WordPress Glossary | Dictionary of WordPress and Blogging Terms

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Few people are familiar with all the words and phrases associated with WordPress and blogging. This page covers the vocabulary that every webmaster should know. The first section is for WordPress, specifically, while the latter part looks at terms more familiar to blogging.

A

Absolute Path

Known also as full path and absolute pathname. It refers to the complete address used to locate a specific file or folder. An absolute path starts with the root element (directory) then all subsequent subdirectories.

Action

A WordPress (WP) action is a PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) function executed (performed) at set points throughout the WP system. And a WP function is simply a piece of code that performs a specific action.

Admin Area

The area accessible for webmasters after logging into their WordPress account. It’s the place to create, edit, delete, or modify content and configure settings.

Admin Bar

The WordPress Admin Bar sits directly above your site after login. It contains various quick access tools such as Edit Profile and Add New Post among others. Since version 3.3, the Admin Bar became the Toolbar. Users have the option to keep it visible or turn it off.

Administrator

The highest-level access given to the first user of a new WordPress account. The administrator role has unrestricted access to all the features, functions, and control over other users.

Apache

The Apache Software Foundation developed and maintained the free Apache open-source software. Around 67% of the world’s webservers use it today. This software is secure, fast, reliable, and highly customisable. It’s why most of the WordPress hosting providers use Apache.

Attachment

Any file uploaded to WordPress from its Post Edit screen using the dedicated Add Media button.

Atom

A special format used to syndicate (group) and publish web content in XML. Users can view the content in programs called news aggregators and feed readers.

Autosave

A WordPress function that auto-saves changes made to blog posts and pages. It’s invaluable in that it prevents hours of lost work in the event of a crash.

 

B

Back End

The backend in WordPress is its restricted admin area. It’s where the site owner or other authorised users get to create, manage, and maintain the site.

Backlink

A hyperlink that points from one site to another. Search engines also consider backlinks as a way to help gauge the popularity of a website. The more authority the site that links has, the more valuable the backlink is to the page it points to.

bbPress

Open-source, lightweight forum software for WordPress. Users install and set up bbPress from a plugin. It has customisable templates and protection against spam.

 

C

Category

A default taxonomy (method to classify content and data) in WordPress. Categories are useful for organising posts into related groups. Categorising content makes life easier for webmasters and site visitors.

CDN

Stands for Content Delivery Network. It’s a network of web servers (POPs) used to accelerate content around the globe. The advantage of CDN is that it’s scalable, reliable, and delivers consistent performance.

Child Theme

An add-on sub WordPress (WP) theme that replicates the main or parent theme. Child themes let users customise WP themes without altering the files of the parent.

CMS

WordPress is a well-known Content Management System or CMS for short. CMS makes it easy for users to create, edit, publish, organise, and maintain web content.

Content

Web content relates to all the files, text, images, and other elements used to create posts and pages.

Core Files

All the major files needed to create the WordPress software. That does not include theme files of plugins.

cPanel

A user-friendly web hosting control panel by cPanel, L.L.C. cPanel is a well-organised Linux-based GUI (graphical user interface) that uses text and image links. Website owners and administrators can easily manage most aspects of their project from within cPanel. Some of that includes uploading web content, managing domains, creating and handling email accounts, and much more.

 

CSS

Stands for Cascading Style Sheets. CMS is a computer language used to manipulate the format and visual appearance of HTML documents (web pages). All WordPress themes come with a style.CSS file. When you change something in the style.CSS, those changes take immediate effect across the theme. For example, if you need to change the size, font, and colour of an H1 tag, you don’t have to repeat it for all posts.

 

D

Dashboard

The WordPress Dashboard is the first screen users see when they log in. This administration area shows a summary of the site. The new Dashboard presents site information in blocks WP calls widgets. The dashboard screen currently shows 5 widgets for Welcome, Activity, At a Glance, Events & News, and Quick Draft.

