Are you looking for a guide on how to install WordPress for your new website?
You are in the right place. This guide will teach you how to install WordPress on your web server automatically using cPanel's Softaculous software installer, or manually, using an FTP client.
WordPress is the world's most popular content management system. According to the WordPress download page, WordPress is powering more than 32% of all the websites on the web in 2018.
Even if WordPress has started as a simple blogging platform, I think we can all agree that WordPress is now a fully functional CMS.
Due to its massive popularity, the WordPress installation process has become less complex over the years, and sometimes, fully automated.
There are several web hosting companies specialized entirely on hosting WordPress websites. These usually have their web servers configured with the sole purpose to achieve the best performance for websites running WordPress.
Other web hosting companies, besides the general hosting plans, offer managed WordPress web hosting. This means that their staff manages all the technical aspects involved in running WordPress for their customers.
A managed WordPress hosting and the prices of the companies that have their environment optimized specifically for running WordPress are usually a bit pricey.
Still, there are still solutions to enjoy a web hosting plan that comes with WordPress pre-installed at a regular shared web hosting price. For this matter, I recommend you trying out A2Hosting's WordPress hosting plan.
That plan comes with the latest WordPress version pre-installed and your server will be automatically optimized to enable the best performance for WordPress without paying more than for the regular shared hosting plans.
You can find the full process explained step-by-step in my guide on how to build a WordPress website from scratch.
If you already have web hosting for your website, and just want to learn how to install WordPress on your server, follow one of the approaches below depending on your situation.
How to Install WordPress from cPanel (Automated)
cPanel is a popular software used by many of the web hosting companies for simplifying the process of hosting websites. This software also gives the customers a management interface and access to various tools and services required for hosting their site.
If your web hosting provider uses cPanel, it's very likely that you also have access to Softaculous or to another similar app.
Softaculous is a script library that can install numerous open source software to your web server with only a few clicks.
If your web hosting provider doesn't use cPanel, or if your current hosting plan doesn't include access to Softaculous or to other automated script installation library, then you will have to install WordPress using FTP.
Installing WordPress with Softaculous is straightforward and very fast. This is the easiest way of installing WordPress since the installer will usually automatically create your database, upload WordPress and install the database tables with one click.
So let's begin installing WordPress using Softaculous app installer.
I will assume that you already have a domain name and a web hosting plan that gives you access to cPanel. I took the following screenshots from my A2 Hosting shared hosting plan.
If you've purchased web hosting from another company, what you see in your hosting management panel might not match with my screenshots. However, if your hosting provider uses cPanel as well, then the interface should be very similar.
The first step is, obviously, to log in to cPanel.
Usually, cPanel is available to
http://yourdomain.com/cpanel, where "yourdomain.com" is the domain name associated with your web hosting account.
After you have logged in, look for a shortcut called "Softaculous," or "Softaculous App Installer."
Some cPanel versions also include a shortcut directly to installing WordPress.
If you are using A2Hosting, you should find a shortcut called "
WordPress A2 Optimized" under the "
Softaculous App Installer" section. Otherwise, you will probably see a shortcut named simply "WordPress Installer" or something similar.
Besides installing WordPress, the A2 Hosting WordPress plan will also automatically add the following features:
- Page caching
- Database caching
- CSS/JS/HTML minification
- reCAPTCHA on comment and login forms
- Move the login page
- Image compression
- Compress pages with gzip
If you aren't using A2 Hosting and you don't see a shortcut for installing WordPress, look for the shortcut for Softaculous. I found it under the "SOFTWARE" section.
On the next page, you should see an option to install WordPress.
This is called "
WordPress - A2 Optimized" in my case.
Place the cursour of your mouse over the thumbnail image and you should see an "install" button. Click it to go to the WordPress pre-installation configuration screen.
You should now see several options for your new WordPress installation.
If you have an SSL certificate already installed for your domain name, choose between “https://” and “https://www.“.
If you are not sure, try that by accessing your domain name with https:// before the domain name (example: https://websitemaster.org). If the domain is accessible and you don’t receive a security warning from your web browser, that means your domain name has already an SSL certificate installed.
Every shared hosting plan of A2Hosting also includes a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate, so it’s very likely that your site has it already installed.
Choosing between “
https://” and “
https://www.” is more a personal preference. If you want your site to load with “www” before the domain name, then choose “https://www.”; Otherwise, choose “https://”.
If your domain doesn’t have an SSL certificate, choose between “
http://” and “
Simply choose the domain name where you want to install WordPress. If you only have a single domain name added to your account, you should only see that as an option.
If you want to install WordPress in a directory of your website, for example websitemaster.org/wp, then just type wp in this field. Otherwise, if you want WordPress installed to the root of your domain name, leave this field empty.
Enter a name for your website and a short decription, or just leave the defaults and you can change these after the installation.
Enter a username, a strong password made by letters, numbers and special characters and a valid email address for your administrator account.
It's advisable not to use "admin" as the username since this might increase the risk that a hacker will guess your username-password combination.
You can install WordPress in one of the many available languages. You can always change your site’s language after installation.
If you click on "Advanced Options," several options will appear. These options will vary from one web hosting provider to another, from one plan to another, etc.
Here are the options available for my account.
These options enable me to specify a custom name for the database, choose the prefix of your WordPress database tables, disable WordPress update notification emails, choose a custom location for the backups, select how often a backup file will be generated for your website, and how many simultaneous backups you allow to be stored on your server.
