Now is the time you have all been waiting for…we get to search the WordPress.org database for cool plugins that will enhance the usability of your blog and catapult you to the top of search engine rankings.

Now…do you want to know what 99% of beginning bloggers with WordPress installed do? They search the WordPress.org database for every possible plugin that might help them at some time in the future…they install it…and spend all of their time looking for more great plugins to install on their blog.

Continue reading Choosing The Right Plugins For Your WordPress Blog

When you first install WordPress, the first impulse is to start drafting up your content, start looking for a theme or searching the WordPress.org database for cool plugins to enhance your blog.

Before we get into those aspects of setting up a WordPress based blog, we want to jump in and get the default settings in WordPress set up correctly. By getting these settings right the first time, we are able to save ourselves a lot of administration headaches in the future. Let’s run through each and what you need to do.

Look for the switches icon directly below the tools.
Continue reading Setting Up Your Default Settings In WordPress For Your Blog

Installing your own copy of WordPress onto your hosting servers can be a daunting task for anyone not used to using FTP and MySQL databases (have I lost you already? Hold on tight…it will all make sense in a minute). Luckily, I am here to give you some great information that will put your mind at ease.

  1. It is incredibly easy to do on your own if you follow the simple steps spelled out below.
  2. Most hosting companies (Hostgator included) will do this step for you free if you ask! It is actually a feature in the cPanel, but you have to wait for them to do the install.

For impatient bloggers like me who just can’t wait a minute longer to get started, waiting is not an option, so I install my own copy to get started right away.

How To Install Your Own Copy Of WordPress

Let’s go ahead and jump right into it head first…are you ready?

  1. Download WordPress – Go to WordPress.org and download the latest copy of WordPress. Once you have finished the download, open the file and it will expand into a folder.
  2. Getting To FTP Account Access – Go into your admin panel for your hosting company and look for the button for “FTP Accounts” and click it. You should see a line in the chart that has your username and a little head and shoulders icon (and a house icon in the next column). Click on the icon for “Configure FTP Client” and this will bring you to a new screen.
  3. Get FTP Application and Configuration File – In the “Configure FTP Client” screen, you are given three options. If you are a Mac user, download the Cyberduck file by clicking the link under the Duck titled “FTP Configuration” (You also need to go here to download the Cyberduck app that is free). If you are a Windows user, I recommend uses the Firezilla app (found here for free) and you need to download the file that is obtained by clicking the “FTP Configuration” under the Firezilla icon. The application that you are downloading will make moving files as easy as moving them in regular OS windows and makes setup a breeze!
  4. MySQL Database – Once you have downloaded the apps and configuration files, you need to go back to the cPanel home screen and click on the icon titled “MySQL Databases”. Your MySQL database is where all of your posts/pages/etc are stored automatically on your server via tables. You need to set this up for your install before you upload your copy of WordPress.
  5. Create A MySQL Database For Your Blog – In this new screen, you should see a blank right next to a button titled “Create Database”. Type a short name for your database in this field (maybe a short version of your domain name for example) and hit “Create Database”. You will then be brought to a confirmation screen. Click “go back”.
  6. Create A Database User – By creating yourself as a database user, you are allowing privileges to that database so that you can read, write and execute files. Below the “Current Databases” table (where you should see your newly created database name), you should see blanks for “Username” and “Password”. Fill these in with your desired username and password…when you are done…click “Create User”. Again, you are brought to a confirmation screen and need to click “go back”.
  7. Adding User To The Database – Now that you have created the user and the database, you need to add that user to the database. Below where you created your new user account, there are two drop down menus under the title “Add User To Database”. Select your user account and database and then click “Add”. You are then brought to a new screen where you need to check the box for “All Privileges” and then click “Make Changes”.¬† Once you have done that, you are brought to a new confirmation screen.
  8. Setting Up The WP-Config.php File – Minimize your browser window and open up the WordPress folder. Using a text editor¬† (TextEdit for Mac and Notepad for Windows), open the “wp-config-sample.php” file found in the WordPress folder. Scroll down until you see the line that says “// ** MySQL settings – You can get this info from your web host ** //” This is where you are going to fill in the exact information that you just made in your MySQL Database section of your hosting provider. Where you see “putyourdbnamehere”, replace that text with your database name (usually looks something like username_databasename). Where you see “usernamehere”, replace that text with your database username (normally looks something like username_username). Where you see “yourpasswordhere”, replace that text with the password that you created for your database user. Once you have filled in this information, to go “File” and then “Save As” and save the file as “wp-config.php” in your WordPress folder (make sure the file does not end with .txt…it has to be exactly wp-config.php)
  9. Upload WordPress To Your Hosting Account – Open the file that you downloaded for your FTP Configuration and that should open your FTP program and automatically bring you to a window with several folders. These are the folders that are found on your server and they each perform a different function. Open the folder titled “public_html”. It should be pretty much empty with maybe one or two files. Open your wordpress folder on your desktop and drag all of the contents into this window (do not drag the folder…drag the contents). When it is done uploading, you should see all of the files that were in the wordpress folder now in your new screen in the “public_html” folder.
  10. Install WordPress – After everything is uploaded, open your browser and go to the following url/address – http://yourdomain.com/wp-admin/install.php. You should be prompted to install WordPress. If you get a window that says server can not be found, do not panic. If you just changed your Nameservers, it might take an hour or two for that to resolve, so check about every 10 minutes or so and it will eventually pop up. Fill out the fields shown and click the install button for WordPress. After it has done its thing…you will get to a screen that has your username “admin” and a messed up password that you need to copy. Once you login to you new WordPress install, go straight to the Users tab and change that password to something unique that you can remember.

