Andrew Godby 5 months ago
godby91 Verified #wordpress

Installing WordPress on Shared Hosting Account

A beginners tutorial on installing WordPress and setting it up on a shared hosting account.

So, you want to build a WordPress website?

WordPress is a user friendly CMS (content management system) that allows anyone to build a website without any coding experience. Select your theme, pick some plugins, and round up your content. Easy peasy. WordPress allows for enough flexibility to allow even seasoned developers to use the system for very finite tasks. I've seen a lot of crazy custom WordPress themes and plugins over the years. Just know the flexibility is there if you want to learn about it. In this guide, we will be going over same basic things to get WordPress newcomers up and running. However, if you want to delve into the various developer documentation, check out the developer docs on wordpress.org

Differences between wordpress.com and wordpress.org

Alright, so the very first thing you should understand is that there is a big difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org. The essentially offer the same CMS system, but the difference is in how it's delivered.

Wordpress.com allows users to host their website on their domain. If you create an account there, your website URL will be something like, "megablog.wordpress.com". For businesses this isn't exactly a great domain name. I think everybody and their brother would probably agree that you would want something like, "joespizza.com". Right?

This is where wordpress.org comes into play. You can download the full CMS system here in a zip file. This allows you to use the WordPress CMS on any hosting provider, just about anywhere. You can connect your custom domain, install it on a subdomain, or - install it on 'localhost'. We will learn more about localhost later. Store this term in the back of your brain for now.

Assuming you have your own domain secured from a domain registrar like GoDaddy, and a shiny new hosting account ready to go - go ahead and download the latest WordPress build. You can click this link to initiate the download now.


I've got a domin, a hosting account, and the latest version of wordpress. What now?

If your brand new to WordPress it can be a little confusing on where to go next. Follow the steps below (in order) to get rocking-and-rolling with your new website.

1. Point your domain's nameservers to your hosting account. We aren't going to talk in depth about DNS in this article, but you do need to do some basic DNS configurations. Don't worry. I promise everything is a lot easier than you think. When you created your hosting account, you should have gotten and email that tells you what your hosting providers name servers are. There will be two. It should look something like this: ns10385.host.com | ns10386.host.com. The objective is to change the name servers in your domain registrar to those values. Once you do this, it can take anywhere between 5 minutes to 24 hours for the records to fully propagate world wide. 

2. Set up cPanel by uploading WordPress files and create a database. Now we need to put our wordpress files onto our hosting account. Most hosts will have a WHM (web host manager) system. My personal preference is to use AWS or cPanel. As AWS is more complicated, we are going to use cPanel for today's example. Your hosting provider should have an option to log in on their website. Once you are logged into your account, there should be an option somewhere to 'log into cPanel'. Once you get in you will see a lot of different buttons. We are only looking for two for now. File Manager, and Databases. Let's click file manager first. You will see a file browser load in the web page. Look for a directly called 'public_html' on the left hand side. Once you click it, there should not be anything in there except for a directory and a file or two. Leave those be. The server needs those. Look for a button in the top left side called 'Upload'. Click this. You can drag and drop, or browse for your zip folder you downloaded from WordPress.org. Once the progress bar turns green that indicates the upload was a success and you can click the button to return to the file browser. Now, right click on the zip file you just uploaded. It should be titled something like "wordpress-5.7.2.zip". Now click extract. cPanel will ask you where you want to extract it to. You want it to say this: "/public_html/". The " / " indicates the root. Since our public_html folder is inside of the root, we want it to be extracted into that folder. Now click okay and let the server do it's thing.

(Note: the video below I made a mistake! (facepalm..) When I am talking about extracting the wordpress file around 4:06, I said 'deflating'. I meant to say 'inflating')

Now for the database...

Create a database, user, and add the user to the database. Let's head back to the main cPanel screen by clicking the logo in the top left hand corner. From here, locate "MySQL Databases". cPanel makes it really user friendly to create a new database. The prefix of the name of the database won't change, but you can add in the name after that. For example: "corjd_main". You just need to add the text after the " _ " then click create. cPanel will prompt you and let you know the database has been created. Scroll down the page. You will see "Add database user". It follows the name naming convention as the database name. Create a user and assign the user the password. Don't forget this password as you will need it soon. Once you've got your user and user password created, scroll down the page more until you see "Assign user to database". You need to assign the user you just created to the database you just created. Save everything. Job well done!

3. Double check WordPress files are in the proper location and run installation by visiting your domain in a browser. Before you proceed, make sure that your wordpress files are not inside of a directory called 'wordpress'. If you have this directly, don't worry. Just move the contents of that folder up one level using the cPanel file manager then delete the empty directory you just moved the files from. Next, visit your domain in a browser and install WordPress. Great job making it this far. You're killing it. Now for the easy part: installing WordPress. Visit your domain in a browser and you will be met with the WordPress installation screen. Select your language and then enter in your database information. You will need the database name, username, and user password from the previous step. If your database is located on the same hosting account as your WordPress installation, leave the field 'database host' as is: 'localhost'. You can also leave the field 'database prefix' as is: 'wp_'. Submit your information and you will be sent to the next screen to create your user account for your new WordPress website. Fill in your website title, email, username, and password and move onto the next step to login to your website.

That's it! Your WordPress website is installed and ready to work for you.

If you have any questions about this, or you got stuck somewhere, please leave a comment below and I'll do my best to help you along.

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