Portfolio » Content Writing » An Introduction to WordPress in 2023

An Introduction to WordPress in 2023

An introduction to WordPress in 2023 + Installation Guide

Over the past few years, the demand for online services has gone through the roof. Everyone, including small businesses, startups, and even individuals, is looking for a way to establish an online presence to find more clients and make more money.

One particularly popular way of doing this is by creating a website. This has never been easier with WordPress, which is a powerful site-builder software available for everyone free of charge.

In this article, we’re going to learn what WordPress is and how we can install it step by step.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a free content management system (CMS for short) that you can use to make a website without writing a single line of code.

WordPress is an open-source site builder software, meaning that it is the effort of community collaboration. The code and files are being reviewed by a lot of people and potential issues and exploits will be identified and fixed very fast. This is why WordPress is also one of the most secure CMS software available for free.

WordPress dashboard and backend

It’s very easy to create a website using WordPress. If you have a domain and web hosting, installing WordPress is very easy. We’ll talk about WordPress installation later in this article, but first, let’s get to know it a little better.

WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com

If you are new to WordPress, then you may get confused about the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. Both are coming from the same WordPress but there is a big difference.

WordPress.org is the main website that allows you to access WordPress documentation, browse through the plugins & themes repository, and, of course, download the WordPress software (source code). You need to install it on your web hosting and maintain it yourself on your own domain (e.g. www.domain.com)

WordPress.org Website Homepage
WordPress.org Website Homepage

WordPress.com, on the other hand, is a blogging service run by a WordPress CMS. Most of its features are free and, when you create an account, you’ll be given a unique username or subdomain to create a blog (e.g. username.wordpress.com) which comes with WordPress pre-installed.

WordPress.com Website Homepage
WordPress.com Website Homepage

However, if you buy one of the web hosting packages on WordPress.com, you can assign a unique domain that you’ve bought before and maintain a website without installing WordPress. It still comes with some limitations but we’re not going to talk about them.

Why is WordPress so Popular?

WordPress is powering more than 40% of all websites on the Internet. This is an interesting figure when you look at the huge number of websites on the internet in addition to those that are added every single day.

The first reason is that WordPress is completely free followed by top-notch security thanks to being open-source and an active community of developers. It is also very easy to use. This easiness in WordPress made it a high-potential skill for freelancers.

In addition, WordPress comes with a lot of plugins and themes that can be easily installed for free. By using these, you can add new features or change the style of your website according to what you required and desire.

With this simple feature, almost any kind of website can be powered by WordPress. There is a plugin for every need and a theme for every purpose. No matter a personal website, business website, forum, social network, or eCommerce store, WordPress got your back.

Actually, WordPress popularity goes beyond simple websites, blogs, and businesses. Many famous brands and big companies use WordPress as the foundation of their website. Here’s a list of big websites powered by this CMS:

Wappalyzer Chrome extension shows that The White House website is powered by WordPress
Wappalyzer Chrome extension allows you to see websites’ CMS

Read More: How to Become a Freelancer

Plugins & Themes

As I mentioned before, WordPress comes with a lot of plugins and themes to add new features and change the looks of the website. The best thing is about 90% of them are completely free with a pro version adding more features on top of the free ones.

You can download them directly from the WordPress.org website. There are two repositories, one for Plugins and one for Themes. This is the safest way to get your hands on whatever your need for your WP website.

WordPress plugin repository in backend dashboard
WordPress plugin repository in the backend dashboard

WordPress comes with a lot of features by default, but there are more specific features that one might require. That is why there are a lot of plugins developed by different people & teams. If you think about something, there is a plugin for that, and if there isn’t, creating one is easy if you have some coding knowledge or are willing to pay someone a few bucks to make that for you.

Changing the style of your website is also easy. WordPress always comes with a number of default themes, and since version 6, it came with FSE or Full Site Editor that allows unlimited customization to users. Also, there are thousands of themes available for free offering lots of customization to make your website look like what you have in mind.

Benefits & Limitations

Despite WordPress major market share, advantages, and potential, we can’t say that this CMS comes with no limitations or disadvantages. If it was without any issues or limitations, then everyone would have used it. The nature of every free and open-source software is being limited to its paid counterparts and WP is not an exception.

Here, I’ve devised a list of WordPress advantages and disadvantages. Although the benefits surpass limitations, it is still important to consider them in the long run. After all, every business and website has special requirements that WP might not provide.

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Free & Open-SourceMaintaining big websites requires advanced coding knowledge
A large community of developersMany free themes & plugins have limited features unless you buy the premium version
Constant updates & maintenanceAdding too many plugins may reduce the website speed
Full security against most forms of attackseCommerce WordPress sites find it hard to manage more than 1000 to 1500 products
Can be developed to handle big websites/blogsAs a social network site, it offers limited features unless developed a lot
Lots of free themes & pluginsManaging users and user-generated content is difficult
Plugins & themes development is easy and relatively cheapWordPress popularity resulted in many spam attacks
Easy installation & maintenanceDatabase optimization is difficult for big sites
Can be optimized easily for search engines and mobile devices
No coding knowledge is necessary
WordPress supports more than 60 languages
Migration to WordPress or from other platforms is easy

The table above helps you decide whether WordPress is good for your website & business. But many companies, especially eCommerce stores, start with WordPress and later migrate to other platforms (like Shopify) when the scale is increased. Migration from WordPress to other major platforms is as easy as clicking a few buttons.

