How To Install A WordPress Blog In Cpanel

WordPress is a great content management system because the system itself is free and there’s a community of people also creating free layouts, plug-ins, and helpful tutorials (like this one). It’s powerful enough to manage most individual and organizational website needs, yet simple enough for everyone to use. I don’t mean to oversell WordPress, but it does make it possible to start a website with minimal effort and upfront expense.

I’m writing this post as a resource for my clients and to encourage more people to start blogs on their own.

Why have your own blog?
For those tuning into this post just wanting the nuts and bolt of a WordPress install on cPanel, feel free to skip ahead. I felt like this section should be in here because some people reading this post will be installing WordPress because they heard from trusted sources that they should do it, but they may not understand why.

In the spirit of being as complete a resouce as possible, the first thing you should know is that WordPress is primarily used to power blogs and blogs are a communication tool. They are intended to be a forum for an individual or group to publish information on a recurring basis. Blogs originated as online journals and the name blog itself comes from the mash up of Web+log. Blogs have been traditionally valued for their informal, chrnologically-based structure because it frees writers to write with their flow. Blog posts differ from traditional articles because they are supposed to be personally biased and shared for the purpose of conversation, which is carried out through comments left on the post. They are a great way to gain search engine traffic because search engines like website with frequent content additions. Blogs also foster relationships because of their conversational and opinionated nature.

Secret #1 – You don’t need to install WordPress
In fact, you don’t even need WordPress to have a blog. Places like Blogger, MySpace, and LiveJournal offer free blogs that simply require completing a short sign-up form. Social networking sites, like MySpace, not only offer blogs, but they also have over 100 million people in their network available for you to promote your blog.

You will still be interested in a WordPress blog if owning the site is an important part of your blogging goals. Owning your own site means you have full control over the site’s design and functionality. It also means you can decide about whether or not to have advertising, and if you do opt for it, then you make the money from the ads. Running your blog on your own website also lends credibility and prestige to your message. And, while this is a helpful resource for installing a WordPress blog, you should know there are hosting companies that offer website and email hosting with WordPress pre-installed or with a push button installer. In fact, WordPress has a great list of hosts on their website that offer just such packages. So, if you want the legitimacy that comes from owning your own domain, hosting, and blog software offers, but you don’t want the hassle of setting it up, those hosts have packages starting at $4.95 per month. If you do opt for this route, then just skip to the end of this post for some WordPress first tips.

Before we get started
If you’re a designer looking to expand your skill set or just an interested student of the Internet, then learning to set-up a WordPress blog could be a handy thing to know. In light of that, you will need a few things before you can install WordPress blog, such as:

A domain name
Compatible hosting:
Linux operating system
Apache web server
PHP server side scripting
MySQL database
A text editor, such as Notepad or TextEdit
FTP software
If you have a PC and no FTP software, I recommend Filezilla, which is free.
If you have a Mac and no FTP software, I recommend Transmit, which at least has a free demo.
If you don’t know what FTP software is and would like to know more, read the Wikipedia article on FTP software.
If you have those things, then all you’ll need is your FTP login information, which includes a server address, user name, and password. If you don’t have any of the above, then you’ll need to acquire those things. You can buy domain names and compatible hosting from a variety of suppliers. My recommendation is to find on that offers a graphical, web-based server control panel. The two most popular control panels are Plesk and cPanel. This tutorial contains a step-by-step process for setting up the database on BlueHost, a hosting company that offers cPanel for managing your server. A resourceful person should be able to use the information below to install WordPress on Plesk or another brand of control panel as the basic concepts are the same.

How To Create A Database In Cpanel

The first thing you should do is create your database. Some hosting companies will create one for you at sign up, so you may want to check the registration confirmation and welcome info they sent you. If you don’t have one, then you can follow this example for setting up a MySQL database on BlueHost, which is powered by cPanel.

You’ll need to login to your control panel, which you usually do by either logging in through your hosting company’s site, or through your own site with an address like “manage.yourwebsite.com” or “yourwebsite.com:8448″. Refer to your registration email from your hosting company for that information.

