Anyone who wants to open a website will come across WordPress sooner or later.
It is the most recommended tool for building websites and web pages and is used by both beginners and professionals. In fact, even IT and web design experts can simplify their work by using an advanced tool – which therefore does not limit their possibilities, but rather enhances them – but which simplifies the process of building and managing web pages – for example eliminating the need to write lines of code.
Being probably the most used CMS ever, WordPress boasts a very large community on the web: with a simple Google search you can find many answers. Unexpectedly, however, the most overlooked aspect is the most fundamental. Anyone who wants to use WordPress will have to install it.
With this guide we want to fill this gap and provide all the preliminary information on using WordPress, including a detailed and step-by-step guide that will accompany you in the process of installing WordPress on cPanel.
What is CPanel
cPanel is a control panel often used by hosting companies. Through the cPanel dashboard you can manage your domains and subdomains, email boxes, databases and hosting files.
The use of cPanel is very often accompanied by that of WordPress which simplifies other operations always related to the management of a website, such as automatic backups, file restoration, creation of mail and FTP accounts.
What is WordPress
We mentioned that WordPress is a CMS. But what are CMSs?
CMS is the acronym for Content Management System: WordPress is therefore a tool for managing the contents of a website. By content we mean all the elements of your site: your pages, buttons, navigation menu, interactions, up to the analytics of your site and your pages.
WordPress is therefore not a software to be installed on your computer, but a tool – software – to be installed on your site. This way, you will have a dashboard to manage all aspects of your website.
How to install WordPress in cPanel
In this guide we will focus on how to install WordPress on cPanel. The procedure that we will analyze is the manual one, because it is the most general and can be used by anyone regardless of the tools available, the level of competence, or the uses they want to make of their own or their web fingers.
The following is therefore a step-by-step guide to install WordPress on cPanel, to be considered as a real manual.
WordPress installation on cPanel: the guide
The first thing to do is get the WordPress zip package which we will then go to install. This is available completely free on the official WordPress site.
Just click on the Download WordPress button and wait for the download to run.
We remind you that this is not a simple installation of software on your computer. You are currently downloading a package of files that you will need at a later stage. Therefore, do not look for the classic “setup” file to double click and launch the installation, but simply remember in which folder you have saved it on your PC because you will need it shortly.
Upload file to the server
WordPress must be installed on the server that will host our website. To do this, we can rely on cPanel (if our provider provides it) which offers, in fact, the possibility of managing the files present or to be uploaded to the server in a very pragmatic way.
To carry out this step, within the cPanel dashboard, click on File Management, in the File subsection.
At this point, you will be shown the folders present in the classic tree structure. The one where we will upload the files is public_html.
The file we downloaded in step number 1 is a compressed file. At this point we have two possibilities: load the compressed file and then extract it within the cPanel file manager, or extract it before loading it through any decompression program (among others, WinZip or 7Zip).
To save a step and use one less software, we show you the number one alternative: the one that involves uploading the compressed file and then extracting it directly within the cPanel file manager.
To upload the files into the public_html folder, click on the folder name and then on Upload (top).
At this point, you can select the file you previously downloaded, or simply drag it to the indicated area. Wait for the upload to complete, and then click Return to […] / public_html.
Inside the public_html folder there is now the compressed file that contains the files necessary for the installation of WordPress. We just have to extract it. To do this, we select the file and click on Extract.
This window, which appears when you click Extract, asks you which directory to extract the files to. We have to select public_html once again (generally, it proposes it to you by default because it is the same folder in which the file to extract is located). Simply click on Extract Files.
In the public_html folder there is now a new subfolder called WordPress which contains all the files we have just extracted. What you need to do now is transfer these files to the root folder.
To do this, we enter the WordPress folder with a simple double click.
Click on Select All, and then on Move.
Here, you have to select the folder where you want to move the files which in our case is / public_html. By default you are offered the folder you are in – which is / public_html / wordpress – so all you have to do is delete “wordpress”.
The WordPress installation files are now present on the server and ready to use.
How to upload file to the server: an alternative method with FileZilla FTP
Filezilla is an FTP client that allows users to connect to the server to access, transfer and edit files on their site. For those who are using it or want to do so, we illustrate the short guide that allows you to upload files relating to the installation of WordPress on the server through Filezilla.