Read More: Beginners Guide to SEO

How to Install WordPress 6.0

WordPress installation is easy. Even the WordPress team called it the 5-minute easy installation back in the day. But it takes longer, like 15 minutes, if you just got into WordPress and don’t know exactly what to do. For someone like me who installed WordPress thousands of times, it’s 5 minutes, sometimes even less.

One way or another, we’re going to learn how to install WordPress on web hosting and create a website easily. What follows is a step-by-step guide on how to install WordPress. In this tutorial, I install WordPress version 6.0 on a local web hosting with a cPanel control panel.

Here’s a list of all you need first:

  • Internet connection & computer (obviously)
  • A domain (you can buy or get one free from Freenom)
  • A Linux-based web hosting (you can buy one or get one free from InfinityFree)

Also, you have to point your domain name to the web hosting server you are using. This is called DNS propagation and it’s different for each domain registrar and hosting provider but still really easy to do. You just need to copy some URLs.

Download WordPress

The first thing you should do is download the WordPress software. Go to the WordPress.org download page and click on the big blue “Download WordPress” button to get the latest version.

Download WordPress button

It is a ~21 MB Zip file which won’t take longer than a few seconds. Inside the Zip file, there is a folder containing all WordPress files (.php files) and some folders.

Prepare the Files

First, delete the “license.txt” and “Readme.html” files because you don’t need them.

Then, find the file called “wp-config-sample.php” and remove the “-sample” from its name. It should be “wp-config.php” afterward. Don’t delete the “.php” file format extension or it won’t work.

Now, you have to edit some of this file’s values in the next step so open it in a text editor software like Notepad and move to the next step.

Create a Database

Go to your web hosting control panel (in this case mine came with cPanel) and find a section called “MySQL Databases”.

MySQL Database section on cPanel

This section allows you to create a database for your website.

Go ahead and create a new database. Only use letters and numbers without any space in between for its name.

Create a new database

Now, copy the database name and go to the “wp-config.php” file you opened earlier.

Copy database name

On the “wp-config.php” file, look for “define( ‘DB_NAME’, ‘database_name_here’ );” and replace database_name_here with the database name you created. Don’t remove the apostrophes. The database name should be between them.

Adding database name to config file
Click on the image to see it in full-size

Go back to the “MySQL Databases” section and scroll down until you see “MySQL Users”. Here, create a new user. Choose a username (only letters and numbers without space) and click “Generate Password”.

Create a new user for database

Here, generate a safe complex password, copy it to the clipboard, and check the “I have copied this password…” checkbox. Then, click on “Use Password”.

Generate a password for database user

Now, click on “Create User” to complete the process. When the user is created, copy the username.

Copy the username

Now, go back to the “wp-config.php” file and replace “username_here” and “password_here” with the username and password respectively. Again, don’t remove apostrophes. The username and password should be between them, similar to the image below.

Changing username and password on config file
Click on the image to see it in full-size

Remember this username (and password) is for the database only. It is not for logging into your WordPress website.

For the last part, you have to connect the database with the user you created. Scroll to the bottom of the “MySQL Databases” section to find “Add User to Database”.

Pick the user and database from the list and click “Add”.

Pick username and database name to connect them

On the next page, simply check the “ALL PRIVILEGES” checkbox and click the “Make Changes” button. A notification will appear telling you it was successful and user and database are not connected to each other.

Check all privileges and make changes

Now, save the “wp-config.php” file without changing anything else. It’s done. The database is set and you can move to the next step and begin the installation.

Note: If your hosting provider stores databases on another address, you have to change “localhost” in the line “define( ‘DB_HOST’, ‘localhost’ );” from the “wp-config.php” file to the specific host address. But it is usually “localhost” by default and no change is required. Ask the service provider if you are not sure.

Change localhost if necessary
Change this value if the hosting provider stores databases on another web address

Upload Files

With everything in the previous step done, it’s time to upload WordPress files on your web hosting. First, select all WordPress files on your computer and add them to a Zip file.

Add all files to zip folder

Next, go you the web hosting control panel and locate the “File Manager”. This is usually similar on all control panels.

Locate file manager on cPanel

After that, locate a folder named “public_html” and open it. This is the main folder of your website where everything can be accessed by visitors and whoever accesses your website via the domain.

go to public_html

In the “public_html” folder, you may find some folders like those in the image below. Don’t delete them. They are necessary for the host to function correctly.

upload the zip file

Find the upload button on the control panel file manager and select the Zip file you created on your computer. On cPanel, you can easily drag the file and drop it in the browser to start the upload.

wait for upload to finish

Wait for the upload to finish. It may take a few minutes depending on your upload speed. When done, go back to the file manager where you will find the Zip file you uploaded. If you don’t see it, just refresh the page.

