As you are probably aware, WordPress can be installed either to the root folder of your domain (i.e. mydomain.com) or into a sub-folder of the domain (i.e. mydomain.com/wordpressfolder).   There are some advantages and disadvantages to each, but in general I believe installing into a sub-folder is the best choice for the majority of WordPress installations.  It really helps to keep the site organized, especially if any other applications will be installed on the site.  By installing WordPress into it's own sub-folder you insure that all of the files (with the exception of index.php, ,htaccess, or web.config) that are for the WordPress installation are located into a separate container folder.  This includes all the theme files, plugins, and anything else.

Accessing WordPress from the root domain

When you install WordPress using one of the automatic installers from you hosting provider, you generally are prompted for the location where WordPress is to be installed.  I like installing WordPress into its own folder rather than at the root of the domain.  But what if you have installed WordPress into a folder and want to make it appear that WordPress is actually at the root?  For example, on my site, Nerdmans.com, I use WordPress for my site management. I actually installed WordPress into a folder of the site, for example //nerdmans.com/wordpress.  But when you access the site you simply type the address http://nerdmans.com and you are taken right to the site.

So how do you setup this configuration?  It’s relatively simple and will require administrator rights to your WordPress installation, and may require you to also have administrator rights with ftp access to your web hosting site.

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  1. Access your WordPress dashboard and go to Settings > General.  There you will see two fields near the top; one for the WordPress Address and one for the Site Address.  Typically, unless you specified otherwise during the initial installation, both will have the full URL address for the folder where WordPress is installed (see right.)
  2. The Site Address URL is the field that you want to change.  In this example I would change Site Address  to be http://nerdmans.com, dropping the wordpress folder off of the URL.  Make sure to save your changes.  What WordPress does at this time is to make a number of internal changes and also makes changes to two important files on your web host: .htaccess and the index.php file.  Sometimes these changes are automatic and you won’t have to do anything else.  But other times the changes cannot be made automatically to the web host file system and you will have to make the changes manually.
  3. Open a new browser window and go to your site address, for example http://nerdmans.com.  If the site displays properly go to step 5.  If it does not display properly go to step 4.
  4. This step is performed outside of WordPress in your Web Host’s file system.  Access your Web Host through ftp for some other file manager and navigate to the /wordpress folder.
    1. Look for the files .htaccess and index.php.  It is possible that .htaccess is a hidden file so if you don’t see it you will need to change your permissions on the folder.
    2. What you need to do is copy (don’t move, because you want to keep a copy of each file in the /wordpress folder) these two files and place them in the Site Address URL folder.  In our example it would mean copying these two files to the //nerdmans.com root directory.
    3. Before copying these files I would inspect the root folder to see if a version of these files already exists in the root directory.  If they do, you better examine the contents of these files to determine if you need to merge the different versions together rather than simply replacing them.
  5. The last step is to adjust your permalinks on your WordPress site.  Again, go to your WordPress Dashboard and from there go to Settings > Permalinks.  All you really need to do here is click on Save Changes which will force WordPress to update all of your entries to the new URL address.

That should be it.  If you do run into some problems contact me and I’ll see if I can be of assistance.  You can also find some help in the Giving WordPress Its Own Directory article.

Filed under: Wordpress Configuration

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