Hosting and Domain
First you have to get your hosting and domain!
There are a couple of them out there, and if you have one that you prefer, good. Make sure it is reliable though, because you don’t want to have your readers coming in expecting to find your blog but getting a server maintenance message! If not, you can go for HostGator – which is one of the more popular web hosting companies around.
How do you select your domain name, you’d ask?
From the SEO perspective, it would be best to select a keyword rich domain name. For example, if you are going to blog about teaching parrots to talk, then it would be wonderful to get the domain “TeachParrots.com” or something similar.
Unfortunately, with so many domain squatters around and so many websites already established, it is very difficult to find domain names that match your keywords. In this case, you may want to consider putting a filler word before or after your keywords. For example, if “ParrotTalk.com” is taken (which is, by the way), you might want to consider “MyParrotTalk.com” or “TheParrotTalk.com”.
Oh, unless you are going to post A LOT of videos or photos online, the smallest package (Hatchling – 50GB space) is good enough!
If you are using your own host, make sure it allows you to run PHP and make sure and you have at least one spare mySQL database. If you have a choice, it would be good if your host runs on CPanel administration too, because this is what I will be using to show you the installation process. HostGator runs on CPanel, and most others do too… but no worries if your is not.
I won’t be taking you though the step of getting hosting and domain… its pretty straightforward! Just follow the steps on HostGator. Go take some time to do it now! The gator is friendly, and I won’t run away, I promise!
HostGator (or your webhost) should have given you a username and password to access the CPanel administration, right? If not, make sure you bug them until you have it!
By the way, it may take some time for the hosting to be set up – because some time is needed for the DNS servers to propagate (never mind if you don’t know what this means). Go get some coffee and call your long lost friend to chat, go take a nap, or even bookmark and come back to this page tomorrow. Just be patient.
Okay, the next step is where you get your hands dirty with the ultimate blogging platform – WordPress! Why WordPress, you may ask? I chose WordPress for two reasons.
I did a Google trends search on the four blogging platforms, and guess what I see? Blogger is on top, Movable Type and Typepad are below and LOOK at WordPress! (the one in red!) Over the past two years it has gained so much popularity, and that only means there are more people working with WordPress… which means that there will be better support, more plugins and themes for YOU! See how considerate I am?
What? The second reason? Alright alright, I don’t have a lot of experience with the other systems … laugh all you want!!
So we are going for WordPress!
Setting up WordPress
Now there are a couple of methods to set up WordPress. Some hosts have a tool called Fantastico that allows you to set up WordPress in a couple of clicks, but I want to take you through the full version, no shortcuts… just in case your host does not have Fantastico.
Setting up WordPress manually will take you a couple of steps. Let me first list them down:
1. Download the source file and unzip
2. Set up mySQL database
3. Edit wp-config.php configuration and create .htaccess
4. Upload and change permissions
5. Install WordPress
Simple? Let’s do it one by one.
Step 1. Download the source file and unzip
The first step is to download the WordPress installation source file! How do you do this? Simple! Head on to http://wordpress.org/download/, and select “download .ZIP”
You will prompted to save a file something like “wordpress-2.0.5.zip” into your computer. Save it on your computer desktop.
Now when the download is done (depending on how fast your Internet connection is, it may take some time – its about 600KB in size), the next step is to unzip it. Using your favourite ZIP program (or the Windows XP version), just unzip the archive onto your desktop.
The unzipped file structure should look something like this:
Done? Great! Your are done with step 1!
Step 2: Set up mySQL database
Now the next step is to set up a mySQL database.
Let me explain. WordPress runs on a server-side-programming language called PHP, and the data for all the blog posts you are going to make, are all stored in a mySQL database. So now you know why I asked you to choose a host with PHP support and have at least one mySQL database?
That said, the files on your server can be taken away, but as long as you have a backup of your mySQL database, you can recreate your WordPress blog (with all your blog entries) on any other host and any other domain. (But you will lose your template files though)… so remember, your mySQL database file is VERY VERY important!
Let’s get down to doing it.
First thing you have to do is to log in to your CPanel web administration. As an example for this course, let’s just say the domain we get is “bloggingessentials.com” (which is taken up by the way… by me!), and your username is “blogessn” and password for is “handsomedude”.