Database

Software WordPress uses to store and manage critical site data. In this case, it’s the open-source MySQL Database Management System. MySQL is favoured for its fast processing, reliability, flexibility, and ease of use. It enhances the user experience and makes light work of site maintenance, debugging, and updates.

Default Theme

All versions of WordPress come with a fallback or default theme installed. If users choose another theme—and something goes wrong with it—WP falls back to the original. The WordPress default showcases the platforms main features, though few users settle with it.

Dedicated Hosting

A term used for high-end hosting packages. This type of hosting provides users with a dedicated server (powerful computer) and plentiful resources. Dedicated hosting is suitable for resource-heavy sites with lots of visitors.

Developer

A qualified computer programmer sometimes called a dev. Developers can update or modify existing software products or create new ones. A WordPress dev, for example, works with PHP code. He or she can create new plugins, unique themes, and almost anything else a webmaster requests to improve their site.

DNS

Domain Name System (DNS). It’s a system that translates the text name of your website into its corresponding IP (numbers) address. DNS is necessary because computers can only read the number format, not words. This allows them to read the IPs to open the websites.

Domain Name

The name used to identify a WordPress or other website on the internet. All online projects have a numerical address. These numbers are translated into text-based domain names for human convenience. google.com is an example of a domain name.

 

E

Excerpt

A WordPress excerpt is a summary of a main post or category that links to the full piece or group. Users can let WP themes automate these condensed descriptions. Another way is to add them manually into the Excerpt field in the Post Edit Screen. Excerpts can show in search results, used for RSS feeds, category, and archives.

 

F

Featured Image

An image used to represent a WordPress page or post on the list page. The featured image also goes by the name post thumbnail. It’s an image that helps webmasters determine the content, theme and or mood of a piece. These images do not show in the body of a page or post.

Footer

The bottom section of WordPress pages and posts. Users typically exploit footers for links to Copywrite, Privacy policies, and other areas of the site that are of less general interest to visitors.

Front End

The published site that visitors or members see and or interact with.

FTP

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is how webmasters transfer (upload and download) website content over the internet. An FTP client is a software program used to work with FTP. It connects a local computer to a web server that stores and displays your WordPress website.

functions.php

Functions.php (Hypertext Preprocessor) is a WordPress themes template file that uses PHP code. Webmasters can use this file to add new features and functions or modify existing ones. All WordPress themes have a functions.php that loads at the point of installation.

 

G

Genericons

Vector icons are imbedded into web fonts and found in a variety of WordPress themes and plugins. Genericons are simple, clean, and always maintain a generic aesthetic. These are exclusive icons that are not easy to replace.

GPL

Also GNU and GPL. The General Public License (GPL) is the most common of all free software licenses. American free software activist/programmer, Richard Stallman, wrote the GPL for everyone. Anyone can use, modify, and distribute software that comes under GPL. WordPress is one such program. WP is open source, which means:

 

·         It’s free to download and use

·         Free to modify

·         Free to redistribute original copies

·         Free to distribute modified versions

 

H

Header Area

An image usually located at the top of your WordPress website that acts as a cover. The header area contains the site logo, name, and brief description. There can also be a search box, links to important areas, and social media icons, etc. Users can control headers using the WordPress Customiser or from the header.php file.

Hosting Provider

An internet company that provides services and infrastructure needed to publish a website online. The business model includes web servers (powerful computers), databases, File Transfer Protocol (FTP), cPanel, and more. Hosting providers offer numerous plans on operating systems such as Windows and Linux. Typical options are Shared, Cloud, VPN, and Dedicated hosting.

.htaccess

A critical directory-level configuration file read by web servers. The purpose of the .htaccess is to overwrite unwanted server configuration settings. Some uses are URL shortening, redirecting URLs, access control, and much more besides. Inexperienced users should not try to add or edit this file without expert guidance.

HTML

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is used to design, process, define, and present text. That translates to static page creation in layman’s terms. HTML is typically used with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) as well as JavaScript. WordPress web pages conform to the current HTML5 standard as set by W3C.

