WordPress is one of the simplest, fastest and easiest tools for blogging. It is open source software developed originally by a god, I mean guy named Matt Mullenweg. With the advent of WordPress, Mullenweg single-handedly changed the face of the web. Ok, so he didn’t do it alone, he had lots of talented coders working with him, but the concept was his.
He developed what they call “…a state-of-the-art publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability. WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.”
So you’ve heard about WordPress. You’ve heard about weblogs (now simply called “blogs”). And you want your own blog! That is where WordPress can help. Here are the most common ways to install WordPress and get your own blog up and running in just a few minutes. This list begins with the simplest installation of WordPress all the way to the most difficult.
Option 1: WordPress.com
The easiest way to install WordPress is to let someone else do it! WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPress.org) is built on Wordpres Mu (multi-user). By signing up, you will instantly get a blog located at yourname.wordpress.com.
For the casual user, this is probably the best option. When you want to share family news, your personal experiences, or don’t want to bother with the hassle of web hosting or domain names, head on over to WordPress.com for a free blog.
Option 2: Fantastico (via your web host)
The second easiest way to install WordPress is to sign up for web hosting with a provider that offers Fantastico! (the exclamation point is part of the name). Most web hosting accounts offer Fantastico as a standard feature, and almost all accounts that use software called Cpanel as your backend dashboard include Fantastico.
So what is Fantastico? It is software that automates and simplifies the installation of a long list of other programs. These include most blog software, content management systems (CMS) and other community building software. With just a couple clicks, you can install WordPress with this handy tool. How? Keep reading.
Step 1: Log in to Cpanel or your web hosting dashboard.
Step 2: Navigate to Fantastico. If using Cpanel, simply type “fan” into the left hand filter box and the link to Fantastico will be brought into view. Click Fantastico.
Step 3: Under the “blogs” header on the left, click “WordPress”
Step 4: Click “New Installation”
Step 5: Fill out the required fields like domain, directory, etc. If you want WordPress to be in the root directory of that domain, leave the directory field empty.
Step 6: Click “install” and you’re done!
The downside: you will have a little less control over how things are set up. The database and db username and passwords are all set up for you (which is also a time saver). Also, it is a little tricky to assign a domain name to your WordPress install using Fantastico which is also a Cpanel issue.
Option 3: Self hosted installation
The option that offers you the most control and customization options is a self-hosted install. Even this, the most complicated, is still very very easy. Even beginners can handle this one.
Step 1: Download and unzip the latest release of WordPress. You can find the latest release here.
Step 2: Upload the unzipped directory using your favorite FTP client. *
Step 3: Navigate to the directory of your WordPress install. You will automatically be taken to an installation screen.**
Step 4: Fill out the required bits of information like database, username and password. Click Finish and voila! You’re done! ***
*Alternately, you can upload the zipped file and unzip it once on your web server.
**You will need to have a way to navigate to the WordPress directory using a domain, subdomain or temporary domain. Most hosts will allow you to assign a domain to a directory. Temporarily, you can create a subdomain which is free (usually) and takes less time to propogate across the web.
***You will need to have set up a MySQL database prior to installing WordPress. Do this a bit ahead of time as it takes a little while to be set up usually by your host.
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- The official WordPress installation guide
- More about Fantastico
- More about Cpanel
- Get your WordPress Mug
Update: Option 4: QuickInstall
When updating a server of mine I found out I needed to pay for Fantastico for the first time. I started poking around and found that my host fully supports software called “QuickInstall”. QuickInstall works within cPanel, and is even easier than Fantastico. A fresh WordPress install is literally just a few clicks. Just choose your site name, directory and email. A password is emailed to you. The actualy setup takes just a few seconds on a 7Mbps connection on a VPS. I was shocked at how easy it was to set up a new WordPress site.
As far as I can tell, QuickInstall offers all the same open source options except for Joomla! Seeing as Pingable is all about WordPress, I wasn’t too upset to find this out.