WordPress 101

According to WikiPedia, WordPress is: “a free and open source blogging tool and a content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL which runs on a Web hosting service. Features include a plug-in architecture and a template system. WordPress is used by over 14.7% of Alexa Internet’s “top 1 million” websites,and as of August 2011 manages 22% of all new websites.WordPress is currently the most popular blogging system in use on the Web, powering over 60 million websites worldwide.

It was first released on May 27, 2003, by founders Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, as a fork of b2/cafelog. As of April 2013, version 3.5 had been downloaded over 18 million times.”

Beyond that, WordPress is a wonderful basis for building a website, no matter how simple or how complicated. Unlike traditional site design, WordPress is easy for anyone to use to add photos and text. It is even possible to edit your WordPress site via an app on your smartphone!”What does this information about WordPress mean for you?”

Free and open sourcemeans that the code for WordPress was developed to be freely used and developed by anyone, and that all additions to that code are available to all users. While the main software, many updates, themes, plugins and widgets remain free to all, other developers have taken the process much further and sell their WordPress themes and resources.

“Blogging tool” means that originally this software was built for creating personal blogs, but as people have developed the way they interact online, it has become a great tool for creating websites as well. If you aren’t convinced, companies like The New York Times, CNN, VW, eBay and UPS use WordPress as the basis of their websites.

“Content Management System” means that all your materials are kept within the site software, so you can use it in different places, or have several people working on the site simultaneously. For smaller sites, this is the benefit to you.

PHP” is a computer language used to create web pages and items that respond to mouse clicks. You don’t need to know more than that, except it is a good thing!

WikiPedia expands on this and says, “PHP is a server-side scripting language designed for web development but also used as a general-purpose programming language. PHP is now installed on more than 244 million websites and 2.1 million web servers.Originally created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1995, the reference implementation of PHP is now produced by The PHP Group. While PHP originally stood for Personal Home Page, it now stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, a recursive acronym.”

As I said before, it is a good thing!

“MySQL” is a data base system that is used to store then access all your site information. Again, you need to be aware your site is built on this database, so if you ever have to move or restore your site, it is important that you have backed it up and saved it regularly. (There is a plugin you can install to do this, so don’t panic!)

“Plug-in architecture” means that you can add functions to your site through installing a plug in, you don’t need to know how to code the site to make this happen. There is an enormous repository of plugins on the WordPress site, but wait to go and look – there are over 24,000 free plugins listed – and many more premium ones you can buy.

“Template system” means you use a ‘theme’ to make you site look the way you want it to. You can choose from an amazing array of layouts and color schemes, and having chosen a theme, can easily switch it out for another theme! (Once you have a great deal of material on your site, you might want to think carefully before changing the theme as some elements may not transfer over.)

So, if you want to build your own site on your own domain, you can do so with WordPress, and have a simple site up and running within just a few hours.