WordPress kicks ass but it requires a few – simple – efforts to get up and running. Here is my tutorial for uber dummies.
When I wrote the intro of this blog explaining why I chose WordPress (over Ghost or some hosted solutions, like Squarespace or Weebly), I wasn’t aware that the WordPress installation procedure still seemed far too complex for dummies. Maybe because it involves obscure tech words like ftp or MySQL, which sound daunting for the majority of newbies.
If you really don’t want to take care of the installation process, there are some plug&play solutions like WPEngine or WordPress.com, provided by the creators of the software. WPEngine starts at $29 per month and WordPress.com at €99 per year if you want to attach your custom domain to your site (they have a free plan if you’re happy with a mysite.wordpress.com URL). But if you want to host WP on your side, don’t be intimated by the installation, it’s very easy, you just need to be attentive for a few minutes (stop looking at your Facebook feed and drop this Candy Crush for a while).
Before you start installing WordPress, you need a destination (somewhere) to install it. It might be obvious but some people still ask me “where do I install this WordPress thing?”. Most of the time, the company where you register a domain will offer you an easy way to get a simple hosting solution. For the purpose of this article, I will refer to my own registrar / hosting partner, Gandi.net, which definitely lives up to their motto, i.e. “No Bullshit” (they don’t pay me for this plug). They won’t try to force you into multiple upsell options. They won’t spam you every week with “once in a lifetime offers”. They just deliver the service they promise. That’s what I like!
On Gandi, you can easily set up your simple hosting (make sure you choose the PHP/MYSQL option if you want to install WP) and then attach any of your domain or subdomains to a section of the hosting space. That’s how I created blog.adsy.me as a part of my simple hosting plan (the root “adsy.me / www.adsy.me” being set up on Heroku). I simply added blog.adsy.me via the simple hosting control panel and the Gandi platform took care of all the setup in the background (connecting the subdomain to the hosting space). I have also created in the same way a series of other subdomains which I will launch very shortly.
The only thing I needed to do on Gandi before leaving the control panel was to create a DATABASE that I would connect to the WordPress install. It’s very easy, simply login to the database manager, then click on NEW, choose a name for your database (it can be anything) and hit CREATE. It’s that easy. You can close the database manager.
Unzip the folder on your computer.
Open a sFTP client (I would advise FILEZILLA, free to download).
Then simply connect to your hosting space to upload the WordPress package.
You will need to use the login and password provided by your hosting partner to get access to your hosting space via FileZilla.
When successfully logged in, you will see a series of directories in the RIGHT column, select VHOSTS.
Then you will see all the subdirectories corresponding to the (sub)domains previously declared. Here is for instance blog.adsy.me. Select the subdirectory where you want to install WordPress.
But don’t install it there yet! Click on HTDOCS. By default, Gandi has installed a index.html page in this htdocs directory. You can delete it, no worries.
NOW you are ready to upload WordPress. In the left column of FileZilla, open the WordPress folder (don’t upload the folder itself, otherwise your website will be at blog.adsy.me/wordpress and it’s not what you want).
Select all the elements contained in the folder, from the screen section below and then start the UPLOAD.
It will take a few minutes. Don’t worry if you were disconnected from your server, FileZilla will reconnect and start the upload.
When the upload is finished, open the URL of your site / blog in a web browser.
For instance, when I installed WordPress for blog.adsy.me, I simply opened blog.adsy.me.
Choose a language and proceed to the screen where you will be prompted to declare your database (make sure you remember the name you gave it). In the example below the name of the DB is WordPress but it could be MYBLOG or MYDB or whatever you declared.
Hit SUBMIT, then proceed to the final step, where you define the name of your site, the username and password to get access to your admin dashboard and type in your email (if needed you’ll be able to change the TITLE of your site later on).
Click on INSTALL WORDPRESS and… you’re done! Congratulations.
Simply login with your username & password and start populating your site.
You can easily change the theme of your WordPress install via the APPEARANCE section in the sidebar menu.
There are plenty of providers selling themes on the internet. I strongly advise both ThemeForest and CreativeMarket for the quality of their selection. I also wrote an article (in progress) curating the themes I love. When you upload a theme on WordPress, use the theme ZIP file, no need to uncompress the file, WordPress takes care of it.
I hope you found this article useful. Please share it with your friends & colleagues to spread the word.