How to Manually Install WordPress A Step by Step Guide

Manually installing WordPress is probably a lot easier than you think it is. The WordPress developers have went through great lengths to make its installation easier since it first came out. One of the bragging points about WordPress is that it has an easy, five minute installation process.


First make sure you are using a web host or server that has the following applications installed and running:

  • PHP 7.2 or greater
  • MySQL 5.6 or greater OR MariaDB 10.0 or greater
  • Apache OR Nginx server
  • The mod_rewrite Apache module

You will also want access to the following for the installation process:

  • A text editor
  • An FTP client with access to your server
  • Administrative access to your database so you can create new databases
  • A web browser


There are a few things you need to check before you start installing WordPress to make sure the installation will go smoothly.

  1. Check to make sure your web host or server is meeting the minimum requirements
  2. Download the latest version of WordPress
  3. Unzip the WordPress file to a folder on your hard drive
  4. Create a secure password to use with WordPress

Create a Database User

Check first to see if your web host has already set up a database user for you. If not, you will need to create a new database user. There are a lot of different ways to do this depending on how your web host or server is configured. The most common is to go through CPanel or PHPMyAdmin.

Creating a Database User Through CPanel

Click on MySQL Databases listed under the Databases menu.

Scroll down to Add New User.

Create a username and password. Make sure you write them down as well, because you will need this information for the WordPress installation. Finally, click Create User to save your changes.

Creating a Database User Through PHPMyAdmin

Alternatively, you can create a database user through PHPMyAdmin.

First, click on Users in the top menu of the PHPMyAdmin console.

Next, click on Add user at the bottom of the Users Overview.

Create a username and password, making sure to write them down for using with the WordPress installation later. Finally, click Go to save your changes.

Installing WordPress

There are two ways to install WordPress. One method is old fashioned editing a PHP configuration file, the other is the newer point and click system. It is recommended that you use the point and click system, and only resort to editing the PHP configuration file if something goes wrong.

Automated Installation of WordPress

First start by uploading the WordPress files that you unzipped to a folder on your hard drive directly to your domain or subdomain’s public_html folder via FTP. Then visit the installer in your browser by navigating to or if you uploaded the files to a folder in your public_html directory.

WordPress will first check for the wp-config.php file. If it can’t find it, it will attempt to create one itself. If this fails, you will need to edit the wp-config.php file yourself (instructions on this to come later).

If WordPress is successful, you will be presented with this screen:

Create a name for your database and enter in the username and password you saved from earlier. You may also need to find out the IP address of your database – this isn’t usually necessary if the database is on the same server as the WordPress installation, but if it is, check with your hosting provider to find out what it is. Once you’ve filled this information in, click Submit and WordPress will move to the next step.

Before the installation, WordPress will prompt you to set up your website’s title, a username and password, and your email address. You can also opt to discourage search engines from indexing your website if you want to keep it private. When you have finished this, click Install WordPress and WordPress will finish the installation for you (this takes about five minutes).

Manual Installation of WordPress

If the above method doesn’t work, you will need to configure the wp-config.php file yourself. Start by navigating to the wp-config-sample.php file in your WordPress directory on your server. Open it up in a text editor.

Navigate to this section:

For DB_NAME enter the name of your database that will be used for WordPress. For DB_USER enter the username for your database user. For DB_PASSWORD enter the password for your database user. For DB_HOST you can usually leave it at localhost if your database is on the same server as your WordPress installation. If not, you will need to retrieve this setting from your web host. After you’re done entering this information, save the file to your WordPress directory as wp-config.php.

Next, go to or if you installed WordPress to a folder within your public_html directory. Follow the on screen directions to install WordPress.

Common Issues With Installing WordPress

Seeing Directories Instead of Web Pages

This happens when the directory is not set to view index.php by default. You can use the DirectoryIndex index.php command in Apache, or create an .htaccess file in the server’s root directory and add the command there.  

“Headers Already Sent” Errors

This happens when you have a syntax error in your wp-config.php file. Open the file and check to make sure the first line contains nothing but <?php, and that there is no text or whitespace preceding it. Make sure the last line contains nothing but ?> and that there is no text or whitespace after it, as well. You may also need to try a different text editor since some text editors don’t add a no byte order mark (BOM). Use the wp-config-sample.php file to create a new wp-config.php file and upload it to your server, overwriting the old one.

Page Displays Gibberish

If your pages are displaying gibberish and when you check the source you see a lot of <?php ?> tags, this means PHP is not working correctly on your server. Make sure that your server meets the WordPress requirements and has everything installed properly, or contact your web host so they can resolve the issue.

Error Connecting to Database

This means WordPress is not configured properly to work with your database. Double check the settings in your wp-config.php file. If you’re using localhost for the database connection, try entering in the IP address of your database. If that doesn’t work, try resetting the password for your WordPress database user and putting the new password in to the wp-config.php file. Also make sure your database is the correct version to be using with WordPress. If it isn’t, update it or contact your web host to get it updated.

“PHP Installation Appears To Be Missing MySQL Extension”

Make sure your web server’s PHP is configured correctly and that it is loading the PHP plugin as well, or check with your web host so they can resolve the issue.

Uploaded Media Not Showing

TinyMCE (the rich text editor in WordPress) often doesn’t download enough information when dragging and dropping media to make the download. This can be easily resolved through using the media uploader to upload media, and not using drag and drop to add media to your posts.

Welcome to WordPress

If you followed these directions correctly, you should now have a fully functioning WordPress website up and running. Let us be the first to welcome you to the world of WordPress! If you want to learn more about WordPress, here are some handy resources to bookmark:

WordPress Codex

This is the official documentation website for WordPress. If you run into any problems, this should be the first place you search for answers. You can also learn a lot about how WordPress works through reading the articles here.

WordPress Themes

This is the official theme repository for WordPress. There are thousands of beautiful themes for you to choose from stored here.

WordPress Plugins

This is the official plugin directory for WordPress. There are thousands of themes to choose from which can enable you to do almost anything with WordPress.

WordPress Blog

The WordPress blog keeps you up to date on development, security, events, the community, and much more. This is a great blog to read if you just want to learn what’s new in the world of WordPress.