WordPress Glossary for Beginners (Terms Explained)

Photo by Stephen Phillips — Hostreviews.co.uk on Unsplash
Photo by Stephen Phillips — Hostreviews.co.uk on Unsplash

WordPress is simple to use once you get the hang of it. However, for a beginner, the terminologies and the abbreviations might sometimes seem like a different language altogether. If you are looking for explanations of seemingly complex terms in what sounds like plain English, here is a complete A to Z of the most commonly used WordPress terms.

It is a distributed configuration file that is used to configure Apache webserver software for the directory on which the software is present. It is a hidden file that WordPress uses to manipulate how Apache serves the files from the directories it is present on.

Absolute Path
An Absolute path is also sometimes known as the file path or the full path. It is the location of a directory or a file and points to this location using the root directory as well as the subdirectories. The path always points to the same location irrespective of which file or folder it is written in. The directory and subdirectory names are separated using a forward slash (/).

An ‘action’ is a type of ‘hook’ in WordPress. An action defines how a specific function can be performed throughout the system at any given point during the execution of WordPress Core, plugins, and themes.

Admin Area
The Admin area is that part of a website that can be accessed to create, modify, or remove content, and to change the settings. The Admin Area can only be accessed by logging into WordPress using the right credentials.

Admin Bar
The Admin Bar is visible to users who are logged in to WordPress. It contains links to useful administration screens.

The Administrator is a role within a WordPress site with the highest level of access. And admin can access the Admin Area and change, modify, remove content, and can also make changes to the website settings.

Apache is an open-source web server application that is available for free. It is the most used application and serves over 55% of all active websites. It is one of the best server applications that is used to publish a WordPress site.

A WordPress post or page can have media such as an image, a video, or a gif file. Any such media is known as an attachment.

An Atom is a specific format used to publish content in XML which can be used by feed readers and news aggregators. It is used to syndicate content on blogs and other websites.

When content is being created on WordPress, the feature that helps to save the content automatically is known as Autosave. Autosave is activated every couple of minutes so that you do not lose the content created if you lose connection with the site or close the site without saving. The time when the last Autosave was performed can be seen by looking at the lower right corner of the editor.

The Avatar is an icon, graphical representation, or photograph of a WordPress user that appears next to their name in comments or content credits.

Back End
Back End is another name for Admin Area. It is that part of a website that can be accessed to create, modify, or remove content, and to change the settings. The Back End can only be accessed by logging into WordPress using the right credentials.

A backlink is a link to your website that appears on the content on another website.

A Blog can refer to an informational website that contains a series of entries, usually displayed such that the latest entry appears first. Each entry is known as a post or an article.

A Blogroll is a list of related blog posts that is displayed within a sidebar on the page with a particular blog post. The list of blog posts is usually related, but not always.

A Category defines the different topics under which the blog posts on a particular blog can be segregated. It is pre-defined in a website on WordPress depending on what the website is about.

CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. It is a large distributed system of servers that helps to reduce the distance between the user and the servers. This in turn helps to decrease the time it takes to load the content on the website.

Child Theme
A Child Theme is a WordPress theme that adopts the functionality of the main theme known as the Parent Theme.

‘Comment’ is a feature in WordPress that allows the members of the audience (readers) to respond to blog posts by leaving messages (comments) underneath the blog posts. These messages are to be approved by the author or the admin so that they are displayed on the blog post page.

Any information that is displayed on the posts and pages in a website is known as Content. It can be in different forms such as text, images, videos, etc.

The Core refers to the main files included in the WordPress software. It does not include the plugins and the theme files.

CMS is the Content Management System. It is used for creating and managing online content.

CSS is Cascading Style Sheets. It is an important technology on the internet. It is basically a language to describe the presentation of documents written in HTML. The description includes information such as layout, dimensions, and colors. This description is used to tell the browser how the content should be displayed.

The Dashboard is the screen that can be accessed after logging in to WordPress. It shows different widgets that can be accessed depending on the user’s access levels. Different screens can be accessed via the dashboard.

A database is used to store all information (data) for a website including its content. WordPress uses a MySQL database system. Apart from the content, the database holds information such as the settings and data required by the plugins, the themes, and the Core.

Default Theme
When you install WordPress, the theme that is already present is known as the default theme. It is preinstalled. It can be replaced by another theme of your choice if needed.

Dedicated Hosting
Dedicated hosting refers to a hosting service where a server is allocated to a user for running their software. The user has complete control over the server settings.

A Developer is someone who can create or develop software. This can include WordPress plugin software, too.

Div is an element that is used to define parts of a document. It is used for organizational purposes. It helps in the classification of different parts of a document where necessary.

DNS stands for Domain Name System. It is used to name the resources such as computers or services that connect to the internet. It is a hierarchical system that converts domain names to IP addresses that can locate computer services and devices all over the world.

Domain Name
A domain name is a string within the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) that is used to access websites on the internet. It defines the authority or control for the resources.

