It’s soon time to Page Design Pro  redesign my website for the “Web 2.0 Age.” I have seriously looked at two platforms, Drupal and Joomla, with which to accomplish this. Drupal and Joomla offer comprehensive packages that, in Drupal, include a blog and forum as core modules. These platforms can be accomplished through CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and PHP (Personal Home Page or PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) code modifications. However, these platforms are complex and learning enough to install, manage, and customize these platforms can be a daunting task.


After studying the two platforms, including using them both on my testbed platform and the Internet, I decided to look at WordPress as a possible solution to my future Web needs. I was surprised to discover that the latest version of WordPress is easy to install, easy to use, and easy to theme. In this article, I will describe how to install and customize WordPress 2.5.


(1) Download WordPress

The first installation step is to download WordPress from I created a directory on my PC called “WordPress” to collect the files and images I will use for my WordPress installation and customization. Once the download was completed, I saved the .zip file.

(2) Unzip WordPress

After saving the file, I opened it with the zip/unzip program and selected all of the files. Since I will be testing and modify WordPress locally, to begin with, I “extracted” the files to the root directory of the Apache server I use for my PC testbed.

If I were going to install WordPress “for real” on a live website, I would have used an FTP client to upload the .zip file to the desired directory at my hosting service and unzipped the file there. Firefox has a terrific and *free* FTP client, FireFTP, that can be used to upload.

(3) Create the Database

At this point, the WordPress database needs to be created. WordPress requires a database to store the site content and other information. I use MySQL for my database server both on my PC testbed and on my live sites. I use phpMyAdmin as an interface to MySQL. Creating the database is really simple using phpMyAdmin. I start phpMyAdmin, enter the database name, and hit the “Create” button. WordPress will create the tables it needs in the database.


(4) Create wp-config.php

WordPress needs to know how to access the database once it has been created. That’s what the wp-config.php file is for. WordPress includes a file called “wp-config-sample.php.” This file needs to be modified with the database access information and renamed to “wp-config.php.” Open the config file with any text editor. The critical entries are DB_NAME, DB_USER, DB_PASSWORD, and DB_HOST. As an enhanced security measure, I obtained a unique SECRET_KEY and pasted this into the file. I then saved the edited file as wp-config.php. The text below shows the code I changed:

// ** MySQL settings ** //

  • define(‘DB_NAME’, ‘wordpress’); // The name of the database
  • define(‘DB_USER’, ‘rtivel’); // Your MySQL username
  • define(‘DB_PASSWORD’, ‘MyPassword’); // …and password
  • define(‘DB_HOST’, ‘localhost’); // 99% chance you won’t need to change this value
  • // Change SECRET_KEY to a unique phrase. You won’t have to remember it later,
  • // so make it long and complicated. You can visit
  • // to get a secret key generated for you, or just make something up.

define(‘SECRET_KEY’, ‘diq’~@|CH6)l@u>x;hA>1ew1maZ/)ToE!y%}}ZYAI!=V^L()eooB!0V+k8LJa!Eh’); // Change this to a unique phrase.

(5) Run the WordPress Installer

After completing the edit of the wp-config.php file, I started the installation script by entering this URL to my Apache server into my browser:

  • localhost/wordpress/wp-admin/install.php
  • For a live site, the URL might be something like this:
  • The first installation screen asks for the blog name and contact email address.
  • The next screen announces a successful installation and provides a username and password for the administrator. Be sure to save this password!
  • The installation is now complete. I can now log into WordPress and begin managing the blog, customizing the theme, or adding content.
  • Or, I can click the link at the top of the log-in screen and go to the blog’s home page.
  • If you don’t manually create a wp-config.php file, WordPress will prompt for the information and try to complete the installation.
  • That’s it! WordPress should now be installed.