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Set up WordPress without FTP

WordPress is one of the most used CMS systems these days. It runs more than 40% of websites worldwide. If you don’t know what WordPress is read our post called “First step in WordPress” and find out. You probably know there are few ways to set up WP on a server or on your local machine like XAMPP. Usually, my way of installing WordPress is via the Softaculous script in cPanel. This road is pretty plain, it gives you WP on the plate in a second, literally. Besides those, you make use of manual migration of WordPress files and SQL base, or with FTP (file transfer protocol).


Well, recently I have worked on one project. I developed a web project on Local by Flywheel on my PC, so I need a migration to a live server. Hosting of my client was a little bit specific because I didn’t get a password for creating FTP, server setup was very odd, support also. For the most part, I don’t like FTP roadway, once during transfer, I have lost some files, and it is slow as well. That hosting company doesn’t have any script like Softaculous solutions. The client needed this web presentation as soon as possible for the great opening after the restoration of the restaurant. Without a doubt, I was short in time.

The Idea of salvation

Out of the blue, the idea came to me. What if uploading all WordPress via the file manager in cPanel, and manually creating a SQL base with the assigned user to it? I want to be honest with you because I didn’t watch or read any kind of tutorial with that way of doing it. However, I didn’t invent this approach. Some smarter heads are. (laugh)

The solution is ahead of us

You already know the main idea, so let’s make an effort. Our steps will be the same, just like in the video on our YouTube channel. Here they are:

  1. Create subdomain, 
  2. Make a redirection,
  3. Make a SQL base,
  4. Create a user,
  5. Assign user to SQL base,
  6. Add all privileges,
  7. Download WordPress from their website,
  8. Upload zip file in a folder via cPanel,
  9. Extract all files,
  10. Move all files from WordPress to “withoutftp” folder,
  11. Delete unnecessary folders,
  12. Edit wp-config-sample.php, 
  13. Change DB_NAME, DB_PASSWORD and DB_USER,
  14. Rename wp-config-sample.php,
  15. Go to your domain, follow the procedure,

Let’s go from the beginning. Login in to cPanel of your hosting first. I have created a subdomain for the purpose of this tutorial. You can do that on the main domain as well. In cPanel is the search type “Subdomains” inside the “Domains” section, click to it. Type your subdomain in the first field, in my case that is “withoutftp”. Choose Domain, main is The document root is “public_html”, there is going to be created a folder with the same name you have chosen, main is “withoutftp”. Click on create. Then go back. See illustration 1. 

Illustration 1 – Creating a subdomain

The next stop is the redirect. In the section “Domain” find an icon for “Redirects” just like you have found a “Subdomains”. In Type choose “Permanent (301)”, then choose your domain or subdomain. In my case this is Infield Redirects to type “https://” in front of your domain. Just like me in illustration 2. On the radio button check “Redirect with or without www.”, and click on the button “Add”.

Illustraion 2 – Make a redirection

Go back to the cPanel again, and find MySQL Databases in section Databases. Create a new database typing a name. Main is “withoutftp” and the prefix is “nnteamso_” . You can name your base whatever you want but the really important thing is to remember that name. Click on the “Create Database” button. (Illustration 3) Go back and scroll down to create a new user for that base. I’m using the same name as a database. For a strong password use a password generator. Click on “Create user”. Again go back and scroll down to assign a user for our database.

In the User field choose the name of your database with a prefix, which also is applicable in the Database field. Click on the Add button. Then, give all privileges for the User, and click on the Make Changes button. (illustration 4)

Illustration 3 – Creating a database and user
Illustration 4 – Assign user and give him all privileges

Now, we need WordPress. Download it from their official website. Go to File Manager in cPanel. Find the folder “public_html”, if you are using the main domain you can upload a .zip file here. In my case, I’m going to open “withoutftp” folder (same name as a database) and upload a zip file there. If you don’t know how to upload a file with File Manager sees timestamps in the video tutorial.

On a zip file called “wordpress-5.8”, this is the latest version of WordPress in time of writing this post, click the right mouse button and choose Extract (illustration 5). After that click on Reload. Move all files from the “wordpress” folder to the “withoutftp” folder. Delete the “wordpress” folder and zip file. 

Illustration 5 – Extract all files

Now, let’s edit “wp-config-sample.php”.  I’m assured you remember the name of your database, user, and password. If you don’t know, go to MySQL and find your database. Change the DB_NAME, DB_USER, and DB_PASSWORD. In my case the database is “nnteamso_withoutftp”, the user is the same “nnteamso_withoutftp”, and the password is “withoutftp123”. It is recommended to use stronger passwords, for your own safety be aware of that. Don’t forget to save your changes (illustration 6). Now, rename the file “wp-config-sample.php” file. Remove “-sample”. The new name must be “wp-config.php”.

Illustration 6 – Edit “wp-config-sample.php” file

For the final step go to your domain. In my case it is and a standard window for WordPress installation will pop up. I believe you know the drill, so bring it on.

Nikola Nikolić

I'm more than 6 years in love with WordPress. I'm designing and creating websites using a vast number of Page builders like (Gutenberg, Elementor, Themify). I like to code from scratch with HTML, CSS, and JS. Now I'm learning custom WordPress themes. Additionally, I'm enjoying spending my free time reading epic fantasy books and modeling in Blender open-source software.