How do I set up WordPress on the Public Linux Environment (Volweb)?


You can run WordPress on OIT’s Public Linux Environment (Volweb -, which is available to students, faculty, and staff. (Please note, this is separate from your Unix-based Volspace account.) You will need to set up a Linux account, a supporting MySQL database, and upload WordPress to your public_html folder.


Step 1: Create a Linux account

  1. Go to and select Sign Up.
  2. Enter your NetID and password. 
  3. Select Create.
  4. Once your account has been created, select Continue.

Step 2: Set up your public_html folder

  1. Go to and select Log In. 
  2. Once logged in, select Create Web Folder from the left menu, then choose Create.
  3. Your public_html folder has now been created.

Step 3: Sign up for the OIT-provided MySQL service

  1. Go to and select Login.
  2. Log in with your NetID and password.
  3. If this is your first time using OIT's MySQL service, you will probably see the following message: “No MySQL account associated with your NetID.” If so, select Create New Account.
  4. Your NetID is pre-populated (you cannot change it).
  5. Enter into the Host(s) field.
  6. Create a password and then confirm the password.
    * If your application is using pre-v4.1 MySQL libraries, check the Use old-style encryption
  7. Select Create.
  8. Under Server Overview, take note of which host the database was created on.

Step 4: Create a WordPress Database

  1. Go to and select Login.
  2. Log in with your NetID and password.
  3. Choose the Create a Database button.
  4. Enter a database name, such as “wordpress.” Please note, all databases are prefixed with your NetID. Or, click "Use my NetID" if you just want your NetID to be the database name.
  5. Select Create.

Step 5: Download WordPress

  1. Go to
  2. Select the “Download WordPress” button from the upper right-hand corner; you will be redirected to the Download page.
  3. In the right-hand column, you will see the option to download the latest version of WordPress as either a .zip or .tar.gz file. Choose the appropriate file type and download to your computer.
    Note: In most cases, you can choose the .zip file, which will work on both Windows and macOS.

Step 6: Upload WordPress

  1. Connect to the Linux server using your preferred SSH (e.g., PuTTY) or SFTP (e.g., WinSCPCyberduck or FileZilla) client.
    Port: 22 (SSH or SFTP)
    Usernameyour netid
    Passwordyour NetID password
  2. Once connected, you should see a public_html folder and a perl5 folder; open the public_html folder.
    Note: Delete any files in your public_html folder, in order to install WordPress in a clean environment.
  3. Locate and unzip the WordPress file on your computer’s hard drive.
  4. Upload the folder’s contents to your public_html file by dragging and dropping or by selecting upload through your SSH/SFTP client.


IMPORTANT: For steps 7 & 8, you will need to be on the campus network or connected to the UTK VPN in order to access your content.


Step 7: Set up WordPress

  1. Go to and you will be automatically directed to the WordPress setup wizard. Select Let’s Go!
  2. Enter your newly created MySQL database into the Database Name field, i.e. netid_wordpress.
  3. The Username is your NetID.
  4. The Password is your MySQL password.
  5. The Database Host should be match the Host that your database was created on in step 3:
  6. Table Prefix can be left as is.
  7. Select Submit.
  8. WordPress will then write the wp-config file, provided it has the appropriate permissions (see note on permissions at the end of this article). If it can’t write to the wp-config.php file, you will need to create and upload the file. To do so, copy and paste the provided text into a basic text editor and save the file as “wp-config.php.”
    Note on choosing the right application to create your wp-config file: When creating your wp-config on your computer, you need to create plain text document. If you do not have a plain text editor on your computer, you can create the document in Microsoft Word, saving it as wp-config.txt. Next, locate the file and change the extension by renaming the file as wp-config.php.
  9. Upload the wp-config.php file to your public_html folder through your SFTP/SSH client.
  10. Return to your browser and select Run the Install.
  11. Now you’re ready to set up your new site! Enter a site title, username, password, and email. This login information does not have to match your UT NetID. You will use this information to log into your WordPress dashboard. Finally, select “Install WordPress.”
  12. Congratulations! Your new WordPress is fully installed. To log in to the WordPress dashboard, go to

Step 8: Download and Install an SSH SFTP Plugin

To take full advantage of the WordPress Dashboard (which by default, installs and updates through an FTP connection), you need to install an SSH SFTP plugin. WordPress plugins are continually growing and changing, so there may be several options out there. One option we can recommend is SSH SFTP Updater Support; below are the instructions for installing that plugin.

  1. Go to
  2. Select the red “Download Version” button from the right-hand column; this will download the zip file to your computer.
  3. Locate and unzip the ssh-sft-updater-support zip file on your computer.
  4. Log in to your Linux host through your SFTP/SSH client.
  5. Open the public_html folder, and navigate to the plugins folder within the wp-content directory (the path should look like: netid/public_html/wp-content/plugins).
  6. Upload the entire ssh-sft-updater-support folder to wp-content/plugins folder.
  7. Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
  8. Find plugins on the left-hand column and choose installed plugins.
  9. Locate the SSH SFTP Updater Support plugin from the list, and click Activate.
  10. Now, any time you choose to upload, delete, or change a theme or plugin that requires an FTP connection, you will be prompted to log in with your SSH credentials.
    Username: NetID
    Password: NetID password
    Connection Type: SSH2
A Note About Permissions

To make any changes to PHP pages or CSS stylesheets, WordPress needs to have the appropriate permissions to write to these files. Please check with your preferred SFTP / SSH client for more information on how to adjust file permissions. WordPress suggests that use the following permissions for a WordPress website:

  • All directories should be 755 or 750
  • All files should be 644 or 640
  • wp-config.php should be 600


Article ID: 123073
Mon 12/21/20 11:17 AM
Mon 6/21/21 12:22 PM
Public Linux Environment