What WordPress is and how to install it – a series – Part 2

Every installation of WordPress is probably a little bit different. In my case, I was adding WordPress to an existing site. I already had my hosting account which is currently hosting all seven of my domains. Your installation may vary but my installation explanation should help you a bit.

Every web page you visit is hosted on a computer somewhere in the world. A hosting account allows you to present a website on the Internet. That’s pretty straightforward, right? What isn’t straightforward is getting into a hosting account to actually get your page or site onto the Internet.

Hosting companies have banks of computers which feed their customer’s content onto the Internet. Each customer account accesses the hosting computers via a software interface, much like you see when you are using a piece of software. Every part of the website can be controlled through this software. In order to get WordPress operating, you have to get WordPress installed on the hosting computer. It’s not rocket science but it can get complicated.

In my case, since I have seven domain names, I also had seven folders or directories in my hosting account. Each one of those directories has a name which is similar to the domain name whose files it contains. For example, widget.com would have its files in a folder or directory named widget in the www folder of my hosting account. If you have a hosting account that you access through Cpanel, in my case Cpanel Accelerated, then you either use FTP or direct upload to get your files into the folder for your site. The route for me would be 1. log into Cpanel. 2. Click on File Manager. 3. Choose which site I want to access (in my case brianmahoney.ca). 4. I’m where I want to be. This is where you want to FTP to, in order to upload your WordPress files and folders.

Skipping a little bit ahead, you put the files into that folder, browse to the website through a browser such as Firefox, click install and WordPress pops up with something that says, “Wasn’t that easy!”  You do some stuff with passwords and email addresses which is as easy as pie and then you can start dressing up your website.

In this folder are all of your old files too, the main one being index.html. Remember that I have an existing site, right? I wanted to change it to a WordPress site. WordPress will make a new index file, which no one told me about, but it won’t be an ‘index.html’ file. It will be an index.php file. Because of the laws of the Internet, you can’t have an index.html file AND an index.php file for the same site.  Any browser will default to an index.html page and ignore the index.php page.  It’s not too hard to figure this out but, again, there was nothing about this on the WordPress site. They assume you are creating a new site instead of rebuilding an old site like I was. I simply renamed my index.html file to index.old and, voila, my new WordPress site appeared.

In the WordPress instructions on their site, this is where it gets a bit complicated. When you download WordPress, you get a folder inside of a zip file. After you unzip that file, you have a folder (or directory) on your desktop named WordPress! Inside that folder, is yet another folder named, believe it or not, WordPress. What you have to put up on your website is everything inside of that folder, but not the folder itself.

Before you upload the files and folders, however, you have to change one file. Inside the WordPress documentation there are instructions on how to change the wp-config-sample.php file. The reason behind this is to tell WordPress where it is, where the database it uses to work is and all the other details it needs to work.

Before we go any farther, I have to back up just a bit. I’ll do that in my next entry. I hear you have to keep these things short!