Maybe you’ve seen the backend of a site that uses it but still wonder “what is WordPress?” It’s a great question — especially for anyone considering whether to use it for their blog or small business. As defined on their site, it is open source software you can use to create a beautiful website, blog, or app. And I think it’s a great definition, if you know what those things mean.
We’re going to dive into the nerdier bits of what it even is. But I want to also add that WordPress powers 29% of the internet. That makes it a huge tool in the global online community + something worth knowing about.
WordPress is open source software
When talking about software, lots of folks default to thinking about the stuff that is installed on their computer. And that’s not wrong at all. But software can also apply to a system like WordPress which runs on a server instead of an individual computer. (Learn more about hosting here.)
Even though this open source software isn’t installed on your computer, it is similar to software you might have like Word, Numbers, Chrome, etc in that it has features + functions for you to use.
The “open source” element of the definition of WordPress means that it is free to use + modify. That’s right, WordPress itself is free. A domain name, a hosting account + extra features for your website won’t be, but you can snag it to run your site without paying a dime.
WordPress to build a website, blog, or app
Since the definition WordPress provides is pretty short, the only other bit left to breakdown is the options they list for what you can create — website, blog or an app.
Not all websites are blogs, but all blogs are websites. Meaning that all blogs have a web address (domain or URL) for users to visit but not all websites (domains or URLs) have a blog component to them. My bet is that this is why they list these out as separate items.
And because of how WordPress is built — especially that open source bit — it does work for app developers as an option for creating their app. Yet most folks use WordPress for a website +/or blog.
Content management system
One term that WordPress left out of their own definition is content management system or CMS for short. This is a nerdy way of saying it’s a tool that you can organize content with.
For many of us, content includes blog posts, pages, images, PDFs + other media. You can also use WordPress to manage users for a membership site, manage form entries for surveys, products for an ecommerce store + much more. The possibilities are almost endless.
Wrapping it up
At it’s core, WordPress is a free tool that folks can use as the building blocks for their online interactions. Whether that’s a blog, a website or an app, doesn’t matter. What matters is that they can mold it to be what they need.
And that’s the reason that tiny blue orange has been dedicated to WordPress for over a decade. It’s a seriously flexible resource that doesn’t have to be complicated or intense. Which is why we built a program for teaching WordPress users how to make the most out of their website. If you want to learn to love WP, sign up here.