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Toolbox of the Smart WordPress Developer: WP Quick Install

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Ever got bored of installing WordPress? I did. I mean, it’s short but it’s not a “five–minute installation process” as advertised. It could be shorter, I think.

Turns out, there are more people like me—and they’re more talented than me. In this part of the “Toolbox of the Smart WordPress Developer” series, we’re going to go through WP Quick Install, a tool to build out-of-the-box WordPress installations.

The Story of an Average User Installing WordPress

Let me introduce you to Jane Doe.

Jane is a young, smart, aspiring freelance web designer. While she was studying in college three years ago, she took care of a relative’s website for his pet store. He was satisfied with the website, so he recommended Jane to a vet and she also did the vet’s website—and she got paid this time! After doing a couple of websites and getting paid handsomely, she decided to continue designing websites after college.

Three years later, she reached 54 customers and 60 websites. She even hired an intern to enter the contents of websites while she was busy charming potential customers in her area. When she lands a client, she installs WordPress and a couple of plugins (like Google XML Sitemaps and All in One SEO Pack), switches to the theme she chose with her customer, and does some tweaks in the wp-config.php file to optimize her workflow and the website’s speed.

She kind of hates doing the same thing over and over again at least three times every month. It’s especially annoying to upload more than a thousand files before the famous “five–minute installation”. It’s no big hassle installing WordPress a couple of times each month, sure, but she knows that it could be automated somehow. She’s not a very tech–savvy person (she learned HTML and CSS from the free Tuts+ course “30 Days to Learn HTML & CSS” and then purchased a yearly subscription, downloaded and watched a bunch of courses), but she knows that a professional web developer could make this process faster.

And today, she meets WP Quick Install!

Using WP Quick Install to Rev Up Your Workflow

Three years ago, the guys over at the WP Rocket plugin released WP Quick Install, a tool to automate the installation and customization processes of WordPress.

Before moving on with the tutorial and discussing how to make use of the tool, let’s watch this short video to understand how it works:

Basic Usage

As you saw from the video (if you watched it), using WP Quick Install is as simple as one two three:

  1. Upload the ten files and seven folders (instead of the whole WordPress package which consists of more than a hundred folders and a thousand files) to your host.
  2. Fill in the form (slightly longer than the usual WordPress installation form) and click the Install WordPress button.
  3. Wait for a minute or so, and then enjoy your new installation of WordPress.

See how easy it is? Let’s take a look at the form elements:

  • Database credentials: Your database credentials.
  • Database table prefix: A custom database table prefix.
  • Deleting default content: Deletes the default post, comment and page if checked.
  • Language: Sets the WordPress language.
  • Installation directory: The directory to install WordPress in.
  • Website title: Title of the WordPress website.
  • Admin panel credentials: Username, password and email address for the admin user.
  • Privacy setting for search engines: Prevents search engines from indexing the website if unchecked.
  • Activating the bundled theme: Activates the bundled theme if checked (more on this later).
  • Deleting default themes: Deletes the Twenty-Something themes upon installation.
  • Installing plugins from Semicolon-separated list of plugin slugs to install from the WordPress Plugin Repository.
  • Installing bundled plugins: Installs the bundled plugins if checked (also more on this one later).
  • Activating all plugins: Activates all installed plugins if checked.
  • Permalink structure: Changes the default permalink structure.
  • Media settings: Almost exactly the same options as in the Settings > Media screen.
  • Number of post revisions: Sets the number of post revisions.
  • Disabling theme and plugin editor: Self-explanatory.
  • Autosave interval: Sets the number of seconds to save posts automatically while writing.
  • Debug mode: Enables WP_DEBUG if checked.
  • API key: If you use a plugin that needs your API key (like JetPack), this one’s going to be handy.

Side note: In the form, there are two options which hint that you can bundle WP Quick Install with any theme and any plugins you want. It’s another useful feature of WP Quick Install: By putting ZIP files inside the wp-quick-install/plugins folder and placing a file under wp-quick-install, you can install and activate a desired theme and your plugins (that don’t exist in the WordPress plugin repository) upon your installation with WP Quick Install. Neat, huh?

Configuring the INI File

Yet another great feature of WP Quick Install: You can predetermine the form fields with the data.ini file!

It’s actually pretty easy to edit the file, and there’s already an inline documentation inside the file. Basically, you need to comment out the desired lines and change their values. There might be a slight confusion with the “install plugins from WordPress Plugin Repository” option—you just have to create separate lines starting with plugins[] = and continue with a plugin slug on each line.

Oh, one last thing: With the INI file, you can even publish posts automatically upon installation! At the end of the data.ini file, there’s a part that explains how to use this feature. Be sure to check it out.

Wrapping Up for Today

Even after three years, it still might cause some problems (I had a hard time working it on my shared hosting account) but that’s not their fault, as you can’t possibly please every single server on the planet. And if it’s an open-source project (and it is), it’s our responsibility to help them grow because any kind of contribution helps WordPress take over the world, as we always discuss in WordPress podcasts. (Luckily, not a single world leader has noticed this.) Joking aside, it really is a great tool, and I believe it needs more coverage in the WordPress community.

What’s your take on WP Quick Install? Did you like it? Did you have problems with it? Share your thoughts by posting in the Comments section below. And if you liked the article, don’t forget to share it with your friends!

See you in the next part where we’ll be talking about the WordPress Plugin Boilerplate!