Again here are the SAMPLE authentication credentials used for this example:
Here’s what you do. Follow me closely. Substitute bloggingessentials.com, blogessn, and handsomedude with your own access credentials and domain.
Step 2.1: Head on to http://www.bloggingessentials.com/cpanel. A dialog box will pop up, asking you to key in your username and password, so go ahead and key it in. Mine’s “blogessn” and “handsomedude”.
Step 2.2: You will be presented with a control panel, something that looks like this. It may not be exactly the same, but it should look similar.
Step 2.3: Find the mySQL databases icon or link and click it… here is what it looks like.
Step 2.4: You will be presented with the MySQL Account Maintenance page, which looks like this.
Step 2.5: Under the section called Current Databases, type “wordpress” in the New Database text box, and hit the Create Database button.
Step 2.6: You will receive a message saying that your database is created. Click on the Go Back link. You will return to the mySQL account maintenance page, and you will see that there is a new entry, under Current Databases.
Step 2.7: Under the section called Current User, type in a desired username and password for your database. This does NOT have to be the same as the one you use for hosting. In my example, let say I use:
Okay, I’m desperately trying to be handsome, alright?
Step 2.8: Again, you will receive a message saying a user is created. Click Go Back. You will see that a new user account is created under Current Users.
Step 2.9: Next, you will need to assign the permissions of the user to the database. To do this, head down to Add Users To Your Databases. You should see your username on the left drop down list, and your mySQL database name on the right drop down list.
Note: Your mySQL username will take the form of cpanelUsername_mysqlUsername… like mine would be blogessn_kianann, and the same goes for the mySQL database name (mine is blogessn_wordpress). Its normal.
You will see a lot of checkboxes under the two dropdown lists. Make sure the one with All is selected, then click Add User to Database.
Step 2.10: You will get a message saying the user access is assigned, and then click Go Back once again. You will see, under Current Databases, something like this.
Phew! That’s it! Your mySQL database is done! Remember your mySQL database name, username and password! Mine is like this:
Database Name: blogessn_wordpress
That was pretty easy right? But you are only at step 2! Hold on! Three more steps to go!
Step 3: Edit wp-config.php configuration and create .htaccess
Alright! On to step 3! Step 3 is pretty easy.
You still have your WordPress installation files on your desktop, do you? Head into the root directory of the installation and find file by the name of wp-config-sample.php.
Make a copy of that file, and rename it to wp-config.php
Now, open notepad, and drag that file in notepad (or just open the file in notepad). You will see something like this. Notice the first few lines in the code which I circled.
Change the values of the lines:
// ** MySQL settings ** //
define(‘DB_NAME’, ‘wordpress’); // The name of the database
define(‘DB_USER’, ‘username’); // Your MySQL username
define(‘DB_PASSWORD’, ‘password’); // …and password
define(‘DB_HOST’, ‘localhost’); // 99% chance you won’t need to change this value
…to your mySQL settings. Mine would be like this:
// ** MySQL settings ** //
define(‘DB_NAME’, ‘blogessn_wordpress’); // The name of the database
define(‘DB_USER’, ‘blogessn_kianann’); // Your MySQL username
define(‘DB_PASSWORD’, ‘ishandsome’); // …and password
define(‘DB_HOST’, ‘localhost’); // 99% chance you won’t need to change this value
Got it? Right!
Save the file and close notepad.
Next, you are going to create a blank file called .htaccess in the root folder of WordPress. Yes, it is a file with no filename, and has an extension of 8 characters -> .htaccess
How do you do that? Fire up notepad again, and using the blank document, just save the file as .htaccess in your WordPress root folder (the same folder where you have your wp-config.php)
You are done with step 3! Told you it was fast!
Step 4:Upload and change permissions
For the next step, you will be connecting to your server though FTP and transferring the files to the server! For this, you will need an FTP program.
If you already have one that you are familiar with, great! If not, I would recommend you download and use FileZilla. Just click on the link, follow to the download page and download the software. Its free!
After you have downloaded FileZilla, go ahead and install it with the default options. C’mon! You don’t need me to bring you through that do you?
