WordPress Terminology

WordPress has a lot of words that are not clearly defined. To help with this, our goal is to make the terms understandable to anyone regards the level and skill. WordPress can be difficult to understand due to many abbreviations and we have made a glossary of the most common WordPress terms.


Admin Area – This is the backend of the site also known as the Dashboard where the admin can adjust settings, create posts, pages, menus, etc.

Admin Bar – The floating bar at the top of the site with links to create posts, pages, etc. These are shortcuts to admin tasks.

Administrator – The primary user of a WordPress website. The administrator has access to all the tools and features. A site can have multiple admins.

Author – A user role that can upload files, and write, edit, publish, and delete posts they have created. They also have access to edit their profile.

Autosave – a feature in WordPress that saves changes to posts, pages automatically in the edit screen. If there is no internet connection, it will use the local storage of your browser.


Back End – The backend of the admin area or part of the website only logged in users can see. It’s consists of the admin panel and website settings.

Backlink – a link that a website gets from another website.

Backup – A copy of your website’s files. Backups are performed manually or with plugins. Always have a backup stored away from your website.


Category – Allows you categorize your topics and group contents into sections.

Child Theme – a sub-theme that inherits all of its functionality and styling from a parent theme.

CMS(Content Management System) – a program that lets you create, edit, organize and publish content. WordPress is the most popular CMS.

Comments – allows visitors to leave a response to your posts. This can be feedback, questions.

Cookies – small files stored in a user’s browser that provides information about browsing.

cPanel – a control panel provided by the web host that allows you access and manage files and websites from the server. It provides tools to install WordPress, backups, access FTP and more.

CSS(Cascading Style Sheets) – A style sheet is a language that is used to define the visual appearance and formatting of WordPress websites. You can make changes to styles, colors, and more.

Classic Editor – WordPress’s new classic Editor. The new editor is more similar to other modern CMS’s and is in line with modern coding standards.


Database – a set of tables that are used to store and organize data. WordPress Files are stored in a database on your host’s server.

Dashboard – the main admin screen in the backend of WordPress. It includes widgets, links to all the backend tools, information about the website.

Dedicated Hosting – a hosting plan where the server and resources are dedicated to one website.

Divi – A premium theme for WordPress with a built-in builder. It is easy to use and works perfectly fine.

Draft – the status of a page or post that is saved but not published. It is only visible to the administrator.

Domain name – The name of a website. It is the name users enters into a browser bar to get more information about your website. The name is then converted by DNS to link the user to the physical IP address.


Excerpt – a summary of an article with a link to the complete article. They can be created several ways: by using <!-more-> tag inside the content, autogenerated by the theme. The Excerpt field can be enabled by selecting Screen Options at the top of the post editor screen.

Editor – a user role with access to upload files, and write, edit, publish, and delete posts, including those written by other users.

Elementor – another premium theme for WordPress with a built-in builder. Easy and powerful theme.


Featured Image – an image thumbnail, that shows on the frontend for posts, pages, and custom post types.

Footer – the bottom portion of the web page. It usually includes special menus with links to pages.

Front End – to be part of the website that visitors see and interact with.

FTP(File Transfer Protocol) – an internet protocol that allows files to transfer across the internet from one computer to another.

functions.php – the theme functions file is a template that defines functions, actions, filters, and classes that template in the theme will use.


Gravatar – an image that represents a user that’s usually associated with their email addresses. You can sign up by going to Gravatar.

GitHub – a hosting service for code projects. Anyone can use it for free and host collaborates on projects. Lots of WordPress themes and plugins are developed using code from GitHub.

Gutenberg – WordPress’s block-oriented editor. Content is created using individual blocks that can be easily moved up and down within the content of the website post.


Home Page – The main page of a website. You can choose for your site to show your latest posts or select a page to be the home page.

Header – the part of the website that is displayed at the top of your pages. It includes menus and logos.

Hook – a function that can be applied to an Action or a Filter in WordPress to add new functions to WordPress.

Hosting – the place where your files are stored online and serve the users.

HTML(HyperText Markup language) – the main language used to make webpages. HTML is passed along other languages to the browser such as CSS, PHP, and JavaScript.

.htaccess – a configuration file that’s used to override certain server configuration settings. It can rewrite URLs to make them more readable.


IP Address (Internet Protocol) -numbers and characters that make the address of your network hardware. It helps connect the computer to any network, then the network is connected worldwide. IP Addresses can be for private and public networks, and they can be static or dynamic.


JavaScript – a programming language that is implemented in browsers for client-side scripting. Theme developers use it to add dynamic elements to websites such as sliders, buttons, etc. Learn JavaScript in a month


Localhost – The localhost is basically the computer you are currently using. It can be used to host a test and development installation of WordPress (types includes WAMP and XAMPP) that do not live on the internet.


Media – This is where you can upload images, files, videos, audio, etc in WordPress.

Menu – The navigation links that are usually placed in the header and footer. They link to the main pages and subpages of the website.

