What WordPress is and how to install it – a series – Part 3

This blog isn’t in any kind of proper chronological order. You’ll have to sort through it to get a complete concept of what I’m trying to explain. If you’re a pro, this will look pretty lame, I’m sure. If you’re a newbie, like me, you just might be able to figure it out with this and the WordPress tutorials. Basically, I’m trying to add some missing points to the tutorial that the good people at WordPress have created.

Before we get too far into the installation, we have to back up a bit. There are some necessities that WordPress needs in order to be able to work on your behalf. One of these is something called MySQL. Another is PHP. The former is a database management system, read Mom. The latter is something that produces web pages from code. WordPress produces the code when you type your stuff into it, telling it what to put where. As soon as you click on SAVE or PROCESS or PUBLISH, WordPress spits out the code and PHP pops out a nicely designed web page and puts it up on your website, complete with links to your old posts and any other little things that you tell it to do, all automatically. WordPress needs PHP to work. The whole point of WordPress is linked to PHP. You type your words in a browser and PHP creates a web page for you. That’s why your index page, the main page of your site, is an index.php file instead of an index.html file.

As far as MySQL is concerned, let’s think about your house or apartment. It’s a database, right? It’s full of bits and pieces of your life. Sometimes you know where things are, sometimes you don’t. When you don’t know where something is, you call in your Mom or your wife or your girlfriend/boyfriend. They become the MySQL in your life. Bing, bang, boom! Suddenly that missing piece of paper is in front of your nose. The missing socks are all put back in your drawer. That’s what MySQL does on your website. It keeps track of all of the bits and piece of your website, sorting it out and keeping track of it. WordPress needs MySQL to work. It sorts out all of the bits and pieces of your web pages and tells anything that asks it where everything is.

My hosting company has three levels of hosting accounts, bronze, silver and gold. Guess which one I was on? Yup, bronze. Bronze was great for my original hosting needs but it didn’t offer either MySQL or PHP. Part of my original setup with WordPress was to change my account from bronze to silver. That took a few days, some emails and, of course, a hit on my credit card. Most hosting companies give you the best price if you sign up for a long period of time. Right now, I’m good for two years.

Once I had my new silver account set up, the first thing I had to do was to create a MySQL database. With this hosting company I am only allowed five databases. Since I have seven domains, I’ll have to figure out a way to split one database between three domains. Details on that later.

The WordPress documentation is pretty clear on how to set up the databases. First you have to name it. Then you have to create a password for it. Then you have to allow people to access that database. Usually, the user is you, right? If you are sharing your site with another creator, then you have to set up user accounts for that person too. This is the same as your bank account. No different. You set it up, you allow access to some people and then you set your parameters. Your kids can only add money, for instance. They can’t take money out! You can add money, take money out, basically do whatever you want.

That’s it for this entry. If you have questions or comments or suggestions, please comment below.