An Introduction to WordPress

WordPress was formed in 2003 with a single bit of code as a content management software to enhance typography of daily writing with just a handful of users. However, ever since it has grown by leaps and bounds to progress to being one of the largest self-blogging tools in the world. It powers millions of blogs and websites the world over, and is read by millions more. It is an open-source content management software with hundreds of people across the globe working on enhancing its features and applications. Hence, it can be used by anyone for creating their blog to a high-end website without paying anyone a penny. It has innumerable features and options that can be used optimally.

About WordPress

On the wordpress.org site you can first download and install a software script called WordPress. For this you just require a web host with the minimum requirements. WordPress is completely customizable and can be used for creating any web content. WordPress, which started as a blogging system, has evolved to become a full-fledged content management system. It currently has immense possibilities with all the varied features like thousands of plugins, widgets and themes. WooCommerce is the best eCommerce platform for WordPress with innumerable plugins, themes, extensions and widgets.

You can easily build a WordPress website using classified WordPress themes. It will help you to quickly create, edit, and organize your website & enhance the appearance of your site.

Requirements

WordPress is built on PHP and MySQL scripting language and licensed under GPLv2 and later. To run WordPress your host should support:

  • PHP version 7 or greater
  • MySQL version 5.6 or greater OR MariaDB version 10.0 or greater
  • HTTPS support

It is recommended to use Apache or Nginx as the preferred server for running WordPress, being robust and resourceful. However, any server that supports PHP or MySQL will serve the purpose.

Features

It is estimated that WordPress powers more than 24% of the web, with its popularity and reach extending with every passing day. It encompasses most content created on the web from simple websites, blogs, complex portals like e-commerce portals, company websites and different types of applications. Given below is a list of features that are integral to WordPress, even though there are thousands of plugins that make the potential of WordPress limitless.

Simplicity

WordPress allows you to get online in a jiffy and publish content without any hassles. Hence, you can publish any content you wish on your website or blog without any long drawn procedures.

Flexibility

WordPress allows you to publish any content on your web. It doesn’t matter whether it is a personal blog or website, a blog with a collection of your photos, a commercial website, a professional portfolio that you have created, a government magazine, a magazine or news website, a recipe portal, an online community or a network of websites. You can also make your website or blog attractive with plugins and themes that add value to it. You can also build your own application on the WordPress platform.

Ease of publishing

The ease with which you can publish content on the web is another feature that makes WordPress attractive. You can create pages and posts on your website, format and update them easily and insert media that includes pictures and videos as well as graphic representations including 3D images. Then, with the click of a button your content is ready to go live for the world to view it.

Publishing Tools

Managing your content is a breeze with WordPress. You can create drafts, schedule publishing of your web content, and look into post revisions as and when they are required. You can either make your content public or keep it private securing it with a password.

User Management

WordPress enables you to manage your website in such a way that it entrusts user rights to each individual user. For instance, administrators engage in managing the site, editors with managing and publishing content, authors and contributors with creating that content and subscribers have a profile that they can manage. Thus there are numerous users or contributors to web content and WordPress assigns particular rights to each and every user. Others including readers are also part of that community.

Media Management

Media is an important component of any website or blog and includes pictures, images, videos and graphical images including 3D images. WordPress allows you to upload media in a seamless manner. All you need to do is to drag and drop your images and videos into the uploader which then adds them to your website. Besides, you can also add alternate text, captions and titles besides other multimedia content from images or from your gallery on the website. There is also a media editing tool in WordPress with which you can display your creative instincts to make your images and media content more appealing.

Compliance with standard

All the code generated by WordPress is in full compliance with the standards set by W3C. This means that irrespective of the passage of time your website will be functional based on the technology prevailing at that time, maintaining forward compatibility. Hence, your website which is working on today’s browser will be compatible even on a future browser, with the same features and attractiveness.

Theme System

There are two default themes that WordPress comes bundled with. However, if they don’t suit your website, there is a directory with thousands of themes from which you can choose the one that is suitable for your website. If none of those themes are still suitable for your website, there is the option to create your own theme with the click of a button to give your website that unique personal feel.

