What is WordPress? Guide for beginners

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This page explains what WordPress is for beginners. It explains how WordPress works, functions, merits and demerits in a wide range of ways.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is one of the CMS (Content Management System). CMS is a system to manage and update contents such as text and images from the management screen.

WordPress uses it to build blogs and websites.

It provides as open-source (OSS) by the non-profit organization “WordPress Foundation”.

Development continues since the first version released on May 27, 2003.

How WordPress works

WordPress consists of a programming language called PHP and a database called MySQL.

WordPress blogs and websites will display in your browser in the following way.

How WordPress works
Figure 1.How WordPress works
  1. Request the required file from your browser
  2. WordPress gets the layout from the theme
  3. At the same time as 2, it retrieves the article data from the database
  4. The browser will render and display the file generated by WordPress

Functions of WordPress (what you can do)

Change the design with a theme

WordPress provides a theme, which is a template for your design.

You can change the look of your blog or website without any knowledge of HTML or CSS.

All you have to do is find a theme of your choice, install it and enable it.

The following article describes the theme in more detail.

Add features with plugins

Plugins make it easy to add features such as contact forms to your site.

Once you find the plugin you want to use, install and activate it, you can add the following features.

  1. Contact Us Form
  2. Automatic display of the table of contents
  3. Image Compression
  4. View Popular Articles
  5. Automatic backup

Create a site for your company or school

WordPress allows you to create a company and school sites as well as blogs. You don’t need to upload HTML via FTP to update the page.

Update the text and images on the admin screen to reflect the changes on the website. You can also use the plugin to create a membership site.

Manage user rights

Add users also to administrators on the WordPress admin screen.

The following permissions allow you to grant users.

  1. Administrator
  2. Editor
  3. Author
  4. Contributor
  5. Subscribers

WordPress has a lot of features, even as a standard. Here is a list of what features are available.

Features of WordPress

Let’s take a look at the features of WordPress, divided into advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of WordPress

Open source and free of charge (commercial use OK)

WordPress provided by OSS. OSS is an acronym for Open Source Software.

The software allows the modification and redistribution of the source code.

You can use and customize WordPress for free.

A wide variety of themes and plugins are available.

WordPress has over 7,000 themes and over 50,000 plugins.

Find your favorite themes and plugins to change or add design and features.

Create a site without expertise

You don’t need to have any expertise in HTML or CSS to create and update pages.

As long as you connect to the Internet, you can update it from your computer or smartphone.

The most used CMS in the world

WordPress uses on 36.2% of all websites and has a 63.0% share among CMS (as of March 20, 2020).

CMSのシェア
Figure 2.Share of CMS

Can use your own domain

WordPress allows you to use your own domain, such as “.com” or “.net”. You cannot use an existing proprietary domain.

Disadvantages of WordPress

Installation on the server required

To use WordPress, you need to install it on the basic server. If you’re not familiar with the procedure, you may confuse by it.

Some rental servers have features that can install at the touch of a button.

It costs a lot of money for servers and domains

WordPress itself is free to use, but there is a server to set it up and the cost of running your own domain.

You can sign up for a server on a monthly basis or pay to get a better deal.

Also to get a domain, it’s expensive to renew it, and you can set up renewals for one or three years at a time.

Customization requires expertise

You can create an original blog or website by using WordPress themes and plugins.

But, to add features and tweak the design, you need to know HTML, CSS and PHP.

Security measures required

WordPress is the most used CMS in the world, but it can be vulnerable.

You need to take security measures such as updating WordPress itself and plugins.

Is WordPress strong in SEO?

WordPress isn’t strong in SEO per se, it’s a CMS that’s easy to use for SEO.

In particular, there are many plugins that can use for SEO. For example, there are plugins that can output a sitemap.

Examples of WordPress usage

The following is an example of a site that uses WordPress.

WordPress users range from corporate websites for companies to university websites.

Walt Disney
Figure 3.Example of a site made with WordPress (Walt Disney)
microsoft blog
Figure 4.Example of a site made with WordPress (Microsoft Blog)

The difference between WordPress and blog services

Besides WordPress, there are other blog services as well.

WordPress Blog services
CostDomain and server feesIt’s free to use
Your Own domainPossible useUnavailable at times
ServerNecessaryUnnecessary
DesignChange the themeChoose from a template
AdvertisementCan be arranged freelyRestricted
CustomizeHighly flexibleLow freedom
Risk of service terminationNoneProbable
Security measuresNeed to update it yourselfThe operation handles it

The difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com

There are two types of WordPress, “WordPress.org” and “WordPress.com”.

WordPress.org is an installation type. By contrast, WordPress.com is a rental blog-type service. The WordPress that is often referred to is the WordPress.org one.

The differences between the two, and case specific recommendations, are presented in the following article.

History of WordPress

WordPress has been in development since the first version released on May 27, 2003.

VersionRelease Date
5.5August 11, 2020
5.0December 6, 2018
4.0September 4, 2014
3.0June 17, 2010
2.0December 31, 2005
1.0January 3, 2004
0.70May 27, 2003

A list of more detailed versions follows.

WordPress License

WordPress publishes under an open source license called the GPL. The following article explains the basic knowledge of the GPL.

What you need to run WordPress

The following are some of the things you need to run a WordPress website or blog.

Server Requirements

It is necessary to have a server with PHP and MySQL installed to run WordPress.

The following article summarizes the recommended PHP and MySQL versions for each version of WordPress.

Languages to use when customizing

Here are the markup languages and programming languages you need when customizing WordPress.

Languageusage
HTMLSpecify links, tables, etc
CSSChange the layout or design
JavaScriptAdded behaviors such as “Return to the top of the page”
PHPEditing Themes and Plugins

Official Characters

WordPress.org in Japan has an official character, “Wapuu“.

わぷー
Figure 5.The official WordPress character “Wapuu”

I introduce other sites where you can see other Wapuu designs from where to get illustration materials.

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