What Is WordPress?
WordPress is a free, open-source website creation platform. On a more technical level, WordPress is a content management system (CMS) written in PHP that uses a MySQL database. In non-geek speak, WordPress is the easiest and most powerful blogging and website builder in existence today.
WordPress is an excellent website platform for a variety of websites. From blogging to e-commerce to business and portfolio websites, WordPress is a versatile CMS. Designed with usability and flexibility, WordPress is an excellent solution for large and small websites.
What is a WordPress Website?
A WordPress website is any website that uses WordPress as its content management system (CMS). WordPress powers the backend of the website (the interface where a user logs in to make changes or add new content) and the frontend (the visible part of the website that your visitors see on the web).
Here are just a few examples of the types of websites you can build with WordPress:
- Blog – A blog is a website that shares thoughts, photos, reviews, tutorials, recipes, and more. Blogs usually display the most recently-published content first.
- E-commerce website – An e-commerce website allows you to sell goods or services online and collect payment via an online payment system. You can download and install a WordPress e-commerce plugin to extend the default functionality of WordPress so you can have an online store on your website.
- Business website – Many businesses will benefit from having an online presence in the form of their website. WordPress is an excellent option if your business needs a website for customers to learn about your company and what you have to offer. Customers can contact you, ask for a quote, schedule an appointment, and more.
- Membership website – A membership website allows you to put content behind a paywall or an account login. Users must log in or pay for the content to access pages or posts. WordPress can also handle membership websites with additional plugins.
- Portfolio website – Show off your artwork, design skills, and more with a portfolio website built on WordPress.
- Forum website – A forum website can be a helpful place for users to ask questions or share advice. Believe it or not, many forum websites run on WordPress.
- Event website – Hosting an event? WordPress allows you to share your event details and sell tickets.
- E-learning website – Students can take online courses, track their progress, download resources, and much more from an e-learning website. You can offer online courses from a WordPress website with a special kind of plugin called a WordPress LMS plugin.
- Wedding website – Share the details of your big day with a wedding website built on WordPress. With an array of WordPress wedding themes, you can get a website up quickly and easily.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to customizing a WordPress website. WordPress themes and plugins can add new design options and added functionality. Check out WordPress.org for free themes and plugins.
Is WordPress right for me?
If you’re wondering why WordPress is such a widely used website content management system, here are some of the benefits of WordPress as a website platform:
- Simplicity: WordPress allows you to publish and build your website content quickly. Even as a beginner, you can easily use WordPress.
- The cost is free: The actual WordPress software available on WordPress.org is free to download and use. You will, however, need to pay for web hosting and a domain name.
- Flexibility: WordPress allows you to create many types of websites, from personal blogs and online stores to online magazines and newspapers.
- Easy to use: If you can use a word processing software like Microsoft Word, you can use WordPress to build and manage a website.
- Open-source software: WordPress is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), meaning it isn’t owned by a single company or entity. Hundreds of developers and users collaborate and contribute to improving the software—the spirit of open-source means constant improvements, accountability, and free usage for everyone.
- No need to know code: WordPress removes the requirement of learning how to code to build a website. While WordPress utilizes a variety of coding languages, there’s no need to know any of them to use WordPress.
- Extendable with WordPress plugins: The core WordPress software can be extended with WordPress plugins. WordPress plugins are bits of software that you can upload to your website to add more features (such as e-commerce, SEO, backups, contact forms, and more). There are thousands of free WordPress plugins on the WordPress.org directory and a thriving premium (paid) plugins industry.
- Highly customizable with WordPress themes: WordPress themes provide the design and layout of your website. With a click of a button, you can change the entire look of your website by applying a new WordPress theme. More advanced WordPress themes are like WordPress page builders, giving you even more control of your layouts.
- Website security: While no website platform is 100% secure, WordPress security continues to improve with a vigilant security team of core developers and users. Common WordPress security issues are usually due to user error rather than the software itself.
- A thriving community of users and developers: When you have a WordPress website, you can get involved in the greater WordPress community through your local WordPress Meetup, WordCamps, and more. The WordPress community has a reputation for being incredibly welcoming, helpful, and innovative.
- A premium plugin and theme industry: While there are many free plugins and themes, most serious WordPress website owners invest in premium (paid) plugins or themes. Why? Your purchase of a reputable premium plugin or theme helps pay for the ongoing development and support of the plugin or theme, including new features, security patches, and more.
WordPress boasts an impressive feature set as a website building platform and CMS. Here are just a few of the many features of WordPress.
- SEO: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) begins at a technical level, and WordPress delivers an exceptional code base for SEO. SEO allows your website’s content to be found via standard search engines such as Google or Bing. Check out these free WordPress SEO training videos to learn more.
- Speed: WordPress is a lean website framework constantly striving to remove code “bloat” that slows down the loading speed of a website.
- Mobile-friendly: Most WordPress themes are now mobile-friendly or responsive out-of-the-box.
- Media file library: WordPress includes a built-in media library where you can upload and embed media files such as images or videos into your pages or posts. You can even perform basic edits to your images within WordPress.
- Easy-to-use user interface: WordPress is easy to use with no complicated settings. If you can use a WordPress processor, you can use WordPress. WordPress also has a focus on accessibility.
- Custom menus: WordPress makes it easy to create navigation menus with links to your pages or custom links.
- Built-in blog: Adding a blog to your website is as simple as publishing a post.
All About WordPress
WordPress began in 2003 when Mike Little and Matt Mullenweg forked a little-known blogging tool called B2/cafelog. Minor and Mullenweg sought to create a better blogging platform, built on the original B2 code base but with more robust features and consistent development.
The result is WordPress. First a tool for blogging, WordPress quickly grew to be an extensive content management system (CMS) able to handle a variety of websites.
What Is WordPress Usage Statistics Across the Web
According to usage statistics of content management systems now report that WordPress powers over 60 million websites, or 36% of all websites on the internet, and over 60% of all websites whose content management systems are known.
Because WordPress is free and easy to use, it has been widely adopted as the gold standard for website builders.
Who uses WordPress?
Rest easy, knowing you’re in good company if you use WordPress to publish on the web. Many famous blogs, news outlets, music sites, Fortune 500 companies, and celebrities are using WordPress, including NBC, CBS, USA Today, Time, Disney, Airbnb, Spotify, TechCrunch, and even the Pioneer Woman.
If you’re ever curious about who uses WordPress, head over to the WordPress site showcase, and you’ll be impressed by the number of well-known sites and famous people using WordPress to power their websites.
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
If you’re just starting with WordPress, there are a few essential things to know. First, you’ll need to know the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
The difference between WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org can be a little confusing if you are new to using WordPress.
WordPress.com is the hosted version of WordPress, where you can create a WordPress.com account to make a blog or website.
Your website’s URL or domain will default include the word “WordPress,” like myblog.wordpress.com.
Paid upgrades include a custom domain, Google Analytics integration, more storage space, the ability to add your plugins and themes, and more.
WordPress.com is owned by Automattic, a company founded by one of the original WordPress creators, Matt Mullenweg.
WordPress.org is where you can download the WordPress software to install on your server or web hosting account.
The WordPress software is open-source and free to download and use.
To use the WordPress.org version of WordPress, you’ll need a domain name and web hosting purchased from another reputable company like Liquidweb.
Most web hosts offer a WordPress “quick install” or done-for-you installations to help you get started if you don’t want to install WordPress.
WordPress.org is the non-profit foundation of Automattic.