What Is WordPress?

WordPress^ is a widely used open-source content management system (CMS) and blogging platform licensed under the GPL. It allows users to create and manage websites and blogs with ease. Known for its flexibility, user-friendliness and vast ecosystem of plugins and themes, WordPress has become a dominant force on the internet, powering over 40% of all websites worldwide.

Key Features

WordPress offers several key features that make it a popular choice for website development:

  1. User-Friendly Interface: WordPress has an intuitive and easy-to-navigate dashboard, making it accessible to users with varying technical skills.
  2. Themes and Templates: Users can customise the appearance of their websites choosing from thousands of free and premium themes, ensuring a professional look.
  3. Plugin Ecosystem: The plugins allow users to add functions like SEO, eCommerce, forums etc. There are over 55,000 free plugins in the WordPress directory.
  4. Content Management: WordPress provides an excellent CMS to easily create, organise and update website content.
  5. SEO-Friendly: With inbuilt SEO and SEO plugins, WordPress helps websites rank higher and drive organic traffic.


WordPress was created in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. It evolved from an earlier blogging platform called b2/cafelog. Through the years, WordPress has been updated regularly, making it the world’s most popular CMS. The company Automattic provides support for WordPress development and the WordPress.com hosting platform.


WordPress can be used to create various website types:

  • Blogs
    Its blogging roots make WordPress ideal for personal and professional blogs.
  • Business Websites
    From small businesses to Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft, WordPress is a popular platform.
  • ECommerce
    With WooCommerce, WordPress can become a powerful online store.
  • News Websites
    Major outlets like BBC America, Forbes and TechCrunch use WordPress.
  • Non-profits
    Charities like Amnesty International use WordPress for their websites.

Key WordPress Terminology

Common WordPress terms:

  • WordPress.org 
    This is the self-hosted, open-source WordPress software that you can download and install on web hosting services. It offers the most flexibility and control.
  • WordPress.com
    A hosted service run by Automattic where you can easily create WordPress blogs and sites without needing web hosting. Less flexible but simpler to set up.
  • Themes
    These control the design and layout of your site. Free and paid theme options allow you to customise the visual styling.
  • Plugins
    Extend the functionality of WordPress by installing free and paid plugins, e.g. for eCommerce, forums, memberships, SEO and more.
  • Posts
    The main content items of a WordPress site, usually displayed chronologically in reverse order. Can be organised into categories.
  • Pages
    More static content that is not date-based, like an About page. Typically sits outside the main blog posts index.

Community & Support

The WordPress community has millions of users globally. It provides extensive support through forums, meetups, documentation and conferences like WordCamp.

The WordPress community is vast with millions of users globally. Support is provided through:

  • Official WordPress forums 
    The official forums have thousands of active members.
  • Reddit Groups 
    Popular WordPress subreddits like r/WordPress and r/webdev.
  • Facebook Groups 
    Large groups like Advanced WordPress and WordPress Professionals.
  • Forums
    Blogs and forums like WPBeginner provide support.
  • Community Blogs
    Established blogs like WPTavern↗︎ cover WordPress news.
  • Conferences
    WordCamps allows users to learn and connect in person.
  • Meetups
    Casual meetups happen in cities worldwide.
  • Documentation
    The codex covers everything about using and developing WordPress.
  • Premium Support
    Some hosts/agencies provide personalised support.

The WordPress community is welcoming and provides support through various online and offline channels.

Technologies Used

WordPress uses a number of key web technologies:

  • PHP
    The primary server-side programming language that WordPress is built on. PHP handles most of the main functionality.
  • MySQL
    The database management system that stores all WordPress site data from content to settings.
  • HTML5
    The markup language used to structure and present content on the front end.
  • CSS3
    Used to control styling and layout of web pages.
  • JavaScript
    Adds interactivity and dynamic functionality to pages.
  • jQuery
    A JavaScript library used in WordPress themes and plugins.
  • React
    A JavaScript library used in building interactive components in the Gutenberg editor.
  • Apache/Nginx
    Web server software that delivers WordPress sites to visitors.

Together these technologies power the core WordPress platform, themes, plugins and web publishing experience. PHP, MySQL and JavaScript play critical roles in WordPress functioning.

System Requirements

To run WordPress you need:

  • PHP: Version 7.4 or later (memory limit 512MB recommended).
  • MySQL: Version 5.6 or above.
  • Web Server: Typically Apache or Nginx.
  • OS: Works on Linux, Windows, macOS etc.
  • Database Storage: Requirements vary with site traffic.


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