Why You Should Manually Install WordPress Instead of Using Fantastico (and How to Do It)

By on October 23rd, 2015

Fantastico is a script installer that comes with cPanel, and it allows you to install applications such as WordPress at the click of a button. There are a few drawbacks to this convenient method, however:

  • Fantastico doesn’t install the latest version of WordPress. WordPress gets updated very often, and unfortunately, Fantastico can’t keep up with the frequency of these updates, so you’ll always be left behind. It’s important to keep WordPress updated to avoid security vulnerabilities.
  • Fantastico uses the default security settings when setting up WordPress, and these settings are well-known to hackers, thereby making it easier for them to attack your site.
  • Fantastico is “buggy”, meaning that it doesn’t always work smoothly.

Installing WordPress manually doesn’t take that much extra time, and your site will be more secure. The first step is to download the latest version of WordPress from http://wordpress.org/. The downloaded file will be in .zip format, so unzip the file to the directory of your choice on your hard drive.

The next step is to create a database for WordPress. If you don’t know how to do that, have a look at the “How to Create a Database Using the MySQL Database Wizard in cPanel” tutorial.

Once you have your database created, look for the wp-config-sample.php file in the wordpress folder that you just unzipped. Rename this file to wp-config.php and open it in a text editor such as Notepad or an HTML editor such as Dreamweaver.

Replace database_name_here, username_here, and password_here with the name of your database, the username of the database user, and the database password, respectively.

NOTE: If, during the WordPress installation, you get an error saying that you can’t connect to the database, try using your cPanel username and password in the wp-config.php file instead of your MySQL database username and password, and it should work.

Scroll down the wp-config.php file and look for the following URL:

https://api.wordpress.org/secret-key/1.1/salt/

Copy and paste this URL into your browser and press ENTER. You should see something like this:

Copy and paste all of this text into the wp-config.php file where lines 45-52 are shown in the screen shot above. (i.e., replace the existing code with the new code that you just generated).

Scroll further down and look for where it says $table_prefix. Replace wp_ with another prefix of your choice. Be sure to use only numbers, letters, and underscores. The reason that you should customize your table prefix is so that it’s more difficult for hackers to attack your site. If you were to install WordPress using Fantastico, you wouldn’t be able to customize the table prefix.

When you’re finished editing wp-config.php, save the file. Next, upload the WordPress files and directories to your website’s public_html directory using an FTP client. For more information on how to upload files, look at the “How to Upload Files to Your Website Using WinSCP (an FTP Client)” tutorial.

If you want to install WordPress in the root of your site, don’t upload the “wordpress” folder itself to your public_html directory. In your FTP client, browse to the contents of this folder (in the left pane), and upload the contents. If you want to install WordPress in a subdirectory on your site, such as /blog/, then create a directory on your server called blog, and upload the WordPress files and folders to it. In WinSCP, for example, you can create a directory by right-clicking on the right pane and selecting New > Directory.

After uploading WordPress, navigate to the installation page in your web browser. For example, if your domain is mywebsite.com, and you uploaded WordPress to a directory named “blog”, then you’d want to go to:

http://mywebsite.com/blog/wp-admin/install.php

You should see the installation screen:

Fill in the required information, but leave the password field blank because WordPress will automatically generate a strong password for you, which you’ll see on the next screen after you click the Install WordPress button.

After clicking on Install WordPress, you’ll see the following screen. Make a note of your password, and click the Login button. WordPress is now installed, and you’re reading to start using it.

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