Image using WordPress logo and words "The Famous 5 Minute Install or How to Install WordPress Manually"You may have heard of the WordPress 5 Minute Install. Many people mistakenly believe that this refers to a quick install using a script like Softaculous or Fantastico Deluxe. These scripts are available through many web hosts and actually do allow you to install WordPress in 5 minutes or less. The actual WordPress 5 Minute Install is a manual WordPress installation. In reality, it takes a bit longer than 5 minutes, but with a little practice can easily be done in 10 minutes or less.

Why would you want to do this instead of using a script?

The scripts sometimes add, or remove, other things than just the core WordPress software. You also don’t know if any configuration changes have been made in the scripts. It’s possible to make changes that may not be desired in your specific installation. If you’re building a larger platform like a learning management platform, you want to make sure that nothing extra is being installed with your files, so it’s preferable to install manually.

This is particularly true if you are installing and configuring BuddyPress ( as part of your platform. The BuddyPress codex states:


WordPress should be installed manually i.e. via FTP, cpanel, etc. and NOT via webhost scripts (fantastico, softalicious, etc.)which bring about numerous issues when BuddyPress is activated. –

How to Install WordPress Manually

There are several different steps required when installing WordPress, manually, that require access to both your web host and access to a few pieces of software.

What you will need to complete this installation

  • Access to your web host to create a MySQL database (note a MariaDB database is also supported by WordPress, but we will not be covering that here). Our demo host is using cPanel. Your host could have a different control panel.
  • FTP access and an FTP program like FileZilla. It is Very Important to only download FileZilla from either the official FileZilla site, or I recommend the official site. Many other sites distribute malware or spamware with free software. For more information on how to use FTP, see my post on FileZilla FTP.
  • A text editor – NOT a word processor. On a Mac you can use Text Edit or my favorite Text Wrangler. On Windows use Notepad or Notepad++.

Installing WordPress Part 1 – The Database

How to Create Your Database

First, you will need to create your database from your cPanel, or other control panel account.

Scroll down to the Databases section in your cPanel and double-click on the MySQL Database Wizard icon to open wizard. This will take you through a series of screens in order to create your database.

Screen grab of the Databases area in cPanel.

Enter the name of your database and click the Create Database button. Note the pre-text before the name you enter. You will need the complete information to enter into your wp-config.php file. For example: howtobu5_

Screen grab of the Create Database User Screen.

Depending on your control panel, this series of steps may be completed one after another as part of a sequence. Otherwise, you may have to click the GoBack Button between steps and then return to the next step. Once you receive the notice that the database was created, click the GoBack button to return to the database page

Scroll down to MySql users and Add a New User

Screen grab of the Add New Users to Database User Screen.

Enter the username – You are limited to alphanumeric characters and may only have 7 characters in the portion you enter.

Password – Make sure to enter a strong password, since this is not a password you will be manually entering, you may want to use the password generator – then copy that password and paste it somewhere safe until we add it to our config file.

Click the create user button to create your user. Once you receive the completed successfully action, click Go Back to return to the MySQL Databases page

You have successfully created a MySQL user. In my case, the user is named “howtobu5_kuse2”.

Scroll down to Add user to Database

Select your the user you created

Select the database you just created

Click the Add button

On the privileges page, select All Privileges and click the Make Changes button to save these changes.

Screen grab of the Add Privileges to Database User Screen.

You have now created a database and a user and granted the user full access to the database.

Installing WordPress Part 2 – The Files

Download and Configure WordPress Files

  1. Download the latest version of WordPress from WordPress.orgButton Link to to download the newest version of WordPress.
  2. Once you have downloaded the file, double-click on it to unzip it. The file will unzip into a directory (folder) called wordpress.
  3. Open the wordpress directory.
  4. Find the file named “wp-config-sample.php” and open it using a text editor. It is very important to use a text editor and not a WordProcessor. I recommend using either TextEdit or TextWrangler on a Mac and using Notepad or Notepad++ on a PC.
  5. Scroll down to the MySql Database information and enter your database name, username, and password.Screengrab of database information in wp-config.php file.
  6. Save the file with the name “wp-config.php”. Note that this is very important and must be exact, or the WordPress software won’t work.

Copy the WordPress Files to Your Web Host

Use FTP (File Transfer Protocol) or SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) to copy the files to your WordPress hosting account. For more information on using FTP see the post Introduction to FTP using FileZilla. Depending on your Internet upload speed, this could take 10 minutes or longer.

It is important to copy just the files and subdirectories within the unzipped wordpress folder. Don’t copy the whole directory.

Screengrabs showing the WordPress files to copy to your web host in order to install WordPress.

Run the WordPress Installation

  1. Once the files have finished copying, open a browser tab and enter the URL for the site you are installing. For example: This launches the Installation.
  2. On the first screen, select your site language. In my case, this will be English.
  3. Select Continue.
  4. Enter the Title for your site, and a subtitle if desired. – Note that a filler subtitle will usually show by default. If you aren’t going to use an actual subtitle for your site, leave this and change or remove it after the installation is complete. Most installations require something in this space during the installation.
  5. Enter your administrator name
  6. Enter an administrator password
  7. Enter your administrator email address.
  8. Set the option to Discourage Search Engines
  9. Click the Install WordPress button.
  10. You will receive a message that you have successfully installed WordPress.
  11. You may now login and get started.

Congratulations, you have now completed the WordPress 5 Minute Install. Make sure to login and set your Permalinks, then you’re ready to start building your site.

How to Set Permalinks

Your Permalinks settings allow you to name pages and posts that make sense. By default, content management systems like WordPress name posts and pages with characters that have no relation to the subject of the post like =? and numbers.

  1. Login to your WordPress admin panel. You can access your admin panel from (Note that some installations change this, but by default it should work).
  2. From the Dashboard, select Settings > Permalinks.
  3. This opens the Permalinks Settings configuration page.
  4. Select the format you desire, then click the Save Changes button.

It is recommended to use the Post Name as your setting. Permalinks are very important for SEO and usability.