How to manually set up WordPress on a domain

If you have already set up your own domain name, setting up a WordPress site is very easy. However, there are several things that you need to prepare before installing and using your WordPress site.

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about preparing your domain and web hosting account for a WordPress installation, how to complete the installation, and finally, how to start using your new WordPress website.

Set up your domain

You can buy a domain from any domain provider you want, regardless of which web hosting provider you chose. The only major setting you need to worry about in setting up WordPress on a domain is that the name servers for your domain point to the correct web hosting account.

This is the first thing to set up. To do this, log into your web hosting account and go to: cPanel† You will often find the two name servers for that web hosting account in the left pane below the Statistics section. It is also called the . named DNS servers

If it isn’t there, look through all the other account information pages your web host has provided to find those servers.

Once you have it, log into your domain provider account and find your registered domain. In your domain settings you should be able to find where the name servers are defined.

Change the listed domains to match the two name servers you included from your hosting account.

This will direct all incoming traffic to that web domain to the appropriate web server where you will be setting up your WordPress website.

Set up your hosting account

Now that you have routed all web traffic to your domain to the correct hosting account, you need to configure that domain in your hosting account as well.

This means that you either need to create a new hosting account based on that domain name (configured during hosting account signup). Or, if you already have a hosting account, you can add new domains to that account.

To do this, log in to your hosting account and go to cPanel again. Under the Domains section, select Add-on domains

In this section, fill in the details regarding the domain name you want to set up on your web host.

These details include the domain name, the subdomain (usually the same as the domain without the “.com” at the end), the subfolder where all your WordPress files are stored, and a strong password.

Remark: Add-on domains only work if your web host has enabled the feature to host multiple domains on a single hosting account. If you only use one domain for your web host account, you don’t have to worry about adding an add-on domain.

Test the name server changes

Now that you’ve configured your domain provider to point all requests for your domain to your web hosting account, and you’ve configured your web hosting account to serve your web files from a specific directory, it’s time to test whether those changes are working.

Logged into your web hosting account, open cPanel. Below the Files section, select File manager

To open the folder, select the document root for the domain you just configured. Select To go

You will see that this folder is currently completely empty. To test if the site is working properly, create a test HTML file with only one line.

To do this, select New file from the main menu.

Name the new file index.htm† Select the Create new file knob. Now you see the new one index.htm file listed in the root directory for this domain. Index.htm is the default webpage that people land on when they first visit a website.

Right click on the file and select edit to start editing the file.

You don’t need to do anything special to display this file in the browser when visitors visit your site. All you need to do is type a single line.

This website is currently working correctly

When you’re done, select the Save knob. Then select the Close to

Finally, to test if everything is working properly, open a web browser and type your new domain in the browser URL field.

You should see that one line you created appear in the browser.

Remark: If you see a security error when you try to connect to your domain with your browser, you may need to enable SSL for that add-on domain. If so, please contact your web host’s technical support to find out how to enable add-on domain SSL.

Copy over WordPress files

Now that you know that your new domain is working properly and reading files in the root of your web host for that domain, you are ready to install WordPress.

To make sure you’re installing the latest version of WordPress, go to and download the latest version. Finally, extract the downloaded file into a WordPress folder on your computer.

Then open an FTP client on your computer and connect to your web hosting account using the FTP credentials provided by your web hosting provider. Remove the index.htm file you created before and copy all its contents WordPress folder to the root folder you created for your add-on domain in your web host account.

Set up a MySQL database

Before you can install WordPress, you need to create a MySQL database for it. This is much easier than it sounds.

  • Log in to your web hosting account and open cPanel.
  • Scroll to the Databases section and select MySQL databases
  • In the Create a new database section, type a name for a new database for the WordPress installation on your new domain. Then select Create database

Next, create an admin account for the WordPress installation. To do this, scroll down to the MySQL Users section and type in the username and password for the account.

Then link that user to the new database. Scroll down to the Add a user to a Database section. Select the user you just created, select the new database you just created, and select the To add knob.

On the next screen, you will see a window to apply all necessary permissions to the user. Select All rightsand then select Making changes

Now your SQL database and admin user are ready to run the WordPress installation procedure.

Configure the WP-Config.php file

The last step before you can run the WordPress installation routine is to configure the wp-config.php File. This file is located in the root of your site; the same location where you previously copied the entire WordPress file.

  • Log in to your web hosting account and open the File Manager just like you did in the previous step.
  • Navigate to the folder for your new domain, right click on the wp-config-sample.php file, and select edit

In this file you will see a section that defines the database information.

Replace the capital letters in single quotes with the following information for all the entries you created when you added your new MySQL database in the step above:

  • Database Name: Replace database_name_here
  • Database User: Replace username_here
  • Database Password: Replace password_here

You can leave the DB_HOST setting as localhost

  • When you’re done, select the Save button, then the Close to knob.
  • Finally, rename the file wp-config-sample.php as wp-config.php

You are now ready to run the WordPress installation!

Install WordPress

Now that all your WordPress files are located in the root directory of your website, all you need to do is open a web browser and visit that domain to start the WordPress installation. If you have everything set up correctly, you should see the following window.

This means that the WordPress installation has started and you are looking at the first step. Select the language of your choice and select Get on

On the next screen, you will need to define a title for your new website, as well as an account name and password for the website administrator. Add your email address in the Your email field. Select Install WordPress

If everything worked as it should, you should see a success message stating that WordPress is installed.

Next steps

Now when you visit your domain in a web browser, you will see your new website displayed with the default WordPress theme.

You may be done with your WordPress installation at this point, but most people aren’t completely happy with the look of the default WordPress theme.

There are a few important things you can do to immediately improve the look of your new WordPress website.

  • Download a WordPress theme to the wp content/themes folder and install the theme in the Appearance/Themes page in your WordPress dashboard.
  • Visit the Plugins page in your WordPress dashboard and install essential plugins such as SEO, Forms and other plugins that will enhance the functionality of your website (many themes come with plugins).
  • Add a About us and Contact pages to make your website look professional.

The most important next step, now that you have your new WordPress website up and running, is of course to start creating great content that visitors will enjoy.

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