 

I

IP Address

 

An internet protocol (IP) address. It’s a unique series of numbers written in binary used to identify and locate devices on the internet and local networks. No computer or other devices could connect to the internet without a unique IP address. All online traffic must go through an Internet Service Provider or ISP. An ISP uses your IP address to ensure the traffic sent to you, and the traffic you send reaches the right destination.

 

J

JavaScript

 

A text-based programming language originally developed by Netscape. JavaScript makes your web pages interactive and interesting to encourage visitor or member interaction. Examples of these dynamic elements are interactive maps, animated 3D graphics, calls-to-action, buttons, and much more. JavaScript can bring static web pages to life in all manner of ways. That, in turn, enhances the user experience.

 

L

LAMP Stack

Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP (LAMP) Stack is a proven set of exceptional software. It’s one of the more complex ways to install WordPress. It’s a popular approach for developers who build high-performance, dynamic type websites. LAMP is open-source and a superb alternative to commercial software.

Linux

A family of open-source, powerful operating systems (OS) created by the software engineer Linus Torvalds. Today, Linux (based on UNIX) is a respectable and reliable OS for all things computing. That includes computers, web servers, smartphones, and much more. Every major computer platform today supports Linux. It’s also stable, super-easy to customise, inexpensive, and the best alternative to the costly Microsoft Windows.

Localhost

A standard hostname which means ‘this computer.’ It’s the local machine currently running a program. Localhost uses 127.0. 0.1. as the IP address on most networking systems. It’s also known as the loopback address. When a user runs a web browser such as Chrome, his or her computer then becomes the localhost.

Loop

The WordPress Loop is the PHP code responsible for displaying WP posts on a web page. This loop is at the very core of how WordPress functions. Theme developers can modify loops or use multiple ones to design complex, highly customised website themes.

 

M

Managed Hosting

The hosting provider leases a dedicated server that it manages on behalf of the customer (managed hosting). Services include server security, hardware/software maintenance, backups, activity monitoring, and more.

Media

A link in the WordPress Dashboard side menu used to manage uploads to the platform. Media uploads include images, video, audio files, and others. The interface has a Media Library screen that displays all the uploaded files. Users can quickly edit or delete items as necessary.

Meta

WordPress (WP) information about WP information. That includes info on pages, posts, users, comments, and anything else that’s applicable. The metadata about a post, for example, consists of the publish date, author, tags used, and post category, etc. HTML Metatags show excerpts on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS) as post/page titles and brief descriptions.

Multisite

A WordPress installation that lets webmasters create and administer a multisite network of websites from within a WP Dashboard. It’s a convenient way to manage several projects from a single login. A multisite setup can belong to individuals or multiple users who share the network.

MySQL

A favourite relational database management system (RDBMS). MySQL is based on Structured Query Language (SQL). It’s a popular and effective way for users to store, access, change, and administer databases.

 

O

Open Source

A term that describes any computer program that allows free access to its source code. WordPress.ORG is a prime example of open-source software. Anyone can access its code, make changes, run tests and bug reports, and even redistribute the modified code. The only condition is that any redistributed code remains open source. That means it’s freely available to others under the same licence.

 

P

Parent Theme

A standalone master theme or template in WordPress. Parent themes may have numerous child themes. Child themes can look different but share the same basic structure as the parent. That means similar or the same functionality and features. Users can make changes or customise the child theme without affecting its parent.

Permalinks

Permalinks are ‘permanent’ URLs (full web addresses) of WordPress posts and pages. Permalinks are friendly URLs that are relevant to the content. That makes them easy to read, type, and remember. Custom permalinks also present a structure that benefits SEO.

PHP

Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP) is a complete general-purpose programming and scripting language. It exists to create dynamic websites. WordPress is a dynamic web building platform that uses PHP as its scripting language. WP PHP is open-source with built-in functions. Thus, users can also create their own functions.

phpMyAdmin

A free and powerful opensource software tool written in Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP). phpMyAdmin uses a web-based interface to manage MySQL or MariaDB databases.

