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What Is WordPress?

Read Time: 8 mins

I'll begin by assuming that you have no prior experience of WordPress whatsoever; I shall start with the basics. In this tutorial, I'll answer the question: "What is WordPress?" 

This video is taken from my course A Beginner's Guide to WordPress. You can watch the entire course for free here on Envato Tuts+.

In this post, I'll explain where you can get WordPress and what you can do with it. I'll also let you know the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org

WordPress Defined

Anyone new to this software will want to know just what WordPress is. Well, there are two definitions for it:

  1. The first, and simplest, definition is that WordPress is a piece of software that you may install and use to create a blog, an app, a website, and so forth. 
  2. The second, and more complex, definition is that WordPress is a CMS—or Content Management System. Now, from that description I think you can deduce that it's for managing content.

Essentially, WordPress gives you a platform to share content with the world. And it gives you the tools that you need to do that efficiently and effortlessly. 

What Is a Content Management System?

A website is made up of interlinked web pages that display content such as text, images, and videos to visitors' web browsers. This is the front-end, the part that visitors see. A website also usually has a back-end, which stores all that information and data behind the scenes and makes it possible for the website creator to edit the content.

A content management system (CMS) is software with built-in tools and infrastructure that helps anyone to build a website without needing programming knowledge. 

In short, a content management system is a platform that provides you with the skeleton of a website. All the coding and common technical work has been done, you just have to supply the content and layout. A good CMS will make it easy for you to add text and media to your website, and will allow you to create a good-looking branded design.

This is good news because even if you are an experienced programmer, you don't always have time to build a website from scratch. And if you have no coding knowledge whatsoever, your lack of programming skills will not hinder you from creating and launching a website.

That in a nutshell is WordPress: the internet's leading CMS.

Benefits of Using WordPress

Let's look at the benefits that make WordPress the most popular website building platform. 

Open source: WordPress is open source, which means the code is available for everyone to see, and anyone can contribute to improving its code

Free: WordPress is free to download and install. You can choose to self-host your WordPress on your personal server, or you can choose managed WordPress. Either way, you will need hosting for your website to be available online. Hosting fees are super affordable. 

Check out the posts below if you need to learn more about how you can find a host for your WordPress website.

Flexibility: You can do anything with WordPress because it offers a lot of functionality. This means that, unlike platforms that focus only on one purpose like eCommerce, it can be easily adapted to build any project. You can use it to build simple blogs and complex websites. 

Easy to use: Someone with absolutely no programming skills can launch their own website using WordPress. Because the programming and design part has already been done, you just need to select a free or premium theme and customize the look of your website. Also, through the WordPress admin, you can easily add your own content. 

Easy to learn: You can tap into the fountain of widely and freely available WordPress knowledge from whatever device you use. Unlimited learning resources, both paid and free, make it easy for anyone to learn how to use WordPress. You can read step-by-step tutorials and watch how-to videos. You can ask questions in forums and find answers. 

Scalable: There is an ecosystem of free and premium themes and plugins to make your WordPress website do way more than you can imagine. You can integrate it with a whole lot of systems. In short, WordPress can grow with your business. 

Updates: And most importantly, WordPress is always up-to-date with all the evolving technology. Improvements are made to its core software, and it is constantly updated to patch bugs and improve its speed and performance.  

It is simple to update your WordPress. You just need to hit the update button in your admin, and WordPress will update by itself.  

Limitations of WordPress

The out-of-the-box functionalities that WordPress comes with will help you get your website up and running quickly. These features may be sufficient for you, and you may not need to make any additions. The reality is, though, that many of them are basic, and sooner or later you will run into some limitations, prompting you to search for more specialized functionality. 

The good news is that WordPress is a versatile content management system. And you want to get the most out of WordPress by exploiting its full potential. You can do this by adding new functionalities to it, or you can vastly extend the existing functionalities it comes with. This is where plugins come in.

Whatever website you want to build, whether it's a simple blog or complex business website, there is a whole ecosystem of free and premium WordPress plugins to help you do it. 

 

How to Get WordPress

You may work with WordPress in one of two different ways: from WordPress.org or from WordPress.com. Depending on how you wish to work with WordPress, one or the other will suit you best. 

1. WordPress.org

WordPressorg websiteWordPressorg websiteWordPressorg website
WordPress.org website

WordPress.org is where to download the standalone version of WordPress in order to install it on your own server. 

Working with WordPress in this way is the most flexible. As a result, it is also the slightly more complex option as you need more knowledge to get things up and running. 

But it's not difficult at all, as you can see in our many courses and tutorials about using WordPress. 

2. WordPress.com

WordPresscom websiteWordPresscom websiteWordPresscom website
WordPress.com website

WordPress.com lets you build a website with a WordPress instance hosted on their servers. What this means is that you don't have to have your own server to install the software. You'll be using their platform. 

It's a Software-as-a-Service model.

This option is the easiest of the two as it removes the more technical aspects of working with WordPress—installing the software and maintaining a server.

Which WordPress Is Best?

WordPress comparison tableWordPress comparison tableWordPress comparison table
WordPress comparison table

It really depends on what you want to create. 

WordPress.com is a paid platform, but it has a good free plan. You can start with the free plan and upgrade to the other pricing tiers later. 

Each pricing tier has a different set of features that are better suited for certain types of users or a certain type of website or a blog. 

To give an example, if you want to upload custom themes, you'll need a business plan or the eCommerce plan. If you just want the basic stuff, however, you may start with the free plan.

For the purposes of using WordPress in Envato Tuts+ tutorials, we tend to need the flexibility of a standalone version from WordPress.org. We'll show you how to download the standalone version of WordPress and install it on a server on a computer to work with it directly there. 

What Is WordPress Used For? 

As I mentioned in the introduction, it is possible to use WordPress to create simple blogs, large, complex websites, and anything in between. Essentially, anything that can be created by using a content management system can be created with WordPress. 

If you need to create a website for, say, a car dealership, you can do that with WordPress. Perhaps you need to create a website for a real estate agency? You can do that with WordPress. Or you're building a portfolio for a photographer, maybe? You can do that too. 

WordPress is very versatile, so you can create virtually anything with it; that's what makes it so popular and so powerful. 

The Best WordPress Themes and Plugins on Envato Market

Explore thousands of the best WordPress themes ever created on ThemeForest and leading WordPress plugins on CodeCanyon. Purchase these high-quality WordPress themes and plugins, and improve your website experience for you and your visitors. 

Here are a few of the best-selling and up-and-coming WordPress themes and plugins available for 2021.

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