You can also specify an email address where your installation details to be sent after your WordPress website has been installed.
Click the “
Install” button to start the installation process.
The WordPress installation process will start shortly and a progress bar should appear at the top of the page.
Wait for the process to be completed. This can take a few minutes, but usually doesn’t take more than 30 seconds.
Congratulations! You have now a fully working WordPress installation.
Log in to your WordPress site
You can now log in to the admin area with the admin credentials set before the installation.
The WordPress login page is available at the following page:
Login Page: example.com/wp-login.php
Of course, replace
example.com with your own domain name.
How to Install WordPress manually using FTP and Filezilla
This is the second way to install WordPress. This approach does not depend if your hosting provider uses cPanel or not or if your web hosting plan includes Softaculous or another script installer.
Every website is accessible via FTP (file transfer protocol) with an FTP client.
An FTP client makes a remote connection between you and your web hosting server and you will be able to manage the files stored on your hosting server with the help of the FTP client.
To connect to your web server via FTP, you will need to install an FTP client to your computer, and you will also need your hosting account's FTP credentials.
You will usually receive the FTP credentials on email, right after you purchase your web hosting plan. You can also create additional FTP accounts from your web hosting provider's management panel.
Install an FTP client
There are a lot of FTP software to choose from, both free and paid, but the one I like and use for years is Filezilla.
Filezilla not only is 100% free but also has one of the friendliest user interfaces from all the FTP software I ever used. It's also available for 3 major operating systems, Windows (both 32bit and 64bit), Mac OS X and Linux.
So, based on your operating system, choose, download and install a copy of Filezilla.
After installation, open FileZilla client and go to
In the Site Manager window, click on New Site and enter a name for your website (usually your domain name).
Now, enter your FTP details in the right side of the site manager window.
For the Host field, you should enter the host given by your web hosting provider, which is typically the IP address of your web server or something like
Leave the Port option blank if your hosting provider doesn't give you a specific FTP port
For the Protocol field, choose
FTP – File Transfer Protocol.
For the Encryption option, choose
Use explicit FTP over TLS if available.
Switch the Logon Type from Anonymous to
Enter your FTP User and FTP password and click Connect.
If your FTP details are correct, now you should see that
FileZilla has successfully connected to your hosting server.
Below is an example of how the settings should look like:
Once connected, you should see the root folder of your web hosting account. It’s usually called
public_html, but you can also find it named as
htdocs, your website's URL, or other variations.
Create A New MySQL Database
Now that you have your WordPress files uploaded to your host, it’s the time to create a database from the control panel of your web hosting account.
If your web hosting uses Cpanel as the user control panel, it’s usually accessible at
http://www.example.com/cpanel, where "www.example.com" is your website's URL.
Depending on the version of the Cpanel, the panel interface might look slightly different than my screenshots, but the process will be always very similar.
Once logged in to Cpanel, look for a "
MySQL Databases" link under the "
DATABASES" section. There, you will be able to create your database for your WordPress installation and WordPress will save all the blog data inside that database.
Enter a new name for your database and click the “
Create Database” button.
Usually, your database name will be prefixed with your username or a part of your primary domain name. When you go through the WordPress installation process, you will need to provide the full database name (both the prefix + database name).
After you have created the database, you will need to add a database user. You can do that from the same page where you’ve created the database name, from the section called “
Enter the username, a strong password and repeat your password. Next, click the “
Create User” button. Don’t forget to save your password, because you can’t recover it afterward.
The last step of the database creation is to add your newly created user to the database created above. Therefore, from the “
Add User To Database” section, select your user and database name and click the “
Download WordPress and Upload it To Your Server
The next step is to go the WordPress download page and download the latest WordPress version to your computer.
Extract the ZIP archive to a location where you can easily have access to it (such as Desktop), then open the newly created folder and enter the
Select all the files and folders and drop them to your site’s root directory inside FileZilla.
Wait until all the files were successfully uploaded. Now, inside the root directory, you should see a structure like in the following screenshot.
Install WordPress Manually
Once you have successfully created your database that will hold your WordPress data, you can proceed to the WordPress installation.
To start the installation process, simply open your website URL in your web browser.
The first step will ask you to choose the language you want to Install WordPress in. WordPress comes from the start translated into all the major languages of the world.
On the next page, you will see all the required information to install WordPress. Since you’ve already created a database and a database user, click the “
Let’s Go!” button.
Enter your previously created database name, database user, the database user password and the host. You should find out which is your database host in the same file or email received after you’ve registered your web hosting account. If you cannot find any references to it, you can try with the default value “localhost”, which will work in most of the cases.
You can also optionally specify a custom prefix for your database tables.
Click the “
Submit” button to proceed to the next installation step.
If the provided credentials are correct, you will see the following screen. If not and WordPress cannot connect to the database, you will receive an error message.
If everything is OK, click the “
Run the install” button and fill up a few details about your site and administrator account.
Click the “
Install WordPress” to proceed with the installation of the database tables. If everything went smooth, you should see the login form, where you should now be able to log in with the username and password set on the previous page.
That's all. You can now log in to your new WordPress website.
You have learned in this guide how to install WordPress from cPanel using Softaculous and also using an FTP client.
If your web hosting has Softaculous available, use that approach since it’s much quicker. Otherwise, just install WordPress manually using FTP.