How to Start / Setup Your Own WordPress Blog

Getting Started with Your Blog with WordPress


How to Start / Setup Your Own Blog Using WordPress

by Christopher Heng, thesitewizard.com

This tutorial deals with how you can start your own blog using a software called WordPress. The latter is a free blogging program that you can install onto your website so that you can write and manage your own blog. It is generally regarded as easy to install and use.

Requirements

There are certain prerequisites before you can use WordPress as your blogging software.

  1. Your web host must support the execution of PHP scripts. PHP is the computer programming language in which WordPress is written, and for the software to run at all, your web host must support it. (And a "script" in this context means a computer program.) Most, if not all, commercial web hosts will have this facility.

  2. Your web host must provide you at least 1 MySQL database. WordPress stores its data, your blog entries, in a special file called a database. Check with your web host if your hosting package provides any MySQL databases. Again, this is a fairly standard feature provided by commercial web hosts these days.

  3. Your web host should not insert any advertisements into your web page. Although this is not an official requirement for running WordPress blogs, my experience is that you will run into problems if they embed advertisements into your pages. My tests on a few free web hosts providing PHP and MySQL access show that the inserted advertisements interfere with the forms created by the WordPress script, with the result that you may be unable to post or edit any blog entries.

    Note that I am not saying that you cannot put advertisements on your blog. Adverts you insert yourself, if done correctly, do not cause problems. However, some free web hosts automatically inject advertisements into your pages without your intervention. Sometimes these advertisements are loaded into portions of the page that interfere with the WordPress script that handles posting and editing.

Optional but Recommended

How to Install WordPress

  1. Log into your web host's control panel (or whatever they call it) and find the link on their site to create a database. It will probably be in a section called "MySQL database" or "Databases" or "MySQL Manager" or the like. Go to the link or section that says "Create a database" or "Create a MySQL database" or "New Database" or words to that effect. You will be asked to enter a name and password (and possibly also a user name) for the database. Call the database anything you like; it doesn't matter to WordPress what you name the database.

    Make sure that you note down the name, user name and password for your database. You will need it later. If your web host automatically adds a prefix to your database name, note down the entire name, prefix and all. (Some web hosts add a prefix so that the name is unique on their system. For example, for a domain like "thesitewizard.com" and a database named "mydatabase", the web host may create a database with the name "thesitewizard_mydatabase". Note that this is just a hypothetical example. Your web host will not necessarily do things this way, or they may use a different prefix.)

  2. Download the latest WordPress software. You can either get the zip version or the "tar.gz" version. If you don't know what "tar.gz" is, download the zip version. This tutorial assumes that you have downloaded the zip one.

  3. Unpack (or unzip) all the files contained in the archive you downloaded. If you use Windows, this can be done by double-clicking the zip file to open it, and dragging the folder "wordpress" onto your desktop.

  4. Open the "wordpress" folder by doubleclicking it. You should be able to spot a file named "wp-config-sample.php". If you cannot find it, and you are using Windows, look for one named "wp-config-sample" (without the ".php" extension) instead. Windows hides file extensions by default.

    Start up a plain text editor. On Windows, you can simply use Notepad. (I think the equivalent on the Mac is TextEdit.) To start Notepad, click the Start menu button and type "notepad", then click the "Notepad" item that appears.

    Once in the editor, click the "File" menu, followed by the "Open" item in the menu that drops down. Navigate to the file you found earlier and double-click it.

  5. In the file, you will see lines like the following:

    /** The name of the database for WordPress */
    define('DB_NAME', 'database_name_here');

    /** MySQL database username */
    define('DB_USER', 'username_here');

    /** MySQL database password */
    define('DB_PASSWORD', 'password_here');

    /** MySQL hostname */
    define('DB_HOST', 'localhost');

    /** Database Charset to use in creating database tables. */
    define('DB_CHARSET', 'utf8');

    Replace "database_name_here" with the name of your database. Make sure that the name of your database is enclosed within the single quotes. That is, if the name of your database is "thesitewizard_mydatabase", the line should read:

    define('DB_NAME', 'thesitewizard_mydatabase');

    Replace "username_here" with your MySQL database user name, and the "password_here" with your MySQL password. Again, make sure you do not delete the enclosing single quotes. If you were not asked to set a user name when you created your database earlier, ask your web host what it is. (It may actually be displayed on the screen when you created the database.)

