Some people claim you can install WordPress in 5 minutes. Well, you should bring a little more time with you the first time. But it’s not difficult. What steps are necessary?
- your domain. You have thought of a domain name and you have registered the domain with a web host of your choice. You have received access data to your web host so that you can even install WordPress.
Install the database
WordPress requires a MySQL database. You can think of it like a big Excel file, one with lots of tabs and data sheets. Your web hosting contract probably allows you to install more than one database. That’s handy, because maybe you’ll get a taste for it and want to set up more than one website, in more than one web domain. Each domain then gets its own WordPress and each domain needs its own database.
So you log in to your web host and go to the administration of your contract. With my web host (currently 1blu), it looks like this:
You click “Create new database” and give the database a name. This name is only for information in the overview. You also assign a password. I can generate one automatically with my web host. The only one that will use this password later is WordPress itself. So feel free to use a cryptic password. Copy the password into a text file. You’ll need it later. It will look like that:
Then I display the essential data for my new database:
Afterwards we need four pieces of information about the database:
- the name of the database
- the username of the technical user. This is the user that WordPress uses to log into the database. (This is NOT the name you use later to log into WordPress!)
- the password for this technical user, you noted that earlier
- the server on which this database is running. With web hosts, this is often a different computer than the one on which your website is running.
Next, copy the program code from WordPress to your server. For this you have to change a file. This works best on your local computer. So you first load WordPress into a directory on your computer. You can find the current WordPress version here: https://de.wordpress.org/download/
Download this ZIP file to your hard drive and unzip it. Under Windows, this is offered in the context menu (right mouse button), for example. Or maybe you have a program like 7-Zip installed that you can use for this
You will now find a folder named “wordpress” and below it several folders and files:
Customize config.php: Database connection
Next, grab wp-config-sample.php and copy it to wp-config.php. (e.g. right mouse button, copy, paste, rename) You then bring this file into a text editor, i.e. a so-called “plain text” editor. On a Windows PC, for example, this could be notepad or notepad++, but not Microsoft Word. notepad++ is a good choice. you might have to install it on your PC.
Now look for this area:
Here you need the four pieces of information that you put aside above. Make sure they are in quotes and that there is no space between the quotes and the content.
Adjust config.php: Salt
Next comes the Security Keys section. WordPress generates internal keys. For this, random values are rolled. There is also “salt”, a computer term. This should help ensure that these random values are sufficiently random. You can read what that means in technical terms on Wikipedia. The only important thing in practice is that you change these values.
You can use the website mentioned for this purpose. It can look like this, for example. And every time the page is called up, the dice are rolled and the values look different.
Simply mark and copy in the browser, then replace the lines mentioned in config.php.
A short note on the “table prefix”:
WordPress creates a whole series of tables in the MySQL database. All start with wp_. Unless you change that in config.php. If you do this afterwards, WordPress will not find its data again. (You can also change this afterwards, but then you have to dig deeper into your bag of tricks.)
Some people are now recommending changing this value altogether because they think it would make the database harder to hack. On the other hand, someone who has unauthorized access to your database can easily find out what the tables are actually called. This entry is actually intended for something completely different: imagine you have several domains and they should all have different content, but you only have a single MySQL database. Then you can press several databases into one with wp1_, wp_2 etc. You can do that. But it is easier to use several MySQL databases and today’s hosting contracts usually provide more than one.
I mean, if the WordPress programmers thought there was a way to gain security by always changing the prefix, they would recommend it loud and clear. Then it would also be in the wp-config-sample.php template. (“Please change.”) This is not the case. And that’s why I leave wp_ there as well. Of course you can change that if you want. (Here and here are two articles explaining why you don’t gain additional security. However, you will also find articles on the internet saying you should change the table prefix. The choice is yours.)
Now it’s not far until you can see your website in action for the first time. All you have to do is upload the WordPress files to your website.
The usual way to do this is probably an FTP connection. The details depend on your web host. In my case, there is the option in the 1blu customer area to create this access myself:
I get a username and password there. Then I need an FTP program, such as FileZilla. With this I get access to the hard drive at my web host, of course only to the area for my contract. Yours should look similar.
You log in and find two windows, on the left is your local computer. On the right is the hard drive at your web host. There should be something like this:
The entire folder structure of WordPress must now be copied into the subdirectory www (perhaps you have a different name, eg htdocs?). The whole thing so that the config.php file is directly below www. So do not upload the main wordpress folder, but the substructure.
So: the folders wp_admin, wp_content etc. and all files from the main directory go 1:1 to the web server. The wordpress folder itself NOT: Mark the www target folder on the right, select the wordpress node at the top left, mark all files and folders at the bottom left, right-click, upload. This upload may take a while. FileZilla shows you the progress. Once that’s done, you can
Start WordPress installation
You can now access your website. If the config.php is correct (database access) and the files are in the right place as described, you will now see a start screen like this:
Here’s what to do now:
- You enter the title of your website.
- You also choose a username. This should NOT be “admin”.
- You assign a password that you put aside. (Note: this is not the same as the technical password above! These two passwords are unrelated.)
- You enter your email address. You need this if you forget your password.
- You press “Install WordPress”.
WordPress will now initialize the database and create some basic pages for your website. After a few minutes this message appears:
You can now log in to your website’s admin interface with your username and password.
Put up a fence
Congratulations, your WordPress is now available. Everyone can now see your website. It has a few sample entries but no real content. You can now start setting up your website. But you probably don’t want everyone to be able to see you doing it. Some things are not yet presentable. Would you like to present this welcome text to the readers?
Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start writing!
In addition, your site currently has a legal problem: mandatory information such as the imprint and the data protection declaration are missing.
So my urgent advice is: put up a construction site sign. There are several possibilities for this. I use the “My Private Site” plugin for this. And you can install it like this:
- You go to “Plugins” in the admin menu and then to “Install”,#
- type “my private site” in the search field (press Enter) and
- Click on “Install Now” at “My Private Site”
- After installing, click on “activate”.
The plugin is working now. But it is not armed yet:
All you have to do is click on “enable login privacy” and save (“save privacy status”).
WordPress now requires a username and password as the first step for every visitor. Without this, no pages will be displayed. But if you register (and only you can do that at the moment!), you can view and edit all pages.
You can now set up your website with peace of mind. You can experiment. And then, when you’re satisfied, you take the construction fence away again: Admin menu, My Private Site, deselect “Enable login privacy”, save.
Lean back and celebrate
I think now is the time to take a big break and celebrate. Congratulations: your website is alive. You did it, you installed WordPress.
In the next article I will show you how to set up WordPress properly.