Using Filezilla, it is better to extract the archive of the WordPress file you downloaded using a tool on your computer. At this point, open Filezilla, find the public_html folder and click Upload file. Select the extracted files and that’s it.
This step is used to create a user (which will be associated with a username and password) and choose the name of your MySQL database.
To create your database, in the cPanel panel – in the Database subsection – click on MySQL DataBase.
At this point, in the Create New Database section, just enter a name for your new database and click Create database.
cPanel inserts an automatic prefix to the database name. The prefix matches the username. To proceed, however, you need to add a new user: then go back to the cPanel dashboard and enter the MySQL database section again.
What interests us this time is the MySQL Users section and then Add new user. Here, just choose your username and password, confirm your password and click Create User.
Associate new user with database
We have created our database and added a new user. Now we just have to associate the user with the database, giving him all the privileges.
Still within the MySQL Database section, this time we are interested in the Add user to database subsection. Here you will find two drop-down menus, one relating to the user and one relating to the database.
To associate the two entities, all you have to do is select the user you just added in the first menu, and the database you just created in the second. Finally, click on Add.
What you will find is the page relating to the privileges to be assigned to the new user. You can conveniently click on ALL PRIVILEGES and then on Make changes.
Connect WordPress to your database
To connect WordPress to your new database, you need to create a wp-config.php file. It is a file that stores all the main configuration parameters. If you skip this step, the file will still be created automatically. Since the presence of this file is important for the performance and security of the site, creating it manually gives us more control over these aspects. For this reason, in this guide, we have decided to also illustrate how to create the wp-config.php file manually.
If you choose to speed up the procedure by skipping this step, you can safely move on to the next one in the next paragraph.
From the cPanel dashboard, go to File Management. Open the public_html folder. Here are now all the files extracted from the WordPress archive (Step 1 of this guide). One of these files is called wp-config-sample.php.
At this point, you will need to enter the access date to the database you created in step 2. Then perform the following simple steps:
- after DB_NAME, instead of database_name_ here, enter the name of your database.
- after DB_USER, instead of username_here, enter your username
- after DB_PASSWORD, instead of password_here, enter the password you assigned to your new user
- DB_HOST: here you can leave ‘localhost’ unchanged.
- DB_CHARSET and DB_COLLATE can remain unchanged.
Within this file, a further modification must be made regarding the Unique Authentication and Salting Keys section. Then scroll down the page until you find this section.
It is in this section that you have to enter the secret keys, but first you will have to general. To do this, just go to this link (it is the same one that is also shown in the file you are editing). At the link just mentioned you will be given the keys you need and you just have to transfer them (by copying and pasting) inside the file. You can safely copy all the text that is provided to you and, with that, replace the entire section.
At this point, you can save the changes to the text file (trivially, click on Save).
The file you edited has been downloaded to your computer. The one on your site is not the modified one: all you have to do is upload the modified file. To do this, follow the same steps we indicated in step 1 on how to upload the WordPress archive file. Then go to File Management -> public_html -> Upload. Choose the wp-config.php file. A pop-up will appear warning you that a file with that name is already present on the server and will ask you if you want to replace it: click Yes and wait for the upload to be completed.
Execute the WordPress installation
Connect from your browser to your website. You should get this screen
By clicking on Let’s get started, you are redirected to a screen where you are asked to provide some data. This is the username and database data we created in step 2. Enter it, then once again in the required fields and finally click on Start.
At this point, you can start the installation.
The page that will appear next to you is a Welcome page.
Here, you will need to enter the Title of your site, a username to log in to WordPress and choose its password. You are also asked for a valid email address (so check that you have entered it correctly). In any case, as you fill in these fields, keep in mind that this information can safely be changed in the future.
Once you have completed everything, click on Install WordPress.
Installing WordPress manually from cPanel is the best way to have full control over your site. As you have seen in this guide, the procedure appears more complex than it actually is. With the steps illustrated in detail, manual WordPress installation becomes simple even for beginners with no experience.
Do you have any doubt? Let’s have a chat with me!