After installing WordPress, there are a few settings you should adjust for your fresh, new WordPress website. Many of the default settings work well as they are. However, some may not be optimal for all of us, which is why you should take a closer look at some of them. This post will walk you through all the points you should consider to setup WordPress after installation. Depending on whether you are launching a blog, a business website, or a portfolio, these settings may vary. Follow along!
This post is a follow-up to the previous post on how to install WordPress manually.
Here’s an overview of the individual points discussed in this post on how to setup WordPress after installation:
- Discourage search engines from indexing the website
- Change Site Title and Tagline
- Enable or disable user registration
- Adjust time and date settings
- Change WordPress permalink structure
- Review WordPress media settings
- Delete default Page, Post, and Comment
- Adjust settings for discussion and comments
- Complete your author profile
- Disable directory browsing
1: Discourage search engines from indexing the website
First off, you need to make sure search engines do not crawl and index your website just yet. Since no fresh WordPress installation is a finished product, you don’t want Google & co. to find your website and present it to their curious users before you have finished designing and setting up the whole thing.
In your WordPress admin area, navigate to Settings > Reading. There, make sure the box for discouraging indexing is checked as shown in the screenshot below.
Remember to click Save Changes once you are done!
Note: It is possible to tick this box already during the WordPress installation process. Therefore, if you already checked the box while installing WordPress, this setting should already be activate.
The whole point of this setting is to make sure people don’t find your website too early. After all, you want to take your time and finish developing and designing your WordPress website before letting Google and other search engines to display it in their search results.
2: Change Site Title and Tagline
By default, your new WordPress website does not have a very descriptive site title and tagline. Therefore, it is a good idea to start by changing the default settings to whatever suits your website.
In your admin area, navigate to Settings > General. There, you can change the Site Title to the name of your website. By default, it is something like “WordPress Site” – not exactly a best-seller. Hence, the site title is what shows up by default in your web browser’s tab when you have your website opened.
Additionally, update the Tagline to be a slogan or some other short description of the nature of your website. It simply explains what your website is about. There is simply no excuse for leaving the default tagline “Just another WordPress site” in place.
Finally, don’t forget to click Save Changes on the bottom of the page!
3: Enable or Disable user registration
If you wish to start a WordPress blog with multiple authors creating content, you may want to enable user registration. That way, your fellow writers can create their own profiles and log in to create their own pieces of content in the future. To do this, go to Settings > General Settings and check the box for Membership to Anyone can register.
Additionally, you need to define the New User Default Role. The different user roles have different capabilities or levels of “authority” on your WordPress website. Here’s an overview of what each role can do:
- Administrator: has access to all the admin features within your WordPress site
- Editor: can publish and manage posts, including the posts of other users
- Author: can publish and manage their own posts
- Contributor: can write and manage their own posts but cannot publish them
- Subscriber: can only manage their profile
Depending on the nature of your website, you might want to go for different roles. For instance, if you are creating a blog with multiple authors, you could set the default role to Contributor. That way, they can create posts but these have to be published by someone with a higher level of authority – e.g. by yourself.
4: Adjust Time and Date Settings
Under the General Settings, you can setup your timezone as well as the date and time formats. Here are the settings you should pay attention to and define them to best suit your needs:
- Date Format
- Time Format
- “Week Starts On”
5: Change WordPress permalink structure
In my opinion, this is one of the most important points for a good setup after WordPress installation. Not only does it make your WordPress website more user-friendly but it also supports your efforts for search engine optimisation.
The default permalink setting for WordPress is far from optimal: whenever you write a new post, it gets a URL that simply holds a number, e.g. https://yourwebsite.com/?p=123. This does not really give any idea about the content of this particular page or post to someone who sees this URL. Not to you, not to your users, and not to search engines, either.
Therefore, it is a good idea to change your permalinks to contain a slug that actually stands for the content and purpose of the post or page. Navigate to Settings > Permalinks, and choose one option that works better than the default one. My recommendation is to choose Post Name as a base for creating permalinks as in the screenshot below.
And as always, remember to Save Changes when you are done!