Pingback

Also trackback. Terms used to describe auto-notifications sent between websites. For example, pingbacks and trackbacks inform a WordPress owner when another site links to one of their pages. However, the recipient site must have pingbacks enabled to see the notifications.

Post

Updated news, information, or topical articles published on WordPress. Posts display in reverse chronological order (newest on top) and are usually categorised and tagged. Posts—unlike static pages—have a publish date and make up the majority of a website’s content.

Post Formats

WordPress exploits post formats to present posts in a theme in specific ways. That could be layout, style, or both. The default post format is standard. Others may include—though not limited to—the following:

 

·         Audio – post with an audio file

·         Video: post with a video file

·         Chat: Includes a chat transcript

·         Gallery: An image or video gallery

·         Image: photography, image, or illustration

Post Types

Refers to the various types of content displayed on a WordPress blog or website. The current default content types for WP.org include Post, Page, Attachment, Nav Menu, and Revision.

Post Status

The status of a WP post set and viewed in the Admin Panel. Everyone can see Published posts. Draft posts are unfinished and accessible by those with the appropriate user-level access. Private posts are only viewable to those with Administrator access.

 

R

Responsive Theme

Any theme (template) that scales itself to display on different device types. Response themes mean that WordPress site builders no longer need to create different versions for computers and mobile devices. Responsive themes may have options to customise how they display on screens above or below a specific size.

Robots.txt

A simple text file that provides instructions to spiders or web robots that visit sites. One use is to tell search engines like Google, which pages to crawl and which ones to ignore. It’s useful if you want to keep private content out of the search results pages.

Role

A user role that defines specific permissions for different access levels. WordPress defaults are the Super Admin role, Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor, and Subscriber. The Super Admin is the user with the highest-level access and the Subscriber the least.

RSS Feed

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) or Rich Site Summary publishes web content in a structured XML file. The content displays in news aggregators (also called feed and newsreaders). Feedly is an excellent example of a news aggregator. The easy-to-read format provides subscribed users with timely updates from their favourite websites.

 

S

Security Keys

Security keys are strings of random characters that make it close to impossible to crack site passwords. They’re used to authorise and encrypt WordPress-generated cookies. WP can auto-generates security keys, or users with access to the wp-config.php file can define them.

 

There are 4 of these keys:

 

1.    AUTH_KEY

2.    SECURE_AUTH_KEY

3.    LOGGED_IN_KEY

4.    NONCE_KEY

 

WordPress also uses SALTs, which adds an extra layer of security using random strings of data.

SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) are the practices and methods used to improve a site and its pages for users. White hat (ethical) SEO, as defined by search engines like Google and Bing, help websites rank higher in the search results pages. Typical SEO includes things like organic backlinks (off-site SEO), quality content, user-friendly navigation, and interactive elements (on-site SEO). Well-optimised WordPress blogs and websites are more discoverable and favoured by search engine spiders.

Server

Also web server; a type of supercomputer configured with software and the infrastructure needed to host websites. Typical servers use Apache software along with PHP, PERL, and various other scripting languages. Selling points for hosted web servers are bandwidth, hardware and software maintenance, and uptime.

SFTP

Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) is a file protocol used to transfer large files over the internet.

Shared Hosting

A term used to describe web hosting services that hold multiple websites on a single server or supercomputer. All the sites on these hosting accounts share the same drive and resources, hence the name. Shared plans are the cheapest of all hosting, starting at less than $3/Mo.

Shortcodes

In WordPress, shortcodes are tiny snippets of code inside [brackets] that users can apply with little effort. The benefit of these is so that site administrators can execute code without writing it. There are shortcodes for WP pages, posts, and widgets. Example uses are to insert icons, change font colours, scrolling galleries, and just about anything else you can think of.

Slug

Also post slug, a user-friendly web address or URL. It uses words that accurately identify the published post. Users must edit their Permalink Settings in the WP Dashboard before they can manipulate slugs. WordPress auto-creates them, but they’re not always suitable. Thus, site owners often prefer to choose their own slugs.

