Downloading the WordPress Software and Uploading Your WordPress Files - dummies

Downloading the WordPress Software and Uploading Your WordPress Files

Before you can install WordPress manually, you have to download the WordPress software and upload the software to your server. None of this is difficult. So without further ado, get the latest version of the WordPress software.

The famous five-minute WordPress installation includes only the time it takes to install the software. This doesn’t include the time to register a domain name; the time to obtain and set up your web hosting service; or the time to download, install, configure, and figure out how to use the FTP software.

WordPress gives you two compression formats for the software: .zip and .tar.gz. The Zip file is the most common format for compressed files and both Windows and Mac operating systems can use the format. Generally, the .tar.gz file format is used for Unix operating systems.

Download the WordPress software to your computer and then decompress (unpack or unzip) it to a folder on your computer’s hard drive. These steps begin the installation process for WordPress. Having the program on your own computer isn’t enough, however. You also need to upload (or transfer) it to your web server account.

Before you install WordPress on your web server, you need to make sure that you have the MySQL database set up and ready to accept the WordPress installation.

To upload the WordPress files to your host, return to the /wordpress folder on your computer where you unpacked the WordPress software that you downloaded earlier.

Using your FTP client, connect to your web server, and upload all these files to your hosting account, into the root directory.

Use your FTP client to upload your WordPress files to your web server.
Use your FTP client to upload your WordPress files to your web server.

If you don’t know what your root directory is, contact your hosting provider and ask, “What is my root directory for my account?” Every hosting provider’s setup is different. When in doubt, ask!

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you upload your files:

  • Upload the contents of the /wordpress folder to your web server — not the folder itself. Most FTP client software lets you select all the files and drag and drop them to your web server. Other programs have you highlight the files and click a Transfer button.

  • Choose the correct transfer mode. File transfers via FTP have two forms: ASCII and binary. Most FTP clients are configured to autodetect the transfer mode. Understanding the difference as it pertains to this WordPress installation is important so that you can troubleshoot any problems you have later:

    • Binary transfer mode is how images (such as JPG, GIF, BMP, and PNG files) are transferred via FTP.

    • ASCII transfer mode is for everything else (text files, PHP files, JavaScript, and so on).

      For the most part, it’s a safe bet to make sure that the transfer mode of your FTP client is set to autodetect. But if you experience issues with how those files load on your site, retransfer the files by using the appropriate transfer mode.

  • You can choose a different folder from the root. You aren’t required to transfer the files to the root directory of your web server. You can choose to run WordPress on a subdomain or in a different folder on your account. If you want your blog address to be, you transfer the WordPress files into a /blog folder (where yourdomain is your domain name).

  • Choose the right file permissions. File permissions tell the web server how these files can be handled on your server — whether they’re files that can be written to. Generally, PHP files need to have a permission of 666, whereas file folders need a permission of 755. Almost all FTP clients let you check and change the permissions on the files, if you need to. Typically, you can find the option to change file permissions within the menu options of your FTP client.

Some hosting providers run their PHP software in a more secure format — safe mode. If this is the case with your host, you need to set the PHP files to 644. If you’re unsure, ask your hosting provider what permissions you need to set for PHP files.