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What is WordPress?

If you are in the process of creating a new website, you may hear or receive a recommendation to use WordPress. Questions may arise of "What is WordPress?", "Are there benefits to using WordPress?", and "How do I get started using WordPress?" All of these are great questions to ask. In this article, we will address them:


What is WordPress?

WordPress is the most popular tool used to create websites. Currently, 33% of all sites across the world use WordPress as the platform to build their website. Surprisingly, one out of four websites that you may visit is created using WordPress!

In 2003, WordPress was initially created for blogging. Since then, it has grown in popularity and used as a content management system (CMS) to develop various types of websites. E-commerce, recipe blogs, pop-star bands, forums, and even small to large businesses all benefit from using the WordPress platform to create their website. 

When it comes to using WordPress, it is key to know that WordPress is structured as a content management system (CMS). Just like a retail store is broken down into departments to make it easier for people to find items, WordPress does the same with a website. A website consists of different components: a menu, header, footer, page content, sidebar, etc, which has a specific location in WordPress for it to be managed. WordPress then seamlessly pieces the different components together to create a functioning site. The best part is that you don't have to know a programming language to make the pieces come together.

What are the benefits of WordPress?

There are numerous benefits when using WordPress to create a website. The following is a list of some of the benefits which we will cover:

-It's free

WordPress is an open source software. It gives a user the freedom to use, modify, and build a website. Although the core files for WordPress are free, there can be other costs if one decides to upgrade to a premium theme or plugin to enhance the website. (See themes and plugins listed below for more information.)

-No programming experience needed

No need to know HTML, CSS, JSON, Javascript, PHP, and other programming languages. WordPress handles the programming aspect of a website. You just have to know where to add/upload content and change settings. WordPress then takes the content/settings and converts it into code that is used to create the website.

-Numerous themes and plugins

Those using WordPress are not limited to what comes with it right out of the box. WordPress is an open source software that cultivates a community where developers can create themes and plugins beyond the standard options that come installed. Having the ability to add new themes and plugins to WordPress opens inventive opportunities in creating new website designs and adding functionality. What once required a programmer now just requires finding the right plugin to upload and configure for a website. The options are limitless with themes and plugins.

As you start to look online for themes and plugins, you will find that some are completely free, others are free with paid upgrades, and some require you to pay for the premium theme/plugin. It is important to keep in mind that not all themes and plugins are created equally. Sometimes you will find a paid theme includes premium plugins which give you more for your money. Make sure you read over the description to better understand what the theme or plugin will be offering. For more information about Themes, please visit WordPress - Themes and Blocks and for plugins, please visit WordPress - Plugins Overview.

-No page limits

Some website builders limit the number of pages available to create on their free version. WordPress does not put constraints on the number of pages or posts one uses to create a website. 

-Not proprietary software

As WordPress is open source, it is not restricted to a specific hosting company. This allows a website owner to freely move their WordPress files and database to other hosting companies. 

-Continually add functionality

As a site grows and develops, you can add additional plugins to enhance the site. The plugins can provide features like newsletter signup, register for events, add a store, set up a forum, have paid memberships with specific page resources, and the list goes on. If you can't find a plugin that does what you are looking to accomplish, there is also always the options for you to hire a developer to create a plugin that meets the needs of your website. 

How do I get started with WordPress?

HostGator offers a Quick Install option for adding a WordPress installation to your domain. In only a few clicks, you can get started with using WordPress as your platform to build your website. Please see How to Install WordPress (Quick Install) for instructions on installing. 

Once you get WordPress installed, we recommend that you check out the following articles to step you through some of the key processes needed to configure and publish your WordPress site: