Install WordPress Using WP-CLI on Ubuntu 18.04
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Everyone is probably familiar with WordPress and its renowned 5-minute install routine. It’s simple and works without fuss. But when you have multiple sites to manage, repeating the same routine can waste plenty of time which you could have used elsewhere.
This is where WP-CLI, a powerful command line tool with which you can manage WordPress, can help. This tutorial covers how to install WP-CLI and how to perform some common, practical tasks using it.
This guide is written for Ubuntu 18.04. Before moving ahead, make sure you have completed the following guides:
- Getting Started with Linode
- Setting Up and Securing a Compute Instance
- How to Install a LAMP Stack on Ubuntu 18.04
NoteThis guide is written for a non-root user. Commands that require elevated privileges are prefixed with
sudo. If you’re not familiar with the
sudocommand, you can check our Users and Groups guide.
WP-CLI is available as a PHP Archive file (
.phar). You can download it using either
curl -O https://raw.githubusercontent.com/wp-cli/builds/gh-pages/phar/wp-cli.phar
You need to make this
.pharfile executable and move it to
/usr/local/binso that it can be run directly:
chmod +x wp-cli.phar sudo mv wp-cli.phar /usr/local/bin/wp
Check if it is installed properly:
You should see a similar output like that displayed below, which means you can proceed:
OS: Linux 4.15.0-29-generic #31-Ubuntu SMP Tue Jul 17 15:39:52 UTC 2018 x86_64 Shell: /usr/bin/bash PHP binary: /usr/bin/php7.2 PHP version: 7.2.7-0ubuntu0.18.04.2 php.ini used: /etc/php/7.2/cli/php.ini WP-CLI root dir: phar://wp-cli.phar WP-CLI vendor dir: phar://wp-cli.phar/vendor WP_CLI phar path: /home/linode_username WP-CLI packages dir: WP-CLI global config: WP-CLI project config: WP-CLI version: 2.0.0
You can use the above three steps for upgrading WP-CLI as well.
Activate Bash Completion
Download the bash script in your home directory:
cd ~ wget https://github.com/wp-cli/wp-cli/raw/master/utils/wp-completion.bash
Edit your shell’s configuration file so that wp-completion is loaded by the shell every time you open a new shell session:
.bashrcfile and add the following line in the editor:
- File: ~/.bashrc
Run the following command to reload the bash profile:
.zshrcfile and add the following lines in the editor:
- File: ~/.zshrc
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autoload bashcompinit bashcompinit source /home/$USER/wp-completion.bash
Run the following command to reload the Zsh profile:
Shell completion is now enabled. To test it, type
wp theme (include the trailing space) and press Tab twice. You will see the list of available commands with
wp theme again on the prompt.
Basics of WP-CLI
Before moving on, let’s learn some basics of how WP-CLI works. This will help you feel comfortable with the upcoming steps.
So far, we have seen WP-CLI accessed through the main command,
wp. You can follow the main command with nested subcommands. For example, we have a command to download WordPress, which is:
wp core download
wp is the main command while
download are its nested subcommands. Nesting subcommands can extend one or two levels.
WP-CLI also comes with a detailed help section, which displays all the commands you might need. To access help:
The output should resemble:
wp DESCRIPTION Manage WordPress through the command-line. SYNOPSIS wp <command> SUBCOMMANDS cache Manage the object cache. cap Manage user capabilities. cli Get information about WP-CLI itself. comment Manage comments. core Download, install, update and otherwise manage WordPress proper. cron Manage WP-Cron events and schedules. db Perform basic database operations. eval Execute arbitrary PHP code after loading WordPress. eval-file Load and execute a PHP file after loading WordPress. :
: is a prompt that, with subcommands, can help you navigate through this help menu. Up and down arrow keys will let you scroll through the entire help command list. Typing
q will exit the help menu. For additional details on how to further navigate through the complete help section, you can always type
h at the above prompt.
You can use the enabled bash completion to demonstrate WP-CLI’s readily available command list. Simply type
wp and press tab twice. You will see the list of available commands. Now, type
wp core and press tab twice. You will see a list of commands that can be used with
core. This double tabbing after a command can be repeated for any primary or subcommand.
Prepare the WordPress Database
Log in to the MySQL command line as the database’s root user:
sudo mysql -u root
Create the WordPress database:
CREATE DATABASE wordpress;
Create a database user and grant them privileges for the newly created
passwordwith the username and password you wish to use:
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CREATE USER 'wpuser' IDENTIFIED BY 'password'; GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON wordpress.* TO 'wpuser'; FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
quitto exit the MySQL command line.