You did it! You installed your very own copy of WordPress without crashing the servers at Nasa. Congratulations! Next…we will go through getting all the settings right and installing the necessary plugins so you can get to blogging.

Now that you have setup your domain name through GoDaddy and your hosting account through HostGator, we need to get your domain name and your hosting files to talk to each other. This is done through the admin panel of GoDaddy so you can get your domain pointed in the right direction to your WordPress blog files and see your blog on your url through the use of DNS nameservers. Basically…we need to get your hosting files and the IP address the same so when a visitor goes to your url…they see your blog and not a default “this domain is registered at GoDaddy” page.

The technical aspects of nameservers, DNS records, etc. really aren’t all that important for the purposes of setting up a blog. If you really want to dive into the technical definitions and why everything works the way it does…do a simple search for DNS and you will get more than enough information to geek out on. For the purposes of this tutorial, we are not going to dive into the technical aspects. We are just going to get you setup!

Where do I find my nameservers?

First, we need to get the nameservers in your hosting account.

Sign into your HostGator cPanel. You were given this login information with your account information when you signed up. The cPanel is your blog backend headquarters where you setup email addresses, databases and basically manage the nuts and bolts that are outside of WordPress…but we will get into more of that later.

In the left column, scroll down until you see two nameserver records that should look something like this (yours should be slightly different)

NS1066.HOSTGATOR.COM
NS1065.HOSTGATOR.COM

These are the two records that you are going to need to copy and paste into fields in your GoDaddy account, so leave this window open and open a new window or tab in your web browser.

Inserting Your Nameservers In GoDaddy

Now…we need to go into your GoDaddy account where you purchased your domain names and get the domain pointed in the direction of your files (even though we have not technically uploaded anything yet).

Login to your GoDaddy account and under the navigation tab for domains, click on “My Domains”. This will open up a new window that is your Domain Manager. Click on the domain name that we are working with for this blog and in the bottom left hand corner you will see a heading for Nameservers. Click on the “manage” link in that field. You should get a popup that looks like the screen below.

DNS Nameservers on GoDaddy

Under this field, click on the bubble that reads “I host my domains with another provider.” You will then be shown the Nameserver fields and this is where you are going to copy and paste the two Nameserver records from your HostGator account. Once you copy and paste in the two nameservers, click ok. You should get a window that tells you…

Your changes have been submitted. Please allow a few minutes for the changes to take effect.

Click ok and you are done! Pretty easy right? This process is also the same no matter what hosting company you have decided to go with. If you have your domains and hosting separate, you have to get the two pointing in the same direction for everything to work properly.

Note: In most cases, you are not going to see the page you land on for your url change right away. It normally takes an hour or two for the domain to completely resolve, so just be patient and we will start to work on installing WordPress on your server (hosting account) in the meantime.

Direction Post Image by treehouse1977