Installing & Using WordPress

When you are using wordpress to create a website the DIY website way, WordPress is the CMS we use. DIY Websites do not normally use any other content management systems, or provide tutorials for them. WordPress is the CMS we use and recommend.

We recommend using wordpress to create a website not a blog. WordPress is most often thought of and described as a Blog platform. Many normal people however, do not even now, know what a Blog is. But everyone knows what a website is. So I don’t call WordPress a Blog. It is either WordPress, a CMS (content management system) or the Website Frame.

WordPress is a PHP and MySQL based software. Although servers that use PHP4 can correctly display WordPress, many of the newer plugins require a version of PHP5 to enable them to work correctly, so where possible, WordPress should be installed on a server with PHP5. The exact version is debatable, on my own server I am using PHP 5.2.14.

I also have Su PHP installed as this makes it easier to update plugins and WordPress itself through the dialogue inside the admin area of WordPress. Su PHP makes the PHP process run as the user who owns the PHP files, meaning that WordPress and it’s Plugins have the necessary permissions to update directly with no FTP info required.

Installing WordPress

I’m not going to talk about how to install WordPress via FTP, the process is fully documented at the WordPress Codex, including worst case scenarios and troubleshooting tips. Click on the Links tab at the top of this website and you’ll find all the WordPress resource links.

Assuming you have a web host with Cpanel, the easiest way to install WordPress is to use Fantastico.

Look for Fantastico (in your Cpanel dashboard find Fantastico then click on Blogs > WordPress > New Installation and fill in the blanks. It’s really easy. As long as you correctly choose your domain name (see below) and take a note of and save your username and password somewhere safe, you can login and change any other information you fill in here.

In general you can see the default WordPress installation at the domain name url, and login to the admin area of WordPress by adding wp-admin to the url. For example…

http://mydomainname.com/
http://mydomainname.com/wp-admin/

Of course you replace the lettersĀ  mydomainname.com with your own domain name and extension!

You should also be able to reach it when including the www as well. This is a topic we’ll cover under Permalinks later. For now leave the www out, as this is how WordPress installs. If you should want to change your url structure (under Settings) to include the www, make sure you change both urls. You may experience login problems if the WordPress login url and the website url have a different format.

Domains, Addon Domains, Sub Domains & Sub Directories

http://www.mydomainname.com/

This is your standard domain name url

On a one website host account this is all you need to know.

Add on domain names

However you may want to add on more domain names into your host account. Your first domain name is your servers public_html root domain name. Any add on domain names are added as sub domains to this root domain. Add on domains can be reached by their standard domain name and they will display as this in Cpanel. But they will also display inside Cpanel as sub domains, using the folder or directory name you chose when you added them on. For example in Cpanel these will display as

http://www.mydomainname.com/
http://www.myaddondomain.mydomainname.com/

When you choose to install WordPress, choose the standard domain name (or the first option), for the add on, not the (second option) add on sub domain url.

Sub Directory

If you already have content such as a static website on your domain, you might wish to install WordPress in a sub directory. Sometimes people call this folder or directory blog to indicate that this is updating content. In this case WordPress is installed in a new folder called blog and the url will display as

http://www.mydomainname.com/blog/

You can name this folder anything you wish, but to reach your website home page for your WordPress installation, you will need to include this folder name in the url (as above). When installing WordPress using Fantastico, you can enter the folder name (in the box under the domain name choice) and Fantastico will create this folder for you.

Once this is all completed, you can login to your WordPress administration area.

Exploring: An Introduction To WordPress

Don’t panic you’ll soon get the hang of it! Just as when you go to any new place, you won’t know your way around and will need to explore. Imagine this area is a building, down the left side is a corridor and every link in this menu is a door. Just click on the links, go in to various areas and and take a look around and see what’s there. All these pages you find will have options where you can make changes to how WordPress displays things and helps you to create and edit the content on your website.

You can make a change by entering text or choosing an option from a drop down menu. When you save the change, it will stay this way until you change it again. If you click on another menu link to look at something else, without clicking save, no change will be made.

Using Refresh to See Your Changes

Some changes are not obviously visible as they may just change the way something displays and until you have some content where this will show, you cannot see it.

Most changes though will be visible immediately on your website. But you need to “Refresh” the web page, to see the change. Your browser does not automatically know that a change has been made, so you need to “call” the page again and when the browser checks the server and reloads the page, it displays the new version of the page with your changes.

