In this article, i’m going to walk you through the steps of installing a WordPress theme and some special tricks i’ve learned over the years!
What is WordPress?
WordPress is an online, open source website creation tool written in PHP. But in non-geek speak, it’s probably the easiest and most powerful blogging and website content management system (or CMS) in existence today. It allows you to install themes, upload and edit your own content, add blog posts and much much more! As if the previous list of WordPress features wasn’t enough, the main power of WordPress lies in plugins.
What is a WordPress Plugin?
A WordPress Plugin is a piece of pre-written software, that is easy to install, which will extend the functionality of your WordPress theme. Think of it as an app for your phone. You install it, and it allows you to do new things! There are millions of plugins just like there are apps! There’s a plugin for almost every need you have so there really is no programming knowledge required 90% of the time. If you need anything custom done, feel free to give me a call and i’ll be glad to help!
Firstly, we have to download the latest WordPress version. Let’s go to https:www.wordpress.org and click the “Get WordPress” button in the top right. It will then direct you to the download page where you can download a .zip file which contains WordPress! Unzip this file and there will now be a folder called “wordpress”. In it will contain everything you need to install WordPress. The installation folder even contains a few starter WordPress Themes to get you going quickly.
I’ll be walking you through installing wordpress locally (on your computer) or on a hosting plan (GoDaddy, Bluehost, etc.).
Installing WordPress locally
WordPress is a framework built on PHP. PHP is a server-side language so we need a server to compile this code and run our website. If you are using a MAC, I recommend using MAMP. You can download and install the free version. No need for the PRO version. If you are using a PC, I recommend burning it and buying a MAC ;). No but seriously, if you’re on a PC download XAMPP. Both of the programs I mentioned are servers that you run on your computer to server PHP applications. They are very easy to install. Once installed, we need to start the servers. Just because we installed the server, doesn’t mean it’s running. MAKE SURE YOUR SERVER IS RUNNING OR NOTHING WE DO NEXT WILL WORK! Both XAMPP and MAMP have a very simple “Start” button. See the screenshots below:
For MAMP, simply click “Start Servers”. For XAMPP, you need to click start next to “Apache” and “MySQL”.
Verify MAMP/XAMPP is running
For MAMP, type “http://locahost:8888” into your browser. You should see a welcome page. This means your server is working. For XAMPP, navigate to “http://localhost”, you will also see a welcome screen. If you’re stuck or not seeing a welcome screen, call me and i’ll help you!
Setting up WordPress
Now that we have our servers installed and running. I need to teach you the basics of how a server works. A server is essentially just a piece of software that server the contents of a “Root Folder” a.k.a the “Server Root”. This means that whatever content we place inside the “Server Root” folder, will be loaded into the browser when we navigate to the above mentioned URLS (“http://localhost:8888 or http://localhost”). Simple enough?
For MAMP, navigate to “Applications/MAMP/htdocs/”. The “htdocs” folder is your “Server Root”. Place the CONTENTS of the WordPress files we downloaded earlier into the “htdocs” folder. Do not put the entire “wordpress” folder itself into your server root, only the contents.
For XAMPP, navigate to “C:\xampp\htdocs” and Place the CONTENTS of the WordPress files we downloaded earlier into the “htdocs” folder. Do not put the entire “wordpress” folder itself into your server root, only the contents.
Now, let’s reload our webpage with the server URLs mentionted earlier (“http://localhost:8888 or http://localhost”). Now you should see the “Welcome the WordPress” installation screen! See below:
Ok great! We’re almost done! Now, we need to create a database. WordPress relies on a database to store all of your pages, posts and more! So let’s create a database.
For MAMP, navigate to “localhost:8888/phpmyadmin”. PHPMYADMIN is an interface used to create and manage databases on your local machine.In the top left of the screen, click the tab “databases”. There will now be a text input that says ““. Enter any name that you would like to call this database we’re creating. For this tutorial, let’s call it “wordpress”. Once entered, leave the collation field alone and click “create“.
For XAMPP, navigate to “http://localhost/phpmyadmin/”. Follow the same instructions from above to create the database. PHPMYADMIN works the same in both MAMP and XAMPP.
Similar to your email, a database requires a user and a password. The database we just created comes default with a user named “root” with a password of “root”. For a professional setup, we would want to set up a user, but for now, let’s just use the root user. This is not recommended for production use though.
Connect wordpress to your database
In a text editor, navigate to your server root (see above for the path to your server root). You’ll see a file named “wp-config-sample.php”. Duplicate this file and re-name it to “wp-config.php”. WordPress is smart and gives us an extra copy of the config in case we mess it up haha. Open the newly created “wp-config.php”.
In this file, we need to add our newly created database information. Find the following lines:
/** MySQL database username */
/** MySQL database password */
Here, we’re going to add our database name, user and password.
/** MySQL database username */
/** MySQL database password */
The above credentials are from the steps we went through earlier when we created our database. THAT’S IT! CONGRATULATIONS! Now navigate back to the server URLs (“http://localhost:8888 or http://localhost”) and you just simply follow the wordpress installation wizard!