How to Setup a WordPress Website with 1&1

Note: This guide assumes that the viewer has already registered a domain and purchased a hosting plan through 1&1. If you haven’t done this yet, go here to get started and come back when you’re done. Also, this guide does not show you how to design a website. It will walk you through the steps of getting your WordPress install setup. Once setup, the design process can begin.

WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems available today. With a huge community-backing, zippy performance, flexibility and security included, the claim that WordPress is the best tool for website development earns more than just some merit. It’s no wonder WordPress powers nearly 75 million sites around the globe! Lest we forget…it’s free!

When it comes to hosting a WordPress website, there’s no shortage of options for site owners. I personally recommend WP Engine, but if the budget is tight, this option can be a little too expensive for some. Although unlikely to outperform WP Engine-hosted websites, 1&1 is a much more affordable hosting provider that’ll do just fine for many.

If you need a website but have never done it before, this step-by-step guide will walk you through the entire process. Take your time when going through it and you’ll be logging into your WordPress Dashboard before you know it!

Step 1: Open a Text Editor

There are going to be some lines of information that you’ll need to remember during this process, so open up your favorite text editor before proceeding.

Step 2: Log Into 1&1

Grab your account customer ID and password, then head over to the 1&1 login page to access your control panel.


Step 3: Create a MySQL Database

In order for your WordPress site to function, it needs a database in which to store important information. From your 1&1 Dashboard, find the “Hosting” module. Within that module, locate the Manage Webspace heading and select MySQL Database.


Click the New Database button at the top of the window.


Enter a description for the database (something like “My Blog Database” should do) and a password. I recommend using this password generator to create a secure password for your database. Before clicking the Set Up button, paste the password that you just created in the text editor.


After you’ve clicked Set Up, you’re shown a database summary screen. Stay on this screen and copy/paste all the values in the text editor alongside the database password. Now all of your database credentials will be ready for use in a later step. Save the text file somewhere safe or just keep it minimized until we get further along.


Step 4: Create Site Directory

Now, we need to create a folder where your WordPress website will be housed. This process can be done through 2 methods: FTP/SFTP or via 1&1’s Webspace Explorer. We’re going to use the latter as it doesn’t require the installation of additional software. If you would prefer to use FTP, I recommend using FileZilla.

In your 1&1 Control Panel, select the Hosting option in the menu, then select Webspace Explorer on the right side of the screen.


Create a new directory by clicking the New Folder icon in the upper left corner. Be sure to place the new folder in a logical place that you’ll remember. Name the new folder something like “My Website” and click Okay.


Step 5: Map Your Domain

Now, we need to tell 1&1 where to send traffic that visits your URL…this is going to be to the same folder that you’ve just created. To do this, click on Domains in the menu, then select Manage Domains.


Find the domain you want to use for your site, then hit the drop-down button on the right side of the screen. Select the Edit Destination option.


Once the Edit Destination screen loads, scroll down to the window titled Webspace and choose the directory you created in the previous step then click Save. This is your website’s “root” folder.


Go grab a snack or cup of coffee as this action can take 30 minutes or so to complete.

Step 6: Download WordPress

At this point, your server is ready to go. Now you just need to setup the WordPress platform. Head over to the WordPress download page and grab the latest version.


Step 7: Prepare WordPress for Install

After you’ve downloaded WordPress (it’s in a zipped folder), extract or unzip the folder. Once you’ve done this, you’ll see a wordpress folder.


Open the wordpress folder. Locate the file titled wp-config-sample.php and rename it to wp-config.php. At this point, you can also delete the files titled readme.html and license.txt in the wordpress folder.


Open the renamed wp-config.php file and grab the MySQL database values we pasted into the text editor earlier. In the wp-config.php file, look for the part that says // ** MySQL settings – You can get this info from your web host ** //. Under this line is where we’ll be pasting the values from your text editor. Paste your corresponding values in the following fields: database_name_here, username_here,  password_here and localhost.


After you’ve pasted these values, go to this page and copy all the text that appears.


Go back to your wp-config.php file and scroll down to the area that says Authentication Unique Keys and Salts. Paste all the text you just copied in the appropriate spot. It looks like this:


Now save the file and close the window.

Step 8: Upload WordPress

Remember when you had to extract/unzip the wordpress folder to edit the wp-config file? Now that we’ve made our edits, we’re going need to re-zip the folder. Select the wordpress folder and compress it.


Head back over to your 1&1 control panel and navigate to the WebspaceExplorer screen again. Locate the root folder you created earlier and select the Upload button at the top of the window.


Select the zipped wordpress folder you created and upload it using the on-screen buttons.


Once your zipped folder is uploaded, select it, then right-click and choose Unzip.


When prompted, choose to place the files in your website’s root folder and click OK.


There should now be a folder title wordpress in your site’s root folder. We’re almost done, but we need to move the WordPress core files directly into the site’s root. Open the wordpress folder in the Webspace Explorer window by double-clicking it. Select the first item in the list (which should be the wp-admin folder), hold the Shift key on your keyboard and select the last file in the list (which should be the xmlrpc.php file). This should render all the files to be highlighted.


With all the files highlighted, select the Move button at the top of the window.


Select your site’s root directory as the destination for these files. Once the move is complete, the wordpress folder should be empty so feel free to delete it.

Step 9: Install WordPress

The final step is really simple. Navigate to your website’s URL, then enter /wp-config.php at the end of your domain (for example, Then follow the onscreen instructions.

You’ll want to create a username and password to access your WordPress site at this point. Security Tip: don’t use “admin” as a username (more on that here). Also, be sure to use the password generator tool to ensure your password is secure.


Once you’ve competed these steps, you’ll be redirected to a WordPress login screen where you can enter your credentials to access the WordPress Dashboard.


That’s it! Your WordPress site is now ready to get worked on. That wasn’t so hard, right? If you’ve got any questions, feel free to submit them in the comments below.

About the Author

My professional experience with the web reaches back more than a decade. During this time, I've been creating sites for individuals and businesses, working on a team of digital experience analysts as well as providing qualitative and quantitative research surrounding web and mobile technology.


Web Strategist

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