How Do You Install WordPress via FTP/SFTP? – A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Install WordPress via FTP/SFTP

Since WordPress launched in 2003, it has come along way in 18 years to be used by 41.5% of websites online. This includes some high-profile brands like Microsoft, Zoom, Etsy, Udemy and Sales Force.

It’s suitable for use by beginners to web development engineers, but it does have a learning curve too. In this post, we will show you how to install WordPress via SFTP – like FTP but with the important difference of your connection being more secure.


There are many ways to install WordPress, including more novice friendly ways like cPanel and Plesk. We will post about these in the future, but for now are beyond the scope of this article.

It assumes you already have a SFTP client like FileZilla or WinSCP, which can be downloaded and installed for free and that you are familiar in how to use it.

It also assumes you have database details and setup your new website already – whether you created them in a SSH client yourself or obtained them from your web hosting provider.

Step One: Download WordPress

Click on the blue “Get WordPress button to get started downloading WordPress

Figure 1: Click on the blue “Get WordPress button to get started downloading WordPress If you scroll down and find the Download button. It will show the latest version, which at date of publication was 5.7.2. Don’t worry if you see a version different to this as WordPress is updated regularly. Occasionally, developers download older versions to test their plugins and themes, but to set up WordPress, it’s not something you need to worry about.

Click the Download WordPress button to start downloading – don’t worry if it says a number other than 5.7.2!

Step Two: Unzip WordPress

Files are zipped online to help save bandwidth. This means we need to unzip for the folder. Fortunately, this is easy to do in most operating systems like Windows 10.

Opening the folder, you’ll see a folder title “wordpress”. Start extracting with the “Extract all” button. It doesn’t matter where as long as you know where it is. Click “Extract” and it’ll get to work. Bear in mind this can take a little while to complete.

Step Three: Upload WordPress Via SFTP/FTP

Next, open your SFTP/FTP client and navigate to the folder that was created by you via SSH or by your web host.

Navigating to the folder you have extracted, open the WordPress folder and inside that is another folder called “wordpress”. Open that, and you’ll see a list of files.

Drag all files and folders from the folder in Windows and place them into the SFTP client window. It will then transfer the WordPress files to your web server. How long depends on the speed of your internet connection and the speed of your web host, but usually in a few minutes.

Once it’s done, you should see the same list of files and folders as shown in your extracted folder from Step Two.

Step Four: Install WordPress

We can now move onto installing WordPress. You should have already setup a folder and site using SSH or been given details by your web host.

Navigate to the link as setup via SSH or given by your host and you’ll see a list of languages. You can click on the first option, English (United States), but it is best to click on the language your site will be in. This is particularly true if you want to rank well on search engines so visitors can find your site.

Selecting the right language can be important if you want to rank on Google!

Next, click Continue.

You’ll then see multiple options:

Site Title

This is whatever your site name is going to be. This can be changed afterwards in the future.


This is what you login in. We recommend using a username that isn’t named “admin” or “user” to make it more difficult for hackers.


When you load the page, a password is pre-generated for you to use. While WordPress does let you change this and doesn’t place restrictions, it’s strongly recommended you create a long password with capital letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

Your Email

Enter your email address. Double check that the email address is entered correctly and exists so that in the event you lose or forget your password, you can get back into the site. It is possible to without the email but is for more advanced users.

Search Engine Visibility

WordPress gives you the option to discourage search engines from indexing your site. This means it won’t appear on search engines like Google, Bing, Yandex and DuckDuckGo.

There could be a few reasons why you may want to do this. When developing a website before launching, it is a good idea to prevent indexing until you launch. Or you may have information on the site you don’t want people to see. Another could be that your website is for specific people you know and aren’t looking to recruit members or customers.

Note however, by ticking on the “Discourage search engines from indexing the site”, it is up to search engines to honour the request.

Popular search engines like Google are highly likely to comply, but search engines that are less scrupulous or those with honest intentions search engines also exist and often scrape content online from websites.

It’s important to realise this does not protect your site and you should always rely on functionality inside WordPress like themes and plugins that will protect your data and comply with data regulations like GDPR.

Make sure you fill out all the fields!

Once you’ve completed the form, click Install WordPress. WordPress will then be installed, and this should only take a few seconds, but can vary on your web host.

Once complete, you’ll see a confirmation message of it succeeding and be shown your username. The password is never shown for security reasons.

After this, you can navigate to your web address as used in Step Four. You’ll see the default “Hello World!” post that is always installed on every WordPress installation.

After installing, you should see the default theme and the famous “Hello World” post

Congratulations on your new WordPress installation!

Need Help with WordPress?

XHost UK is a web design and marketing agency that has many years of experience with all things WordPress. We can help design, build, develop, test, host and maintain anything WordPress with as little or as much involvement as you require.

Find out more information on our Website Development services page or use our contact form for further information.