Giving WordPress Its Own Directory

Many people want WordPress to power their website’s root (e.g. but they don’t want all of the WordPress files cluttering up their root directory. WordPress allows you to install it into a subdirectory, but have your website served from the website root.

As of Version 3.5, Multisite users may use all of the functionality listed below. If you are running a version of WordPress older than 3.5, please update before installing a Multisite WordPress install on a subdirectory.

Note to theme/plugin developers: this will not separate your code from WordPress. Themes and plugins will still reside under wp-content folder.

Moving a Root install to its own directory

Let’s say you’ve installed WordPress at Now you have two different methods to move wordpress installations into subdirectory:

  1. Without change of SITE-URL (remains
  2. With change in SITE-URL (it will redirect to

Method I (Without URL change)

  1. After Installing the wordpress in root folder, move EVERYTHING from root folder into subdirectory.
  2. Create a .htaccess file in root folder, and put this content inside (just change and my_subdir):
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^(www.)?$
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/my_subdir/
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /my_subdir/$1
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^(www.)?$
RewriteRule ^(/)?$ my_subdir/index.php [L] 

That’s all 🙂

Method II (With URL change)

Moving process

(p.s. If you’ve already installed WP in subdirectory, some steps might be already done automatically).

  1. Create the new location for the core WordPress files to be stored (we will use /wordpress in our examples). (On linux, use mkdir wordpress from your www directory. You’ll probably want to use chown apache:apache on the wordpress directory you created.)
  2. Go to the General Screen.
  3. In WordPress address (URL): set the address of your main WordPress core files. Example:
  4. In Site address (URL): set root directory’s URL. Example:
  5. Click Save Changes. (Do not worry about the errors that happen now! Continue reading)
  6. Now move your WordPress core files (from root directory) to the subdirectory.
  7. Copy (NOT MOVE!) the index.php and .htaccess files from the WordPress directory into the root directory of your site (Blog address). The .htaccess file is invisible, so you may have to set your FTP client to show hidden files. If you are not using pretty permalinks, then you may not have a .htaccess file. If you are running WordPress on a Windows (IIS) server and are using pretty permalinks, you’ll have a web.config rather than a .htaccess file in your WordPress directory. For the index.php file the instructions remain the same, copy (don’t move) the index.php file to your root directory. The web.config file, must be treated differently than the .htaccess file so you must MOVE (DON’T COPY) the web.config file to your root directory.
  8. Open your root directory’s index.php file in a text editor
  9. Change the following and save the file. Change the line that says:require dirname( __FILE__ ) . '/wp-blog-header.php';to the following, using your directory name for the WordPress core files: require dirname( __FILE__ ) . '/wordpress/wp-blog-header.php';
  10. Login to the new location. It might now be
  11. If you have set up Permalinks, go to the Permalinks Screen and update your Permalink structure. WordPress will automatically update your .htaccess file if it has the appropriate file permissions. If WordPress can’t write to your .htaccess file, it will display the new rewrite rules to you, which you should manually copy into your .htaccess file (in the same directory as the main index.php file.)

.htaccess modification

In some cases, some people like to install separate versions in a subdirectory (such as /2010, /2011, /latest and etc..), and want that website (by default) used the latest version, then Install WordPress in a subdirectory, such as /my_subdir and in your root folder’s .htaccess file add the following (just change the words as you need):

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^(www.)?$
RewriteRule ^(/)?$ my_subdir\[L\]

Now when users to go your root domain (, it will automatically redirect to the subdirectory you specified.

Note: This code comes from Site 5’s post here: How to Redirect Your Domain to a Subfolder Using .htaccess.

Moving Specific WordPress Folders

The following links explains how to change specific directories within WordPress:

See also