Taxonomy

A grouping method that helps to interconnect content on a WordPress website or blog using sets of related words. Default taxonomies are Categories and Tags. Administrators can also create custom taxonomies to organise posts better. Being hierarchical lets taxonomies define content in smaller, more tightly focused groups.

Template

A file that defines a specific area of a page as generated by its theme. A typical WordPress theme has templates for its header area, main content, sidebars, comments, and whatever else is included.

Text Editor

WordPress uses two text editors for creating or modifying posts and pages. The most used one is the WYSIWYG Post Edit screen. The other is a plain text display. The latter is useful for manually adding PHP or HTML code to a post under construction.

Theme

WordPress themes are collections of files that utilise templates and stylesheets. They work seamlessly together to display the visual website. Webmasters can change elements of a theme from within the Admin area. Users can use plugins and make tweaks to the functions.php file or create a whole new look using child themes. The latter doesn’t make changes to the parent or master theme.

Theme Framework

The code library used to facilitate the development of a WordPress parent or child theme.

Toolbar

Previously the admin bar, the WordPress toolbar is a horizontal strip that sits along the top of the site when logged in. It has shortcuts to frequently accessed admin areas, e.g., Edit My Profile, Edit Post, Customise, Log Out, and a few others. The toolbar disappears after logout.

Trackback

See pingback.

 

U

URL

 

Short for Uniform Resource Locator (URL) It refers to the full website address, i.e., https://www.teachingxyz.com/

 

V

Visual Editor

See text editor.

VPS Hosting

Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting is a service that provides customers access to a virtual machine. This type of virtualisation or private environment setup gives users their own private space on a physical drive. Only the space is shared on the computer, not the resources.

 

W

WAMP

Windows, Apache, MySQL, and PHP (WAMP). A software bundle installed for internal testing and web development. Another use for WAMP is to serve live sites.

Widgets

WordPress widgets are simple blocks of drag-and-drop content. They offer a quick, easy way for users to control the content and design inside footers and sidebars. Most WP themes now support widgets.

WordCamp

Wordcamps are friendly, informal, local events organised by WordPress communities. Fans of WordCamps use them to share tips, ideas, and to discuss all things related to WordPress. They’re also great places to make new friends who share the same or similar interests.

wp-config.php

A vital core WordPress file located in the root directory. The wp-config.php file stores critical database information. WordPress auto-creates this file during a fresh package installation.

 

X

XML

Extensible Markup Language (XML). A collection of specific rules used to encode documents. XML is easy to read by humans and computerised machines.

XHTML

Extensible HyperText Markup Language (XHTML). A markup (computer) language used to create and design websites and pages. All major browsers support XHTML.

This above glossary will have periodic updates as new technology and terms materialise.

Common Blogging Terms

Below is some of the most used blogging terminology. All serious bloggers should at least understand the meanings of these words and familiar phrases.

A

Avatar

A selected photo or graphical image used to represent the user (also see gravatar).

 

 

 

B

Blog

An informal personal type of website run by an individual or group. Blogs are platforms to publish stimulating content that encourages conversations or debates. They’re typically updated regularly, i.e., hourly, daily, or weekly, depending on the author. Also a verb, to blog (v).

 

Blogging

The act of adding new material, updating old posts, or responding to discussions.

 

Blogosphere

The blogosphere relates to all personal blogs and their owners collectively. It’s often referred to as a global community of bloggers. The blogosphere does not include blogs owned by major publications or corporations.

 

Blogroll

A blogroll is a blogger’s list of other recommended sites, often on the same or similar subjects. Blogrolls typically go onto the sidebar of a webpage. The links on a blogroll are often reciprocal, that is, if you show mine, I’ll show yours.

 

 

 

C

CAPTCHA

A challenge-response test program with a visual interface that users must type into or click on. The job of a captcha is to differentiate between humans and bots. They’re annoying but necessary tools. Captchas exist to thwart automated data extraction and spam from blogs and websites.

Category

A default taxonomy (method to classify content and data) in WordPress. WP categories are useful for organising posts into related groups. Categorising content makes life easier for webmasters and site visitors.

