What is WordPress?

what is wordpress

Are you looking to learn more about WordPress? If that’s a resounding yes, you came to the right place. As a beginner, you want to school yourself up on everything WordPress – everything from the core, themes, hosting, plugins and so on. This way, you will stay ahead of the curve at all times.

When the internet became a thing, a career in web design and development followed soon after. Back in the day, everybody used web technologies such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP to code websites from scratch.

But nowadays, you needn’t know a thing about coding to build websites completely out of this world. The internet is full of content management systems that make building websites a lot cheaper and easier than in the recent past. And between you and me, I am yet to find a content management system (CMS) that beats WordPress.

What is WordPress?

what is wordpress

Commonly abbreviated as WP, the hell is WordPress? WordPress is simply a software script that enables you to create and run any website imaginable. It’s one powerful personal publishing script I tell you, and it’s built using PHP and MySQL. MySQL stores your posts, pages, options etc and PHP brings everything together to build a website.

Going straight to the point, WordPress is simply a content management system (CMS). This wasn’t the case though some ten (10) years ago when WordPress was just a blogging platform. Today, besides blogging, you can use WordPress to build and run powerful websites of all demeanor. – As seen on WPKube

Big brands such as CNN, Times, Microsoft and Harvard among others all have a thing for the script. You ought to love WordPress too because, after all, what is there not love? This platform grows each dawn, and with an outstanding community to boot, you couldn’t ask for a better CMS.

In a nutshell, this script offers you all the tools you need to create professional websites without having to write a piece of code.

Really, all you have to do is pick the right hosting, a theme and a couple of plugins and you’re ready to rumble. Best part is there’s a huge collection of free and amazing themes and plugins at WordPress.org. For deeper insight, here are my unbiased reviews of free WordPress themes.

To the uninitiated who believe WordPress is simply a blogging platform, you should check out the posts below:

Keep scrolling to learn why WordPress is the platform of choice for millions out there.

WordPress Founders

It didn’t feel right leaving this part out. It’s only right to begin where it all started, right? Sad if we were to run about wondering where the hell WordPress came from. Our favorite CMS dates back to 2001, when you were probably still in school.

It is the stuff of internet folklore. One day, it was merely a fork, and the next it was WordPress – the monster platform that carries a lot of clout. A project that began with fewer people than the fingers on your hand now powers over 70,000,000 websites!

what is wordpress matt mullenweg


But how did it all come to be? Who founded our favorite content management system? Let’s take a quick dip into the waters past. WordPress was a fork, which simply means it’s work derived from somebody’s else work (Quora).

In January 2003, Matt Mullenweg (now, the boss at Automattic) was a distressed man. An avid blogger then (and even now), Matt was in despair because he needed more functionality from his (b)logging software. If only he could find Michel Valdrighi, the guy behind b2/cafelog.

The Blogging Software Dilemma

However, Michel was nowhere to be seen, so Matt decided to fork b2/cafelog to create his own custom blogging platform. He made some noise about this development in a post titled The Blogging Software Dilemma.

what is wordpress mike little


The following day, Mike Little joined hands with Matt and the rest is – as they say – history. Without a doubt, we cannot discount the value of the hundreds of contributors from all over the world, who make WordPress the beautiful and functional CMS it is today.

Special shout out to Christine Tremoulet, who coined the term “WordPress”, for without you your highness, we would probably put up with a less gratifying name for a platform we love so much. Thank you, and God bless.

So much has happened since WordPress was born, and you can get a bigger picture of it here:

That out of the way, how about we take a look at why this CMS drives business people, bloggers, designers and developers insane all over the place? Sounds like a good deal, right?

Why Choose WordPress?

As you build a website, you want only the tools that streamline your workflow, so you can spend as little time as possible setting up everything and more time running your business. Why choose WordPress?

Ease of Use

Right from installation to creating your first post, WordPress embodies ease and elegance. Whipping up sites is as easy as pie, because any functionality you’d need – everything from SEO, social sharing and security among other things – is found within a plugin.

Are you looking for some design inspiration? The theme marketplace is bursting at the seams with the best themes in every category. Truly, just look for a while and you’ll have more themes than you can use. The admin dashboard is a joy to work with:

wordpress admin dashboard

Installing the script on a web server is as easy as A, B, C. Most web hosting companies offer you one-click WordPress installation meaning you can be up in the next 5 minutes.

Recommended: Get started now for as low as $9/year at Namecheap Hosting. Why Namecheap? You’ll discover in a minute, keep reading 🙂

In the off-chance your host doesn’t offer one-click installation, you can install it manually in a few steps provided your server meets the minimum system requirements. Here, a couple of posts for your pleasure:

WordPress is Secure

From the word go, WordPress was built with security in mind using the best web standards and semantic XHTML. Developers adhere to strict standards, offering you a secure platform you can depend on today and in the future. But first…

Get a Great Host

what is wordpress

Personally, I started off at Fatcow, who were amazing. However, they had no support for the Oxwall script I was using back then, so I moved to Bluehost. Fatcow has since improved their script offering, which is great news since they offer an incredible hosting experience.

