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For businesses and services of all sizes, a presence on the Internet is a very lucrative avenue for marketing. Social media is a great way to connect with consumers since platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, are used en masse by the general public. However, the caveat to relying on social media is that there are many businesses that are similar in nature trying to market their product or service in the same way. Businesses that install WordPress stand out from the crowds.
Standing out in the sea of commercial, social networking accounts is a daunting task, especially because companies are limited by strict policies to maintain a clean, forward facing look. Taking the Internet as a whole opens further potential to connect with consumers, giving them a concrete platform to connect with the business or service on a level that the business or service itself can customize. This is where WordPress comes in. The following is a guide on how to install WordPress on a typical web-hosting provider.
What Is WordPress?
Initially designed as a blogging platform, WordPress is one of the most popular content-management systems available on the web. This suite powers more than half of all websites because it is very intuitive for both beginners and experts, allowing them to leverage all aspects to a flexible degree. Its popularity has given way to a huge community and network of support and customization websites to enable anybody to set up a beautiful and professional website within a matter of hours.
Why Should You Install WordPress?
Since the Internet bubble, which lasted between 1995 and 200, much of the web leveraged a popular language known as PHP, or hypertext preprocessor. This scripting language enabled websites to function dynamically and let developers implement various interactive features to help users input and output relevant information, giving way to an exciting era of websites set up by both individuals and groups for a variety of purposes.
WordPress was a group effort to create a fork of b2, a popular blogging platform and provided those looking for a blogging platform with a solid brand that was not as easily affected by policy changes as its precursors.
Although much of the Internet is slowly moving away from PHP, it remains a highly sought after skill by numerous entities, since most of them use WordPress and similar robust and open-source software to run their websites. Most web-hosting services that sprung up as a result of the Internet bubble, such as GoDaddy, still rely on certain server configurations like the LAMP software stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP), and as such, WordPress is compatible with most services on the market.
There is a massive, supportive, and helpful community, as well as comprehensive documentation for PHP and WordPress, so a business or service looking to establish a presence on the web in this quickly evolving market should choose WordPress.
How to Install WordPress
To install WordPress, one must begin by understanding some fundamentals of common web-hosting practices.
A typical web-host is run on servers that only the hosts themselves have access to. They partition a certain amount of resources on each of these servers to allow each of their clients to use their services, depending on the tier of service customers paid for.
As mentioned before, most web-hosting providers have set up a LAMP software stack on their servers, so a typical hosting plan grants access to an intuitive control panel where the real work begins. Other hosting providers, often cloud services, do not have control panels set up. Instead, they portion off a part of a larger server or network of servers with no software on them and leave it up to the client to take care of installing whatever software they please. For these advanced steps, documentation is provided by the hosting services.
To install WordPress in particular, one should follow the steps outlined below:
Some hosting providers use a software known as Softaculous. According to the hosting provider’s specifications (something the client does not need to worry about), it installs several different scripts that are readily available and typically open-source, such as WordPress. The client can choose where and how to install WordPress, specify the administrative account credentials, and Softaculous takes care of installing and initializing the WordPress website. After that, it is up to the client to take over and make the best of their new website.
Other providers take a step back to let the user take more control over their provisions or to keep things minimal on their end. Here, WordPress has made their software readily available for download. To obtain a copy of WordPress, one can download it from their organization’s website, located at WordPress.org. The download is in the form of a zip archive that the client should save on their personal computer. The next steps will shed light on what to do with the archive.
Upload the Archive
The client should understand how to connect to the WordPress service via file transfer protocol (FTP), or through their control panel if the option for uploading files is expressly provided. A less intuitive way of uploading would be through secure socket shell (SSH), however most modern web-hosts restrict SSH access for security purposes.
It is advisable to consult the web-host’s documentation on how to properly connect to the server in order to begin the uploading process. Some providers use cPanel or similar control panel software which has a built-in functionality for unzipping archives. In these cases, a file manager should also be present. The client may log in to the control panel, access the file manager, upload the WordPress archive, and extract the archive in the appropriate directory.
Different web-hosts have varying configurations on where the root directory of websites are located, so clients should consult their respective provider’s documentation to figure out where the root directory is.
The most common method of uploading WordPress would be via FTP. Before uploading the archive, however, the client must unzip it and save the WordPress directory somewhere easily accessible. FTP clients, such as FileZilla, provide consumers with a graphical user interface (GUI) to enable them to intuitively manage their local and remote files efficiently. Using a FTP client, connect to the server, navigate to the root directory on the remote window, and locate the WordPress directory in the local window.
With the WordPress directory in the local view and the root directory in the remote view, uploading is as simple as selecting the contents of the WordPress folder and dragging them to the root directory. The upload process takes anywhere between seconds to minutes depending on the client’s available bandwidth. Once the upload is done, they are ready to install WordPress.
Creating a Database
WordPress stores and retrieves data to power its functions by leveraging MySQL, a popular database system that comes packaged with most modern web-hosts. The provider’s documentation should include instructions on how to connect or access the MySQL controls. A control panel should have a link to a function called “phpMyAdmin” accessed similarly as the file manager was.
Logging into the MySQL control panel, phpMyAdmin, the client needs to create a database with a secure name, user name, and password. The user should have all permissions enabled when attached to the database which will allow WordPress to function without an issue. This database information should be stored somewhere safe as this entity will serve to manage all the information passed through the website.
Once a database has been created, it is time to put the information into WordPress and let the script install the website. The client needs to point their browser to their website’s root directory, which is often the domain name that they registered with the provider when subscribing to their service or an IP address provided by the provider upon subscribing.
For instance, if the IP address is 123.456.789, the address to put in the URL bar would be just that. The same applies to a domain name. If the contents of the WordPress archive were placed in a directory, such as /blog/ on the remote server, then the client needs to point the browser to 123.456.789/blog. Going to the correct address will display a WordPress installation page. The client needs to follow the on-screen instructions, input the correct values, and the WordPress script will populate the database with the necessary information to initialize the website for the client.
These are the general steps for how to install WordPress on typical web-hosts, such as GoDaddy. Most modern providers have a control panel and extensive documentation on how to install popular platforms, such as WordPress. Besides web-hosts, there are cloud hosting services, such as Amazon Web Services, which provide clients with more attractive offers: pricing based on usage. The caveat to cloud services is that the servers a client can use is completely blank, so there is a steeper curve to the technical knowledge required using these services.
However, once the initial software stack is established, the installation process is very similar, with the only deviations being that there are no GUIs to aid the customer. The steps above are generalized, so any constraints and documentation highlighting best practices on how to perform some of the steps should be taken into consideration when following this guide. Once WordPress is installed, the website is ready to empower any business or service that the client is aiming to promote through thousands upon thousands of templates, plugins, and tools to extend the platform’s functionality.