What is WordPress?

A blue circle similar to the WordPress logo with a question mark inside of itIn my last post, What is a Website?, I talked about internet servers, which are computers connected to the internet that do nothing but download website files to other computers. When you are “surfing” the internet, you are actually downloading files from an internet server every time you click on a link for a webpage.

WordPress is similar to the software on your computer. It is a program you use to create and maintain a website, but the WordPress software is installed on an internet server instead of on your own computer.

Like other software, WordPress is made up of files in folders (folders may also be called “directories”). When you put these files and folders on an internet server, it is called a “WordPress installation.” When you add website content to your WordPress installation, such as text, images, videos, etc., that content is also stored on the server along with the files of your WordPress installation.

How do I get internet server space for my WordPress site?

You have two options. The first option is to sign up for a WordPress.com account. This account includes server space that has WordPress pre-installed. Your other option is to choose your own web host, and install WordPress into your rented server space yourself. This is called “self-hosting.” (If you aren’t sure what all this talk of internet servers is referring to, please read What is a Website?).

WordPress is “open source.” This means that the programming code in WordPress is public, and any programmer can participate in WordPress improvements, or can make tools that will be compatible with WordPress, such as themes or plugins.

WordPress is free. You can download WordPress to your hosting space without charge. A WordPress.com account with WordPress already installed is also free.

Should I choose WordPress.com or self-hosted WordPress?

In this post, I discuss the differences between WordPress.com and “self-hosted” WordPress, and how to decide which version of WordPress is the best fit for you.

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