At Bluehost, everything started off well with a guided site migration, but later I was hacked a couple of times before eventually losing 5 years worth of work. The support rep said, “Yep, you cannot recover your sites because we deleted the backups too,” which wasn’t the first time they said something like that.


Moral of the story? I should have kept my sites updated at all times, but still – no backups? How about the snub-nosed rep who “kindly” suggested I could at any time take my business elsewhere.

They locked up my affiliate earnings too, since I refused to renew hosting with the company. Hey you Bluehost, you owe me about, let me check, yes – you owe me about $60 bucks in affiliate earnings. And there’s that time you guys said you’d buy me cake to make up for the hacks. Were you kidding? Hey your royal pettiness, I will roast thee. Haha.

What? It’s not about the $60 bucks, it’s the horridly cold treatment that drove me nuts and costed me a lot of time.

Keep Backups

On a more serious note though, I had my backups, so I rebuild my websites, which was unnecessary but easy because – WordPress. Note that this is my isolated experience with Bluehost, you might have plenty of fun there. If you’re starting out, I’d recommend Namecheap or Fatcow.

I say this because I host at Namecheap too 🙂 who offer secure hosting at exceptionally low prices. For instance, they have a shared hosting plan that starts at $9 bucks a year. That’s less than the cost of a domain name! The plan is great for beginners with low volumes of traffic, and allows you to host up to three domains. You get a free domain, automated regular backups and much more.

If you would like to leave security and maintenance to the experts, I recommend a managed WordPress host, who specialize in WordPress. Here are a couple of links to point you in the right direction:

With great hosting, regular updates, backups and 3rd party security solutions such as Sucuri, you will never worry about losing your site.

WordPress is Free

wordpress is free

Yes it is a free script. It’s an open source project, a software program created by the community for the community. That means you don’t pay anyone to download, install and use WordPress. You’re also free to modify the WordPress core script to your desire.

There’s one thing though to iron out; you pay for web hosting and domain name when you self-host a WordPress-based website. Depending on your needs (and budget), hosting costs anywhere between $0.75 and $200+ per month.

WordPress.com offers free WordPress blogs on their subdomains e.g. yoursite.wordpress.com. You get free hosting and the subdomain means you can be online in the next five minutes, sharing your ideas and doing your thing.

The only problem? This flavor of WordPress is limited in design and functionality. It’s expensive too to unleash the full potential of a website at WordPress.com. You’d need about $5,000 per month. Enters the flavor of WordPress at WordPress.org and the day is saved.

WordPress is Extensible

Any WordPress website is easy to extend and translate, meaning the world is at your disposal. You can turn a WordPress blog into an ecommerce site in a matter of clicks, or create an online course with any of the education themes in a matter of minutes.

You can scale up whenever without breaking your site, provided you have enough computing power. Your site will probably break if you have lots of traffic and lower power hosting.

Extend, Extend, Extend…

wordpress is scalable

Scale up & up baby

Really, if only one thing were to impress you, it’s the huge collection of WordPress themes and plugins. Any functionality you can imagine is tucked away in some plugin a click away. This easy-to-extend nature is what keeps the WordPress engine running. And the damn plugins have extensions too!

You can build anything on WordPress using any number of themes and plugins. Which explains why brands – huge and small alike – love WordPress. That’s not all. You can create a network of WordPress sites in a jiffy, and have central command.

Bottom line is you can run whichever site you desire on WordPress.

WordPress has Awesome Support

Whenever you’re stuck, getting help is as easy as searching in the forums. The forums are frequented by millions of volunteer contributors who are always eager to help you out.

There are countless blogs on the internet covering all things WordPress, meaning you can easily and quickly find reviews, tips, tricks and tutorials. No matter what happens, it’s relatively easy to find help on WordPress-related issues.

WordPress is great for SEO

Out of the box, WordPress is geared towards excellent performance on search engines. It is built on semantic XHTML that earns WordPress sites better search engine ranking. And with the help of a SEO plugin such as Yoast SEO, you can take care 95% of SEO-related tasks on your site.

A post on about SEO should pop up around here soon 🙂 In the meantime, here are couple of SEO-related posts I wrote a while ago at WPExplorer among other places:

Final Words

Are you ready to give WordPress a run? Have a question? If you already use WordPress, what do you love the most about the platform? Please don’t hold back, I always look forward to your comments 🙂

In our next post, we shall discover the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. After that, you learn how to start a WordPress blog from scratch even if you’re the laziest person you know 🙂

Until then, keep the conversation going in the comments. Cheers!

Freddy Muriuki

Freddy is the lead WordPress theme reviewer and editor at WP Theme Raves, WordPress blogger extraordinaire and founder of Vista Media Enterprises, a content marketing outfit for WordPress business owners looking to boost engagement with smarter content.

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