Most people who work online have heard about WordPress. It powers approximately 30% of the entire Internet. Let’s have the sink in a bit, 30% of the ENTIRE Internet. I have no idea how many zeros would be on that number, but the take away here is that it is popular, wildly popular.
It’s a platform that allows you a great deal of power and scalability without frying your brain with a lot of coding. Even with that, there are points of it that must be made clear or you’ll drive yourself crazy.
Most web hosting companies allow for a 1-click installation of WordPress, but sometimes they don’t work correctly or your hosting company doesn’t offer it and for those situations I’m going to walk you through the manual process.
WordPress is a completely free and open-source content management system— one of the easiest to use and most robust that currently exists. Virtually every major web hosting company offers installation of WordPress with a single click. However, some users may wish to install WordPress themselves. This can be accomplished a number of ways. Today we are going to cover installing WordPress via FTP. In order to install WordPress directly, a few prerequisites are needed.
To install your WordPress site with FTP, first you need a FTP client on your computer. ‘FTP Client’ is an abbreviation of the term ‘File Transfer Protocol’ and the technical term for a downloaded software tool that will allow for drag-able access of files from your computer to upload to your website’s directory. It really is a powerful thing and if it isn’t used properly you really can mess your site up once things are up and going. But since this is a fresh installation, we don’t have to worry about that part right now.
My favorite FTP Client for PC is FileZilla
My favorite FTP Client for Mac is Fetch
Create FTP Account In Your Hosting
Great! Now you have your very own FTP Client on your computer. Now you need to make sure you have access to your hosting. Generally you have to set up your own FTP user access within your hosting. This is a different process for every hosting company as their backend environments are all different. But the end goal is the same. You need to create an FTP User Account. You will create a username and a password (make it very strong!) My favorite password generator is :: Password Generator. The other piece of information you’ll need is the hostname. Once you create the user account generally the hosting company provides you with the hostname upon accepting the newly created user.
Depending on if you’re hosting is set up to create what is called Secure FTP (abbreviated sFTP) you’ll also need the Port Number to be able to access via your FTP Client.
Let’s Test It Out
Okay, now that you have downloaded your FTP Client and created FTP user access within your hosting- you’re now ready to test the connection.
Go to your FTP Client on your computer, put in the information you just created- FTP username, password, hostname, and when appropriate (for sFTP connections) your Port Number. Then click connect.
With the help of the Internet Gnomes you should now be able to see everything in your hosting file structure. Which should be pretty much nothing right now since we haven’t installed WordPress yet.
NOTE :: All hosting environments are different and every computer is different with how they handle the FTP Client. It is pretty much expected to run into issues the first few times you do this- especially if all of this technology and terminology is new to you. I’m here for you! Let me know in the comments where you’re running into issues and I’ll do my best to answer your questions!
IMPORTANT: Users should make sure to verify that that both their local computer and their web host meet the minimum system requirements to install WordPress. Mostly none of that will make any sense- especially for beginners but that’s totally okay- you shouldn’t need to know that information unless you’re using a small hosting company. With WordPress powering 30% of the web, most hosting knows they need to meet these minimum requirements.
Creating Your Database
WordPress requires a database to operate properly. Users will have to create a database and a user account who has full access and modification privileges (MySQL is the popular database option for WordPress). It is VERY IMPORTANT to keep this information, you’re going to need it in a moment.
Creating the database seems a little daunting to begin with, but it’s straightforward, especially knowing you’ve already been in the backend of your hosting account and created your FTP user account.
Every hosting company is different and listing how to do this for each – though a goal of mine for all of you- we don’t have that right now. So you may need to contact your hosting company directly to help with this part. But your goal is to create a database and a database user. Which means, you’ll need to keep all of that as you’ll need it in a moment to complete the installation. You’re creating a database name, a username, and a password for that user. Write that information down and keep it safe.
Let’s Install WordPress!
You’re going to want to download the most up-to-date version of WordPress to your computer. It will download in the form of a zip file. Once the WordPress file has downloaded, unzip the file.
Upload the unzipped WordPress files via your FTP Client into the root directory. All the files should be uploaded to the root directory of the web server if integration into the root of the domain is desired (i.e., www.thisisjustanexample.com rather than www.thisisjustanexample.com/blog). Once all the files are uploaded into the root directory you can run the installation script by navigating to the URL where the files are.
Once the WordPress files are uploaded to FTP, you will be prompted to go through a few basic questions to set up the WordPress shell. This is where you’ll need all of that database information I had you write down as well.
That’s all it takes to install WordPress using an FTP client.
NOTE: I’m sure many of you will run into snags and issues with this- it’s totally normal and expected. Even those of us who have done this hundreds if not thousands of times sometimes run into issues. Don’t become discouraged! Lets work through it together! Let me know how it goes for you in the comments!