A Little WordPress Help?

Because it’s been so ridiculously sluggish lately, I’m considering moving this site over to WordPress from MovableType. That’s what all my smart friends advise.

So, I downloaded the install package and began following the Famous 5-Minute Install instructions. Unfortunately, I’m into my third hour. I consistently get that popular error message: “Error establishing a database connection”.

Here’s what I’ve checked and double-checked:

  • Do my versions of MySQL and PHP meet WordPress’s minimum requrements? Yes.
  • Have I entered the database and user names correctly in both places? Yes.
  • Are database priveleges set correctly for my WordPress user account? Yep.
  • Should I be using instead of localhost for DB_HOST, as I do in MovableType? Maybe, but I’ve tried both and no joy.
  • Have I Googled for the past hour, looking for alternative explanations? Uh-huh.

I turn, once again, to you, my dear readers. Any WordPress gurus out there? What am I missing? I’ve also posted my query to the WordPress support forum, to see if that helps.

UPDATE: We’re not entirely sure how, but Gillian (who I now definitely owe lunch) solved my issues. Well, not all my issues, but certainly my WordPress issue.

Written by

Darren Barefoot is an author, speaker and digital strategist. He’s the co-founder of Capulet Communications, and co-author of “Friends With Benefits: A Social Media Marketing Handbook”.


  1. Dude, I’m sorry to hear of your Word Press woes. That’s terrible.

    I’m no tech guru, but here’s how MK and I did it – we used Wise FTP. I don’t know what you use, but this is a sweet little program. However, if I was able to install wordpress, then any group of monkeys with computers could. No offence intended – the point is that the solution is likely easier than you think.

    Anyway, I managed to install WP for Canadian Economist and Alberta Blogs all on my own, and the thing I discovered is this:

    1. You have a domain name: darrenbarefoot.com and then you link that to a destination – /DB let’s say.

    2. Make sure you rename your WP file from WordPress2.0 or whatever to DB.

    The reason I think this could be the case is because you aren’t getting past step 2 of the installation.

    Anyways, I probably wasn’t too much help; I just really hope you get WP up and running because a land of untold glory, lollipops and pearls awaits you on the other side. It really is as good as they say, and once you install some plugins, you’ll have the rockin’-est blog on the block. In no time a techie guy like you would be authoring his own plugins, which enhances your reputation even more.

  2. Hrm. Might be ye olde MySQL password encoding problem:

    Beginning with MySQL 4.1, MySQL started using a new method of encoding passwords in the MySQL database. If the version of PHP that you’re using is expecting the *old* style, then you’ll get all kinds of authentication/unable to connect to the database errors.

    Fortunately, you can tell MySQL to use the old style passwords for a given user account as follows:



    -> ‘some_user’@’some_host’ = OLD_PASSWORD(‘newpwd’);

  3. I was having all sorts of weirdness happen when I went from WP1.5 to WP2.0, and after some fiddling around and a few attempts of what *looked* like success, and then I ran across a post elsewhere that was talking about WP2’s cache system, which is designed to speed up the DB requests. On my particular setup (Windows 2000 & IIS), this cache feature seemed to be the problem. I had to add the following lines to my wp-config.php file in the root of the installed folder:

    {added immediately before the “stop editing” portion, but it probably doesn’t matter where it goes in the file}

    // Cache disabled. Comment out to enable.
    define(‘DISABLE_CACHE’, true);

    Saved the file, re-ran the installation, and it’s worked perfectly since. I’ve done three subsequent installs (both upgrades and from scratch), and with those two lines in place, everything’s gone smoothly.

    I’ve also run into the DB_HOST issue, and had to give the name of the host “servername” instead of the IP for it to work properly. and localhost wouldn’t work.

    Hope that helps. Hardly a smooth start when going to a new product, I know, but once you’re in, I hope you’ll be happy with it.

  4. Darren,

    Expression Engine is the way to go — and it’s also free for a non-commercial site like yours.

    It would probably take about 12 minutes to install on your server.

    (This unhelpful advice is free!)

  5. Darren,

    If you want me to take a look drop me a line. I’ve done a few of these by now and I can get John and Darren on the case if needs be.


  6. Any luck here Darren?

    I made the error once of entering the correct db and admin names in the config file in the incorrect format/place.

    This is how it should look:

    define(‘DB_NAME’, ‘YOUR_DB_NAME’); define(‘DB_USER’, ‘YOUR_DB_ADMIN_NAME’);
    define(‘DB_HOST’, ‘localhost’);

  7. Hi,

    It appears that everyone my be trying to over complicate things.

    With the db on a shared server your db and user may be something link

    darrenba_user name

    it should be local host

    after you created the db did you add the user giving the user full authority on the db?

    Im a bit of a WP expert so if all else fails drop me an email and Ill try and get it working for you.

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