    Scroll down the file to find the section containing words like the following:

    define('AUTH_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here');
    define('SECURE_AUTH_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here');
    define('LOGGED_IN_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here');
    define('NONCE_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here');
    define('AUTH_SALT', 'put your unique phrase here');
    define('SECURE_AUTH_SALT', 'put your unique phrase here');
    define('LOGGED_IN_SALT', 'put your unique phrase here');
    define('NONCE_SALT', 'put your unique phrase here');

    Replace all instances of "put your unique phrase here" with any phrase you like. They can also be of any length. Like your password, these keys are supposed to improve the security of your blog. If you can't be bothered to think up new phrases for those keys, you can use WordPress' secret key generator to get some random sequence of characters that you can copy and paste into those lines. Don't worry. You don't have to memorize these keys. Nor do you have to use them anywhere later. It's meant to increase the randomness of certain features used by the blog to make it slightly harder to hack.

    Save the file under a new name, "wp-config.php". To do this correctly in Notepad, click the "File" menu followed by the "Save as" item on the menu that appears. Type the name "wp-config.php", including the quotation marks. You must include the quotation marks or Notepad will name the file "wp-config.php.txt" behind your back.

  6. Now comes the long and tedious part: uploading the files to your web hosting account. It is a long process (especially if your upload speed is slow) since there are many files to transfer.

    You will need an FTP client. This is a computer program that transfers files from your system to your web host. There are many free FTP programs around, and you can use any of them that you like.

    If you don't have a preference, get the FileZilla FTP client and follow my tutorial on how to upload your website with FileZilla. Instructions on how to obtain FileZilla can be found in that article itself. The program is free. If you use some other software, you will have to find how to use that software yourself.

    Whichever software you use, connect to your web host with that program, and transfer all the files located in your wordpress directory. You can do it in either one of the following ways:

    • Transfer the files directly into the main web directory of your web hosting account. Do not transfer the "wordpress" folder itself, just the contents of that folder (that is, the files and subfolders contained in it). You may want to do this if your entire website consists of your blog. You should also do this if you are a total novice when it comes to creating a website or blog, since it will simplify your job later.

    • Another way is to transfer the files and sub-folders into a subdirectory (sub-folder) of your web hosting account. This is useful if your blog is only a small part of your website. For example, if you create a folder called "blog" in your main web directory, and transfer your files there, the address to your blog will be http://www.example.com/blog/. If you don't understand what I just said, use the first option.

  7. Once you have finished uploading your files, you will need to run the WordPress installation script in your web browser. This can be found at http://www.example.com/wp-admin/install.php if you used the first option in the paragraph above, or http://www.example.com/blog/wp-admin/install.php if you used the second. (Replace the www.example.com in the address with your actual domain, and the blog part with the sub-folder you installed WordPress in.)

    If you get an error message at this point, telling you that WordPress could not connect to your database, it probably means that you entered the database name, user name or password wrongly in your wp-config.php file. Fix the incorrect information, and re-upload that file again overwriting the earlier version. Then try the install script again.

  8. If all goes well, you will be greeted with a screen that asks for your Site Title, username, password, email address and Search Engine Visibility.

    The Site Title is the name of your blog. Enter your domain name here or whatever you want your blog to be called (although it is generally not a good idea for your blog/website to have a different name from your domain).

    The username and password is what you will log into your blog with to post articles, customize, etc. I strongly recommend that you give it a different username and password from your web hosting account and database (or any other account, for that matter). Blog software are favourite ("favorite" in US English) targets of criminals, and are very vulnerable since the entire software is located on your website and so is easily accessible.

    The email address is used by the software for various purposes. For example, if you configure WordPress to notify you every time someone posts a comment, this is the address the notification is sent to.

    By default, the "Search Engine Visibility" field of "Discourage search engines from indexing this site" is unchecked, which is what it should be if you want your blog to be listed in the search engines (like Google and Bing). Note though that putting a tick in this box doesn't mean that your blog is now private. It's not. It merely adds a suggestion to a special file called the robots.txt on your website to ask search engines not to index and list your site. It's up to them whether or not to accede to your request. Human beings using a web browser will still see your blog.

Congratulations, you have successfully installed WordPress. You can start posting to your blog by going to http://www.example.com/wp-login.php (replacing, of course, www.example.com with your domain name), logging in with the user name and the password you set earlier and following the instructions given on there.

Copyright © 2007-2018 by Christopher Heng. All rights reserved.
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