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What is WordPress?

by Matt
What is WordPress

What is WordPress? WordPress is an open source website creation and management software based on the PHP server programming language.

Despite the increasing appearance of new entrants to the website creation market, it has remained the undisputed leader for many years. More than one in 2 websites worldwide uses this content management system (CMS)!

But it’s impossible to start building a website without understanding the basics!

That’s why, in this article, I’m going to try to explain to you in detail what WordPress is, and the advantages of using it to create your website.

What is a CMS?

To answer the question What is WordPress, you need to understand a rather technical concept!

So WordPress is what we call a CMS. We’ve just written a full, detailed article on what a CMS is (feel free to have a look there), so I’ll keep this brief!

CMS stands for Content Management System. In very simple terms, it’s software used to create, manage, publish and update a website or web application.

To be designated as a CMS, software generally needs to have 4 main functions:

  • Creating, modifying and uploading various types of content via a dashboard
  • Management of authentication and the roles of different accounts (user, administrator, etc.)
  • Separate personalisation of content and design Management of different versions (revisions) of content

What types of websites can be created with WordPress?

What is WordPress? I think you’ve already understood the basics! But more concretely now, what is it used for and what can you do with WordPress?

WordPress was originally a solution for creating an online blog. It has to be said that in the 2000s, blogging was all the rage! It was the forerunner of the modern website we know today.

But since then, the water has flowed, and flowed a lot. And WordPress can no longer be defined as simple blog creation software!

So what types of website can you create with the WordPress CMS?

All of them.

And yes, thanks to the constant improvements to the software and the vastitude of WordPress plugins and themes, you can create (almost) any website with this CMS!

Hence its unwavering popularity, by the way – there’s a reason it’s the leader in its market!

With WordPress, you can create :

  • Showcase: a site to present your business and services
  • E-commerce: a site for selling products or services
  • Blog: a site for publishing articles and news only
  • Portfolio: a site to showcase your completed projects
  • Forums: a site where users can discuss and answer questions
  • CV: a site for presenting your career path in an original way

In short, there are few limits to the types of website that can be created with WordPress!

Who uses WordPress today?

As you can see, WordPress is a particularly complete software package, perfectly suited to all types of websites.

But more specifically, what kind of people use WordPress on a daily basis to manage their website?

Short answer: everyone

Among the hundreds of millions of people who use WordPress, there are many different types of people:

  • Businesses
  • Various government bodies
  • Web agencies
  • Entrepreneurs or freelancers
  • Individuals…

In the end, WordPress offers so many features and so much freedom that it has managed to appeal to a wide range of different users!

What are the differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?

What is WordPress? “Well, it’s a free, open source CMS, isn’t it? I think you’ve told us that often enough!”

It all depends on which WordPress we’re talking about!

You have to understand that there are actually 2 different WordPresses.

Yes, you heard me right! There are 2 of them!

I’ve already covered the subject in a very comprehensive article dealing with the differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com, so I’m going to outline the main differences between these 2 programs fairly briefly:

WordPress.org is indeed the flexible and versatile open source CMS I’ve been talking about since the beginning of this article! Also known as paid or full WordPress, because it requires you to have a hosting plan and a domain name, it is nevertheless completely free to install and use.

WordPress.com is an online website creation platform based on WordPress.org technology. The big difference with the former is that this platform offers different paying plans depending on the features you want. It takes care of hosting and maintenance (updates) for you.

It’s a bit like a simplified, limited, paid version of our favourite CMS. In other words, I wouldn’t recommend this solution!

Why use WordPress to create your website?

Why create your website with WordPress?

Still not convinced to choose WordPress to create your future website?

Then let me convince you by presenting you with the main advantages of choosing this CMS!

WordPress is FREE and open source

Let’s start with the first big, non-negligible advantage of using WordPress: the price!

Unlike many other CMSs, like Shopify for example, WordPress is completely free! When I say “entirely”, I mean not just installing it, but also using and managing it.

And why is that? Because this CMS is free and open source. In other words, it’s entirely open to use, study and modification, with no strings attached.

In short, you’ll never have to pay a penny for WordPress! And that’s quite an advantage!

The only compulsory expense is to sign up for a hosting space and a domain name with a hosting company (you should expect to pay between €50 and €70 a year).

However, please note that it is perfectly possible to get started with WordPress without a domain name or hosting, by installing the software locally for practice!

WordPress is easy to install

Speaking of installation, WordPress is particularly easy to install!

To work, the software needs to be installed on your server or computer. Sounds complicated?

Don’t panic! The vast majority, if not all hosting providers, offer automatic installation of WordPress from your customer area. In just a few clicks, you can install the CMS without any technical manipulation!

As I mentioned earlier, you can also install the CMS locally on your computer using software such as Local by Flywheel or MAMP. This will allow you to practise, test plugins and get to grips with WordPress completely free of charge!

If you’re curious about how to install WordPress manually on your server or locally, I invite you to read my article: How do you install WordPress ?

WordPress is flexible and versatile

Another big advantage of WordPress, and this is what makes it so strong, is its great versatility! 😎

With over 59,000 plugins and 9,500 (official) themes on its directory, the possibilities and features are almost limitless! 🤩

And again, these figures don’t take into account the paid plugins and themes hosted on specialist sites like the famous Envato marketplace!

Generally speaking, the vast majority of plugins are free, and if they’re not, there’s very often a free version and a paid version of the plugin in question that allows you to test it!

By way of comparison, Shopify only has 4,000 plugins, and Wix only 200…

WordPress is the largest community of users

Worried about getting started with WordPress and getting stuck on a technical point?

Here’s another advantage of this CMS: the WordPress community!

With over 450 million websites created using this software, that’s a lot of people to help you!

With free blogs, YouTube videos, forums, free training courses and PDFs, there’s no shortage of resources for learning WordPress!

And as if that wasn’t enough, there are a huge number of groups on social networks, especially Facebook, where beginners can ask questions.

As you can see, when you choose WordPress, you’ll never be alone or without an answer to a stubborn question!

You’re going to tell me: “that’s all very well, but the interesting thing is to have both the advantages and the disadvantages of WordPress”.

The truth is, I’ve used and tried many other CMSs, and I’ve found them to have a lot of drawbacks. I must admit I haven’t found any for WordPress, at least not yet!

As you can see, if you were to take away 3 essential points from this article, WordPress is :

  • A free, open source Content Management System (CMS)
  • 1 in 4 websites in the world
  • Infinite possibilities in terms of functionality and design

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