Once you are logged in, on the home page of your admin control panel, click on the link for the MySQL database under the Database heading:You’re now at the place where you can create databases and users as well as assign users to databases. Now, in the world of computers, databases belong to users, which means before we can create a database, we need to create a user. To create a user, simply enter their username and password here:Once you’ve added the user, go back to the database management screen. Now you’re ready to create the database, which you can do by simply entering the name here:Now that you have a database and a user, you need to assign the user to the database, which you can do by selecting the username and the database name from the drop down menus. Be sure to leave the “all” option checked because you want the user to have full access privileges. Now click the “Add user to db” button here:Your database is now set-up! Be sure to write down the database name, username, and password as you will need them in Step 3. Please note that some hosting companies will tag characters on the front of your database name and username, for example you may have entered “wordpress” for your database name, but your hosting company made it “you_wordpress”.

Step 2 – Download
Now that we have all of the pieces in place, the next thing you’ll need to do is download WordPress. WordPress comes as one of 2 file formats: “.zip” and “.tar.gz”. If you don’t know what “.tar.gz” is, then I recommend downloading the zip file. The downloaded file should either unzip automagically, or you’ll need to do it manually. Unzipping the file manually should just be a matter of double-clicking on the file, which should open the application you have to unzip files. If you don’t have an unzipping application, then I recommend WinZip for a PC, and StuffIt Expander for Macs. Both are free to demo.

Unzipping the file should produce a single folder full of the application files. Open that folder and move on to the next step.

Step 3 – Edit the config file
In that folder there should be a file called “sample-wp-config.php”. Open that file with a text editor like Notepad or TextEdit. Do NOT use Microsoft Word because it doesn’t save files in a format that is compatible with the Web!

At the top of the config file there should be a place to enter your database name, username, and password; enter the names you wrote down from the end of Step 1. Save that file in the same folder, but change the file name by deleting the word sample, which should make the file named “wp-config.php”. Now you’re ready for Step 4.

Step 4 – Upload the application
Here’s where you are going to need the FTP program. Launch your FTP software and start a new connection. There should be a place for you to enter your server address, your FTP username, FTP password. This is not necessarily the same username and password as your database. Your hosting company should have sent you your FTP address, username and password as part of your sign-up, and you’ll need to contact them if you can’t find it.

After you enter your login data into your FTP program, there should be a button to connect or login, which should open your website’s root folder. Some hosting companies start you in a folder up a level or two from your website’s root folder. You may need to click on a folder or two to get to your website. Often times the first folder you need to click is the name of your site, such as “yoursite.com”. Then you need to click on a folder called something like “httpdocs”, “www”, “http”, “docs”, or “public”. This folder is what is known as your “root” folder and it’s the beginning of your website’s folder and file structure. If you want your blog address to be “yourwebsite.com”, then you’ll want to upload the contents of the WordPress folder on your computer into the root folder for your website. If you want your blog to be an address like “yourwebsite.com/blog”, then you need to create a new folder titled “blog”, or whatever you want the address to be, in the root folder of your website and upload the WordPress files there. * It’s important to note that you only want to upload the contents of the WordPress folder on your computer, not the main folder itself (you do want the folders within the main folder).

Step 5 – Run the installer
Now that everything is in place, open a web browser and type in the address for your blog (it should be something like yourwebsite.com or yourwebsite.com/blog). If your set up is correct, then you will see a screen telling you to run the installer. If you missed a step, then you’ll be told an error and it should prompt you with a possible solution.

Running the installer should lead you to a screen with a place to enter your blog’s name and your email address. WordPress will email a password to the address you enter here, so be sure you can access that account’s inbox. Plug the password from the confirmation email into the login screen and you’re in!

First tips
After your blog is up and running, you’ll need to poke around the admin to discover all of it’s possibilities. There are a few first things that people generally like to do, such as:

Change your blog name or add a tagline under the “Options” menu.
WordPress has links in your blogroll to start with, you can edit those or add new ones under “Links”.
WordPress also comes with a first post, which you can delete under the “Manage” menu.
You can write your first post by clicking on the “Write” menu.
When writing your first post, note the options on the right of the page. For example, you’ll want to make sure to assign categories to your post or it will remain uncategorized.
You can select a different layout or style under the “Presentation” menu. On the bottom of that page, you can click on a link for new WordPress themes, which links you to hundreds of pre-made styles with instructions for how to install them.

The Quite Web

The Quite Web is the era we are in right now. It began when the Internet began and it is the period of time dominated by text and image data (data that is quiet and stationary). Up until recently, rich media has been inaccessible to all but a wealthy few.