Comments

Written reactions by the readers of a blog post. The original author often gets involved in these online conversations or debates. Comments let the blogger exchange ideas and opinions with his or her audience. It’s low-tech interaction and an excellent way to attract traffic and engage with visitors.

 

 

 

D

Draft

 

A draft is a WP post or page that’s saved but not published. You can click the Save Draft link before you exit the unfinished content. As a backup, WordPress also has an auto-save function to rescue unpublished work. To open saved draft files, click the link at the top of a Post or Page screen. This link only becomes visible when there are actual saved draft files.

 

 

 

E

External links

 

Hyperlinks that point away from one domain (site A) to another domain (site B). If Facebook links to Google, that’s an external link to Google. External links are useful for off-page search engine optimisation or SEO. The more authority the linking site has, the more valuable it is to the recipient page.

 

 

 

F

Favicon

Favicons are small graphical file images (.ico) also called shortcut icons. They’re usually associated with website logos or brands. You can see an example of one if you open YouTube. Notice the little red and white play icon on the left side of the browser tab. Favicons make it easy to find the website if you have lots of open tabs. They also display at the side of saved bookmarks.

Feed

See RSS feed

 

 

 

G

Gallery

The gallery is where WordPress displays uploaded images, photos, illustrations, and videos on posts or pages. It’s a well-organised visual environment arranged in neat rows and columns. There are lots of plugins that give administrators more control over gallery presentations. Plugins also have options to sort media into albums and edit collections.

 

Gravatar

A globally recognised avatar (gravatar) is a free web service created by Mr Tom Preston-Werner. Members can upload personal avatars, which are simple graphical representations of them, their alter ego or character. Personal Gravatars follow you around the internet. They appear beside your name or handle when you post comments on blogs, websites, and social media.

 

 

 

I

Internal Links

Hyperlinks on a post or page that point to other posts or pages on the same blog, site, or store. Website owners typically use internal links to help visitors navigate the site or to point them to other pages of interest. They can also help with on-page search engine optimisation (SEO). It’s best to use internal links sparingly to avoid distraction, though.

 

 

 

P

Page

WordPress pages differ from posts in that they present static content rather than dynamic. Typical pages display one-off information about the site or site owner. About Us, About Me, and legal disclaimers are a few examples. Webmasters may update pages on occasion, but most are timeless and separate from the site’s interactive content. Thus, pages don’t need taxonomies like tags or categories.

 

Plugin

Plugins are software components written in PHP to work seamlessly with WordPress themes. They contain functions that enhance site performance, user experience, or to assist at the back end. There are 1000s of free and premium (paid) official and third-party plugins to choose from.

 

 

 

S

Sidebar

WordPress sidebars are widget-ready areas built into themes. Their purpose is to organise and display stuff that’s important but separate from the main content. A page can have 1–4 sidebars, i.e., left, right (vertical), and top, bottom (horizontal). Users can add or remove elements from the sidebars using drag-and-drop technology. Typical uses for WP sidebars is to display links, menus, polls, and ads.

 

Spam

The best definition of spam is unwanted and unwelcome user content. The most common example in the case of WordPress is spam comments. They’re easy to identify as they have little or nothing to do with the posted content. Spammers add links to comments with sites that allow that. Those links usually point to illegal or unethical websites that may also contain malware. WordPress webmasters have a range of tools available to keep spam down to an absolute minimum.

 

 

 

T

Tagline

WordPress taglines are akin to catch lines or slogans used to give brief descriptions of a blog post.

 

Tags

Keywords that help to describe all or some part of a WordPress post. Tags are smaller, more targeted versions of categories. Unlike categories, tags may change with each post in a group. You can assign multiple WP tags to a post and display them as a visual tag cloud in the theme’s sidebars.

 

Troll

Internet slang for a person who deliberately creates discord on the internet. Trolls often hide behind an alias to conceal their identity. They like to start arguments and cause upset by posting inflammatory or controversial remarks in discussions.

This Blog glossary will have periodic updates as new technology and terms materialise.

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