Introduction to WordPress

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It was released in its first version in 2003, when Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little built it based on the existing blogging software b2/cafelog. Since then, it has grown to be used on more than 75 million websites. WordPress is primarily written in the programming language PHP.

WordPress exists in two flavors:, which is a commercial website network run by the company Automattic, and, from where you can download the source code for the WordPress content management system and install it on your own server. Most web hotels also offer tools that allow you to install WordPress with a couple of clicks in the web hotel administration interface. The definitions on WP Glossary are written with the self-hosted version of WordPress in mind, but most definitions apply to both versions.

There are two sides to WordPress: The front-end, which is what visitors see when they go to your website, and the back-end, where you – the website owner – manage its content and settings. In WordPress parlance, the back-end of the site is called the administration panel. All of the functionality you need to create a basic website is included in WordPress itself. You can create posts and pages, manage comments, adjust settings, and so on. If you find yourself needing features that are not included out of the box in WordPress, like e-commerce, you can use plugins to extend WordPress with more functionality.

The administration panel in a fresh installation of WordPress.

The look of the front-end of your website is determined by your active theme. WordPress comes with a couple of default themes pre-installed, and you can install more themes by going to Appearance → Themes in your administration panel and clicking the “Add New” button. This will show you all of the free themes available in the WordPress theme directory. In addition to the themes on the theme directory, there are tens of thousands of premium themes that can be purchased from various theme resellers.

If you find yourself struggling to understand some part of the WordPress system, you can ask other users for help in the official WordPress forums. The WordPress community is very friendly, and if you ask for help, someone will usually point you in the right direction.