WordPress is a free to download website builder that is powered by PHP and MySQL. The PHP side of the system dictates what the website looks like, and what it can do. The MySQL side dictates most of the content (usually excluding images) and some administration settings like user details.
Originally built as a simple blogging platform, WordPress has become the most popular content management system on the web, and is used by over 14.7% of Alexa Internet’s “top 1 million” websites. WordPress is open source, meaning that anyone can download the code, and make changes and additions.
WordPress has three key areas of code that, when put together, create web pages. The core code is maintained by WordPress and can be updated automatically with one click. On top of the code are templates, or themes, which users can install automatically. There are thousands of free themes to choose from, but there are also premium themes. As an adjunct to the main code, there are plugins that can either add to the look of a theme, or a function within the system.
WordPress has become the most popular content management system because of the following points.
- WordPress is VERY easy to install and use.
- WordPress is very easy to modify
- There are thousands of themes to choose from
- There are thousands of possible modifications to WordPress
- WordPress is free to download and install
- For most advanced uses, any good developer can modify the code.
There are some risks associated with WordPress though. Because the system is open source and free to modify, various people with evil intentions have worked out ways to get into user’s websites and do evil things to them. Most of these problems have been overcome, and there are a lot of ways to protect yourself. However it is something professional users should be aware of.