Getting started with WordPress


What is WordPress
WordPress is an open source blogging tool using PHP and MySQL. Don’t worry if you’re not comfortable working with PHP and MySQL, WordPress provides an easy to use online dashboard to update and make changes to your website without having to know programming. WordPress is open source and therefore highly customizable.  It also has easy to use plug-ins and provides beautifully designed websites for free via its template system (Premium templates are available on third party sites).

Who should use WordPress
WordPress can be used by anyone, regardless of their level of computer savvy. For beginners, the online dashboard provides a way to customize your website without having to deal with messy code. The dashboard also allows you to update the website appearance, make blog posts and perform other changes to the site. Advanced users can also use the dashboard or for more customization, manually edit the code. When editing, there are two options, the first being to edit the code through the online interface by going to the template editor (this only edits the template) or by using a FTP client and connecting to the server (this edits both the WordPress files and template files).

Setting up your WordPress website
To keep things simple, there are two things you will need for your website; a server to host the website files and a domain name for your site. Unfortunately, both things cost money but  there is a free alternative. Like a computer, a server will vary in power and performance. An entire server is most likely going to be overkill for your website, but you can purchase less powerful performance from a hosting company. Hosting companies sell the remaining portions of the server to other users, which results in cheaper hosting. As for domain names, you can purchase just about any name you can think of  (such as JordanRodriguez.com) from a hosting or registration company. The only downside is that you only own the domain name for a year at a time and have to pay to  renew each year to keep it.

Hosting your website for free
If you are creating a website and are looking to save money on hosting and the domain name, you can host it on WordPress.com for free. The only catch is that your domain name will need to use this format: name.wordpress.com. In addition to the name restrictions, they have restricted some of the functionality advanced users are able to use such as making WordPress code changes and adding plug-ins. However, hosting on WordPress.com will save you at about $60 for the hosting and domain registration.