Dissecting the WordPress 5 Minute Install (Part 5)

The Famous WordPress 5-Minute Install:
Upload WordPress Files

WordPress 5 Minute Install“With our famous 5-minute installation, setting up WordPress for the first time is simple.”

~ WordPress.org

This is the fifth article in the Dissecting the WordPress 5 Minute Install article series. Read the rest of the series:

  1. WordPress 5 Minute Install: Before You Begin
  2. WordPress 5 Minute Install: Creating Databases
  3. WordPress 5 Minute Install: Rename Config File
  4. WordPress 5 Minute Install: Edit Config File

This series reveals what all the mumble, jumble and jargon within the WordPress.org codex sounds like from a beginner’s perspective. We methodically pick apart the WordPress 5 Minute Install process to study it and explain what it means. Our goal is to guide beginners to a point where they will actually be able to use the WordPress 5 minute install handy guide.

The WordPress 5 Minute Install Step 5

From WordPress.org

Upload the WordPress files in the desired location on your web server:

  • If you want to integrate WordPress into the root of your domain (e.g. http://example.com/), move or upload all contents of the unzipped WordPress directory (but excluding the directory itself) into the root directory of your web server.
  • If you want to have your WordPress installation in its own subdirectory on your web site (e.g. http://example.com/blog/), create the blog directory on your server and upload WordPress to the directory via FTP.

What it means for beginners:

A beginners thoughts: Uh oh… How do I know what my desired location is. I just want to see my website when I type in MyDomain.com. What does that root thing mean again? oh, wait, there is an example… that looks a little familiar. But, I am still not certain what they mean by excluding the directory itself. I know I have that wordpress folder on my computer. Subdirectory? Well, I do want to have a blog, I guess that must be where it needs to go.

The thoughts of the beginner are basic. Obviously a beginner will not have the experience to fully understand. And so it is with each of us no matter where we are in the process. We each can only base our decisions on the information that we know and take a guess from there. If we guess correctly, it works. If we guess incorrectly, it either does not work, creates a lot more work or incites great frustration.

The key to guessing wrong is to look at it as a great opportunity. Everyone makes mistakes. So don’t get discouraged.

“I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won’t work.”

~ Thomas Edison

Even at a basic level, the beginner’s process has a lot of validity.

Let’s begin with a list of the tools that we need and things we know.

  • we need the WordPress files
  • we know that the WordPress files are all the files that are inside that wordpress folder on our computer
  • we need to move files from our computer to our server
  • we know that our files are going to a live and have a home someplace on our server
  • we know we have a tool called an FTP (file transfer protocol)

What we may not know yet, is where the home for our WordPress files is specifically on our server and what an FTP really is or how it works.

WordPress 5 Minute Install Step 5
Image by Alexandre Moore

When you signed up for your hosting account, your hosting provider created the place for all of your files to live – on your primary domain. A primary domain is nothing more than the top-level (or root) of your server. Later, if you decide to have more domains you may be able to add them to the same hosting account. For the purposes of this tutorial, we will assume that this is your first and only domain.

On a server, files are structured in a similar fashion to the file structure on your computer. Servers differ primarily in the naming of the structure but the concept is very similar. Folders on a server are called directories. The the way to get to the different level directories is called the path.

If you look at our WordPress files that are on your computer, you see that there are 3 folders (wp-admin, wp-content and wp-includes) and a number of WordPress files. Your WordPress website address will be determined by where you place these WordPress folders and files on your server. At the same time, this will build in the path the internet will take your visitors on, to lead to and display your site.

So… To determine where on your server the WordPress files will live, you only need to answer one simple question. What path do you want your visitors to take to get to your website?  In most cases you want your visitors to have to do nothing but visit your site at its most basic level (e.g. http://YourDomain.com/) – even if your site will contain a blog.

Now that we have decided that we want to place our WordPress files on our server at the most basic level and the shortest path, we can open our FTP (the software that will allow us to move things from place to place). Look for the FTP software that you from when we downloaded tools in step 1 of the WordPress 5 minute install.

  • Filezilla (Windows or Mac)
  • Coda 2 (Mac) which we may have used as out text editor as well.

Configuring your FTP settings to connect to your server from your computer will be the most difficult part of using this tool. FTP settings differ depending on which software and which hosting provider you use. Start by trying the same information that your hosting provider sent you in the email that allowed you access to your server. If you have ANY issues with configuring your FTP to gain FTP access to your server, ask your hosting provider for help. Let them know that you are new and have never done this before. Keep them on the line or in the live chat until you get the desired results and it makes sense to you.

Here is how an FTP works. The FTP software will list all the files that are on your computer on part of the display. At the same time, it will list all the files on your server on another. What we need to do is find the right files on our computer and move them into the right level directory on our server to create the path that we want our visitors to take on the internet.

WordPres 5 Minute Install FTP

The first thing we need to do is navigate in the FTP on the “My Computer” side to where our WordPress files are. Notice the path to my files  is kerrycarron > downloads > wordpress.

Next, we need to navigate in the remote (the server) side of the FTP to where we want our WordPress files to live. In most cases the root level directory is in the public_html directory. If you are not sure, check with your host.Your root level directory is determined by your host. Notice the path to my root level is on the server (the /) and then > public_html.

WordPress 5 Minute Install and FTP

Now we want to select all the wordpress folders and files from my computer. In this case all the files in the “My Computer” window that I have showing.

WordPress 5 Minute Install Moving WP files

Once you select all the files, drag and drop the files into the Remote (My Server) window of the FTP. The FTP client (the software program) will start the process of moving all the files. As they move over, you can see them being added as they are moved to the server side. Single files move quickly but the contents within the folders can take longer. Why? Because the folders can contain hundreds of files (and sometimes other folders with even more files). Be patient. As long as the FTP is showing movement, you are fine.

FTP is not the fastest way to move files but it is a common process. The speed at which files transfer is also dependent upon your upload speed of your internet provider. As I am typing this, my files are still in the process of moving and I do not type fast. Once the file transfer is complete, your FTP client should let you know and your Remote window of the FTP client will show all the files which have now been moved to your server.

WordPress 5 Minute Install File Transfer

This concludes moving your WordPress files from your computer to your server during the WordPress 5 minute install.