November 25

How to Install WordPress on cPanel – Step by Step Guide


WordPress is the Internet’s number one content management system (CMS). Whereas you have the choice of dozens of CMS’ to run your website on, none have been subjected to as much real world testing and continuous improvement as WordPress. 

Part of the reason WordPress is so popular is how easy it is for a non-techie to set up. Nearly all web hosts allow you to install WordPress on cPanel. There are two main ways you can do this installation – automatically (also known as one-click installation) or manually. We will take a look at both methods. 

Irrespective of the technique you choose, it all begins with having a registered domain name as well as a username and password to your web host’s cPanel. With that out of the way, let’s get to it.

Automatic (One-Click) Installation

Automatic installation is the easier approach so this will likely be most website owner’s first choice.

One-click set up allows you to get your WordPress site up and running without getting bogged down by the nuts and bolts. 

There are multiple installers web hosts use for one-click WordPress installation. 

The more popular ones include Softaculous, Fantastico and QuickInstall. Softaculous is arguably the most widely used and is the one we will focus on in this section. In any case, auto installers are designed to be fairly intuitive. So if you are comfortable with using Softaculous for one-click WordPress installation, you are more likely to figure out with relative ease the process to follow when using the other auto installers.

Step 1: Log in to your cPanel account, navigate to the AutoInstallers section. Go to Softaculous and look for the WordPress icon under scripts. Click on this to launch the WordPress auto installer. This will open a window displaying an overview of the WordPress version you will be installing. There will be multiple tables near the top of the window. Press the Install tab.

Step 2: Select your website’s protocol. This is going to either be ‘https://’, ‘https://www.’, ‘http://’ or ‘http://www’ depending on whether your site runs on SSL or not.

Step 3:  Select the domain you want WordPress installed on.

Step 4: Next is the Directory field which is blank by default. When left in this state, WordPress will assume that you want the CMS on your entire website (e.g. Alternatively, you can specify a subfolder such as if you want it installed there instead. Provide a subfolder here if you intend for your blog or other website subsection powered by WordPress and no other part.

Step 5: You can leave Database Name as the default.

Step 6: You may leave the Table Prefix as wp_ which is the default. For security reasons however, it is best practice to change to something less standard such as wpforexample_. The idea is to make it harder for cybercriminals to infiltrate by taking advantage of default naming convention.

Step 7: Complete the Site Settings section which comprises site name, site description, admin username, admin password, admin email, language and some basic plugins. This is not a critical section though since you can always amend the parameters later if you need to.

Step 8: Press Install. At this point, Softaculous takes over the process and runs the installation with the parameters you entered. It should take a couple of minutes. Do not close the window before the progress bar is at 100 percent else this could jeopardize the installation.

Step 9: On completion, you will see a notification announcing installation success together with a URL to your website and another to the WordPress administrator dashboard. Click the administrator link to commence work on configuring your site.

Manual Installation

Automatic WordPress installation will be the number one choice for most website owners and administrators. 

However, some people may still want to run the process manually. It has more steps and will take you longer. 

On the other hand, it gives you the ability to really customize the set up in ways that are hard to do with one-click installation.

 Overall, manual WordPress installation entails downloading the WordPress files, creating a database and then installing WordPress.

  • Step 1: Visit and download the latest version of WordPress to your computer, virtual private server or dedicated server. You can save the zip file anywhere on the computer but it’s best to choose a location that is easy for you to remember such as the Desktop. At this point, you can extract the zip archive or you could leave extraction for later on during the upload phase.
  • Step 2: Check that your website is linked to WordPress through your web host. To do that, go to your host account and navigate to Site Builder Options. Choose Use WordPress to link your domain to your soon-to-be WordPress site.
  • Step 3:  Upload the WordPress file to your web hosting account. You can perform the upload in two ways – via an FTP client such as FileZilla or cPanel’s File Manager. Irrespective of the technique you choose, the end result will be the same. A key difference however is that whereas FTP clients like FileZilla are typically desktop applications, cPanel is a web application and does not require any software installed on your computer. The FTP approach is also more time consuming than cPanel’s File Manager.
  • To upload the files via FileZilla, upload the WordPress zip file or extracted files from your computer directly to your preferred directory within the hosting account.
  • To upload the files via cPanel, go to your cPanel (such as and provide your login credentials. Look for and launch File Manager. Find the public_html directory. Press Upload. Click Select File to upload the WordPress zip file (in case you have not extracted the file as yet). Once the upload is complete, click the Go Back URL at the base of the screen.
  • Step 4: If you had not extracted the files before upload, click the WordPress installation zip file and select Extract in your toolbar. A pop up window will ask where you want the files extracted to. You could leave the default choice unchanged. Press Extract File(s) to unpack all the files. Go to the WordPress folder created by the extracted zip file and click to view its contents. Select all files and select MoveFile to transfer to the root folder of your domain. In other words, you will move the files from /public_html/wordpress/ where they currently are, to /public_html/. Delete the zip file itself.
  • Step 5:  Create a database in your web host account where WordPress can save the data required for your site to function correctly and consistently. To do that, go to Databases on your cPanel and press MySQL Databases Wizard.

    Provide a unique name for your database. Best practice is to have it include your domain name (e.g. WPforexample) and press Next Step. Create a database administrator username and password. For security reasons, avoid using the default user name ‘admin’. Develop something more unique instead. Use the Password Generator to create a complex password though you can still do that manually. 

    Take note of your database name, username and password then press Create User. Go to Add User to Database and on the dropdown menu, choose the admin account you have just created. Select your new database in the Database dropdown menu and select Add. 

    Next, add permissions so your username can communicate with the database. To allocate privileges to your user account, click Make Changes, choose All Privileges and press Next Step. You will get an on-screen notification that you have successfully granted the user permissions to the database. 

    Your database is now ready for WordPress and you can proceed with actual WordPress installation.

  • Step 6: To install WordPress, go to where you saved the installation files whether the root or a subdirectory. If the files are in the root directory, open If they are in a subdirectory called blog for instance, proceed to 

    Select your primary language and press Continue to proceed. Next, WordPress will show you some essential information. Press Let’s Go! to continue.
  • Step 7: To link WordPress to your database, key in your database name, administrator username and password. Leave the database name as localhost (which is the default). In case localhost does not work, you can obtain the information from the web host. You may leave the table prefix as the default though, for security reasons, it may be better to create a more customized name. Press Submit once done.
  • Step 8: You have now gotten to the famous five-minute installation screens of WordPress. Complete installation by providing essential administration data. Provide your website title, administrator username, administrator password and administrator email. Indicate whether you want search engines to index your WordPress website. Press Install WordPress and that’s it.
  • Step 9: Press Log In, provide your username and password and click Log In. This will take you to your WordPress dashboard. 

Wrapping Up

There you have it. The automatic (one-click) process is relatively straightforward but the manual process is not hard to follow either. Completing installation does not mark the end of building and configuring your WordPress site. WordPress has a wealth of features, themes and plugins that allow you to extract the most from it. A website is a continuous work in progress.

You are more likely to extract maximum value from WordPress if you pick the right web host. Whereas most major web hosts are comfortable hosting WordPress websites, you are better off going with providers that can demonstrate extensive experience working with WordPress. Where possible, prioritize web hosts that have been recommended by WordPress itself.


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