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Using WordPress for your blog engine

This article shows how to install WordPress, including the meaning of all fields required for installation, how to begin using it, and where to find help for WordPress. 

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What is WordPress

WordPress is one of the most popular blogging and site-building applications available today. Its popularity amongst users is not without reason; WordPress has done an excellent job of empowering beginners by creating an intuitive administration panel, which enables users to post content and customize their sites without any knowledge of HTML or PHP. However, more expert users find the software extremely flexible and very tightly-coded for easy modification and customization.

 

Install WordPress

To install WordPress:

  1. From your hosting control panel, go to Website > Simple Scripts

  2. Scroll down to display Blogs in the Script List
  3. Click the WordPress name link
  4. Click Install
    See How To Install Applications for help with installation options

Select installation directory for WordPress

While you are installing WordPress, you will be asked where to install it. This is the path to the directory where WordPress is installed, but it also affects the URL to your blog.

If you specify an installation directory:

  1. The installation directory becomes a part of the URL to your blog
    For example: http://mydomain.com/myinstalldirectory 
  2. In the Installation Preferences, Step 1, enter the domain and installation directory

    In the above example, the domain is demotutorials.info, and the installation directory is set to MyNewBlog. This means:
    • WordPress installation directory is: /MyNewBlog. If you want to see any of the WordPress files, this is where you look for them in FileManager.
    • The URL to your blog is: http://demotutorials.info/MyNewBlog

If you leave the installation directory blank:

  1. Since the installation directory is not specified, the URL to your blog is your domain
    For example: http://mydomain.com (where mydomain.com is the domain set in Domain/URL field)
  2. In the Installation Preferences, Step 1, enter the domain but leave the directory field blank

    In the above example, the URL to your blog is: http://demotutorials.info 
  3. WordPress installation directory is your DocumentRoot directory. You MUST complete the following actions for WordPress to publish and display your blog:
    1. To edit the default file order in your document root directory, depending on your hosting plan, UNIX or Windows:
      • UNIX - To edit the order of default pages 
        1. Log into your control panel. Go to Website Management > .htaccess Editor > Default Pages
        2. Under Select Directory section - Verify that the selected directory is the document root
        3. In the Edit Default Index Page Settings section, in the New filename field, enter index.php
        4. Click Add
        5. Click Save
      • Windows -To edit the order of default pages
        1. Log into your control panel. Go to Website Management > IIS Administration Console
        2. Expand the Default Docs section
        3. Locate the file index.php
        4. Select it, and use the Move Up button to move index.php all the way to the top
        5. Click Update

Finding more help for WordPress

Tutorials for using WordPress to design your website can be found at: http://www.demosalessite.org/tutorial/wordpress/  

FatCow also has several articles regarding accessing and customizing WordPress when creating a website. These include:

To find more support from the WordPress community:

  1. From your hosting control panel, go to Website > Simple Scripts

  2. Under My Installs, find the application for which you need support
  3. Click on the Find Support link
  4. Select the appropriate link to obtain the information you need

 

Recommended WordPress Plugins

WordPress can be extended through the use of "plugins" to add features and functionality, as well as some that are designed towards strengthening security of your WordPress installation. Some plugins have been developed by WordPress, while others have been developed through third parties. More information on using WordPress plugins can be found in the Installing a WordPress Plugin knowledgebase article.

FatCow recommends the use of the following plugins for enhancing the accessibility and safety of your WordPress website. Please remember that these plugins are optional features, and are developed and supported by members of the WordPress community. 

  • The WordPress Firewall 2 plugin - protects your WordPress website against hackers by blocking common attacks and potential malicious activity against a WordPress website
  • The W3 Total Cache plugin - reduces the page loading time of your website to make it more easily accessible for visitors 

If you are interested in reading more about WordPress plugins, you can view the complete list of available plugins at the WordPress website at: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/.

Safeguarding your WordPress Installation

The WordPress Firewall 2 plugin is capable of blocking some of the common attacks against WordPress that hackers use to get into sites, including:

  • Blocking directory traversals (../, ../../etc/passwd, etc.) in application parameters
  • Blocking SQL queries (union select, concat(, /**/, etc.) in application parameters
  • Blocking WordPress-specific terms (wp_, user_login, etc.) in application parameters
  • Blocking field truncation attacks in application parameters
  • Blocking executable file uploads (.php, .exe, etc.)

 

To install this plugin:

  1. Log in to WordPress at www.example.com/wp-admin (where example.com is your domain)
  2. On the left side of the screen, go to Plugins >> Add New
  3. In the search bar that appears, type in "WordPress Firewall 2" and click Search Plugins
  4. The WordPress Firewall 2 plugin should be the first result listed. Click Install Now below its name to install the plugin

 

Additionally, you can find out more information about this plugin by visiting the WordPress Firewall 2 site: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-firewall-2/

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