wordpress from scratch

The Definitive Guide to Optimizing WordPress from Scratch


WordPress is growing fast. It’s the most popular content management systems (CMS) on the market. It’s currently powering 37% of the entire Internet. More and more website owners are switching over to WordPress each year. Often, that means installing WordPress from scratch.

WordPress is a bit like the board game Othello. It takes a minute to learn, but a lifetime to master. Installing and operating WordPress is a snap but it takes a bit of technical know-how to get started, especially if you’re installing WordPress from scratch.

We’ve compiled the ultimate guide to installing and optimizing WordPress to get you up and running with this popular blogging platform in no time!

The Ultimate Guide To Optimizing WordPress From Scratch

From installation to selecting a theme, these are the main steps to follow to get WordPress up and running as smoothly as possible.

Installing WordPress From Scratch

The first question you should ask yourself when starting out with WordPress is if you’ll be using WordPress’ native platform or running the CMS on your own domain.

If you’ll be running WordPress simply as a blogging platform, the free version might be suitable for your needs. This essentially hosts your blog on an external platform. This gives you access to WordPress’ vibrant online blogging community. It’s less than desirable from a business standpoint, however.

If you’re serious about building your business or website, hosting WordPress on your own domain is preferable for a number of reasons.

Benefits of hosting WordPress on your own domain include:

  • Full control of your domain name.
  • You “own” your blog and all of its assets.
  • Hosting your own website is extremely inexpensive

If you’ll be hosting WordPress on your domain, there’s a bit of a learning curve when installing WordPress from scratch. It’s only got to be done once, however, so follow these steps and you’ll be up and blogging in no time!

The steps for installing WordPress from scratch vary from host to host. We’ll be focusing on using an FTP server, which is freely available to anybody. These same principles can be applied to other web hosts.

Install WordPress

To begin, you’ll need to download the latest version of WordPress. Decompress the files and use your FTP software to upload the files into your web hosting directory.

If you’re hosting WordPress on your own domain, you’ll want to put the files in your website’s root directory. This is usually located at https://www.yourdomainname.com/public_html/. If you’ll be uploading to a subdirectory, like a blog, try https://www.yourdomainname.com/public_html/blog.

Create Your Database

Once WordPress is installed, you’ll need to install your database. Go to your web host’s control panel and find the area to ‘create a new database.’ Name your database something easy to remember, like ‘wpblog.’

Now you’ll need to create a username. If you’re using MySQL, scroll down to the MySQL users’ section. You will be prompted to supply a username and set a password. This username and password will be able to access WordPress’ database.

Now you’ll be able to add users to the database using ‘Add Users to a Database’ section. You’ll be able to add privileges and restrictions for each user.

Setup WordPress

Go to the web address where you’ve installed WordPress. You’ll be prompted with a language selection window. Select the language you want to run WordPress with and select ‘continue.’

WordPress will prompt you to enter the database, username, and password you just created. Finally, you’ll be prompted to ‘run the install.’

Final Technicalities

Once the installation is complete, WordPress will ask a final few technical questions. This is where you’ll set your site title and search engine visibility, in case you don’t want your WordPress site to be indexed by search engines.

Optimizing WordPress From Scratch

Now that WordPress is up and running, you’ll want it to perform as efficiently as possible. 47% of consumers expect a website to load in 4 seconds or less. You’ll start to lose them with longer page load times and they might never return.

Choose The Right Theme

There’s loads of WordPress Themes on the market. Decide ahead of time what features you might need. This will help you select the most streamlined theme for your individual needs.

Unnecessary plugins and widgets can slow down your page speed immensely. Too much PHP, JavaScript, or iFrames will do the same.

Install A Cache Plugin

The next thing you should do to optimize WordPress from scratch is installing a cache plugin like W3 Total Cache. A caching plugin makes a mirror of your website which greatly reduces the number of database queries and PHP requests.

Consider A Content Delivery Network

Static resources like images, CSS files, and scripts can be very taxing on your primary server. Using a content delivery network (CDN) outsources some of those tasks.

A CDN will deliver these static assets to a web user from the server closest to them. This can shave several crucial seconds off of your page load time.

Activate GZip Compression

Offering a compressed version of your website is a great way to optimize WordPress. You should be able to enable GZip compression from your server’s control panel. Otherwise, you can use a cache plugin like W3 Total Cache.

Use The Right Plug-Ins

Not all WordPress plugins are created equal. As anybody can develop for WordPress, there’s no telling that a plugin will be well-coded simply because it’s on the market.

Plug-ins might be outdated, written for an older version of WordPress. Or they might have been coded by an amateur WordPress developer. They might perform too many calls or queries. They might access PHP and MySQL databases unnecessarily. Either one is the kiss of death for page load times.

Ready to Take on WordPress from Scratch?

It might seem daunting, but once you spend a few moments with WordPress you’ll feel right at home. Once WordPress is installed, it’s as easy to use as any blogging platform. You’ll also be able to customize your blog to your heart’s content.

You care a lot about your business and your website. Spending some time optimizing WordPress will show that care to your customers and clients. This goes a long way to helping you to stand out from the competition as a leader in your industry.

Making sure your WordPress is up to speed and performing and its best will improve your page load time and is properly optimized for mobile users. It’ll ensure that your audience has the best possible user experience, while will earn their enduring loyalty and trust.

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