Plugin directory

WordPress has a plugin directory with thousands of plugins that you can choose from. This enables you to customize your website with the particular plugins you wish to have on your website. Hence, you can add complex galleries to your website, social networking, forums, social media widgets, calendars, spam protectors and fine tune controls for search engine optimization and forms.

Comments

WordPress provides the feature for built-in comments to be posted on your blog or website. This provides a platform for your friends and followers to post comments based on the content. This tool provides a forum for discussion to express comments and an opportunity for you to act as the moderator to the discussion.

Search Engine Optimization

WordPress is customized for search engines impromptu. For more detailed search there are many SEO plugins to take care of the search function on your blog or website.

Multilingual

WordPress is available in more than 70 languages. Hence, if you wish to build your blog or website in a language besides English, it can easily be customized in the language of your choice.

Convenience of Installation and Upgrading

WordPress provides the comfort of easy installation and upgradation. Using an FTP program, you can create a database and upload WordPress and run the installer.

Importing from a hosted service

WordPress provides the feature of allowing you to import your blog or website using importers. You can avail of this option if you are not happy with the blog or website software that you are currently using, or if it is being hosted by a service that is going to shut down. WordPress provides importers for services like LiveJournal, Tumblr, Blogger, MovableType and TypePad, besides WordPress.

Be the owner of your content

Having your blog or website on a hosted service provider can be intriguing as it can crash or shutdown at any time leaving you helpless. Besides, it can be quite annoying if advertisements appear on your hosted blog or website, about which you can’t do much about. However, with WordPress, you can virtually own your content and have complete control over it.

Freedom of usage

Software freedom is the basis on which WordPress is built and it can be used with utmost freedom to be used in whatever ways you feel like. Since it is licensed under GPL, it is created to protect your freedom. Hence you can install it on your computer or mobile, use it, modify it and distribute it.

Vibrant Community

WordPress being one of the most popular open source content management systems on the web has a very vibrant and supportive community to help you. You can post a query on the support forum and get a resolution to it from a volunteer in the community. Besides you can also participate in community related activities like attending a WordCamp or MeetUp to know more about WordPress. You can also read blog posts, articles and tutorials about WordPress to keep your abreast about the latest updates in WordPress.

Extend your help

You can personally contribute to building WordPress by replying to support forum queries, write documentation on it and also help to translate WordPress in your language. Besides, you can speak about WordPress at a WordCamp and also express your views about WordPress in your blog.

Features for Developers

WordPress also provides many excellent features for developers to make good use of the software. Some of these are:

Plugin system

Developers can develop their own plugins using the WordPress APIs. Developers have at their disposal thousands of hooks that provides extensibility. Once, a plugin has been created, there is a plugin repository for it to be hosted on. WooCommerce is an example of

Theme System

Developers have the option of creating themes for clients, customers and WordPress users. Using the WordPress API extensibility, you can create themes which are simple or complex as per your requirement. You can also give away your theme for free to users in the Theme Repository.

Application Framework

Developers can also build their own applications through WordPress. Besides, they can avail of assistance with regards to add more features to the app under the WordPress hood. This includes features such as translations, user management, databases, HTTP requests, URL routing etc.

Customized Content Type

Even though WordPress comes with a default content type, developers have the scope to create their own customised content type. They can add a few more lines of code to create customised content types, taxonomies and metadata.

Script Library

Developers can make use of the latest script libraries that comes with WordPress. These include script libraries such as jQuery, Plupload, Underscore.js and Backbone.js.

Installing WordPress on your Windows PC using XAMPP

WordPress allows you the freedom to use it locally. All that is required is to set up a local server using XAMPP, for Windows. Following this you can install WordPress on your computer.

Why do you need to install WordPress on your local computer?

To use WordPress you need to buy a hosting account. Hence, it is better to experience the CMS on your local computer first before getting a hosting account according to your specific requirements. Also, before using a new theme or plugin, it is better to use them on your local WordPress installation. This is because the new theme or plugin may conflict with the core files or the existing plugins and break your live website. Moreover, WordPress which is locally installed enables theme and plugin developers to tweak and test their codes on their local computer. This speeds up the development process and saves considerable time of developers.