6: Review WordPress media settings
These settings define how WordPress handles image files you upload while creating your blog posts or other content. By default, WordPress creates multiple different image files with different sizes and dimensions for each picture that you upload. This can quickly bloat up your media folders within your website, with unnecessarily many files created from each single image.
To change the settings, navigate to Settings > Media. There, set the different size options to 0 for Thumbnail size, Medium size, and Large size. This will prevent WordPress from generating separate image files for all different sizes.
Additionally, there’s a setting called Uploading Files at the bottom. You may want to consider whether your uploads should be organised into separate folders based on month and year. Depending on your own preferences, consider what is more practical for yourself. If you will be uploading hundreds of media files to your blog, for instance, having them chronologically organised in separate folders could be a good idea. In that case, simply leave the box ticked.
Finally, remember to click Save Changes.
7: Delete default Page, Post, and Comment
During its installation, WordPress automatically creates some sample content. You can have a look at the sample page, post, and comment to get an idea how they work. However, they are not exactly too useful for anyone, so you might as well delete them right away.
To do this, navigate to Posts and delete the post called Hello world! by clicking Trash under the post title. Similarly, do the same under Pages for Sample Page and Comments.
8: Adjust Settings for Discussion and Comments
Whenever you write a blog post or create other content, your readers may want to leave their feedback for you to read. There are a couple of settings you should consider changing to better manage and control the discussion. In the screenshot below, I’ve highlighted the boxes you should check.
The first one tells WordPress to try and notify other bloggers whenever you link to their website from your article. The second one simply breaks the discussion thread into several pages when the number of comments exceeds a certain threshold – 50 top-level comments in this case.
Finally, to avoid spam and inappropriate comments, check the box for manual approval of all comments. You will be notified whenever someone posts a comment to your website. After that, you can review the comment and approve it under Comments as shown in the screenshot below.
9: Complete your author profile
Whenever you publish a blog post, your readers will see a block of information about you – the author. This block is located either at the bottom of the post or in the sidebar, depending on your settings. It’s an awesome tool to introduce yourself briefly to your readers.
Navigate to Users > Your Profile. Under Contact Info, you can add links to your social media profiles. Moreover, write a short summary about yourself under About Yourself > Biographical Info. This is an excellent opportunity to give your readers a better idea about who you are and what you like.
Additionally, go ahead and register on Gravatar to add a Profile Picture of yourself. By using Gravatar, your profile picture will also be displayed on other blogs, too, whenever you post a comment yourself.
10: Disable directory browsing
Disabling directory browsing is a great way to increase the security of your WordPress website. If it’s not disabled, anyone who’s curious to see what’s inside your WordPress installation, can browse through your file directories.
To see if this is the case for you, simply enter /wp-includes/ after the base URL of your WordPress website, e.g. https://yourwebsite.com/wp-includes/. If you see a 403 Access Forbidden or a 404 Not Found page, you’re safe. However, if you see a collection of folders and files that belong to your website, follow along!
To disable directory browsing, you will need to edit your .htaccess file. You can do it either by using an FTP client like Filezilla on your desktop or FireFTP directly in Firefox. You will find the .htaccess file in the root directory of your WordPress installation. However, since the file name starts with a dot, it is a hidden file. Therefore, make sure your FTP client is displaying hidden files so that you can find it.
Next, make sure you have a backup of your WordPress website before you do any editing to your .htaccess file. Once you’re done, go ahead and open the .htaccess file using your FTP client or File Manager in your web host’s cPanel. All you need to add to the file is the following line of code below the existing contents of the file:
Options All -Indexes
Hence, the last lines of the .htaccess file should now look something like this:
Now, simply save the .htaccess file and upload it back to the root directory of your WordPress installation. That’s it!
Summary: How to Setup WordPress After Installation
All in all, WordPress comes with a pretty good default setup. However, it’s a good idea to consider adjusting a few things after a fresh installation when you start developing your website. Hence, I hope you found this post helpful!
You will need to have a self-hosted WordPress website for these settings. If you’re totally new to WordPress, check out this helpful post on the differences between WordPress.org vs WordPress.com.
As always, please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below. Especially if you have additional points on how to setup WordPress after installation, I’d appreciate if you shared them with others, too!
Thanks for reading, have a good one!