What is WordPress?
WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that is built using PHP and MySQL. A typical CMS, like WordPress, helps the user eliminate the need to develop HTML pages and upload them individually to the server. It is an interface mainly used to build a blog, but it can also be used to establish other websites. It helps the admin manage the posts, comments and images that are uploaded to the site. So, making a website is now a cakewalk.
How does WordPress work?
How does WordPress determine which pages to load?
WordPress follows something called a ‘template hierarchy’. This means all the template files fall in either of these categories:
● Primary Template
● Secondary Template
● Variable Template
● Page Type
The Primary template occupies the highest level and Page type, the lowest level. WordPress follows the web template system and uses a template processor for the same. When finding the file to load, WordPress’ template processor follows the bottom-up approach.
Let’s take an example. Say the URL:
‘www.domainname.com/blog/category/chocolatecake’ reaches the web server.
- WordPress looks for a template file in the current theme’s directory that matches the category slug. Here the category slug is ‘chocolatecake’, so it will look for a template file categorychocolatecake.php file.
- If it is unable to find that file, it will try to locate the file associated with the ID of the slug. Suppose the ID is 1, it will look for a template file category1.php.
- If it fails to locate category1.php, it will display the generic category template file category.php
- If that is also not found it will attempt to display the archive.php
- If archive.php file is not available, then it will display the default index.php template file.
Over here, the index.php is our Primary Template file and categorychocolatecake.php is our Variable Template file. So, the processor backtracks until the lowest level data are available.
Advantages of WordPress:
Easy to use: Due to the simple and user-friendly interface provided by WordPress the usage of this tool is so much easier when compared to other CMSs.
Easy to extend: The functionality of various themes, plugins and widgets could be extended to perform as the user requires. This means, customizability is not only available at the top level but also at the root level.
Massive Community: WordPress community is big and always ready to help. So, support is never an issue.
It’s free!: Using WordPress, you can customize your website by choosing from the thousands of free themes and plugins or just release your website using the basic default theme provided by WordPress. However, either of them won’t cost you anything (unless of course you plan to opt for the premium themes or plugins).
WordPress and other CMS:
Among a lot of other content management systems available in the market Joomla, Drupal and WordPress occupy the top 3 choices for a user. Although each of these could be used interchangeably for any website you want to build, they are apt for certain “types” of sites. WordPress is used by people that are new to making websites and are new to technology on the whole. It gives away a lot of usability for the user and is best for a medium scaled website including blogs.
Joomla is slightly complicated, in that, it requires some level of technicality to be applied. However, a lot of e-commerce websites opt for Joomla.
Drupal is very complex in nature but at the same time very efficient. A lot of coding is required on the backend, but excellent performance is guaranteed.
Depending upon the need and skill, one can choose from a vast pool of CMSs.
Security in WordPress:
Your WordPress website being hacked is probably not even the last thing on your list. You always want to ensure to maintain security for your users and your content. Although WordPress has timely releases happening for its security and maintenance, the primary requirement will be to keep your blog/website updated with the latest WordPress versions. This was, the updates will happen automatically. Secondly, all your table prefixed should be renamed from wp_ to anything that is customized. Along with that, it is advisable to avoid the common usernames and passwords like admin, webmaster, WordPress user, etc. These type of security fixes are called “Security by obscuring.” Also, taking data backups, monitoring your logs and your files are good ways to keep a check on the activities happening on your website. Additionally, you can also use plugins like All in One WP Security and Firewall, WP Security Scan, WPDB Manager, etc.
Customization in WordPress:
Almost everything on WordPress is customizable. Be it your themes, plugins, widgets, anything! That is the beauty of WordPress. You can create a child theme that will inherit properties from the parent theme, making your theme unique to your website. Along with that, you can edit the style.css file in your particular theme’s folder that will change the CSS of your website. That means same theme, just different colors and schemes. You can also modify the functionality of plugins by adding your code to something called “hooks” so that your plugins can do much more now. However, plugins slow down your website and make it thick. So, the addition of custom code is also a good practice.
WordPress is for all, well, at least, most!
Like I mentioned before that CMSs are wonderful as they could be used interchangeably to build almost any website. A lot of companies like BBC America, Sony Music, MTV News, Best Buy, etc. are using WordPress. So it’s not only for blogs but also for other websites that have constant updates running. It is however not ideal for an e-commerce website as it does not provide the right kind of architecture for it.