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How to Install WordPress? [Clean Installation]

How to Install WordPress - WordPress Clean Installation
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If you want to create a company website, eCommerce store, blog, or basically any type of website, your first go-to option on the table is WordPress! So It’s recommended to learn how to install this CMS without leaving any residual files & extra settings.

Why WordPress is Perfect for Creating a Site?

WordPress is a CMS or Content Management System that allows anyone to create any type of website without writing a single line of code. Also, WordPress is a useful Freelancer Skill so learning it, which begins with installation, can help you Make Money Online!

Here, you will learn how to install WordPress in 5 easy steps!

Why WordPress?

WordPress is very popular and powers more than one-third (37%) of internet websites. Every time someone wants to Start an Online Business, WordPress is the first piece they’ll need to get things going.

People are using WordPress to create personal & company websites, portfolios, blogs, eCommerce stores, forums & social network sites, online learning systems, and many more.

Apart from the market share of WordPress and its versatility, it is open-source, free, and easy to use meaning anyone can learn how to create a website with it and publish posts in a matter of a few hours.

Also, WordPress comes with a lot of Plugins & Themes 90% of which are available for free. Plugins help content management and expand the usage of WordPress by adding different features. Themes help websites look better, fresh, and attractive and site owners/admins can customize the website the way they like.

Let’s look at WordPress’s advantages & disadvantages from an expert’s standpoint:

Advantages of WordPress

  • It’s free & open-source.
  • It’s lightweight & fast and most importantly, SEO friendly.
  • You can install it in 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Hosting requirements are really simple. Basically, it can run on a Linux-based server powered by potatoes!
  • There are a lot of plugins & themes available for free.
  • It constantly receives core & security updates.
  • Even by standard, it comes with a lot of features blogs and personal/company websites require.
  • It has a large active community as well as conferences & seminars like WordCamp.
  • It supports over 60 languages right out of the box.
  • You can manage your website on your smartphone using WordPress App.

Disadvantages of WordPress

  • Cannot handle large-scale operations like those of a big eCommerce store.
  • Customizations at different levels are limited and often difficult.
  • Don’t have deep custom features for certain businesses even by adding plugins.
  • WordPress’s popularity makes it a target for spam & DDoS attacks.

Before You Start

As cooking fried egg requires a pan, some oil, and an egg or two, installing WordPress requires certain ingredients too. Let’s prepare them for installation!

  • Obviously, you’re going to need a device connected to the internet. You can use a smartphone to install WordPress, but it takes 5 hours rather than 5 minutes! Use a laptop or even a tablet.
  • A website can be accessed by a Domain name that you have to purchase. For a regular .com, .net, .org, etc. domains, visit GoDaddy or Namecheap. If you want free domains, then visit the Freenom website. I’m not promoting any of these websites BTW.
  • Web Hosting is equally important. It’s the space you rent on the internet to host your website files. You can purchase hosting from GoDaddy & Namecheap too (not an advertisement) or go with WordPress Recommended Hosting Services. If you want free hosting, although I’m not recommending free hosting at all, you can visit the InfinityFree website.
  • And last but not least, your domain should point to your hosting service, meaning you have to set up your domain DNS to the hosting name servers. Your hosting company and domain reseller both have tutorials for that but if they didn’t, Namecheap has a good tutorial for that.

Install WordPress in 5 Steps

With ingredients prepared, it’s time to install WordPress (version 5.9.1) in 5 steps. The screenshots I provided for this tutorial are taken from a local hosting company with the cPanel control panel.

cPanel is widely used by big hosting companies and the chances you’ll have the same control panel is actually very high. However, in case it wasn’t cPanel, the procedures are fairly similar in other control panels like Direct Admin, Vista Panel, and CWP as far as I remember.

Step 1: Download WordPress

The first step, and the easiest one, is to download WordPress files from the official repository. It’s free so you don’t need to buy anything. You just download it.

Go to WordPress.org and click on “Get WordPress”. WordPress.org is different from WordPress.com, which is the WordPress free blog service website.

WordPress.org Website

On the new page, scroll down until you see the big blue “Download WordPress” button. Click it to download the files. It’s about 20 Megabytes and should download in a few seconds.

Downloading WordPress Files

It is compressed in a .zip file. You can also download it in .tar.gz format, which works like .zip, but there is no need for that.

After that, extract the files and leave them until the third step.

Step 2: Setup a Database

For the second step, you have to create a database for WordPress. A database helps the CMS to keep and manage all settings, resources, media, posts, users, customizations, etc. efficiently.

To create a database, access your hosting control panel, the cPanel in this case, and type “Database” in the search bar.

Search for Database on cPanel

You have to find and click on “MySQL Database” or anything that is referring to SQL database management.