However, now that bandwidth is becoming more widely available at cheaper costs combined with the fact that rich media input devices, such as cameras and microphones, are widely available at affordable costs; we’re seeing more and more rich media information on the web. Look at the explosion of YouTube, a video sharing community that would have been inconceivable 5 years ago. Becoming evermore common place, VoIP has greatly increased the usage of the Internet for transporting rich data.

So much so, that I’m going to say we are embarking on a new time for the Internet as significant as the addition of audio to movies. At the same time, I wouldn’t think of it as Web 3.0, because I don’t think that name accurately describes this new era. We are not witnessing the next version of the web as we did with 2.0, rather we are seeing new layers form that have radical implications on culture and technology, which I’m calling the Rich Web.

The Rich Web
Technologically, the Rich Web is the mass incorporation of motion and audio. Culturally, the Rich Web is the emergence of a new level of visual and audio communication. Video blogs, or vlogs, are one example of the cultural usage of the newly accessible audio/video data. VoIP is another example. Movies are starting to sell viewings online.

The Rich Web will continue to develop on top of Web 2.0. There is a translation layer forming between the Rich Web and Web 2.0. The translation layer will be a huge part of the success of the Rich Web as it will power search and findability. It includes technologies like facial recognition and speech to text conversion. Converting audio and video into text data will enable rich content to be a part of Web 2.0, which opens up that rich content to the power of the Quiet Web (search, feeds, social bookmarks, etc).

Future players
I think Skype is a company that is at the heart of the Rich Web. With their roots in VoIP, they are enabling a variety of rich media services. I think we’ll see a fusion of cell phones and VoIP. We’ll see cell phones continue to evolve into smart devices. These smart devices will begin to associate us with things like our blogs, MySpace profiles, social bookmark lists, etc. I’ve already seen software targeted at coffee shops that allows local Internet users to see the profiles of the other people in the cafe. Using Bonjour, everyone in my local network shows up on my IM buddy list.

I’m excited to see all of the new developments that are coming from the Rich Web. I think the Rich Web is the ultimate destiny of the Internet. I think it’s the beginning of the fusion of T.V., radio, telephones, and mail into one network. Don’t get me wrong, the Internet won’t fully supplant T.V. until it can deliver HD video and surround sound. I don’t think that time is far off. And, I think T.V. has already felt a deep cut in their viewership from people spending more and more time online, which I think is attributable in part to the proliferation of rich content. As the Rich Web grows, so will participation.

Gaps And Spaces Around Images Of Web Design

The other day I was having trouble eliminating gaps between an image and the top of an unordered list. I was trying to make a box with rounded corners to look like a giftcard. No matter what I tried, there was a 2 pixel space between the top and bottom graphics and the list.

The client wanted the images to print, so I couldn’t use them as background images, which I typically use for non-content images. (Does anyone know if you can override a browser’s default settings to make a background image print?)

At first I tried placing my images and the unordered list into a div. I thought if I set the list’s margins to zero and made the div the same width as the images, then the images should sit on top and bottom of the list. The code looked like this:

<style type=”text/css”>
div {width: 280px;}
ul {margin: 0; padding: 0; border-left: 1px solid #000; border-right: 1px solid #000;}
li {margin: 0; padding: 10px; list-style: none;}
</style>
<div>
<img src=”top.jpg” alt=”” />
<ul>
<li>Example</li>
</ul>
<img src=”bottom.jpg” alt=”” />
</div>

I tried deleting the line returns between my code to see if they were causing spaces, but that didn’t help. I tried setting the margins of the image to be 0. I thought maybe my images were inheriting some margins from somewhere else in the stylesheet, so I tried using just the HTML and CSS for my giftcard on their own document, but that didn’t help either. I tried putting the images in the unordered list itself, but that didn’t help. I tried setting the height of the <li> for the top and bottom image to be the same height as the image itself, which worked for the top image, but not the bottom one. I even resorted to tables placing the graphics in their own cells with their height set at the same as the images’, which I was quite surprised didn’t work. I triple checked my images in Photoshop to see if I had cropped the image properly, and it was. Finally, my coworker suggested making the div’s position relative and then position the images absolutely, and holy sweet relief that worked!

I still don’t know why the spaces were in there in the first place and it was happening consistently across browsers and platforms. If anyone has any answers, I would love to know them. But in the mean time, if you are frustrated with gaps above and below your images, positioning worked for me.