WordPress post-installation steps

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After installing WordPress, you should go through the settings before creating your site and insert content. The settings to check may vary, but there are always some standard settings to check regardless of how you used to install WordPress.

These are essential steps to take after a new WordPress installation.

Let’s start.

Settings to change

By default, the settings may or may not suit your purposes. Most possibly not. You’d better go through all the settings before starting to work with your site. Steps to do after installation are:

  • Delete sample content (post, comment, and sample page)
  • Delete unnecessary plugins (Hello Dolly and Akismet)
  • Set your Site Title and Tagline
  • Change Site Language if needed
  • Change Timezone, date, and time formats
  • Set Permalinks structure
  • Set Reading settings for post feed (Full text or Excerpt)
  • Disallow comments for new articles (if applicable)
  • Uncheck media files organized in folders

Delete sample content

Sample content is just sample content. It is there for you to ensure that all is well. You do not need the sample content, so feel free to delete it.

Delete unnecessary plugins

Hello Dolly -plugin is just a sample and not needed. It is best to delete all plugins that you do not use, also inactive plugins. Akismet is a plugin that may help you fight spam comments. Feel free to activate the plugin and pay the fee if you allow commenting. It is worth it. But, if your site is local and for development purposes as mine is, there is no one to comment on and no need for spam filtering.

Set the Site Title and Tagline

The title is the name of your site that your visitors see. It’s not the URL, so you can change it to something that looks and feel better for your purposes. The tagline is by default “Yet another new WordPress site,” which is something you definitely do not want to display on your site. Change it.

Site language

The site language should be the same as the language of your site’s content. For example, if you write in English, the language must be English. If Swedish set it to Swedish and so on.

This setting will define the HTML lang-attribute on all pages to match the site language. And the lang-attribute and content must match!

Timezone and formats

You can and probably should change the timezone to match your location. The wrong timezone has no negative effect, but if you intend to schedule article publishing, the timezone and time should be correct.

Date format and Time format are other settings you can decide yourself. It is best to use the format that matches your locale, but if your audience is international, it may confuse some readers as their time format may be different. For example, I use the Finnish time format, which is DD.MM.YYYY like 27.01.2022. In WordPress, this setting looks like “d.m.YYYY”.

Choose the format that suits you best.


Oh, this is important. And it is crucial to set the permalinks correctly right at the beginning. I mean before publishing any content. The permalink structure is how the URLs of your posts and pages are formed. For human beings and SEO purposes, it is almost always best to choose “Post name” as a permalink structure. This makes the post or page name the URL, so it is readable and understandable for humans and easier to remember. Such URLs are also better for SEO.

There may be reasons to choose something other but “Post name” is the default and most often the recommended choice. If you choose anything else, do so only with good reasons.

Reading and Writing

These are settings that you may want to check again after you have some content. In the reading panel, you can choose what content is displayed to visitors when they come to your domain. Either a home page that you have created or your newest articles. Again this setting depends very much on your site content and structure. There are no right or wrong answers except when there is 🙂

Discussion settings

If you do not let readers comment on your articles, it is best to disable commenting on the Discussion panel. If you allow commenting, prepare to moderate the comments and expect to get (a lot of) spam comments.

Media settings

In my experience, there is no need to organize media files into month- and year-based folders. All media files you upload to your site will go into /uploads/ -folder. Very rarely, there is any benefit in creating subfolders.

So, my recommendation is to uncheck “Organize my uploads into month- and year-based folders“.

All set, You are good to go

Ok, all set. After fixing the settings mentioned earlier to match your site’s purpose, you are all set to proceed. The following steps are choosing a theme, necessary plugins, and creating content. Or if you are developing something new, setting up your development environment. These are something I will write about later.

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Kari Selovuo

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