Download and Configure WordPress
Move to the Apache
Change the ownership of the
public_htmldirectory. Apache comes with its own
www-datauser and group. As a recommended practice, you should change the ownership of your installation directory to
sudo chown -R www-data:www-data public_html
Download the WordPress files. Here, you need to use the prefix
sudo -u www-datafor running WP-CLI commands under
www-datagroup. You would need to use this every time you run a command which requires WP-CLI to write to the directory, like installing or upgrading:
cd public_html sudo -u www-data wp core download
Create a wp-config.php file:
sudo -u www-data wp core config --dbname='wordpress' --dbuser='wpuser' --dbpass='password' --dbhost='localhost' --dbprefix='wp_'
passwordwith your WordPress database user and password.
dbprefixare entirely optional and can be omitted unless you need to change their default values.
Run the installation. Replace
adminuserwith the username you’d like to login to WordPress, and replace
passwordwith a unique password. Replace example.com with your domain, or replace it with your IP address if you haven’t set up a domain yet.
sudo -u www-data wp core install --url='http://example.com' --title='Blog Title' --admin_user='adminuser' --admin_password='password' --email@example.com'
http://<Linode IP address>/wp-adminif you haven’t set up a domain) and verify that you can log in with the WordPress user you created in the previous step.
Install and Update Plugins
Let’s say you want to install the Yoast SEO plugin. Your first step will be to find the plugin slug. In this case, the slug is the last part of a permalink URL which describes the plugin directory. If a plugin is available at
plugin-dir is the slug of the plugin. You install the plugin under the same directory on your blog at
http://example.com/wp-content/plugins/plugin-dir/. Since this slug is unique to every plugin, you can search for the slug of any plugin using WP-CLI and then install it:
wp plugin search yoast
You will get an output similar to this.
Success: Showing 10 of 574 plugins. +---------------------------------------------------+------------------------------------+--------+ | name | slug | rating | +---------------------------------------------------+------------------------------------+--------+ | Yoast SEO | wordpress-seo | 98 | | Yoast SEO: Search Index Purge | yoast-seo-search-index-purge | 68 | | ACF Content Analysis for Yoast SEO | acf-content-analysis-for-yoast-seo | 90 | | Glue for Yoast SEO & AMP | glue-for-yoast-seo-amp | 88 | | Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights | google-analytics-for-wordpress | 78 | | Import Settings into WordPress SEO by Yoast | yoast-seo-settings-xml-csv-import | 100 | | Remove Yoast SEO Comments | remove-yoast-seo-comments | 92 | | Surbma – Yoast SEO Breadcrumb Shortcode | surbma-yoast-breadcrumb-shortcode | 84 | | LiteSpeed Cache | litespeed-cache | 98 | | WPGlobus – Multilingual Everything! | wpglobus | 92 | +---------------------------------------------------+------------------------------------+--------+
You can see more than 10 plugins per page by modifying the command:
wp plugin search yoast --per-page=20
Now that you know the slug of the plugin you want to install (
wordpress-seo), copy it to your command and activate it:
sudo -u www-data wp plugin install wordpress-seo sudo -u www-data wp plugin activate wordpress-seo
To update any plugin:
sudo -u www-data wp plugin update wordpress-seo
Or, to update all plugins:
sudo -u www-data wp plugin update --all
Or, to list all the installed plugins on your blog, you can use:
wp plugin list
To uninstall a plugin:
sudo -u www-data wp plugin deactivate wordpress-seo sudo -u www-data wp plugin uninstall wordpress-seo
Install and Update Themes
The procedure for installing and activating a theme is nearly identical to that of a plugin. Just swap
theme in all the commands:
wp theme search twentyfourteen
To install and activate:
sudo -u www-data wp theme install twentyfourteen sudo -u www-data wp theme activate twentyfourteen
To update one or all themes:
sudo -u www-data wp theme update twentyfourteen sudo -u www-data wp theme update --all
To list all the themes in a tabular form:
wp theme list
To uninstall a theme, activate a different theme first:
sudo -u www-data wp theme activate twentyseventeen sudo -u www-data wp theme uninstall twentyfourteen
You can update your blog through the following commands. The first command updates the files. The second one completes the database upgrade.
sudo -u www-data wp core update sudo -u www-data wp core update-db
You can now further configure WP-CLI. These commands are just the tip of the iceberg about how you can manage WordPress from the command line. Write or edit posts, perform database queries, manage user capabilities, manage
cron events, import or export content, manage attachments, and even manage multi-site installations are all now available to you through a few, quick and practical keystrokes. You have refined WordPress management and conserved valuable time.
You may wish to consult the following resources for additional information on this topic. While these are provided in the hope that they will be useful, please note that we cannot vouch for the accuracy or timeliness of externally hosted materials.
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