If you are still asking the question, “What is WordPress?” then you may be missing out on something that could simplify your work online.
WordPress is certainly the most popular and the best content management system for websites that exists today. With WordPress, you can get a professional-looking website for absolutely nothing or for a very small cost.
In this article, I will explain exactly what WordPress is and also give a brief explanation of how it works.
A Little History
WordPress is the successor of B2/Cafelog which was a blogging platform created in early 2001 using PHP and MySQL. Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little adopted the project and continued the development, creating a distinct and separate piece of software. On May 27th, 2003 WordPress was released, creating probably the best blogging platform that has been developed.
WordPress is a free open source software, originally a blogging tool that has now evolved into a complete content management system (CMS)
As of August 2013, WordPress was used by more than 2.2 million of the top 10 million websites. On the web today WordPress is the most popular blogging platform with more than 60 million websites using the free software.
WordPress is released under a license from the Free Software Foundation a non-profit organization that was formed to support the free software movement.
What is WordPress?
As we have already seen WordPress is open source software, an online, website creation, and blogging tool written in PHP. WordPress is fully customizable by its users depending on their technical prowess. It is also a system that is being updated and improved constantly by developers all over the world.
The essential idea behind WordPress is a template-based content management system that can be easily built upon. The software script is obtained from the WordPress.org website. The way to build on the initial WordPress coding is through themes and plug-ins.
Although WordPress began as a blogging platform, it has evolved today into a fully functional content management system with large numbers of themes, plugins, and widgets that users can choose from.
With different themes, users may easily change the functionality and the look of a WordPress website without having to alter the core structure through coding. On the WordPress.org website, there are currently more than 2700 free themes.
It is also possible to increase the number of functions on a website by adding plugins, Currently, there are more than 33,000 plug-ins that are available for use with WordPress. The majority of these are free for you to use.
Widgets are also something that can be added to your site, but they concern the sidebar only.
The content management system is based on MySQL and PHP, both of which are highly adaptable and extensively used programming tools. WordPress is compatible with the current mobile operating systems such as iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
One of the important things about WordPress is the WordPress community. It’s the community that continues to improve WordPress.
There are two different WordPress sites WordPress.org and Wordpress.com here we’ll see what are the differences between the two.
You may also like: How to Start a WordPress Blog
On this site, you can download and install WordPress. You will have to find and pay for your own hosting and buy a domain name to run WordPress.
Web hosting with the popular hosting providers like Go Daddy and Bluehost is quite cheap. A domain will cost about $10+ a year.
At WordPress.org you can download the WordPress installation files and also search for and download themes and plugins.
On the site, there are also many other resources: documentation, support forum, blog, and many other features. If you’re into programming or just want to help out it’s also the place to go as they are always looking for people that can help make WordPress even better.
At WordPress.com you can actually host a free site, but there are some limitations. It is possible to pay a fee to get rid of these restrictions with the result that this can become quite expensive. The site uses the same software as offered at WordPress.org.
Matt Mullenweg, one of the creators of WordPress, also founded Automattic, the company that operates WordPress.com.
WordPress.com is a service that includes hosting, also you will not have to download and set up the WordPress software. This is all done for you.
The downside with WordPress.com is that you have to pay to upgrade. You can see what you have in the different plans below.
So if you are looking for a site with your own domain name, no advertising and adequate storage space for photos and videos you will probably find WordPress.com too expensive.
For me, the best plan is to use WordPress from WordPress.org. Then, find and pay for your own hosting and domain name.
Why Use WordPress?
Many of the most popular and well-known websites on the internet are now built with WordPress. This is because it is easy to provide a professional-looking website with many features. A WordPress website can be customized very easily and rapidly and all this without needing to know any HTML or other coding.
Built for both beginners and experienced web designers, WordPress is an excellent publishing platform that can produce a great looking website with relative ease.
WordPress theme templates are already pre-programmed, but it is very easy to add different functions with plugins after the chosen theme has been installed. So, the great advantage with WordPress is that it is very easy to change things on a website with just a few clicks of your mouse.
What Can You Use WordPress For?
The quick answer would be for any website. Although WordPress started as a blogging platform, over the years it has evolved into a very complete content management system. WordPress is still suitable for a simple blog, but also for websites with many functions that can be added or changed with plugins, widgets, and different themes.
WordPress is so flexible that you can use it for almost anything being limited only by your imagination and perhaps your technical know-how.
Is WordPress Completely Free?
Although it is one of the most widely used systems on the internet today, the basic installation of WordPress is absolutely 100% free. It is possible to get started with free themes, free plugins, and widgets.
If you want your own domain name (which I recommend if you are starting a business) and hosting, then you will have to pay for that. If not you can set up your website with a Wordpress.com domain (for example mysite.wordpress.com) for absolutely nothing.
Starting With WordPress
If you’re thinking of using WordPress you are probably wondering how you go about getting it. Once you have picked your web host that meets the WordPress minimum requirements you can install WordPress. Consult the tutorials provided by your web host or at WordPress.org. Here is a video from www.bluehost.com explaining the simple process of installing WordPress.
Please note: I will earn a small commission if you purchase a hosting package from my link at no extra cost to you. Please make sure Blue Host meets your requirements before purchasing. Thanks!
When the WordPress software is installed you will need to log in (with the username and password that you have already created) to access the dashboard of your site.
When you see the dashboard you may find it a little intimidating. If this is the case it would probably be a good idea to head over to the WordPress.org site where they have some good documentation on starting with WordPress. There is a short period where you will be getting used to everything but really it is not too complicated.
Another alternative would be to get some online training. That’s how I started. I joined Wealthy Affiliate where they have an excellent training program and a very helpful community should you ever need some support. In fact, you can sign up for free and you even get 2 free websites. You are even shown how to create a website in just 30 seconds
From the dashboard, you can install themes, plugins, widgets, and also start writing your posts and pages.
So now you know what WordPress is all about it’s time to start building out your site. If you need any help or have any comments I would love to hear from you.
To your success,
I’m a big fan of Wordpress myself and use it for all my websites. It’s a really great and user friendly tool that automatically takes all the advanced coding and “fancy” stuff away from running a website, leaving you free to spend your time on the more “important” stuff, like producing content, SEO, optimizing landing pages and managing your marketing strategies. Thank you for some great information on this topic! Keep up the good work!
Yes, it’s just so easy to create a new post and loads of different functionalities are right there at your fingertips. Also, the system is evolving and being improved all the time. It is a really great platform! Thanks for your comment, Peter.
This is a very thorough post on WordPress, indeed! As a WordPress blogger myself, I highly recommend it as the ultimate blogging platform for anybody to start up an online business from.
The reason I love WordPress so much is because it’s very easy to use and there is so much functionality too. It’s awesome!
You are right Neil, WordPress is just so easy to use. Anyone who is starting online should really try it, I am sure they will be amazed by how quickly they can get a site up and running. It’s free too, you just need a domain name and hosting. Thanks again, Peter
Wordpress is awesome! I am using it for my business and I can say that it is one of the best content management system you can find. I would recommend anyone to use wordpress because it is free to use and it has many cool plugins that could make your life very much easier as a blogger or website owner.
You are right Jack, Wordpress is really great. When comparing to html, it’s just so easy to update a site and you can add functionalities with plugins in a couple of clicks. I would recommend it to anyone who is building a site, it will save them hours of time. Thanks for your comment.
All the best, Peter