Requirements for installation

  1. Local server: XAMPP can be used to create a local server environment on your PC
  2. WordPress software: The latest version of WordPress (Version 4.7) can be downloaded from wordpress.org

Install XAMPP

XAMPP is basically a web server solution that allows you to run PHP and MySQL codes. WordPress runs using PHP and uses MYSQL for data storage; hence XAMPP can be used as the local server. You can download the latest version of XAMPP for Windows from the Apache Friends website.Once downloaded, it can be installed on your Windows computer by initiating the setup process.

Important aspects to consider while installing XAMPP

  1. When asked to select components, check MySQL and phpMyAdmin. Apache and PHP will be installed by default. These four components are important for the installation process. The rest of the options can be unchecked.
  2. In the next step you should select the folder on which XAMPP should be installed. You can install it on C: drive or on any folder you choose to.
  3. In the next step you will get information about Bitnami for XAMPP application modules. You don’t have to install this module as WordPress can be installed manually. The rest of the process is quite simple. You can follow the steps and the software can be installed easily.

Once XAMPP is installed you can open the XAMPP Control Panel. Now you can test and see whether the local server is working perfectly. Start Apache and MySQL using the XAMPP Control Panel. This will start our server. Now open your web browser and go to http://localhost. If you see the XAMPP Start page, the your local server is working fine.

Setting up your MySQL database

After installing XAMPP you need to set up the MySQL database. For this click the Admin button in the MySQL Section of your XAMPP Control Panel. Now a new browser window will open with the PHPMyAdmin interface. You have to click on the Databases near the top left and you will be prompted to create a new database and name it. After naming the database, say for example wp, click Create and close the window.

Download and install WordPress on your local PC

You can download the latest version of WordPress (version 4.7). To make WordPress work with XAMPP you need to unzip WordPress in the right folder. For this you have to go to the XAMPP folder on your PC and open the htdocs folder. The path is: C:/Program Files/XAMPP/htdocs.

You can now unzip WordPress into its own folder and rename it. To with the name of the MySQL database created, it can be named wp. Now you can open the wp folder where you saved WordPress. Here you will find the wp-config-sample.php file which you can rename as wp-config.php. You can now open the file and scroll down until you find the following lines of code:

/** The name of the database for WordPress */

define(‘DB_NAME’, ‘database_name_here’);

/** MySQL database username */

define(‘DB_USER, ‘username_here’);

/** MySQL database password */

define(‘DB_PASSWORD’, ‘password_here’);

/** MySQL hostname */

define(‘DB_HOSTNAME’, ‘hostname_here’);

/** Database Charset to use in creating database tables. */

define(‘DB_CHARSET’, ‘utf8’);

/** The Database Collate type. Don’t change this if in doubt. */

define(‘DB_COLLATE’, ‘ ‘);

The following lines of code define the login details for your database:

  • Replace “database_name_here” with the name of your database, which here is ‘wp’
  • Replace “username_here” with “root” and leave “password_here” blank
  • Now you can save the file and close it

Now you can get going with installing WordPress. For this, open WordPress and go to http://localhost/wp/. From the dropdown, you can choose the language in which you want to install WordPress. After choosing your preferred language, you can move on to the next screen and click your username and password. Then, click ‘Install WordPress’. Now your WordPress installation is complete.

Things required before installing WordPress

Before installing WordPress you require a domain name and a good hosting company that knows WordPress. Some of the important aspects that you should consider while choosing a hosting company are speed, security and reliability. But the most important aspect that you should keep in mind is whether it satisfies your requirements. There are various types of web hosting options available like Free, Shared, VPS, Dedicated and Managed. Bluehost is the officially recommended hosting provider for WordPress. They provides various benefits like a free domain and 50% of their hosting plan. Some of the other prominent web hosting service providers are HostGator, SiteGround, InMotion Hosting, DreamHost, eHost.com, iPage, Host Clear, Site Builder, Just Host, Idea Host, Site Blog, Website Builder.com etc.

Leave a Reply