by Michael Miller on January 12, 2017
Here is a surprisingly common question: how do I install WordPress on my webhost?
Here’s the one sentence answer: you don’t, you use the 1-click install option that any decent webhost (Bluehost, HostGator, LiquidWeb, GoDaddy, etc etc) now provides.
These days, almost all of them provide a big fat button that says ‘WordPress’ when you log in to view your hosting options. Click on that, and off you go. If there is any uncertainty, you call your hosting provider, and they will happily walk you through it.
So why do we get the question so often?
Because, for some reason, people love perpetuating the manual method for installing WordPress, listed on the official WordPress.org website. It’s billed as the ‘super de duper easy peasy five minute install’ which is 100% true if you find math problems fun, chess invigorating, and live on a planet where minutes are actually hours.
Otherwise, it is a lie.
Look, it’s true that compared to many other potential installs, it’s easy. And for some, I don’t doubt it’s five minutes or less. But the problem is that other people, normal people who wonder about the difference between ‘domain’ and ‘hosting’ are being told to attempt something they have no hope of doing without a wasted afternoon and a cup of rage.
But maybe you still wonder about the difference, and maybe you still want to try. So, I’m going to give a broad overview of what’s going on in both cases.
What is WordPress.
For the purposes of this article, you want to think of WordPress as a program that runs on a computer somewhere provided by GoDaddy or Bluehost. This program requires a couple of things to actually run.
What does it need?
- It requires that a folder full of its files sits on that remote computer.
- It requires that there is another program available on that computer – a program that runs a database. This program is called MySQL (To everyone who is technically savvy and is feeling twitchy, you might want to tune out now. We’re breaking it down here).
- MySQL can have many databases, and one needs to be created specifically for WordPress to use.
There are other requirements, obviously, but those are the ones that make people stumble all the time.
What needs to happen to install WordPress
As you might guess from the above, you need to:
- Somehow put all the WordPress files on the remote computer (interchangeably called host, server, ftp server, and any number of other things by different people).
- Create a MySQL database for WordPress to use.
- Somehow inform WordPress which database it should use, which involves giving it the address of the server where MysQL lives (yes, even though it’s on the same server), a username, and a password.
So, if you choose to do it all yourself, you’ll need to do all of the above, by following the instructions over at the WordPress codex.
But, instead, you could log into Bluehost and follow these instructions to simply click on ‘Install WordPress’. It will do all of the above for you.