it is not a problem. Wait for the process to end. Right afterwords, click on the tab, select the files and right click on them. then select “Reset and requeue all”. If you still have failures, try to click and transfer them one by one.

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There may be some failed transfers, click on the tab, select the files and right click on them to reset the queue.

If the queue does not restart automatically, just right click on the Queued files tab and select “process queue”. At the end of the process, you shall see all the files on the right side, and no numbers on both the Queued files and Failed transfers tabs, this means the WordPress website is ready to be installed and configured!

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There we go, no queued files nor failed transfer! Let’s go on!

Step 3 — Installation and configuration

Ok my friends, once the files are in the right place, we are ready to complete the installation! What you need to do is open your browser and go to the address where your files has been copied.

So if you have a johndoe.com domain and you placed the files directly inside your public directory, you just need to go to www.johndoe.com ; if you placed them into a foo directory inside your public directory, then you need to go on www.johndoe.com/foo .

Once you get to this address you will be immediately redirected to the wordpress configuration flow! As a first step, select your language:

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Once you selected the language, WordPress will tell you to ensure you have spe pieces of information: database name, username, password and host.

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You can get this information from your service provider. It is usually sent via e-mail when you bu the services but you can find it by accessing with your account to the control panel of your service provider or by contacting them for support. Once you have the information needed you can click on the Let’s go button and you will be shown the following form:

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Insert the information you’ve got. If your provider did not specifiy any host, then leavelocalhost in the host field. As for the Table Prefix, you can leave it as it is ( wp_ ) if you only have one WordPress installation on your database.If you have more than one, then you can name t differently (i.e. wp_site2 ).

If your information is successful, you will see this message!

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Let’s click on the button and let WordPress make its magic. When it’s ready, you will be asked about some basic information about your new website and your account as administrator:

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Once you filled the form, you will be redirected to the login screen, where you can access with your freshly created admin credentials and.. there you go!

Congratulations!

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A complete new WordPress website is ready for you! You have now access to your admin panel and can start crafting your website as you like!

See? it wasn’t so hard after all! :)

Written by

Passionate Coder. Currently Front End Developer @ CWS Digital Solutions

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