How To Install WordPress in 5 Minutes

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According to W3Techs, 19.8 percent of the world’s websites are now hosted on WordPress. That’s a phenomenal achievement for a CMS that started out as a platform for just 2,000 blogs. WordPress’ charm is in its simplicity, yet it can scale up to handle huge amounts of content.

In this article, we’ll look at how WordPress can be installed speedily on practically any hosting account. Assuming you know your way around your control panel, and you’re OK with FTP, the installation process won’t present much of a challenge.

What About One-Click Installers?

Some web hosting companies offer WordPress as a one-click installer, and if you’re happy to use the one-click method, that’s often the quickest way to get started. But there are several reasons not to.

Perhaps the biggest downside is the lack of control over basic settings: you can’t choose your database username, for example, and that might be a problem. But more than that, the one-click method does little to familiarise you with WordPress’ structure. Although it sounds tedious, it does help to understand the basics of how WordPress is built in case you run into problems later.

So assuming you don’t have a one-click installer option, or you choose not to use it, what’s the next best way? Easy: the manual install. WordPress can be installed without a one-click script in a matter of minutes.

Preparing For the 5-Minute Install

Don’t be afraid of the manual install. WordPress is notoriously easy to set up: most of the work is in the preparation, and you’ll find it much easier if you get everything together before you begin.

For a smooth, quick install, you’ll need to prepare your environment and ensure you have the tools needed to get WordPress up and running. You’ll need:

  • A hosting account: a basic shared hosting plan is adequate, but you can install WordPress on pretty much any plan. You’ll need a way to upload files, and you’ll need to be able to create a database. Site builder plans generally aren’t suitable for this.
  • FTP software: You’ll use this upload files to your web hosting account. There are freeware tools for every operating system; we like Filezilla.
  • Access to your databases via the control panel: in cPanel, look for phpMyAdmin, and in Plesk, just click the Databases icon. Note: your host may limit the number of databases you can create.
  • The latest version of the WordPress installation files: download them from

How WordPress Works

There are two sides to WordPress: the files and the database. You’ll upload the files via FTP, and you’ll create the database through your hosting control panel.

In order to start the installation, these two elements need to be in place. Here’s how it’s done.

  • You’ll need to create a brand new database for WordPress, and a database username and password. Then, you’ll simply assign the username to the database so it has permission to access it. The method you use to create your user and database will vary depending on your control panel software, but it’s always very straightforward. (On creation, the database is completely blank: WordPress will populate it with data once the installation begins.)
  • Files are a separate task. You’ll need to log in to your hosting account via FTP and upload the WordPress installation files that you downloaded earlier (unzip them first). It’s best to upload the files to the root unless you have a particular reason to place them in a subfolder.

Editing the Config File

Once your files and database are in place, you’ll need to edit one of the files you’ve uploaded, wp-config.php. This small configuration file tells WordPress where your database is and how it should connect to it.

You can edit the file on the server, or edit the copy on your hard drive and re-upload it. There are two small edits to make.

First, there’s a chunk of wp-config.php that’s labeled

// ** MySQL Settings — You can get this info from your web host ** //

In this section, change the DB_NAME, DB_USER, DB_PASSWORD and DB_HOST.

// ** MySQL settings - You can get this info from your web host ** //
/** The name of the database for WordPress */
define('DB_NAME', 'database_name_here');

/** MySQL database username */
define('DB_USER', 'username_here');

/** MySQL database password */
define('DB_PASSWORD', 'password_here');

Then, you’ll need to paste in unique security keys. By far the easiest way is to use this random security key generator.

Sample Security Keys
define('AUTH_KEY', '{WC34hMCr#|oB0QrR+mB5&uA-4VfQ+Qz^i>$bd#bQ#Coe:ddI:Q!~|?v_0(OQWb*');
define('SECURE_AUTH_KEY', '?Hu+_Lw(~jTooV313Q@%B`CHV]G!F^N_#?_U T56;>V3[~p~J62|2:?PZj/YUo2b');
define('LOGGED_IN_KEY', '4s gjQUhNNJ)vI1ZE{jA3T]%V7-l66gXDK.*}2owX:js7&BH x)H]*WNy2At^P+d');
define('NONCE_KEY', 't ACz<n/8Vp[+Y_t|=;[email protected]&imj kLS~TgYEN5tn[X$`3LI_<v><XWAb');
define('AUTH_SALT', 'Hhh7gPE=J8FufAa_n;0e;#f22Cy`E`80qCv5|-]]p6<[LY[!(a&nUH.KraMT-dl3');
define('SECURE_AUTH_SALT', '=wU|{#ofS+!Fb9h?NhIdf*/)s-8PKwhY>dU{||)Ppc6v30&[email protected]?xD');
define('LOGGED_IN_SALT', '9rJA$S|p]1gK%%m~:dLQ+aoDLVVI<g-q=KkQ?^^p5<T:0AZNs?-M+S|_;klGWt#n');
define('NONCE_SALT', 'L2kUYl3M6W`GFKjA 4fELElS{[email protected],[email protected]*CjSX-L8{lFatsh)bo.:');

Start the WordPress Installation

Now WordPress is aware of your database location and security information, you can get on and install the software. In your web browser, head to As part of the installation procedure, you’ll be asked to specify your site title, admin email address, and a few other general settings.

And that’s it. WordPress is installed. It’ll send an email to you with your new login password so you can get started with the customization and adding content.
After the Install

WordPress can be installed in five minutes flat, but once the installation’s complete, there’s still plenty to do.

  • Check the Settings to make sure everything is set as you want it to be.
  • In the Appearance menu, upload a few themes and try them out. You can download free themes from within the WordPress dashboard, or the official WordPress themes repository.
  • Install any Plugins you might need. WordPress has its own library.
  • Consider hardening WordPress for added security.

And that’s it. Once installed, your own copy of WordPress should serve you well as your site becomes more established. Remember to keep on top of updates to ensure your copy of WordPress never goes out of date.

This was a guest contribution by Claire Broadley who understands building a website can seem overwhelming and writes about many different aspects of website creation for sharing her tips.

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