Click on MySQL Database Manager

On the database management, under the “Create a New Database” type in a 5- to 10-character word for your database name. Then, click “Create Database” to complete the process.

Your database name is usually “HostUsername_DatabaseName”, but HostUsername might not be there, depending on hosting service configurations.

Create a New Database

Every Database requires at least one user to function. On the same page (Database Manager), under the “MySQL Users section” & “Add a New User”, type in a 5- to 10-character username and choose a strong password for it.

Create a User for Database

For ultimate security, let the cPanel generate a secure password for you. Remember to copy the password into the clipboard because you’ll need it for the third step. Then click “Create User” to complete the process.

Your username is usually “HostUsername_Username” but sometimes HostUsername may not be there because the hosting company set it that way.

Now, by default, your new user doesn’t have a purpose because it is not connected to a database. To connect the new user to the database you’ve created before, on the same page go to the section called “Add User to Database”.

Add User to The Database

Select the user and the database you want to connect to and click “Add” to go to another page called “Manage User Privileges”.

Check All Privileges to Complete Adding Username to the Database

On this page, according to the image above, just check the “ALL PRIVILEGES” checkbox and click “Make Changes” to complete the process.

When done, the second step is finished and you now have a new database with a fully privileged user connected to it.

Step 3: Edit WordPress Files

For this step, first, extract the zip file you downloaded from WordPress.org. There are a lot of files and some folders that you have to edit one file and also delete some of the non-essential ones.

Extract WordPress Files from Zip to Computer

First, let’s delete some files based on the instructions below:

  • On the root folder, delete the readme.html and license.txt files.
  • Go to wp-content>themes> and delete all folders except one (doesn’t matter which one).
  • Go to wp-content>plugins> and delete the Akismet folder as well as the hello.php file.

Now, go back to the root folder and rename the wp-config-sample.php file to wp-config.php (remove the word “sample” from the filename).

Now open the same file in notepad or any other text editor. I use Notepad++ which is free and open-source and full of good features.

In this file, there are 4 places that you need to edit.

Editing wp-config.php File
  1. Replace database_name_here with the database name you have created.
  2. Replace username_here with the username you have created.
  3. Replace password_here with your username password that you copied to the clipboard.
  4. Replace localhost with hosting company database hosting URL but 99% of the time, it is localhost and doesn’t need to be replaced.

Remember to type your database name, username, and password between the two apostrophes (‘). They work as separators and are important for the code to function properly.

Rename & Open wp-config.php File

That’s it. Leave the rest of the file unchanged and save the changes you’ve made. It should look like the image above after you replace all sections.

Step 4: Upload WordPress Files

When the edits on WordPress files were done, select all of them while you are in the root folder and add them to a .zip file. Don’t create a .rar file or any other compressed archive file. Only Zip format.

Compress all edited WordPress files into a zip file

When compressing is finished, go to the hosting control panel and search for “File Manager” and click it to access, well, file manager!

Go to Hosting cPanel and Access File Manager

In the file manager, you’ll usually see something like the image below; Some strangely named files & folders. Open the folder called “public_html”.

Go to the Folder called public_html

If there wasn’t anything like that, then your hosting company properly limited you to only see website root, which is fine. It means you are already in the public_html folder.

Overthere, you’ll see an empty folder, maybe with a “cgi-bin” folder sitting there alone. Don’t bother it and let it be there. It’s kind of important to have than on your website root folder.

On the top menu, just like the image below, click on the “Upload” button.

Click on Upload button

On the next screen, select the zip file you’d created, or drag and drop it on the screen, to begin the upload process.

Select the Zip File and wait for the Upload to Finish

The progress bar shows the uploading percentage and it should turn green to be considered complete. Sometimes, it might say 100% but the bar is blue. In this case, wait until it turns green.

When the upload is completed, go back to the public_html folder to see your zip file. Select it, then right-click it to open the menu. From there, choose “Extract” to uncompress all files within the .zip.

Extract the Uploaded Zip File

When extracted, you’ll see all WordPress files & folders appearing in the website root folder and you’re almost done installing the WordPress. Just one step remains that I’ll explain in a bit.

Zip File Extracted

Each file and folder has specific permissions that are designated by numbers. The column on the left side of the image shows the permission. Folders are 0755 and files are 0644.

By default, they must be correct but if they weren’t right-click on the file or folder and select “Change Permission” to make necessary changes.

Delete the Zip file since it is not needed anymore

When you’re done with this uploading and extracting, you no longer need the zip file. So, for security reasons, go ahead and delete the zip file. Right-click on the zip file and select “Delete” as the image above shows.

Step 5: Begin Installation

Provided you did everything correctly in the previous 4 steps, you are ready to install & run WordPress.

