Super Easy 10-Step WordPress MU Installation Guide and Screencast

These installation instructions are broken down into 10 simple steps for your convenience. I’ll be using Version: 2.8.5.2 but there shouldn’t be much variation between the versions for now. When you’re first starting out with WPMU, the trick is to find installation instructions that aren’t three years old (ancient in WordPress years!) and that make sense to you. I remember installing WordPress for the first time and wondering if I just input one wrong value, the whole install could be forever ruined and I may not even know it. Take heart – you can always scrap it and start over. I believe you will find that installing WPMU is as easy, if not easier, than installing single-user WordPress. You won’t have to edit the config file at all. It’s so easy, even a girl can do it! ;)

1 Download WPMU from http://mu.wordpress.org/download/ and unpack it.

2 If you want your WPMU installation in a subdirectory then rename the “wordpress-mu” folder to whatever you want. Upload the entire folder to your server. If you want your installation directly on the root then don’t worry about the folder. Simply upload all of the files inside (not the directory itself) to your server.

3 Create a MySQL database for WordPress MU on your web server, as well as a MySQL user who has all privileges for accessing and modifying it. (The screencast below has more detailed instructions on how to do this.)

4 Navigate to index.php at your domain and you will be presented with the install script:

http://example.com/index.php { Root Installation }
http://example.com/subdirectory/index.php { Subdirectory Installation }

You will see something like this:

wpmuinstall

5 Delete your .htaccess file and change permissions on the public_html and wp-content directories. If you’re using FileZilla for FireFTP or similar, just right click on the folders and check all the boxes to change to 777.

6 Select whether you want the blog addresses for the install to be subdomains or subdirectories. If you want subdomains you will need to ask your host to enable Wildcard DNS records for your site. Subdirectories do not require this. You won’t be able to change your choice later so do a little research to see what will be best for you.

wildcard
subdirectory

7 Fill in your database name, username, and database password, as requested. You’ll probably want to leave database host as it is. Fill in your server address without any ‘www’s. Name your blog site and add your email.

dbdetails

8 If all goes well, you should see this happy screen reminding you to reset your directory permissions to 755:

success

9 Copy the password it generates for you and login. Immediately change your password to something better that you’ll remember.

10 You’re finished! Your site should be fully installed now. It will display the default theme and will look something like this:

defaultdesign

At some point you’ll want to go to Site Admin >> Options and enable blog and user registrations. You may also want to test out creating a new blog by clicking on Site Admin >> Blogs >> Add a Blog. That will help you determine if your wildcard DNS is working, if you selected that option. Install a theme (please don’t be a ghost town installation!), add plugins, and start building your community. Once you get the hang of installing WPMU, you’ll be able to do it in under five minutes. I’ve created this short screencast that will essentially hold your hand for the entire process.

Our next Easy Install tutorial will cover how to get started with BuddyPress. Installing WPMU should now be the least of your worries. Bookmark this guide in case you need it again.

Extra Resources:

I’ve left out most of the troubleshooting instructions. If something goes sour with your database, PHP configuration, mod_rewrite, or other things that ought to be working, it probably means you have crappy hosting. You can find tips for fixing these things here:
http://codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WPMU

Need help deciding between a Subdomain or a Subdirectory Installation? Check out some SEO info here:
http://www.gottaquirk.com/2009/05/27/subdomains-vs-subdirectories-part-2/

Another Excellent Installation Screencast:
http://wpmudev.org/getting-started-with-wpmu/