The Complete Guide to Installing WordPress

f you want to keep your WordPress online you will need to purchase web hosting and move your website files to the new server.  Here’s how:

Order a Web Hosting Account

I am recommending A Small Orange as an excellent web host provider for your website. This hosting has been rated as a top WordPress host by a independent tester.

Prices are as low as $35 per year.  Sign up here.

Install WordPress on the New Server

  1. Follow these directions to install WordPress on your new web hosting account.
  2. Login to the Admin Panel of your new WordPress site on your own server.
  3. Install all of the plugins that you are currently using on your WordPress Site.   *** It is important that you have all the plugins installed BEFORE you upload the content, or the import will fail!! ***

Moving Your Site – Easier Method

Backup Your Current WordPress Site

  1. Login to your current WordPress Admin panel.
  2. Go to Tools > Export.
  3. Select “All” under Choose What to Export.
  4. Click the Download Export File button and save the .XML file to your computer’s harddrive.

Upload Your Content to the New WordPress Site

  1.  Login to the Admin Panel of your new WordPress site.
  2. Select Tools > Import.
  3. Click on the WordPress option and, if necessary, install the WordPress Importer
  4. Next, from the WordPress Import screen, select and upload the .XML (WXR) file you exported from your current website.
  5. When prompted to Assign Author, assign a user that already exist or create new one.
  6. Select the “Download File Attachments” option to download all images and attachments from your current WordPress site.
  7. Click “Submit”

Move Themes

The above steps will successfully move your entire WordPress site, except your Themes.  To move your theme(s) follow these steps:

  1. Using your favorite FTP client login to the class server.
  2. Browse to the /wordpress/wp-content/themes folder on the server.
  3. Select and download all theme folders to your computer’s harddrive.
  4. Disconnect from the remote server.
  5. On your computer, compress each theme folder as a separate .ZIP file.  On a PC simply right-click on a folder name and select Send to > Compress (zipped) file.
  6. Login to the Admin Panel of your new WordPress site.
  7. Go to Appearance > Theme > Install Themes
  8. Upload a separate .ZIP file for each theme you want to install.
  9. Configure the Theme settings such as Menu, Background and Header image — all found in the Appearance area of the Admin Panel.

Note: This method works great to create copies of your posts and pages and move all of your attachments (files, documents) into your new WordPress.  However, some of your images may be broken using this method.  To fix this you will need to edit each post/page and re-link each image.

How to Set Up Template Files in a Child Theme

In order to edit page template files for a child theme, you must first create the template files and save them to the root folder of the child theme folder.  Unfortunately, you can’t create these template files directly from the WordPress admin dashboard.  Instead you will need to upload the files to the server another way.

To accomplish this task, you need to use an FTP client (like FileZilla or WinSCP) or your cPanel File Manager (if you have access to cPanel).  In the following video I demonstrate how to create a blank header.php file using a plain text editor like Notepad++.  Then I upload the file to the child theme folder, using WinSCP.

How to Add Copyright Info to a WordPress Footer

When creating a website with WordPress, you may want to customize the information at the bottom of the page.  For example, you may want to add a copyright notice along with links to your other websites.

The area at the bottom of the page is controlled with a WordPress page template called footer.php.  You will find this file in the root of the theme folder that is activated for your website.

Creating a Specialized Page Template

If you want to create a unique layout for a single page of your WordPress site you can do this using specialized page templates.  

Specialized page templates are created by appending the page slug to the end of the page name.  For example, if you want a special template just for the About page of your WordPress site you could create a page template called:


Add this page to the rest of the files in the root of your theme’s directory, and WordPress will use it when it attempts to load the About page.

Anatomy of a WordPress Theme

A typical WordPress Theme is made up of many files that work together to create the look of your website. For the beginning WordPress developer, it can be very confusing to understand how all these files fit together.

Selecting WordPress Plugins

Not all WordPress plugins are created equal.  Some plugins may introduce a security risk to your website.  Some plugins are rarely updated and supported by the author.  Others are updated and tested with each new version of WordPress.

Before you install a WordPress plugin it is important that you do a little background check.  Look at the published details of the plugin.  How many times has it been downloaded? What is it’s average rating?  When was the last time it was updated?  Is it compatible with the most recent version of WordPress.  Generally speaking, you want to use plugins that are widely used, highly rated, regularly updated and compatible with your version of WordPress.

How to Create a WordPress Child Theme

So, you’ve downloaded an awesome theme from  You love it.  But there are a few things you would like to change to make it just right.

Before you start editing that theme, there is one thing you MUST do — create a child theme.  A child theme is a WordPress theme that inherits all the characteristics and styles of the parent theme. However, you can edit it without the risk of your custom styles being over-written the next time you update the parent theme.

Using a child theme is a best practice of WordPress theme development.

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