To do this you need to look for a refresh icon at the top of your browser. It may look like the circular arrow above or it may have two arrows like this…

Clicking on this icon will reload the page with your changes.

If your changes do not appear, either you have not saved them, or your browser is caching. A cache is when a version of a page is stored so that the browser does not need to download it again to display it. You may need to clear your cache to reload a new one. To do this look for Tools > Options > Privacy (or something similar) and Clear/Empty history or Cache.

What Do I Do First To Set Up My Website?

You can use WordPress just as it is when installed, without doing more than creating a new post or page if you wish. Then as you see your articles appear you can see what you want to change and to make appear as you build up some content.

WordPress installs with some sample content. There is one post and a comment. There is one page called About. There are links to the WordPress site. You will want to delete all this sample content when you don’t need it anymore.

You will want to check that your website title and subtitle (tagline) is correct under Settings > General. For now, until you have some content, under Privacy, tick the box to block search engines. This turns off pinging so the search engine robots don’t waste their time trying to look for and index something that isn’t there yet. When your theme and some content is ready, you must remember to turn this back on or you won’t ever be indexed.

Introduction To The Administration Dashboard

On the left menu when you are logged into your administration area, you will see Links like the ones described below. Each has an arrow on the right. This drops a sub-menu so you can see the options available for this Menu choice or this specific module of your website.

WordPress Dashboard Menu

Website Title Dashboard

  • Dashboard
  • Updates
  • Akismet Stats
At the very top, your WEBSITE TITLE displays as a link. You can click this (or right click and open in new window/tab) to open a second window or tab in your browser, to view your website as it looks to other people. This will be the page you REFRESH to see changes.The Dashboard link returns you to the dashboard. It shows you if any updates are available and gives you a link to statistics for Akismet. Akismet is a default wp-plugin that helps to reduce spam comments.
Posts

  • Posts
  • Add New
  • Categories
  • Post Tags

Media

  • Library
  • Add New

Links

  • Links
  • Add New
  • Categories

Pages

  • Pages
  • Add New

Comments

Posts and Pages are where you can add a new article. Pages are automatically linked to on your top navigation bar. They are used for static content such as contact forms, about us page, site maps and policy pages. Pages can also be created and then chosen as a parent page, to sort related pages in a drop under menu. The sub menu Pages link, displays a listing of your published articles for editing.

Post articles are dated and automatically archived by date. By default a feed of your most recent 10 posts are displayed on the home page of your website. If using several categories, you can set them up first here, or add a new category when you add a new post. Tags are an alternate way to group and display posts by a topic name.

Links to other websites can be displayed in your sidebar using the Blogroll widget and be public or private, displayed or not.

Media is where you can add new media or look in your media library and edit the images, videos and audios you have uploaded.

Comments is where you can approve, delete or edit any comments people may make on your articles, if this option is enabled.

Appearance

  • Themes
  • Widgets
  • Menus
  • Editor

Plugins

  • Plugins
  • Add New
  • Editor
Appearance is where you can find, activate, change or edit your THEME. If a premium theme is used, this is where you can set it’s width, background, colours and layoutAppearance is also where you will find your WIDGET area. This is where you can drag and drop widgets into your sidebar and feature areas. You can display auto menus for links, recent posts, pages and display content in your sidebar using a text widget.

You can also set up an alternate top navigation bar page menu here.

PLUGINS is where you activate, update, delete or edit your plugins.

Users

  • Users
  • AddNew
  • Your Profile

Tools

Users is where you can change your user name, nick name and password and PROFILE: & add new users with their own unique login.Tools is rarely used unless you want to import or export your articles, although some plugins use this menu area for their configuration page.
Settings

  • General
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Discussion
  • Media
  • Privacy
  • Permalinks


Settings is where you can change the title and sub title of your website, make choices about whether people can register and comment on your articles, synchronize your time date stamp, tell search engines that you either want your pages indexed or you want to be private, change the way your urls look with permalinks, and decide on how you want your feedto display.Some plugins also use this menu area for their configuration page and other plugins start a new menu area for this, just under settings.

So go and explore and make some changes. Click on Add New under Posts and add an article. You are just experimenting and you can delete this so it doesn’t have to be 500 characters long! Save the post. Click on the sub menu Post and find your new post listed there. You can go back in and edit here or delete it (trash works like the recycle bin, it stays in trash until you empty the bin or restore it). If you cannot see the edit links, just hover the mouse over the title and they will appear. Have fun!

[next]