Extract the zip file

Right-click on the Zip file and select “Extract”, “Unzip”, or “Decompress” to extract the files from Zip to the web hosting. It shouldn’t take more than a few seconds.

Note: If your web hosting control panel doesn’t support Unzip function (which is unlikely), you have to upload all files via the FTP by using an FTP client software like FileZilla.

WordPress files after extraction

When the files are extracted, you can go ahead and delete the Zip file. Now all WordPress files are in your web hosting space and you can begin the installation.

Installation

To begin the installation, open a new tab in your browser and type in the domain name you have. Remember to access it via the HTTPS Protocol so the URL should look like this: “https://domain.com/” or “https://www.domain.com/”

If you did everything correctly in the previous steps, you’ll see this screen, which prompts you to select a language.

WordPress Installation: Select a Language to begin

WordPress comes in more than 60 languages and 160 translations. Select the language you want to create the website. If you want to create a multi-language website, there are plugins to do that so just select the website’s main language and click “Continue”.

On the next screen, you have to enter some information that the installation requires.

  • Site Title (the name of the website)
  • Username (a username for website administrator – only letters & numbers)
  • Password (you can enter a password or go with the suggested one)
  • Your Email (In case you forgot your password or receive important notifications)

The last part on this screen is a checkbox titled “Search engine visibility”. If you want your website to be found by search engines, then leave this empty. If this is a secret website, you can check it so search engines don’t index the website on the search results page. Although they usually do it anyway.

WordPress Installation: Enter site information, username, password, and email

With all information entered, click on the “Install WordPress” button to begin the installation. Depending on the web hosting configuration, it might take up to a minute. However, It really takes longer than 10 seconds.

Upon completion, you’ll see the following screen telling you the installation was successful.

WordPress Installation: Installation Successful

Your website is ready now and you can access the dashboard or website homepage. To visit the WordPress dashboard (or control panel) click on the “Log In” button.

WordPress Dashboard

You can access the WordPress dashboard anytime by typing “wp-admin” following the site domain and URL. For example, if your website domain is “www.Domain.com”, then “www.Domain.com/wp-admin” is the URL to access the WP dashboard.

WordPress site dashboard login area

WordPress dashboard is the control center or control panel of your website, where everything is located to change website settings, add posts, install plugins, change themes, and many more.

WordPress Dashboard right after Installation

The WordPress dashboard is only visible to you or anyone with the username & password.

Now, if you go to your website homepage (www.Domain.com for example) you’ll see what visitors see (a.k.a. frontend).

WordPress frontend with default theme right after installation
WordPress default theme (Twenty Twenty-Two)

This is the actual website where posts, pictures, menus, and other elements are visible to everyone accessing your website.

Potential Errors During Installation

If you follow this guide step by step, it is highly unlikely to encounter any problems during installation. But some may see the following error, usually at the first step of the installation (selecting language).

WordPress Database Connection Error

To fix this issue, you just have to check the following items and make sure they are correct both on web hosting as well as WordPress files.

  • The database name is correct on web hosting and the “wp-condig.php” file
  • The username & password are correct on web hosting and the “wp-condig.php” file
  • Make sure “-sample” is removed from the “wp-condig.php” filename.
  • The database and user are connected on the web hosting control panel
  • Make sure the connected user to the database has all privileges
  • All files were Zipped and completely uploaded & extracted on “public_html”
  • Make sure the web hosting database is located on localhost by asking the hosting provider, otherwise, change the value in the “wp-condig.php” file.

If you still get this error, which is really rare after all checkups, let’s start from the top and follow all steps more carefully. If the problem persisted, there might be some problems with the hosting provider. Send them a message and ask them about it.

Conclusion

To wrap up this post, let’s see what we learned throughout this article. First, we talked about what WordPress is and why it is a popular site builder among more than 40% of all websites on the internet. We also learn the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com (blog service).

Next, we took a dive into WordPress plugins and themes that allow us to add any feature we like or change the looks of our website, make it a personal blog, business website, eCommerce store, or even a social network website. The benefits and limitations of using WordPress as the site’s content management system (CMS) were discussed as well.

Afterward, we started learning how to install WordPress on a web hosting connected to a domain name. The guide in this article is step-by-step and everyone can follow it to install WP on any common web hosting control panels without any knowledge of coding or programming.

The installation starts by downloading the WordPress files, preparing them, creating a database, uploading the files, and finally installing WordPress. We also talked about how to access the WordPress dashboard where all settings and controls for making the website are located.

In the end, we talked about the most common error one may encounter during the installation and measures to take in order to fix the issue. That’s the entire story of WordPress and its installation process, and that’s about it.