If the kind folks at WordPress cannot help you install your WordPress for free, see here, there are alternatives. If you are inclined not to even try installing WordPress yourself, you have a couple of solid choices that cost you nothing or very little. First, let me say that it’s not difficult to install WordPress even if you are completely tech-unsavvy. But, I do understand how some would rather not touch complicated looking files in gibberish language. Visit WordPress’s page on the 5-minute installation. It actually takes 5 minutes if you’re somewhat computer savvy, but maybe 10 minutes if you’re not. Also visit WordPress’ main installation pages if you’re installation requires a bit more elbow grease for whatever reason.
Now, on to the nitty-gritty. There are usually two types of installations you can do. Either a new installation or an upgrade. Upgrades may or may not be simple depending on the difference in versions. If, for example, you’re upgrading to the current version, 2.5.1 from let’s say version 1, which I hope to goodness you’re not, things can get a bit complicated…maybe.
For New Installations
You have a couple of options to installing the latest version of WordPress.
- Get a web host that gives you the option of instant installation in your cPanel as part of the Fantastico Deluxe set of free scripts, plugins and other web apps like calendars, forums, forms and so forth. Why make it hard on yourself especially when you don’t have to. Any good web host will provide free web apps, and very good ones will provide one click installations of such apps like WordPress. Lunarpages, HostGator and Think Host are a few that provide one-click installations for WordPress and various other web apps, plugins and so forth. Also, make sure to check out WordPress’ “Things to Know Before You Begin” page for the specifics of what you need your web host to provide and so forth.
- Like I mentioned above, go to WordPress’ page on the 5-minute installation for a quick way to install WordPress. I’ll be honest and say that it’s a bit intimidating when it says to “create a databse” and acronyms like MySQL, phpAdmin and so forth if you don’t know what these things are already. But, give it a shot. I’d suggest reading the detailed instructions for installation if you don’t know what a MySQL database is or even a cPanel.
- Check out the WordPress forums. You have to be patient though because as useful and generous with their time folks at the forums are, many times those people who can help you forget you know nothing about this stuff and talk in geek speak. So, preface your posts with “I’m completely new to WordPress and databses…..” etc., so they know where you’re coming from, etc.
- Hire or ask someone to install WordPress for you. For the person it actually takes 5 minutes to install WordPress, and who is very good with web stuff, they may not mind helping you out for free. However, someone who is really good with web stuff, deserves a little somethin’ somethin’ in return for their expertise. How much is enough? I wouldn’t pay any more than $50-$60 and defintely no more than $100. Anything more is just mental. However, if your installation requires doing more than the instructions at WordPress’s installation pages because your web host is funky or you need more for other reasons, you can end up paying over $100 and the final cost will depend on who you’re hiring and how much extra work is needed. But, I doubt the average person who’s got a good web host needs any extras especially if all the requirements are met.
- The easiest way to upgrade is to get the WordPress Instant Upgrade plugin. It’s one of the first plugins you should defintely install when you install WordPress for the first time. If you’re upgrading from an old WordPress before backup was part of the installation, you should also install the WordPress Database Backup plugin.
- Visit the Upgrading WordPress pages and follow the instructions. This can be more intimidating than the new installation procedures but it’s doable. Just please, read the instructions before doing anything…anything! Most important, please, please, please, back up your posts and back up your wordpress theme files and uploads (if they’re not in the same folder). I use WP Database backup to send my entire WordPress database for each of my blogs to specific email addresses so I have a back up no matter what. You should also get into the habit of just backing up the theme folder of the theme you’re using for your blog, your uploads folder where all your images and other files posted on your blog are housed and maybe your plugins folder in case, like me, you do some tweaking to some of your plugins to make them work a bit different.
- Hire or ask someone to upgrade WordPress for you. See #4 above. Most of the same rules apply for hiring or asking someone to upgrade to the latest version as well as installing from scratch. However, the costs may defer because upgrading is a bit more labor and there is more risk that something can go wrong. So, you may have to pay a little extra. $80-$200 is reasonable. But many web developers charge by the hour. Just ask before you hire how many hours they think it might take. It shouldn’t take a simple upgrade more than an hour max. You also have to take into account that some plugins may not work with new installations of WordPress, or just have not yet been updated or tweaked to work with the latest WordPress version. Visit the WordPress Plugin Compatibility page for information of which plugins are compatible with which versions.
- Your web host should have an upgrade to latest version link in your cPanel where you initially installed your WordPress blog if you did so using the one click procedure. The annoying thing is that is sometimes takes a web host provider some time to provide that link or to realize there is another version. I don’t know how and when they decide to provide the link but, when they do, it’s take advantage of it!
Well, I hope this information has provided you with enough amo to install or upgrade WordPress and get bloggin’!