Multisite (MU) – Simply put, more than one WordPress site in a single installation. Each website can have different themes and plugins but they must be installed on the primary domain.

MySQL – The open-source database management system that WordPress uses to store and retrieve blog posts, pages, images, comments, meta, etc. Functions of MySQL 


Navigation menu – The links in the menu that redirects to other pages on the website.

Nameservers – Servers hosted b the domain registrar that translates the domain name to an IP address.


Plugins – They are extensions that add features to a WordPress site. They can add features such as security, learning platforms, eCommerce, forums and lots more.

Plugin Editor – Text editor built into WordPress that allows you to view and edit the codes of a plugin.

Parent Theme – A theme that provides its functionalities, features, and styling to a child theme.

Page – A page in WordPress usually refers to the page post type. It is one of the default pre-defined WordPress post types. They can be hierarchal and have sub-pages. Common pages include the home page, About, Contract, etc.

Permalink – These are the permanent URLs of your blog posts and pages. The default permalink format of WordPress just provides the post number (https://www.switchwebstudio.com/6543). It is best to change it to the custom format (https://www.switchwebstudio.com/contactus).

Post – The articles of a website.


Query – selecting, searching, updating, and inserting data into a database. WordPress queries the MySQL database in order to search for content and add new content.

Quick Draft – a module in the WordPress dashboard that allows you to quickly create a post draft without having to open the post editor. You can provide the title, add content, and save as draft.

QuickTag – a shortcut that inserts HTML code into your posts to style text, add forms, etc.


Responsive Theme – a theme that automatically adjusts its layout and image sizes to fit the screen shape, size, and resolution that the users are using to view the site. They provide the optimal user experience regardless of what device the visitors have.

Revisions – a feature that saves a snapshot of your posts every few seconds that you’re working on it. If your browser or computer crashes, or you want to undo something, you can reload a revision so you won’t lose too much of your work.

Robots.txt – a text file that provides information to web crawling bots. SEO themes and plugins create them to help search engines to properly categorize your website and ignore pages you’ve selected to exclude.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) – publishes your content in XML using several web feed formats to automatically syndicate your posts to be read in feed readers.


Screen Options – a tab at the top of the page in the WordPress backend where you can choose settings for that screen. Make selections for the main dashboard screen, posts, pages, custom post types, menus, themes, plugins, etc.

Security Keys – strings of characters in the wp-config.php file that are used to authorize and encrypt cookies and apps.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – the act of optimizing pages and posts to make them easier to find and identify by search engines. It improves organic, or unpaid, traffic.

Server – or web server, the computer on the web that hosts your website and serves the HTML to your visitors.

Settings – a tab in the WordPress dashboard with sub-menus to control the settings of your WordPress website. Tabs include General, Writing, Reading, Discussion, Media, Permalinks, and Privacy.

Shared Hosting – a hosting plan where multiple websites share the space and resources of the server. If one site gets a lot of traffic and uses a lot of space, there are fewer traffic and space resources for the other websites on the server. For more information about hosting plans, see the article How To Choose The Best Hosting Service for Divi and WordPress.

Shortcodes – small tags that bring PHP code into your content. Rather than pasting in the code itself, you simply paste or select the shortcode that represents the full code. This makes code easier to use within your content.

Sidebar – a widget-ready area in your WordPress theme. They’re usually on the right or left side of the layout, but they can also be above or below the header, content, or footer. They can hold an unlimited number of widgets and are a great way to display certain design elements and information such as links or ads.

Slider – a way of showing posts, images, and other content within a slideshow. They can be added with plugins or a builder such as Divi. You can choose the content they show, the time it takes for them to slide, the transition type, etc.

Slug – the URL-friendly version of a post title, custom post type title, tag, and category.

Spam – any type of unwanted content that a website receives. It can be in the form of comments, pingbacks, user registrations, form content, etc. The content usually tries to sell a product, contains lots of links, links to unethical websites, includes malware, and more. Spam is usually handled through a spam-blocking plugin such as Akismet or a security plugin.

Splog – a spam blog created for the purpose of manipulating search engines and displaying ads. They often contain fake or stolen content stuffed with keywords.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) – the standard security protocol for encrypting the link between a server and the user’s browser. They’re used to secure transactions and protect information. In order to use them, the admin must install an SSL certificate on the server. Modern browsers identify the security level of a website.

Static Front Page – WordPress shows your latest blog posts by default (a dynamic front page), but you can choose for your website to show a specific page as the home page. This can be any page you want. Choose the page in the theme customizer or the theme settings in the Reading tab.

Subdomain – a domain that is a child of a parent, or primary, domain. The name of the subdomain is added to the front of the primary domain’s URL and it can be a different website. For example, the Aspen Grove Studios subdomain called test would have the URL test.aspengrovestudios.com. Subdomains are set up in the server’s cPanel.

Subscriber – a user role that can log in to the dashboard and create and maintain their profile. They can’t write, publish, or edit articles, but it does make it easier for them to leave comments.