Done? You are such a genius!
Okay, now, fire up FileZilla. You will see this.
Click on File->Site Manager. A box will pop up and you will see this:
Click on New Site at the bottom, and specify your domain (mine’s bloggingessentials.com) for the site name.
Specify these settings on the right side!
Logon Type: Normal
Leave the remaining setting as they are. Remember to use your OWN domain name instead of ftp.bloggingessentials.com, your own username instead of blogessn, and your own password instead of handsomedude! *hint* this should be the same ones given to you by your web host – the ones you used to log in to CPanel! You still remember them, don’t you?
Click on Connect!
The dialog box will disappear and in the main panel, you will see some commands running on the top… and after a while, your FileZilla title bar should read something like “FileZilla – Connected to BloggingEssentials.com (ftp.bloggingessentials.com)”
The handsomedude is connected!
Okay, now, on the left side of the FileZilla panel is the LOCAL view – these are files in your computer. The files on the right side of the FileZilla panel is the REMOTE view – these are files on the server. We need to transfer the WordPress installation files from your computer to the server!
On the left side, navigate to your desktop folder where your WordPress files are. It should be something like C:Documents and SettingsKian AnnDesktopwordpress (it would be a little different from yours, depending on what your Windows username is)
On the right side, navigate to the public_html folder. Only files in this folder can be accessed by the Internet browser.
Now, you have to decide where you want to install your WordPress blog. Do you want it installed right at the root folder like http://www.bloggingessentials.com, or would you want to install it under a subdirectory, like http://www.bloggingessentials.com/blog? If you want to create it in a subfolder, create the folder in the right panel. (Right click -> create directory)
In our case, we will install it on the root folder.
So this is what you do. Select all the files in the WordPress installation folder, and just drag it over into the public_html folder.
After you release your mouse, you will see that the files will be copied over to the remote location. There will be a queue at the bottom… and it will slowly get shorter and shorter (it may take some time though!)
When the queue is cleared you are done with uploading!
But, there are some permissions settings you need to change! Here’s what you do.
Over on the right, find a folder by the name of wp-content, right click it, and select “file attributes”
A box will pop up, in the numeric value textbox at the bottom, type “777? and hit okay.
After you are done with the wp-content directory, do the same for the .htaccess file!
Now you are done with FileZilla! Close the application!
Step 5: Install WordPress
Are you ready for the last lap? Tell me! ARE YOU READY?!???
Fire up your browser, and surf on to your blog site! Mine’s http://www.bloggingessentials.com! You will see a message “It doesn’t look like you’ve installed WP yet. Try running install.php.”
Click on the “install.php” link! You will get this!
Read it if you want to… but note what it says wrongly at the bottom WordPress, personal publishing platform… it should be WordPress, ultimate publishing platform!! When you have time, do drop a mail to the developers to ask them to change that!
Click First Step.
You will see this screen. Key in your blog title (don’t tell me your have forgotten your niche! ) and email. You can change these later, but do key in a valid email because the installation is going to send you your password. You don’t want that ending up in somebody’s hands!
Click Go to second step!
Wallah! You are done! Read what is said there! You’ll have your username and password there!
So basically you can login now (follow the link on that page) with the username and password given on that page! And if you surf on to your blog homepage (in my case http://www.bloggingessentials.com), you will see the default blog installation for WordPress!
You will also receive an email with the same information. Keep that email for now.
Phew! You are completely done with the installation! Aren’t you PROUD of yourself? Are you just SMART or what?!
Okay okay, so that’s it!
Yeah, that’s it for today! There are a couple of things to change, but I’ll just leave you here. Its been a long session isn’t it?
Is there anything you found particularly hard to get pass, and you could do with a little more explanation? Please let me know! Drop me a comment below, drop me a mail, get on Skype, get in contact! I really want you to get WordPress installed by TODAY, so we can move forward together.
You’ve been wonderful to be able to read this super looooong page and follow it step by step! Well done! Give yourself a good rest now, go get some drinks and some chicks chips, catch a movie, play some golf, eat some pizza, and empty your bowels! We’ll get going again on the next session.
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