Learning how to install WordPress will vary somewhat depending on the individual circumstances. Before you can learn how to install WordPress there are some basic things to understand about WordPress and the different options that are available to users. In this How To Install WordPress article we will first take a look at the different aspects and possibilities available with WordPress, then give some basic instructions for installing WordPress.
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
The first thing to understand is the difference between the WordPress products that are available. WordPress.com doesn’t require any download or install but rather is a hosted blogging software. What does this mean? In essence, you can create and customize a website without paying for hosting or hiring a design team or programmer. Simply sign up for a free account, choose your subdomain (the URL for your site will be something like mysite.wordpress.com), and choose a theme (there more than 200 to choose from). There are a few advantages to using WordPress in this way: it is very cost-effective, easy to use, no technical knowledge required, you will have automatic backups, and security and upgrades are taken care of automatically. The disadvantages are that you don’t really have the ability to add a custom theme or plugins and you can’t modify any of the code.
The difference of WordPress from WordPress.org is that it is a downloadable program. This means you have to have your own hosted site to install WordPress on. As with most things, there are both pros and cons to using WordPress in this way. The good part about using WordPress in a self-hosted environment is that you have a lot more control over using custom themes, plugins, and modifying code to achieve a desired result. On the downside, you will be responsible for all your own security, upgrades, backups, spam control, and making sure the site can handle spikes in traffic. This will require a lot more technical knowledge, skill, and management.
Deciding which to use will depend on what type of website you want to create, what kind of knowledge and skills you have, and how much money you want to spend. For a small personal site, the free service from WordPress.com will likely meet all your needs. Some people are deterred from this option because they don’t want their site to be a subdomain on wordpress.com. But if this is the only reason you don’t want to use it, there are mapping options that will allow a user to register a top level domain and have the URL mapped to the free WordPress site, there is an additional fee for this but it is minimal, $13 per domain per year.
Many of the top web hosting providers provide one-click installs that automate the WordPress install for you. If this is not a possibility with the web host you are using, check with them to find out for sure or to find out if they offer support for installing WordPress, there is a simple 5-minute install instructions offered by WordPress that we will summarize below.
After downloading and unziping the WordPress package, create a database and MySQL user on your web server. Rename the wp-config sample file to wp-config.php. Open this file in a text editor and put in your database details to generate your secret key password. Next, you will need to upload the WordPress files onto your web server. The unzipped WordPress directory can be uploaded to the root directory or you can use FTP to install it in its own sub directory. Lastly, run the WordPress install script, this can be accessed via a web browser at http://yourdomainname.com/wp-admin/install.php, if you installed the files to your root directory. Otherwise replace the yourdomainname portion with the url where the files are uploaded. That is it. Pretty simple.
If you need more detailed instructions or have questions you can visit the WordPress support page for additional instructions, community support, and other tips and help. The great thing about using WordPress is that there are so many plugins, widgets, and options available that make it possible to do just about anything. Because WordPress is open source, there are literally thousands of people working on it all the time, adding new elements and perfecting old ones. If there is something you would like to see available on WordPress you can create it or suggest it to the community and see if someone else is interested in creating it. Because it is so popular and so widely used, most of the web hosts support and facilitate the use of WordPress making it easy to install WordPress and added components.
If you don’t need all the extras and just want something free and simple, check out WordPress.com there is nothing to install and it is very easy to use. The options are more limited, but if you don’t have a lot of technical knowledge and aren’t looking to create a very large or intricate website, WordPress.com will likely meet all your needs. Keep in mind that the basic WordPress.com does not allow for adsense or other marketing campaigns. If you still have questions about installing WordPress or the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.og, check out the WordPress support and forums for more information and conversations regarding a variety of WordPress products and services.