How to Install WordPress – Step by Step

22nd June 2020

WordPress Maintenance Services How To Install WordPress

You’ve got your plan for your website, registered the domain name, and now you just have the tricky problem of how to install WordPress. We’re going to take a look at your options for installing WordPress on your web hosting account.

There are two main methods of installing WordPress, one easy way (at least in theory), and one not so straightforward method. Your web hosting plan may let you install the latest version of WordPress with just a few clicks of the mouse button. Alternatively, you may have to install the WordPress software manually. We’ll take you through the process for both situations, step by step.

WordPress is a very popular way of creating a website, so most web hosting providers offer support to help you install the software. While originally you had to install WordPress manually, now there are easier options to make the process as pain-free as possible.

We’ve tried to use the most common web hosting setups to show how to install WordPress, but your particular hosting or the software they use may differ slightly. Also, WordPress is continually updated so the processes could be different from the examples given here.


How to Install with One Click – Almost

Most web hosting companies provide their customers with a cPanel dashboard to control your hosting. This lets you manage your site, showing performance metrics, and including sections for your files, databases, domains, security and more.

If you don’t have cPanel, don’t worry, your host is likely using similar software that achieves the same tasks. Other popular hosting control panels that you might be using, include;

  • Plesk
  • DirectAdmin
  • Ajenti
  • Webmin

Step 1 – How To Install WordPress With An Auto-Installer

Your cPanel or equivalent interface should have an auto-installer section. This could contain several different auto-installers. If you have this available to you, you probably won’t need to install it manually.

An auto-installer is a script which creates the folders and installs the files for you. Popular auto-installers that you might come across include Softaculous, QuickInstall, and Fantastico. You might also have a WordPress logo in the auto-installer section.

Now all you need to do to begin the process is simply click on the WordPress logo in the auto-installer section. If there isn’t a WordPress logo, click on the Softaculous or other auto-installer logo and select WordPress from there.

You should now see a screen which tells you more about WordPress, the version available to install, and what it can do with it. Click on the “Install Now” link.

Step 2 – Filling in the Details

You will have to add some information about your site now. If you have an SSL certificate for your website, select the “https://” option, if not choose “http://”. The default is “http”, and if you aren’t sure, you probably don’t have an SSL certificate.

You also need to fill in the domain name you are using for your website.

The next thing to do is to choose your directory. However, you probably shouldn’t fill in anything here. Instead, if you leave it, blank WordPress will be installed as the main file on your site. When you type in your domain name, you will go directly to WordPress, which is what you want. So leave it blank.

The “Site Settings” section asks you to enter the name of your site and a description. You can fill this in now or change it later if you don’t know what to write. You also have the option to “Enable Multisite” with a tick box but don’t tick it. Unless you want to operate multiple sites through the same WordPress installation, don’t tick the box.

Next, you need to create an admin account with a username, password, and email address. You will need to use this information to log into your WordPress dashboard, so don’t forget it.

There could be a few other options which are specific to the particular auto-installer. They can be safely left in their default settings.

Step 3 – Install

Just one more crucial thing you need to do, and that is to click on the install button near the bottom of the page. Expect it to take a minute or two, and then you should have a confirmation of the successful installation.

Go to the “wp-admin” page of your site at “” to log in.

How to Install WordPress Using FTP

If something has gone wrong with the auto-installer, or perhaps you’d like to do things the old fashioned way, you can manually install WordPress as well. While it certainly isn’t as simple as using an auto-installer, the WordPress 5 minute install it isn’t too tough either. Let’s go through the steps you need to follow for a manual install.

Step 1 – Downloading WordPress

Your first course of action is to download the installation package from Click on the “Get WordPress” button on the home page to take you to their download page. Download the file.

You will need an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program to upload your files to your web hosting account. FileZilla is a good and popular choice, but there are many other free software programs available like SmartFTP or Free FTP. If you don’t already have an FTP program, you will need to download and install one as well.

Step 2 – Unzip and Upload

When the files have finished downloading from the WordPress site, you need to extract them and upload to the “public_html” directory in your webspace. Right-click on the file you’ve downloaded and select unzip. The contents of this folder are everything that you need to upload.

You should have the information from your web host to allow you to connect to your FTP server. They may have sent you an email with the details, or it will be shown on your cPanel dashboard. The information you need will include:

  • FTP Address (domain name or IP address)
  • FTP Username
  • FTP Password

The username and password may be the same as your login information for cPanel. Select port: 21 and upload everything you’ve unzipped to the “public_html” directory.

Step 3 – Create a Database

WordPress needs a database to function. Return to your cPanel dashboard and click on “MySQL Databases” or “MySQL Database Wizard” in the Databases section.

Select the option for “Create a New Database” and fill in a name for your new database. Click on “Create Database” when you are happy. You need to remember this database name as you will need to add it somewhere later on.

You should then add a user for the database. Click on “MySQL Users” on the same page and fill in the details for a username and password. Then click “Create a User”.

That new user then has to be given access to the new database. This is done in the section just below. Select the user and the database from the drop-down menus and click “Add”. You should then see a “Manage User Privileges” page, tick the “All Privileges” box and click “Next Step” to confirm.

Step 4 – Install Wizard

If you have finished uploading using the FTP software, you can now visit your website. Type in your domain name in a browser, and you should see the WordPress install wizard. This is the beginning of the famous 5 minute WordPress installation, but of course, it will only take 5 minutes if you ignore the previous steps we’ve gone through.

Select the language of your choice.

Next, you need to fill in the details of the database you’ve just created. The database name, the database user and their password need to be correctly filled in.

Leave the other details the same and click “Submit”. If you’ve done everything correctly, you should now see a page with a “Run the install” button, click it.

This takes you to a page where you can fill in the title of your site and your username, password, and email to give you access to WordPress. Don’t set your username as admin, as it makes it easier for someone to hack your site. Then click “Install WordPress”.

WordPress should now be installed. Log in with the username information you previously created.

Possible Problems with Your WordPress Install

Sometimes things can go wrong with a manual installation. One possible problem could be found if the wp-config.php file isn’t writeable as it should be. This can be remedied by finding the wp-config-sample.php, renaming it without “-sample” and changing the database, username and password lines in the file to the information you chose. Then replace the old file.

Final Thoughts

Even if you’ve gone through this guide and found it helpful, it is actually possible that you don’t even need to know how to install the software to use it on your website. Some web hosting packages come with it already installed, with optimised hosting for the platform. This will let you bypass the whole process and begin working on your site straight away.

Either way, once you have WordPress correctly installed and working, the fun really begins. Now you can choose your theme, add plugins, and start creating posts on your new WordPress site. Of course, you may need to read other guides to help get your site looking and working as you imagined, and hopefully, we can help with that as well.

Gavin Pedley

Gavin Pedley

Gavin is the guy behind the award-winning ThriveWP. He has over 18 years of experience creating, developing, hosting and managing WordPress websites.

Gavin regularly shares his expertise via the ThriveWP blog and Youtube channel, where he creates informative and helpful WordPress tutorial videos.

Connect with Gavin on FacebookLinkedin or Twitter.

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