What Is WordPress?

WordPress LogoWordPress is the most used self-hosted website content management system (CMS) in the world. What does that mean? It means WordPress is the most popular way to create your own website to host on your own server account. If it has been a while since you’ve tried your hand at website development, things have changed dramatically (for the better). It is now easier than ever before to maintain and edit your own website. A content management system (CMS) uses a database to store all of the content of your website. Pictures, posts, and pages are all stored in a database on your server. And with WordPress, you can create and work on your site without ever having to see the database itself. You don’t need to know anything about databases to use WordPress.

While all of the content and files are stored in the database, the formatting of your site (fonts, backgrounds, colors) are controlled in a cascading style sheet (CSS). What does that mean? It means that you can set up a web page type that controls the look of all web pages assigned to that “type”. Again, with WordPress you can change many of the formats by clicking user-friently options and without ever knowing how to manipulate CSS code. There are numerous tools and themes that allow you to change formatting on your site through a WYSIWYG interface. For example, you can pick colors by clicking on a color wheel, change fonts by selecting them from a drop-down menu, etc.

WordPress uses themes to handle the formatting on your website. There are free themes and themes available for purchase. The great thing about themes is that they can be changed as many times as you want, without changing any of your content. In other words, the articles, videos, and pictures within your web pages are separate from the backgrounds, fonts, and styles, which allows you to “snap on” different themes with a few clicks. Themes are incredibly easy to install on your WordPress site by selecting a ZIP file and clicking one button.

Self-Hosted WordPress

There are two types of WordPress available. You may have heard of free WordPress sites. These hosted WordPress sites exist on the servers at WordPress.com. They are hosted for free, but show advertisements and give users very limited ability to make changes (such as themes and editing CSS).

In contrast, self-hosted WordPress websites exist on the user’s hosting account or own computer. This means that you install your own free copy of WordPress on your web hosting account or local computer. Self-hosted WordPress gives you complete control over your website or blog and will not have any advertisements unless you put them on your site. Self-hosted WordPress sites are easy to set up. Our guide shows you how to get a shared web hosting plan at very affordable prices (as low as $3 per month) and install the WordPress platform in a few minutes with one click. Basically, if you ever want to earn any money from your website or blog, you need to go with self-hosted WordPress.

WordPress Is Free

WordPress is an open source project, released to users under the GNU Library General Public License. What does that mean? It means that WordPress is completely free for you to install, use, and modify without ever having to pay for a license. The only things you have to pay for to start a WordPress website or blog is your domain name registration (your website address) and a web hosting account (space on a server from a web hosting provider). Both are affordable, costing only a few dollars per month. You may also elect to purchase a theme for your website, but WordPress comes with a default theme and there are many free theme options available.

There are hundreds of developers working on WordPress all over the world, all the time. WordPress.org releases official new versions of WordPress and you can easily update your installation of WordPress with the click of a button. Again, updates are completely free.

Why Use WordPress?

Started in 2003 as a blogging platform, WordPress is now used by over 63 million websites, with a 65% share of CMS systems used by the top one million sites. Over nine years of proven history and a gigantic user base gives WordPress publishers the confidence that their chosen website platform is here to stay. In addition to the extensive documentation available at WordPress.org, there are thousands of resources available on the internet. You won’t have to search high and low for information on WordPress – just do a Google search and you’re in business.

WordPress is completely open source and is perfect for beginners with no coding experience as well as experienced web developers. Beginners can easily publish content, add widgets, and change formats without ever having to touch a line of code. With a little knowledge of HTML and CSS, you can gain more control over your site by making simple changes. The editor for HTML and CSS is available right through the WordPress dashboard. Experts in PHP coding can modify website behavior and those experienced in database administration can manipulate the database by accessing the MySQL database.

WordPress is used by Fortune 500 corporate websites, personal hobby blogs, and everything in between. So you can start your site small and it will scale with you as you grow or business or blog. To get started with WordPress in a matter of minutes, try our free step-by-step guide today.


  1. John Hills says:

    Thank you for answering my questions about WordPress. I’m just trying to get started and didn’t even know what WordPress is. One of those things that you hear and read about, but for a novice like me, I didn’t really know. Now I do.

  2. Hunter B. says:

    Great guide! I have been looking at 100 different websites trying to figure this stuff out. Thanks for putting the startup instructions on one page. It literally took me 14 minutes to go through all of the steps AND post my first blog post.

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