What is WordPress? Contrary to popular perception, it isn’t something that people use to create boring blogs that document miniscule details about their dull lives. Created in 2003 with minimal amount of coding, today it is the biggest self-hosted blogging tool in the world. It is utilized by millions of sites and is seen by millions of people every day. As an open source project, it was not created by a single person, but rather, by hundreds of people all over the world working on it to make it the very best. Now, it is not only a blogging system, but also a full content management system thanks to the thousands of plugins, widgets and themes that are available for use.
Though it may not seem that way, one out of every six websites are powered by WordPress, which amounts to almost 60 million, with 100,000 more sites being created daily. As a non-commercial, non-profit foundation, now a decade after its launch, it continues to stay free. After its creation in 2003, WordPress themes were first introduced in 2005, which allowed users to design their own site without having to change its core program. Throughout the years, many different options were added such as the ability to customize sidebars, various plugins, the Admin Bar and Post Formats.
Now that you have a general knowledge of how WordPress came to be, it is now time to find out what the purpose of the whole thing is. Sure, bloggers use it to pour their hearts out on a monologue they hope someone will eventually read. But it much more than just blogs. It is an open source content management system with many capabilities. So what on earth is a content management system? It is a platform that enables you to manage all the content you want on your website, whether it be images, texts, videos, links, or social media, and store it in a remote database. Although there are many of these CMS’s, WordPress is by far the most user-intuitive, not to mention that it is free.
Now back to the topic of what WordPress was originally created for- blogging. Blog, blog, blog. A word very commonly used, yet a surprising number of people are not aware of exactly what it means. The term “blog” is an abbreviation of “weblog”, a word used to describe websites that maintain an ongoing chronicle of information. Blogs have diary-type commentary and links to other websites, most of which are commonly presented as a list of entries in reverse chronological order, with the most recent posts at the top. Blogs can be personal to political, and can be focused on one particular subject or a large range of subjects. Most people have the conception that all blogs have to be on sites with the term in its name, such as Blogger. This, however, is not true, for WordPress is the platform that the majority of blogs are hosted on.
If WordPress is so great, how is it possible that all this is free? What’s the catch? If a company or an individual owned it, it probably wouldn’t be free. However, because it is an open source community project where thousands of people make contributions to make it a better software, it really is free. Some people get confused between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. WordPress.com, unlike WordPress, is a “restricted” free blog hosting service site, where you can pay or upgrade to unlock features such as appearance modification. (CSS)
The users of WordPress aren’t all bloggers who sit on their computers all day. NASA, the National Aeronautic and Space Administration, is an active participant in the open source community, or WordPress, to be more specific. The agency has been using WordPres extensively on many of their sites, such as data.nasa.gov or code.nasa.gove. NASA isn’t the only well-known user of WordPress. Other notable users include eBay, CNN, Forbes, The New York Times, UPS, and Sony. Katy Perry, Jay-Z, and the Rolling Stones’ websites all run on WordPress as well. All of the above don’t use it merely for blogging, but more for building their online websites.
One of the most commonly asked questions is, “What’s the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?” In order to differentiate them, you need to compare the differences in cost, freedoms/limitations, and maintenance/development. WordPress.org is the center of the WordPress open source community, where thousands of free themes and plugins can be found. On the other hand, WordPress.com is a commercial website where you can host a free site yourself with some limitations or pay for upgrades similar to freemium games. Although it runs on the same software that WordPress.org offers, WordPress.com relieves you of having to set up and maintain WordPress on your own server and managing those servers. Though hosting and maintenance will be free on WordPress.com, your site will have numerous restrictions and advertising, and you will have to pay a fee yearly to get rid of these.
WordPress.org is known well for the numerous themes that the individual user could choose to use. Themes on WordPress are files that work together to create the design and functionality of a WordPress site. Each theme is different, and offers many choices for the owner of the site to instantly change the way their website looks. You might want a theme to create a unique look for your site, to to switch between two site layouts, or to provide different templates for specific site features, for example, category pages or search result pages. Themes have many benefits, such as separating the presentation styles and template files from the system files, allowing for customization of the site functionality, and allowing for quick changes of the visual design and layout of a site.
So, say you’re won over by how attractive making your own WordPress site sounds. How do you make one? It’s simple, and can be done in 20 minutes or even less. First of all, you need to gather the materials necessary to set up a WordPress blog. You need: a domain name, a credit card, and around 20 minutes or so of your time. Specific instructions on how to create your own site can be found on michaelhyatt.com/ez-wordpress-setup.html.
With 66,130,651 installations worldwide, 25,045 plugins, 1,780 free themes, 72.4 million WordPress blogs, and 500,000 new posts being published every day and counting, WordPress truly is something huge. And it’s happening at Seoul Foreign School.