What is WordPress? Simply put, it’s the best platform to create and build any website.
Launching a website is a challenging task. You probably don’t know coding and don’t want to hire a developer to do it (it’s expensive – we know). And you don’t want to have the setup take months or be so complicated that every copy update requires a coder.
You’ve likely come across WordPress as a feasible solution throughout your research. But there’s a problem: you have no idea what WordPress is and how it works.
This beginner’s guide will share everything you need to know about WordPress.
Let’s get started!
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that is free and open-source. It’s a powerful platform for people who want to create websites and blogs but don’t know how to code. The software is entirely free. It is completely free to download, use, and modify.
WordPress was originally designed to create blogs. Fast forward to now, the software has evolved to the point that you can build whatever type of website you want. You can create blogs, company websites, personal websites, online stores, mobile apps, and membership sites using the platform.
It’s also the most widely used CMS, accounting for 65.2% of all websites with a CMS. That’s nearly half of the internet or 42.4% of all websites.
What is WordPress used for?
When it comes to creating a WordPress website, the possibilities are limitless. Themes and plugins for WordPress can provide new design possibilities and functionality.
Here are some examples of the different types of websites you may create with WordPress:
- Blog: Whether you’re looking to build a personal blog to share your travel stories or lifestyle tips, or a business blog like Venturer (the blog you’re reading now), you can do it with WordPress. In fact, WordPress is the best blogging platform.
- Business website: WordPress is an excellent solution for your business if you need a website for customers to learn about your business and your products and services. Customers can get in touch with you, request a quotation, make an appointment, and much more.
- Online store: To sell products online, you can simply download a WordPress e-Commerce plugin like WooCommerce to add the eCommerce functionality to your WordPress site. Compared to online store builder tools like Shopify, WordPress is less user-friendly but you save the monthly subscription fee.
- Portfolio website: You can build a portfolio website with WordPress to show your design, artwork, writing, etc.
- Membership website: A membership website generally puts content behind a paywall with material available exclusively to members (like what Patreon helps you to do). With the help of additional plugins, you can create membership websites with WordPress.
What is the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?
WordPress.org, sometimes known as self-hosted WordPress, is a free, open-source CMS software that you can install on your own web host and use to build a website.
When people say “WordPress,” they usually mean WordPress.org’s self-hosted version. Self-hosted WordPress.org is usually the best option if you want to genuinely own your website.
You only need to buy web hosting and a domain name to begin with self-hosted WordPress.
WordPress.com is a paid, for-profit hosting service based on the WordPress.org software. It’s easy to use, but it lacks the versatility of a self-hosted WordPress installation and comes with several limitations.
For example, users who signup for the free plan must use a branded domain name like yourwebsitename.wordpress.com. If you want to use a custom domain name (like yourwebsitename.com), you must upgrade to a paid plan.
Other restrictions apply to the free version. For example, you are unable to install WordPress themes or plugins.
Since WordPress.com comes with many limitations and it’s usually more expensive than using WordPress.org with a web hosting service (like Hostgator, with hosting plans that start at US$2.75 per month only), we recommend WordPress.org for most people.
What is WordPress hosting?
We just mentioned “hosting” when we compared the differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. But wait, what is hosting?
Web hosting allows the files that make up a website (code, images, etc.) to be accessible online. Many web hosting service providers help you host your website and take care of everything for you.
WordPress hosting refers to a server that has been specifically designed to run WordPress. The extra features available will differ based on the type of WordPress hosting you choose. But, in general, it will have features such as one-click-install, which allows you to install WordPress on your site quickly, and automatic WordPress core upgrades.
WordPress hosting typically has a support team that is more knowledgeable about WordPress-related technical difficulties than regular hosting employees.
Benefits of Using WordPress
If you’re curious why WordPress is such a popular website content management system, consider the following advantages of using WordPress to build your website.
WordPress is free and open source
One of the most significant advantages of WordPress is that it is open-source and free software. So while you will have to pay a small fee for hosting, you never have to pay to utilize the WordPress software. For most other website builders, like Wix and Weebly, you usually have to pay for a monthly subscription to use the software.
Aside from that, there are numerous open-source plugins and templates available to alter the appearance and functionality of your website.
WordPress is easy to install
Do you believe you need to become a tech whiz to build your own website? Change your views! You can install WordPress on your site with only a few clicks.
Most web hosts nowadays either offer to pre-install WordPress on your behalf so that your website is up and running right away or provide you with dedicated tools to make the installation procedure as simple as possible. For example:
- HostGator: the best web hosting service for beginners, provides one-click WordPress installation
- Kinsta: the web hosting service we use, install WordPress on your behalf
WordPress is flexible and customizable
You can quickly customize your website even if you aren’t a developer owing to WordPress’ vast community of themes and plugins.
Plugins are tiny programs that alter the way your website works. Plugins might be simple, like a message box, or complex, such as an eCommerce function.
Themes alter the appearance of your website. You can choose any themes you like and apply templates to help you quickly set up your website. What’s more, WordPress has a drag-and-drop editor that helps you easily edit the design of your website pages, headers, footers, and basically everything.
There are currently over 59,000 free WordPress plugins and 9,300 free WordPress themes available, in addition to many paid alternatives. To put it another way, you have many options to extend the functionality of your site and customize your site design.
WordPress is beginner-friendly
WordPress was designed with non-technical users in mind. For example, the interface is simple and easy to use. You can easily download a theme to give your website a fresh look. In addition, you simply install a plugin to add a new feature, such as an appointment booking system.
Web development work that previously took hours to perform can now be completed in minutes with WordPress.
WordPress is secure
For businesses, security is a big concern. With the increasing amount of data breaches each year, you want to know that your data and your customers’ data are safe.
WordPress is among the safest and most secure CMS platforms as long as plugins are kept up to date and passwords are kept secure. In addition, the platform has various security features, such as logging out inactive users and enabling two-factor authentication.
How do I start using WordPress?
WordPress is an excellent choice for building any website, from a blog, a business website, to an online store.
Just keep in mind that WordPress.org and WordPress.com are not the same. In most cases, self-hosted WordPress.org is the best option for creating a website. In addition, self-hosted WordPress.org allows you more control and access to all WordPress community’s benefits.
To start using WordPress, pick a WordPress hosting service.
Generally, we’d recommend HostGator – affordable web hosting service that’s best for beginners.