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Preparing a server for a WordPress Installation

Unsure how to configure cPanel on your server for a WordPress website? Then look no further for a few simple steps.

The first set of actions in Step 1 show you how to crate a new cPanel account if you have a reseller account using WHM.

If you have purchased a cPanel account from a hosting company then go straight to Step 2.

Step 1 – create a cPanel account from WHM

The following steps and screenshots are for a fictitious domain EXAMPLE.COM, obviously you will replace all inputs with the content specific to your needs.

For convenience I have taken separate screenshots for each Action. When you create an account in your WHM portal all these panels appear on the same page.

Action 1 – enter the Domain

This is the domain you purchased previously for your website.

TIP: don’t setup your cPanel account before securing a domain as you will have to start over if you cannot get the first choice and have to select another.

WHM – entering domain name for new account

The username is automatically filled with a suggested value. I tend to use the suggested value, but you can change it if you wish.

I also allow the Password Generator to create a password for me. You will need to make a copy of the username and password if you are going to give your client access to the cPanel.

The email address you choose is the one that will receive any notifications issued by cPanel.

Action 2 – select your package

The package for your site defines limits on resources. There is a separate sub-section for packages. If you have already setup a suitable package then select it.

The following screens assume you do not have a package setup so one will be created for you as you go.

WHM – starting a new package

Here I have chosen to start a new package called “example”. I do have a naming convention that tends to follow the naming convention:-

MYNAME_xDB_y_EM where x = no of databases and y = email accounts.

You can make up you own naming convention if you wish.

Then you need to pick the resource limits for the account. The package for the account can be changed at a later date if the site goes (or shrinks) so don’t worry if you don’t know the exact settings for the lifetime of the site.

The initial Resourse Options are set to unlimited but here you can see I’ve added some values. Your mileage may well vary (in fact some of the disk space I’ver chosen is a bit too limited).

Action 3 – Settings

Here are the default “settings”. Fir this example I’ll leave them untouched.

WHM – default “settings”

Action 4 Mail and DNS Settings

The mail routing settings will depend on where you choose to hose the email server.

Usually this will be on the same server (this account) so leave the settings as below.

If, however, you are using another email server (MS Exchange, Rackspace, etc) then you will need to select “Remote Mail Exchanger”.

The values in the DNS settings panel are automatically pre-loaded depending on your WHM host location.

If your domain name is provided by the name company that is providing your WHM service then the settings below will be OKAY.

However, if your Domain name is setup elsewhere you will need to enter the nameservers listed (your’s may vary) into the name server settings on your Domain name settings panel.

If you are splitting your web from your email you will have to enter IP addresses for your A records to point to your web site location and MX records for your Email server.

Action 5 – Create

Click the Create button and your account will be setup automatically.

Scroll down the the end of the messages and ensure all is OKAY. Then click Go to CPanel.

Step 2 – use cPanel to setup files and database.

You’re in your cPanel but not much will be happening yet. You’ll need to setup a site in your file area.

WordPress can now be installed using a One Click Installer (check with your cPanel hosting company) but that would make this article rather boring.

So I will continue with the steps necessary to install a WordPress site using fundamentals. No cheeky shortcuts.

Following these step will also allow you to setup a non WordPress site; a simple HTML site, for example.

Open the Files panel.

cPanel – Files Panel

Open File Manager and you will see you public_html area is empty apart from a cgi-bin folder (see Step 1, Action 3 – Settings).

Public_html is where your WordPress files will sit.

cPanel File manager – empty public_html

To get WordPress installed and up and running you’ll need to do a few things.

Action 1 – create an FTP account

You can use File Manager to upload files but it’s a lot easier and convenient to use FTP (File Transfer Protocol) with a client running on your desktop.

I’ll shoe you the basic steps needed to configure your FTP account but later on in this article I will show you how to use the cPanel File Manager to upload your files.

In the Files panel click the FTP Accounts icon.

cPanel – Files panel showing FTP Accounts

You will need to provide a login/account name (I typed myftp) and a password. Again I used the Password Generator as mentioned in Step 1).

Make sure you record the password.

Important: make sure the directory path points to public_html as in the screen shot. If not the any files will be copied to the wrong place.

You will not be able to change this path after clicking Create FTP Account so you will have to delete the FTP account and start again.

Click Create FTP Account.

You should see your account listed:-

cPanel – new FTP account

Action 2 – Create a database

WordPress requires a datable to hold all the page content as well as data that defines how WordPress is configured for your site.

So, open the Databases Panel.

cPanel – Databases section

And open the Database Wizard to create a new database.

cPanel – Database Wizard, enter name

Enter a suitable database name, click Next Step.

cPanel – Database Wizard, enter user

Enter a suitable username and enter a password, record the password, click Create User.

Select ALL PRIVILEGES.

cPanel – Database Wizard, select user privileges

Then click Next Step.

cPanel – Database Wizard Complete

Your database is now ready for use. The WordPress installer will create tables and starting data in your database.

Action 3 – upload WordPress source files.

Get the latest WordPress source files from WordPress.org by clicking Get WordPress on their homepage to see.

Get WordPress

Click Download WordPress. The version number may well be different de-ending on when you read this article.

This will download a zip file to your local system. Uncompress (unzip) the download.

WordPress zip file and unpacked folder

Use your FTP client to upload the files inside the WordPress folder. Do not upload the wordpress folder, only the contents.

Action 4 – Upload the files.

Now open an FTP client (I use FileZilla) and setup the connection using the detail that are available in Step 2/ Action 1. Use the Configure FTP Client link.

Now upload the files you just downloaded and unzipped.

In this article I will details how to use File Manager to upload the WordPress kit.

Open the File Manager in cPanel as shown in the introduction of Step 2.

Make sure public_html is select by clicking on it in the left hand column.

cPanel- File Manager with public_html selected

The selected folder is shown in bold and also shown in the ‘home’ folder box near the top on the left column.

Noe click the Upload link on the top bar.

cPanel – File Manager ready to upload

Now simply select all the WordPress files in the wordpress folder you just unzipped and drag and drop into the File Manager drop area.

You will see the progress bars change colour as the files are uploaded.

cPanel File Manager Upload complete

Scroll to the bottom of this display and click on Go Back to “/home/example/public_html”.

cPanel – File Manager showing WordPress files

Now you are ready to run the WordPress Installer.

Step 3 – Install WordPress

The WordPress installer is automatically invokes when you browse to the site and the install process has not been run.

As I have used a ‘dummy’ domain for this article I cannot browse to Example.com, so the following screenshot are made on a site setup in my local desktop.

So, when you browse to your domain you will see the initial WordPress installer screen where you select your language.

WP Installer – select language

The next screen lists the information you require to have prior to continuing. Recall the database name, user and password you setup earlier.

WP Installer – know your database

Click Let’s Go.

WP Installer – Datable details entry

Enter the details recorders earlier. For most servers leave the Database Host as localhost. WP_ is also ok for the database prefix but read up on WordPress security notes if you’re paranoid.

Click Submit.

WP Installer – database OK let’s continue

Click Run the Installation.

Enter your site details (you can change these in your dashboard later if you wish) and administrator username and password.

WP Installer – site and admin details

Now click the final Install WordPress button. In a few seconds you will see the success screen.

WP Installer – Success

Click the Login button and enter your login details you supplied in the previous screen.

WP Login screen

Click login to see your WordPress control panel for the first time.

WP Dashboard

Now get creative and build your website.

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