Before you install WordPress, check the following things off of your checklist.
- Do you have a domain name
- Do you have a hosting account
- Do you have the latest version of WordPress (download here)
- Do you have the database settings for your new site
Prep the files
Once you’ve downloaded the WordPress files, double click on the download to unzip it. You’ll need to edit one of the files before adding them to your hosting account.
In order to rename the file so that your hosting account knows this is a new WordPress site, you’ll want to find wp-config-sample.php in the wordpress folder + double click on the name. (Alternatively, you could right click on the file + select the option to rename.)
Change the file to wp-config.php + hit return/enter.
Open the file you just renamed in a text editor (like TextEdit on a mac) in order to make a few small adjustments. The core reason for this step is to tell your WordPress site the right database info, which you’ve already set up on your hosting account.
Replace the following lines in your wp-config.php file with the details from your specific database.
- database_name_here will be replaced by your new database name
- username_here will be replaced by your database username
- password_here will be replaced by the password you set
While this step is technically optional, it only requires you to copy + paste. Plus, it’s great for your site’s security, so don’t jump ahead.
You’re going to set new + unique keys + salts for your website. The non-nerdy way of explaining what these even are is that they help your site verify who’s logged in + who’s commenting on your site.
Visit this link to get your unique phrases (they are automatically generated each time the page loads). Copy the entire block of code that is shown.
Still in your wp-config.php file, paste the code you just copied to replace lines 49-56. This block of lines starts with “define(…” + isn’t hard to miss.
define('AUTH_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here'); define('SECURE_AUTH_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here'); define('LOGGED_IN_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here'); define('NONCE_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here'); define('AUTH_SALT', 'put your unique phrase here'); define('SECURE_AUTH_SALT', 'put your unique phrase here'); define('LOGGED_IN_SALT', 'put your unique phrase here'); define('NONCE_SALT', 'put your unique phrase here');
Confirm that you’ve done the following before saving your changes to wp-config.php.
- the filename is correct — wp-config.php
- the database, username + password match your hosting info
- there are unique keys + salts
That’s it! Your WordPress site files are prepped + ready to be installed.
In order to install WordPress, you’ll need to connect to your hosting account via FTP (or by using the File Manager tool that many hosting companies provide.) SFTP/FTP is best, but use what you’re comfortable with.
Find the directory (or folder) that you created for your domain. This folder is where you want to upload the contents of the wordpress folder you downloaded from wordpress.org.
Open the wordpress folder on your computer (the one you edited the wp-config.php file in) so that you can see the files contained within. Select all of the files + folders. Drag those items into the directory you want them added to in FileZilla to begin the upload process.
Because there are a lot of files, this can take a few moments. Once it’s complete, go to your domain (URL/web address) in your browser of choice to finish the installation.
WordPress makes this last step easy for you because they walk you through the steps. You’ll be instructed to select your primary language + then click “continue” to proceed.
Fill out the welcome screen with the info you want for your website. You get to decide on the site name, tagline + your user info.
After you click the “install WordPress” button, you’ll be able to log into your site with the username + password that you set! That’s it!
Congratulations on installing your WordPress website! Now it’s time to start adding your content.
If you want more help setting up your WordPress site, grab the 25 page learn to setup WordPress guide that will walk you through the entire process from start to publish.