Setting Up the Database for Your WordPress Blog - dummies

Setting Up the Database for Your WordPress Blog

By Amy Lupold Bair

After you download the files and uploaded them to your computer, you still have a few steps to go. This step is probably the most technical. Take a deep breath and prepare to set up a database for your WordPress blog. You can do it!

Arguably, setting up a database isn’t actually terribly difficult. However, each web host handles databases in different ways, so there are no straightforward instructions for accomplishing this task.

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.

The database system that you need to use is called MySQL. (Without MySQL, you can’t use WordPress.) MySQL is a relational database management system. It can store all kinds of data for WordPress — from your blog posts to sidebar widget links, as well as all your WordPress settings. So, MySQL stores the blog posts that you write inside a database that’s fast, efficient, and flexible.

If you want to know more about MySQL, pick up a copy of PHP & MySQL For Dummies, 4th Edition, by Janet Valade (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). After you set up your database, you won’t need to know anymore about MySQL for the purposes of using WordPress.

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. The same length and special character restrictions apply, though.
  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.

Because web hosting companies can choose for themselves which MySQL database system to include in their hosting packages, you have to decide which of the following applies to your situation. But 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.
  • 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.
phpMyAdmin is a tool that you can use to manage and create databases.

The web host that you choose probably uses one of the interfaces in the preceding list. You can figure them out and use them fairly easily. If you’re running only one blog, you need only a single database. If you’re thinking of running more than one, you need to find out how to keep your databases healthy and separate by using tools that your web host provides.