What is WordPress? By now you would assume everyone on the planet knows WordPress, but you would be surprised how many people I’ve built websites for didn’t really understand what WordPress is and the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Hopefully this article will clarify things a bit.

Now I assume if you’re interest in WordPress, there is a good chance you’re also interested in a website. So lets begin with the parts needed to get a website live on the internet.

1. Main components needed

  • Website Files
  • Website Hosting Service
  • Domain Name

The first component we are going to focus on is website files. Without getting too complicated, these files are written in code, which a browser then interprets and displays on your computer screen. These files can be created in many different ways, one such way is with a “Content Management System” (CMS for short). This CMS takes the hard work out of creating web files and makes it easy for those without a web development background to build websites. WordPress is one of the most popular Content Management Systems out there. It’s so popular, 22% of the world’s websites are powered by WordPress.

2. WordPress.org vs WordPress.com

WordPress is an open source free platform that needs revenue to sustain, maintain, and update. One revenue stream for them is hosting websites. WordPress.com is a self contained hosting company that offers both paid and premium plans. However, since they are hosting your website, it does come with several limitations depending on the plan compared to WordPress.org. Below is a comparative chart:

WordPress.com WordPress.org
Self hosted Requires a hosting provider
Limited options to monetize website Options to monetize website
No custom themes allowed Use any custom theme
No custom plugin allowed Use any custom plugin
Easy to use Small learning curve for basic setup
Little to no technical control Full control over database and files
Ads with free plan No ads
Automated Maintenance Manuel Maintenance

WordPress.org is really just a landing page where you get information about WordPress and the place to download the actually files needed to install on the hosting provider of your choice.

3. Using WordPress

Now that you know the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, you can select which ever fits your needs. Should you decide to go with WordPress.org (which I highly recommend), that’s where the next component (Website Hosting Service) comes into play. Most popular hosting providers (e.g., GoDaddy, Host Gator, etc.) actually come with a one-click WordPress install option. So all you have to do is purchase a plan (I personally recommend SiteGround) and a control panel or Cpanel for short will be assigned to your account. Here can locate the WordPress option and follow the prompts to install.

This is not the only way to install WordPress on your server, but it is the most easiest and requires no professional assistance.

4. Benefits of using WordPress?

Aside from the obvious reason (it’s free!), there are many other benefits. Personally I feel the true value lies in having the ability to easily change content. Once WordPress is installed, an administrator can log into the backend or Dashboard and easily created new web pages, update or add new imagery, rewrite or add new copy, or manipulate just about anything with a bit of know how.

Furthermore, being that WordPress is an open source platform, programmers have the means to development plugins that can handle any task you can image. Say you needed a plugin to handle upcoming events, instead of having a programmer develop one form scratch, you can visit wordpress.org/plugins/ and search for a plugin that add ons event options. There are literally over 50,000 plugins developed to date. Most are free while more robusts ones are not.

In addition to plugins, WordPress also has a theme directory that gives you thousands of free themes to choose from. Although these are free, most professional web developers use premium themes or develop a custom one. I personally like to use a premium theme called Divi and modify it to suit my clients needs.

To sum it all up, WordPress is an excellent platform to house your website. I have worked with WordPress for over 5 years now and I have never once had a compliant. Customers love it as do web developers.

Thank you for reading, “What is WordPress”.

Carlos J Montalvo

Carlos J Montalvo

Freelance Web Developer

Hi, I'm a professional Web Developer with over 5 years experience. If you're looking for a new or redesigned website, feel free to contact me anytime. To view my recent projects click here.
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