Tag – a pre-defined taxonomy that helps describe a post. They’re more specific than a category. They’re most similar to keywords. They help you organize your posts and can be displayed in several ways. Users can click on tags and see posts with just those tags. They must be added to the posts manually, but there’s no limit to the number you can add.

Tagline – a short sentence that describes the website. It usually sits under the logo. Taglines are usually catchy phrases that can provide an easy way of showing the purpose of the site.

Taxonomy – attributes that help in the classification and organization of content. Categories and tags are taxonomies.

Template – a file used by the theme to define part or all of a page. The header, footer, sidebar, comments, and single posts are templates.

Template Tag – tags that are used in template files in order to provide specific instructions. They’re used by themes to display dynamic content. Themes and plugins can create their own template tags.

Term – a group or subset of a taxonomy. They have a title, slug, and a description.

Text Editor – there are two types of text editors. One is an editor that can edit files in plain text format. They can be used to write code. Plain text is preferred over word processors because they don’t add formatting to the code. Notepad, Notepad++, Coda, and similar text editors are popular for code. The other is the content editor for WordPress posts. The classic and Gutenberg editors have tabs for editing visually and in code.

Theme – the template of a WordPress website that the user sees in their browser. It’s the user interface and determines the sites’ layout, colors, interactivity, etc. Themes are made up of several files to create the look and feel of the site. Designers can create them and users can customize them. You can purchase them or install them from the WordPress directory. You can easily change from one theme to another.

Theme Customizer – a customizer that works on the frontend where you can change the styles of the site, choose menus, widgets, change the footer, add backgrounds, custom CSS, and lots more. Some themes add new features to the theme customizer.

Theme Editor – a text editor built into WordPress that allows you to view and edit the code of a theme. It’s found under Appearance in the dashboard menu.

Theme Options – a custom admin page that comes with many themes where you can enable or disable options for the theme. Not all themes include options.

Thumbnail – a small version of an image that WordPress displays in many ways such as on the loop page and in the media library.

Toolbar – the thin black bar that appears at the top of the website for users that are logged in. it contains shortcuts to useful areas such as the dashboard, customizer, creating posts, pages, menus, widgets, themes, comments, etc. This can be disabled in the user’s profile screen.

Tools – a dashboard menu with several specialized tools for non-common tasks. Tools include a categories and tags converter, import, export, site health, export personal data, and erase personal data.

Trackback – this is like a pingback, except they notify you when an author writes something related to your post even if they don’t link to you. This is a way of interconnecting blogs and can be used as acknowledgment or references.

Trash – post types such as comments, posts, and pages have a trash folder. When you delete them they appear in this folder for 30 days. You can restore them any time you want within the 30 days. After 30 days they are deleted from the database. You can empty the trash any time you want. Once you empty the trash the files are permanently deleted.


Update – official modifications to the WordPress core, themes, and plugins that increase their version level. When WordPress, themes, and plugins have an update available a notification is sent to your WordPress installation and you’re alerted that an update is available. Some updates require permissions, such as a subscription.

Upload – a file that’s uploaded to your WordPress website. They’re usually uploaded in the media screen. Not all users have permission to upload files.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator) – the address of a specific website or file. It’s the complete string that’s displayed in the address bar.

User Role – describes the permissions of users. The permissions determine the capabilities the user has, such as assigning user roles, installing plugins, creating posts, publishing posts, etc. User roles have predetermined permissions, so anyone that’s assigned a certain role has those permissions. User roles from the most permissions to the least include Super Admin, Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor, and Subscriber.


Visual Editor – the visual tab in both the classic rich text editor and in Gutenberg. Its goal is to show visually in the backend what your post will look like on the frontend.

VPS Hosting (Virtual Private Server) – a hosting plan where your website has a dedicated amount of resources and storage space. Other websites may be on the server, but they will never have access to your resources and space, so it’s virtually the same as having your own dedicated server. It’s more economical than dedicated servers. For more information about hosting plans, see the article How To Choose The Best Hosting Service for Divi and WordPress.


Widget – a piece of code that performs a function and is added to widget-ready areas such as sidebars. A widget can be just about anything including a calendar, login form, navigation menu, list of the most recent posts, photos, text, HTML, and lots more. Widgets are listed in the widget menu in the dashboard. You can drag and drop them where you want them within the widget areas.

Widget-ready Area – a pre-defined location within your theme’s layout that can display widgets. Some themes, such as Divi, add new widget areas. Some allow you to create your own widget areas.

WordCamp – organized WordPress conferences where users come together to learn more about WordPress and meet others in the community. We love WordCamp and hope to see you there!

WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) – an editor that’s meant to display your content as you create it in the same that it will appear to your visitors. Gutenberg and the Divi Visual Builder are WYSIWYG editors.


XML (Extensible Markup Language) – a markup language that works with HTML to share and transmit data across the Internet. XML defines the data and HTML displays it.

More articles: Why I need a website for my business







2 thoughts on “WordPress Terminology”

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