How to Set Up Your WordPress Blog

By Amy Lupold Bair, Susannah Gardner

After you sort out your web host and site domain, you next need to download and extract the WordPress files from WordPress.org and put them on your computer. Choose a place you’ll remember, such as a Documents or Download directory. Follow these steps:

  1. Point your web browser to WordPress.

    The main WordPress page appears.

  2. Click the blue Download tab in the top-right corner.

    The site takes you to a short instructional page that has download information on it.

  3. Click the Download WordPress plus version number button.

    Your web browser may ask you to select a location to place the files that are downloading. If it does, choose a place on your computer that you will remember.

  4. After the compressed file downloads, double-click it to expand (or unzip) the files it contains on your computer.

    The files are saved on your computer.

    WordPress files save on a computer.

WordPress.org provides the downloadable file in two compressed formats: GZip and ZIP format. After you expand the file, you can delete it from your computer.

How to upload the WordPress files

Do you have your files unzipped? You need to upload these unzipped files to your web hosting space by using an FTP (file transfer protocol) client. If you don’t have an FTP client installed on your computer, you have plenty of free options that you can download and install.

The following are two favorite FTP clients:

  • FileZilla: Available for all computer platforms

  • Cyberduck: Available only for Macintosh computers

Both of these programs have the capability to connect and transfer files to your new web host. To place the WordPress files on your web host, follow these steps:

  1. Download and install the FTP client of your choice.

    Look for installation instructions on the FTP software website.

  2. Start your FTP client.

  3. Connect to your web server by using the details that your web host provided you for FTP access.

    These details usually include a URL, username, and password.

  4. Using the FTP software, upload the WordPress files from your computer to the server.

    In some FTP clients, you can drag and drop the WordPress files to the location on the web host. Others use arrow interfaces.

  5. When the files finish uploading, close your FTP client.

At some point in the future, you may need to upload additional files (although WordPress is fairly good at doing most of its updates directly through the interface).

Transferring files on FileZilla

How to set up the blog database

Your web host is in the business of handling technical issues, and of course, it sets up the environment in the first place. Don’t hesitate to request assistance with your database setup.

After you know how to access your database setup tool, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your web host.

  2. Create the database.

    You need to name your database something that makes sense. If you have a blog called Joe Smith’s Wondrous Adventures, you can name the database joesmith. The length of database names and database usernames are normally limited, and you can’t include special characters in the names.

  3. Create a database user.

    You can make the username anything, except the name that you used for your database.

  4. Assign a password to that user.

Don’t forget to write this information down so that you can use it when you run the WordPress install script.

Web hosts commonly use one of the following management systems:

  • phpMyAdmin: A database management tool that a lot of web hosts provide to their clients. You can create and delete databases, manage database users, and (depending on what permissions the web host gives you) manipulate the data itself.

    The phpMyAdmin database management tool.

  • cPanel: A common web host interface that generally enables users to create and delete databases. You normally do any additional manipulation by using phpMyAdmin.

  • Plesk: Yet another web host interface that allows users to create and delete databases and manage database users. You do any data manipulation by using phpMyAdmin.

The web host that you choose probably uses one of the interfaces in the preceding list.

How to run the blog install script

After you put the WordPress files in the directory your web host recommends and write down the database information, you only have to run the WordPress installer. The installer is super simple. Things can go wrong, of course, but if the installer gets stuck, it does a very good job of letting you know exactly what you need to do.

Follow these steps to install WordPress:

  1. To run the installer, point your Internet browser to

    www.yourwebdomain.com/wp-admin/install.php

    Remember to replace www.yourwebdomain.com with your domain name!

    The installer checks to see whether you’ve created or edited the configuration file. If it doesn’t find one, it will create it for you.

  2. Click Create a Configuration File.

    This creates your WordPress configuration file. Now all you need to do is enter the information the configuration file needs.

  3. Make sure you have the database name, username, password, and hostname. If you do, click Let’s Go!

  4. Enter the database information.

    You can usually leave the database host as because most web hosting environments use that host without complaint.

    Setting up a WordPress blog with a database host.

  5. Click Submit.

  6. Click Run the Install.

  7. Enter a blog title and your e-mail address in the text boxes provided.

  8. Click Install WordPress.

    If everything goes well, the installer displays the word on the screen. The username and password of the administration user also appear on the screen. Keep a record of this information in a safe location because if your blog experiences any problems or you need to conduct any WordPress configuration or management, you will need to log in using the admin account.

  9. Click Log In.

    The log-in page appears, where you can log into your new installation.

    That’s it! You’ve done it! You can now log into your new WordPress installation and get busy publishing.