An excerpt refers to the summary or a shortened version of a blog post. It is displayed on the search engine results page or in RSS feeds. It can also be programmed to display in other places such as on an Archive or Category pages of a website.

Featured Image
A featured image can be uploaded by the author or admin for every blog post. This image then appears in certain places as defined in the theme being used for the site. The place where a featured image can be seen can also be influenced by the developer. Typically, it is used to display along with the title of the blog post on a list or as the first image that appears on the blog post.

The block of information at the bottom of a webpage is referred to as the Footer.

A framework is a supporting structure or code that acts as a link between the WordPress core and the main files and helps to define the WordPress theme. Frameworks can be used to modify a theme or to develop a theme. A developer can use the functionality of the framework to define how the theme will look and feel.

Front End
The front end of a website is what the audience sees when they visit the website. It is different from the back end which can only be seen by certain users who have the access to do so.

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is used to transfer files between a computer and a server. This also includes the downloading and uploading of the files being transferred. Accessing files on a server would require an FTP client such as Filezilla or Cyberduck.

A WordPress theme contains a file within the theme that has the PHP functions to enable the theme to work. This file is the functions.php file.

Genericons are freely available vector-based generic icons. They are embedded in the Webfont are clean and simple.

GPL stands for General Public License. The GPL allows users to read, modify, share, and use a particular software.

A Gravatar refers to the avatar that is attached to a user’s email id. It is a globally recognized avatar and can appear when a user inputs their email id while logging in to forums or community discussions. The gravatar could be an icon, a graphical representation, or an image.

The content on the website that is displayed at the top of the webpage like a heading is known as the Header.

Hosting refers to a service that gives users space on a server connected to the internet. The hosting gives access to the server to get the files that hold the content to be displayed on the website.

HTML, which stands for HyperText Markup Language. It is the standard markup language and is used to create web pages and the elements that are displayed on the web pages.

IP Address
An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a unique numerical code attached to a device that connects to the internet or a local network. Examples of the device include a computer, mobile device, printer, etc. It defines the format in which data is sent through the network. IP is a unique address given to each device.

Simply put, JavaScript is a computer language for the web. It can be used to manipulate and validate content that is displayed in a web browser. It allows client-side scripts to interact with the users.

LAMP is an open-source software bundle that stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. All four software are available for free. They are used to build dynamic websites.

Linux is an open-source computer operating system modelled on UNIX. It is used for computers, mainframes, servers, mobile devices, and embedded systems. It is used to run other software and acts as an interface between the software and the device hardware.

Localhost identifies the device, mainly the computer device, on which any particular software is running. The software can use this name to access the network services attached to the computer device.

Loop is a code in PHP that is used to display WordPress posts. It is also referred to as WordPress Loop.

Managed Hosting
Managed hosting is a service in which dedicated servers are allocated to a user by the service provider and these servers are also managed by the service provider. This way, the customer (user) does not have to go through the hassles of server management.

MAMP stands for Mac OS X, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. It is a software package that is particularly applicable to Mac OS. It is used to develop and run dynamic websites on Mac OS.

Media is a blanket term used for any content on a website that is not text. It can include images and videos. In WordPress, it is a tab that is used to manage user uploads of files for images, videos, etc.

Meta is a self-referential term. WordPress, is used to describe what a particular web page is about. It is used by search engines to identify the correct web page based on the search string entered by the user.
In a database, Metadata is information about information. In WordPress, metadata refers to the information about all the information present on a website. This includes the content, comments, users, authors, categories, tags, etc.
A Multisite allows more than one WordPress site to operate under a single WordPress installation. Essentially, it means you can create and manage a network of WordPress sites from one place.

MySQL is a database management system. WordPress uses MySQL to store all information about a website and retrieves this information to be displayed in the web browser.

Navigation Menu
Navigation menus are designed in WordPress themes to build custom menus that help users to view different web pages on a website.

Open Source
Open Source is a model that allows a code to be studied by anybody. The code can be modified by other users for use, modification, or distribution.

A ‘Page’ in WordPress refers to a single web page. Each page has a unique URL.

Parent Theme
A parent theme is declared as such by another theme referred to as the Child Theme. The child theme incorporates all the functionality and features of the parent theme.

A permalink is a ‘permanent link’ that will always point to a particular web page or post. It is in the form of a URL.
PHP is a programming language used to create websites. It is designed specifically for integration with another popular programming language HTML. WordPress needs PHP for its operation.

Every time another author links to a blog post in their own blog post, the other author is notified of this via a pingback. The author of the blog post that is being linked can approve the link to be displayed. For pingbacks to work, a website needs to be pingback-enabled. This can be done by enabling the ‘Discussion Settings’ in WordPress.

A plugin is used to add more functionality to a WordPress site. In technical terms, it is a PHP code that enables this additional functionality.

A post is a discrete entry on a blog post. It is basically content that has been posted on a WordPress site as a separate entry.

