In this guide I will explain how you can download and install WordPress manually in cPanel for your domain. If you are a beginner and not quite sure how to install WordPress manually, this post is for you. It has each step clearly explained to make sure you can follow along easily. Furthermore, you will also learn how to create a MySQL database and transfer the WordPress installation files to your web space using an FTP client.

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WordPress is known for claiming to be quick and easy to install, taking only five minutes. However, this only applies for the so-called one-click installations via your web host’s cPanel.

A manual WordPress installation can be done in 5-10 minutes, too, but it’s better to take your time especially if this is your first time. It is a good idea to make sure you set up everything properly to avoid any problems or errors in the future.

The post will take you through the following steps:

  1. How to download WordPress
  2. Creating a database in your web host’s cPanel
  3. How to create and setup a wpconfig.php file
  4. Transferring the WordPress installation files to your web host’s server using FTP
  5. How to install WordPress

(Please note that this guide applies only to self-hosted installations. If you’re new to WordPress, make sure to check out this helpful post on the differences between and

1. How to download WordPress

To get started, let’s head over to and download the latest version of WordPress.

You will find the blue button for downloading the ZIP archive on the right side of the page:

Download button for WordPress ZIP archive for manual installation

Now, click on the button to download the file. The ZIP archive contains all WordPress core files, which you can use to create a new WordPress website.

Create a new folder for the WordPress core files and unzip the files into the new folder. Here’s what is inside the ZIP archive:

WordPress ZIP archive file structure

As you see, the entire software consists of three folders and a bunch of different files inside the root folder.

2. Log in to your Control Panel

Before you can install WordPress on your web space, you will need access to your web host’s Control Panel (or cPanel). You will use it to create a database that is necessary for WordPress.

Log into your cPanel at your web host. You will get your login details from your web hosting provider.

3. How to create a database for WordPress

To create a database, find the section for managing databases in your hosting provider’s cPanel.

The tool for managing databases is usually called phpMyAdmin. Nevertheless, your web hosting provider could also have a separate, simple tool for creating a database called something like “MySQL Database Wizard” or similar. However, if you are not quite sure which tool to use, check the Q&A of your service provider or contact them directly.

Here’s what it looks like in my CP:

Database management tools in control panel

In this case, I would go to MySQL Databases. After that, on the page that opens, I have the possibility to create a new MySQL database:

Creating a new MySQL database

Simply type in a descriptive name for your database, like “mywordpressdatabase“, for instance.

Go ahead and create a new database for yourself. Additionally, determine a username and password for your database. Finally, allow all privileges for your username. That way, you will be able to create, modify, and update tables in the database.

For now, the database does not have any tables in it. But no need to worry, WordPress will populate the tables automatically during the installation.

4. How to create a wp-config.php file

Next, your will need to link the database you just created in the previous step to the new WordPress installation. In the meanwhile, your web host will set up and configure your database – it can take a few minutes.

Find the WordPress ZIP file you just downloaded and unzipped. Now, find a file called wp-config-sample.php. This file contains the base configuration for your manual WordPress installation, including the settings for your new MySQL database.

The file is in the root folder of the unzipped set of files and folders:

Locating the wp-config-sample.php file in the WordPress root folder

Rename the wp-config-sample.php file to just wp-config.php.

Open the wp-config.php file using your text editor, like Atom, Brackets, Sublime Text, or Notepad++, for instance.

Next, you will need to edit the following entries for your MySQL database in the file:

  1. Database name
  2. Username
  3. Password
  4. Hostname

You will find all of these in your database overview in your web host’s Pontrol Panel. Here’s a screenshot of the spots you need to update in your text editor:

Database settings for the wp-config.php file

5. Create an FTP connection for file transfer

Now you will need to actually upload the files to your web host’s server. To do this, you will need an FTP client, such as Filezilla or FireFTP. The former is a desktop application, while the latter is simply an add-on for the Firefox web browser.

If you are using Filezilla, simply enter your host address, e.g., your FTP username, your FTP password, and the port. The port number is usually 21 for regular FTP and 22 for SFTP. To connect to the server, click Quickconnect.

How to Quickconnect in Filezilla

6. How to transfer WordPress installation files using FTP

Once you have you FTP connection up and running, it is time to transfer the WordPress installation files to your web host’s server. That way, you can finally start with the actual installation process.

Within your FTP client, e.g. Filezilla or FireFTP, the screen has two columns, left and right:

  1. The left side shows the files on your computer
  2. The right side shows the files and folders on your web host’s server

Start by locating the WordPress installation files on your computer in the left column. Navigate to the folder where you have your wp-config.php file and all other files that were in the ZIP archive you downloaded initially from

Next, on the right hand side of your FTP client, find the folder on your web space that you wish to use for your WordPress installation. Quite often there is a folder called public_html or www. This is the root folder you want to transfer your WordPress installation files into. If you are not sure which folder to use, contact your hosting provider directly.

Then, on the left hand side of your FTP client, select all files within the wordpress folder. To proceed, right click the files and select Upload or use a button called Upload in the navigation bar of your FTP client.

Uploading WordPress files manually to the server using Filezilla

It takes a little while for the files to transfer. After it’s done, you can move on to the actual installation stage!

7. Start the actual installation process: Install WordPress Manually

Now all you need to do is start the actual installation process! To do that, type the URL of your soon-to-be website in your web browser. Firstly, you will see the first page of the installation process, where you need to choose the language for your WordPress installation:

Choosing the language for your WordPress installation

Just click Continue to proceed.

On the next page, you need to fill out a few fields for the website title, your username, password, and email address. Additionally, you may choose to discourage search engines from indexing your new website. I’d recommend checking the box if you’re just getting started with developing your new WordPress website. You can uncheck the box anytime later in your WordPress admin area once your website is ready for the public.

Fill out these fields for your WordPress installation


Finally, just hit the Install WordPress button.

Good news: you are done!

You can now login to your WordPress admin dashboard by using the login credentials you created during the installation process:

Login to WordPress after the installation using your username and password

And there you have it: a beautiful, fresh WordPress admin area dashboard!

WordPress admin area dashboard after a successful installation

That’s it, you’re all set!

As the next step, to make sure your WordPress website is set up properly for your future use, stay tuned for my guide for setting up your WordPress website after the installation.

Did the installation process work out for you? Any suggestions or ideas on how to install WordPress manually? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!



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