There are some important settings we should set up right after WordPress installation. The format of URLs, default category, time and date formats etc. This tutorial is about setting up WordPress. Things you should always do before you start using WordPress.
Security settings, server settings etc. are very important. Because this series of tutorials is about using a local server environment, I save the security issues for a later article. Security deserves its own tutorial if not many.
Starting point after installation
During installation, WordPress creates a sample article with a sample comment and a page. They are there so that you have at least something to see and can check that the installation was successful. After we have verified that the site is up and running, we need to remove the sample content and set WordPress to our liking. This is what we are doing next.
Log into your newly installed WordPress and go to Dashboard.
Remove sample content
To remove the sample content, select Posts. Move your mouse pointer on top of the “Hello world!” post title which will open the menu below the post. Select “Trash“. This will put the post into a trash bin from where you could restore the post later if needed. The sample comment was deleted from the post so no need for further actions.
Next, select “Pages” and do the same to the “Sample Page“. Put it in the trash. Now we have removed all sample content and are ready to continue.
Fix the Settings
Next stop is Dashboard – Settings. This is where we set up how our WordPress behaves. At this point, building a new site or theme as we are going to do, we can’t finish all settings. For example, the front-page cannot be set until we have created one.
The general settings set up, as the name says, some general stuff. Like the Site Title and Tagline. Let’s get through these.
Site Title: This is the same title we gave the site during installation. You can always change it later.
Tagline: This is the site description, tagline. Note that some themes show it and some don’t. So in any case, always either remove it or change it to something meaningful. Just, don’t leave it as it is. It looks kind of stupid to have a tagline “Just another WordPress site”.
WordPress Address and Site Address (URLs): Do not change these. I repeat – Do not change these!
On a live site, it is best to install WordPress into its own folder, not into your web hosting root folder! After the installation, you can then change the Site Address (URL) to match the site domain but then you also need to copy the
index.php -files to the root folder and edit
index.php file content to match the location (folder) of WordPress installation. On a localhost environment, we do not do this because we want to have many WordPress installations on active at the same time.
Timezone: Select the time zone, you are located. If you installed WordPress from your localized installation file like I could have used the Finnish language version. The localized version has most probably the timezone and formats already set for you. But if not, choose the correct time zone from the dropdown list.
I’m choosing Europe – Helsinki. That’s where I live.
Date Format and Time Format: Choose the date and time formats for your locale or your liking. If you want to customize the formats, you can read the documentation from WordPress Codex.
And that’s it with the general settings. There were some other settings like email, the first day of week and default roles but on a development site we have no need to change them and they are very self-explanatory. No need for me to explain them.
The Permalinks setting define how WordPress form the URLs to your pages and posts. This is important! In most cases, you should choose “Post name” option. The “Post name” makes Page or Post titles to become also the URLs of the pages or posts. A plain text URL that can also describe the page and what it is about, is very important to both search engines and visually impaired (blind) user.
The correct Permalink setting is importat for SEO and web accessibility
The other URL structures may have their own place in this world but it always depends on the content and structure of the site. I have once created a site where category/postname was an appropriate choice. Even on this site with many tutorials, it might be good but I have chosen to use only the post name to make URLs shorter.
Your homepage displays: Reading settings define what WordPress display to a user that comes to your site (the home-page). At this point, we leave this to “Your latest posts” because we do not have any page to use as a home-page (a static page). We’ll come back to this setting as the course advances to the point we can appropriate content.
Blog page settings: Here we can define if WordPress show all of the text on an article feed and how many posts WordPress will display until it starts to paginate the posts. Again, this is something that themes can override so not all themes respect these settings but have their own. We can leave these as they are and I will show you later how to control these in the theme code.
Other settings are Writing, Discussion and Media. None of these have any effect on our development environment and I will return to these in topics later in tutorials that cover these settings.
This is where the installed themes are listed. Here you can choose which theme your site is using to show content or install a new theme. Because this series of tutorials is about developing our own theme, we are actually deleting all the sample themes. Note that a theme is what makes content visible so after we have deleted the themes, our site shows nothing. Nothing at all, WordPress site cannot function without a theme. But no Worries, We’ll create our own and start using it.
To delete a theme, select the Appearance – Themes. Then select each of the themes that WordPress included in installation by clicking on top of the theme image. WordPress opens a dialoque to show details about the theme. On the bottom of the window is a link “Delete”. When asked a confirmation, click OK to delete the theme. This will delete all the theme files from the
The last one, the now active theme you can delete only when we have installed or added our own new theme.
Plugins for development
There are several plugins that are useful to developers. WordPress also offer sample content for theme developers so that you can check that you have styled everything that is needed. In this tutorial, I’ll be satisfied with only a plugin that shows which template file is used. We’ll install it later. Again, when we have some other content to show and have a need for it.
At this point of the series of tutorials, we have a local development environment and a WordPress installed for our project. On the next tutorial, I start the real development project – the design, workflow and we create first files for our theme. See you there.