Post Formats
Post format defines the visual presentation of a blog post on the web page. Theme developers can define and customize this representation.

Post Types
Post type defines the type of content displayed on a WordPress post. Typically, different post types include Post, Page, Attachment, Menu, etc.

Post Status
Every time a post is created or being created, the post status defines at what stage of creation it is. Post status can indicate whether the post is in the draft stage, or is pending admin review, or has been published, etc.
‘Profile’ is the personal space of a WordPress user. This space can be accessed after logging in to WordPress. It can be used to update or modify user information and avatar. It can also be used to update other preferences such as the keyboard shortcuts, colors of the admin panel, etc.

Responsive refers to a website design that adapts to different devices, especially mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, and provides an optimum viewing experience.

It is a text file that is used to communicate with web crawlers and web robots used by search engines. The search engines use the file to read the websites and web pages during a user search to check the relevancy of the website against the search string.

A ‘role’ is attached to every user in WordPress and determines the access levels given to that particular user.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It uses standard web feed formats to display frequently updated content in a structured XML file. The XML file is known as the RSS feed.

Security Key
A security key is a code used to authorize and encrypt cookies generated by a WordPress site. The security key is defined in the wp-config.php file by the user. If the user does not do this at the time of installation, by default WordPress assigns the security keys.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It is a process that influences the visibility of a website or a web page on the search engine results page in response to a search by a user. SEO is a way to enhance the organic reach of a website.

Settings is a tab in WordPress Admin Area. It is a place where settings can be configured for different sections and features of a WordPress site. It has sub-panels that show different sections that can be customized. Some WordPress plugins will also have their panel in the Settings tab.

SFTP (Secure FTP) is a secure version of FTP. Compared to FTP, it is easier to configure, too.

Shared Hosting
Shared hosting is an economical service where multiple users can place their websites on the same server.

Shortcodes, as the name implies, are short pieces of codes that can be directly used without spending the time and effort to write a code from scratch. These short pieces of code allow users to do various small tasks such as embedding a video in the content, aligning the content in a certain way, etc.

A sidebar is a vertical section that appears on either the left or right side of a web page.

In WordPress, ‘slug’ refers to the part of a web page address (URL) that appears after the domain name. By default, the slug of a particular web page is the same as its title, just in lower case and a hyphen instead of a space. However, you can change the slug of a web page before publishing it.

Spam is unwanted and unsolicited user content in the form of comments, posts, form fill-ups, etc. It may contain unethical or illegal links or malware. It is usually submitted in mass on several websites or web pages.

Splog is a spam blog. It contains low-quality, often repetitive content. The content is usually irrelevant and does not provide any information or value to the reader. A splog is created with the intention of including links to associated websites. Splogs may sometimes also contain links to unethical or illegal websites or malware.

A tag is a means of categorizing or grouping the posts on a website. Tag is not to be confused with categories. While a category is mandatory while publishing a blog post, a tag is optional. Also, a tag is written by a user and not pre-defined like the list of categories. A post can have multiple tags.

Taxonomy in WordPress refers to grouping or organizing similar content together. Tags and Categories are the two taxonomies in WordPress.

The part of a website that is in accordance with the WordPress theme and is defined by it is known as the template. It can be a complete web page or a part of it and can include the header, sidebar, footer, etc.

Text Editor
A text editor enables a user to edit the text in plain text format. A text editor within WordPress will usually have buttons to insert frequently used HTML elements such as bold, italics, font color, etc.

A theme defines how a website and its other web pages look and feel. A set of files define the WordPress themes. The theme can work independently of the WordPress core files.

It is a horizontal bar that contains links to admin screens. It can be accessed only after logging in to the WordPress site.

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It is the unique address of a web page. When a user visits a website, the URL is present in the browser’s address bar.

VPS Hosting
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. It is a web hosting service used to operate virtual machines. Each account on VPS hosting is treated as a separate account and is given its dedicated resources on the server.

A widget is a block of content that can be used in sidebars, footers, or other areas on a web page. Each widget performs a specific function. There are thousands of WordPress widgets available.

WordCamps are locally organized WordPress conferences for and by the WordPress communities. They are held around the globe and cover everything related to WordPress. People attend these conferences to learn about WordPress and meet others who have the same interests.

WP_Query provides several functions for common tasks. It allows developers to write custom queries. It can be used to display posts using different parameters by directly using the query on the WordPress database.

wp-config.php is one of the WordPress core files. It contains information related to the database such as the name, host, username, password, etc. It also contains details about the database connectivity settings and the security keys.

XHTML stands for Extensible HyperText Markup Language. It is a programming language that is a subset of HTML and is a cleaner and stricter version. It provides better interoperability with other data formats.

Originally published at https://blog.bestknownhost.com.

Blogger, Rights Activist, Humanist, And Freelance writer. I love to read and write articles on a contemporary trending issues, technology and literature.