First, access your website via your domain (DomainName.com or www.DomainName.com) to reach the WordPress installation screen. The first prompt is selecting the language.

Go ahead and select the language you want your WordPress in and click “Continue”.

WordPress Installation Select Language Screen

On the next screen, you have to enter your website information. It’s pretty straightforward!

WordPress Installation Information Screen
  1. Enter the title for your website, like company name, your name, or anything you like. You can change it later too.
  2. Enter the username of the administrator that has the highest level of privileges. I usually go with Admin or Administrator or my domain name.
  3. Choose a strong and safe password. You can also use the random password that the WordPress installation chose for you. If so, just remember to copy it into the clipboard.
  4. Enter an email address that you can access and use. This is useful if you lose your password and want to recover it, or if your website has encountered an issue.
  5. The checkbox asks you whether you want search engines to recognize your website as a public website. If checked, your website will be considered noindex by search engines and they might not show on the search engine results page. It’s better to leave it unchecked.

With everything set, click “Install WordPress” and wait a few seconds for the installation to complete.

WordPress Installation Success Screen

Upon completion, you’ll see a new screen with Success! written on the top (image above) indicating that everything is done right and your website is ready.

So, congratulation! Your website is not powered by WordPress!

When you click “Log in” you’ll be redirected to the login area of your website backend a.k.a. WordPress Dashboard or just Dashboard.

WordPress Dashboard Login Screen

Also, you can access the login area by typing wp-admin or wp-login.php at the end of your website URL. So it would look like DomainName.com/wp-admin or DomainName.com/wp-login.php.

It’s an ordinary login form so it needs no introduction. Your website dashboard however is a new world of content management systems that has everything your need to run a website.

WordPress Fresh Installation Backend Dashboard

In the dashboard, you can change your website settings, download new themes to change the looks, install plugins to add more features, write & publish posts, and do lots of other things that are outside the scope of this article.

Also, by default, your website active the theme you have in your installation folder (the one folder we kept when deleting others from wp-content>themes> back in the third step).

WordPress Fresh Installation Frontend

I kept the twentytwentytwo theme so my website right after installation looks like the image above.

That’s it! WordPress is now installed successfully and is running smoothly after 5 easy steps. Now it’s time for you to learn more about WordPress and start making beautiful websites and running awesome businesses with it.

With WordPress, the sky is the limit!

Possible Errors During Installation

During the installation, you might encounter some minor issues that can be solved easily.

If you had a Database Connection Error, just make sure you connected the user to the database in cPanel and entered the database name, username, and password correctly in the wp-config.php file. Also, check if you renamed wp-config.php and removed the “-sample” from it. If the problem persisted, make sure your hosting company is hosting databases on localhost and not other URLs or domain names.

If you encountered PHP Version Error anywhere during or even after installation, just go to cPanel, find PHP Version Selector, and change the PHP version to the latest one.

If you end up seeing Error Codes and Syntax Error @ Line Number on the top of the installation screens, make sure you downloaded the WordPress files from the original repository and also make sure you edited the wp-config.php file correctly without removing apostrophes (‘) when you were replacing database information.

If you see another error, well it’s really hard to guess what might have gone wrong so why don’t you leave a comment down below and tell me about the error you are facing. I might be able to help you fix it.

Manual or Automatic Installation?

By default, WordPress comes with the famous 5-minutes installation which is easy, and pretty much anyone can handle it. Also, this article followed the original 5-minute installation guide that is known as WordPress manual installation.

On the other hand, most hosting companies provide software like Softaculous that allows users to automatically install many CMS & scripts including WordPress. It takes less than 5 minutes and installation is just a few mouse clicks away.

WordPress Installation: Manual vs. Automatic

However, if you want to create a long-term business website that is going to use lots of plugins, customization, and visitors, then it’s better to install WordPress manually. In fact, it is better to have a clean installation the way I explained in this article.

On the other hand, if you want to use WordPress for a test site or execute any kind of marketing plan that involves installing a lot of WordPress websites, automatic installation is going to save you a lot of 5 minutes!


To finish this article, let me go through what we’ve covered here. We learned what is WordPress and why we should choose this CMS for creating a website. We also learned why we need to run WordPress.

Next, we learned how to install WordPress in 5 steps without leaving any residual files & extra settings (clean installation) and also learned when to install WP manually and when to leave the installation to auto-installers provided by hosting companies.

In addition, we talked about possible errors that one might encounter during installation. After reading this rather simple and short article, you can install WordPress and create a website for yourself, your business, or others.

That is all for installing WordPress the correct way. If you find this article helpful, then make sure to bookmark it in your browser to refer to it when you wanted to install WordPress and create a website from the ground up.