WordPress is a widely-used, open-source platform for building, managing, and scaling websites. Known for its ease of use, flexibility, scalability and extensive collection of customizable themes and plugins, WordPress can be used to build and grow any type of website, ranging from simple personal blogs to complex eCommerce and enterprise websites – with the support of a large and growing international community.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a software and self-publishing platform with a host of tools for building, maintaining, and managing websites without requiring in-depth knowledge of coding or programming.

WordPress has a huge collection of themes, templates, and plugins to provide functionality for almost any purpose, even allowing businesses to build their own themes. Themes dictate the layout and styling of websites, and plugins extend their functionality.

WordPress is accessible to everyone, offering both free and paid versions, allowing anyone from an individual to a large enterprise to build and manage websites of any scale.

WordPress provides features and support for building responsive websites quickly and more easily, along with providing tools and support for email integration, and a wide range of domain name possibilities – all while providing robust and consistent security. Blogs, personal websites, business websites, portfolios, news sites, and E-Commerce sites are among the most common WordPress-built websites today.

WordPress is the most popular Content Management System (CMS), with 42.4% of all websites on the internet being built on WordPress. As an open-source CMS under the GPLv2 license, WordPress was released on May 27, 2003, and is owned and run by Automattic.

How does WordPress work?

WordPress is written in PHP and runs on either MySQL or MariaDB as its database. WordPress sites are hosted either with 3rd party hosting services or directly with WordPress (at wordpress.com) on a registered domain. An internal admin panel lets users manage posts, media, plugins, themes, website settings, additional CSS code, access & permissions, and more.

In addition to the internal WordPress admin panel, a hosting admin panel (usually via a service such as CPanel) is provided by the hosting service, allowing you to manage the hosting and installation of WordPress itself. Here you have access to all of the WordPress website’s root folders and directories, images and related thumbnails, and website/server configuration settings. It’s more complex and usually requires a developer to make changes, customize, and configure.

With its extensive collection of plugins, WordPress can provides a wide array of extensible functionality to a website, e.g., caching, image optimization, SEO optimization, minifying CSS and JavaScript, and much more.

Finally, a vast collection of themes provide pre-templated website designs, layouts, and even page types to aid in getting started. While these themes can be customized with custom code, they’re typically built around “no-code” drag-and-drop buildability. WordPress offers loads of free themes, along with a large collection of paid themes and paid support plans.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

There is often confusion surrounding the difference between the different WordPress offerings; namely between wordpress.com and wordpress.org. To better understand these differences, we need to understand how WordPress websites are hosted – which is typically done in one of three ways:

  • Self-hosted on a private/public hosting or cloud provider.

  • Hosted externally with hosting providers such as SiteGround.

  • Hosted with WordPress itself via various paid hosting plans at wordpress.com.

For self-hosted and 3rd party-hosted WordPress sites, one needs to download the WordPress Core files for free from wordpress.org. Usually, WordPress-dedicated hosting providers have a 1-click install for WordPress. Below, we’ll clarify the main differences between wordpress.org and wordpress.com.


How WordPress.com works

WordPress.com is a hosted platform that provides a simplified and user-friendly approach to creating and managing websites. It offers a straightforward setup process, as users can sign up and start building their website within minutes. WordPress.com takes care of the hosting, security, and software updates, allowing users to focus solely on creating content. It provides a range of customizable themes and plugins, although the options may be limited compared to WordPress.org. Users have the option to upgrade their plans for additional features, such as custom domain names, advanced design customization, and monetization options.

How WordPress.org works

WordPress.org is the self-hosted version of WordPress. It provides users with the freedom and flexibility to have full control over their websites. With WordPress.org, users need to obtain their own hosting and domain name, which grants them complete ownership of their site. Users have access to the entire WordPress software and can install any theme or plugin they desire. This level of customization allows for more advanced features, extensive design modifications, and the ability to monetize the website through various methods, including advertising and eCommerce.

WordPress.com offers convenience and simplicity by handling the hosting and technical aspects, making it suitable for beginners or those who prefer a hands-off approach. However, it comes with limitations on customization options and additional features, which may not meet the needs of advanced users. WordPress.org, on the other hand, requires users to manage their own hosting and domain, but it provides complete control over the website’s design, functionality, and monetization.

WordPress VIP for enterprises

WordPress VIP for enterprises is an agile CMS providing tools for publishing, collaboration, and workflow management for teams and content creators, typically on a larger scale than standard WordPress hosting supports – and at a higher price point. This suite of tools and functions allows enterprises to work more effectively and efficiently while streamlining collaboration throughout their structure.

With WordPress VIP, enterprises can more easily optimize their content at scale, and study trends and opportunities with extensive analytics, all with robust security, to boost sales through eCommerce channels and better reach business objectives. Enterprises can reliably scale high-performance enterprise websites and manage them accordingly.

“With WordPress VIP, enterprises can more easily optimize their content at scale, and study trends and opportunities with extensive analytics.”

WordPress VIP for enterprises integrates with Salesforce and Google Apps for analytics supports importing media from Google Photos and other external sources, and offers headless delivery for enhanced performance and access to a vast collection of plugins, impacting SEO efforts and UI/UX. Enterprises can also leverage WordPress’ world-class teams of experts to help with integrating, troubleshooting, scaling, and more.

The 4 components of a WordPress website

WordPress core

WordPress Core is the foundation of the WordPress platform and includes all necessary files and functionality to run a website. Users can access the admin dashboard and manage various aspects of their website, such as posts and media. WordPress Core needs to be installed before any themes or plugins as it contains important files like wp-config.php and functions.php.

WordPress database

The WordPress database is an essential component of any WordPress website, storing all of the data that the site requires to function. It’s typically a MySQL database, meaning data is organized into tables, rows, and columns. This data includes posts, media, changes, users, comments and replies, themes and plugins, site settings, and more.

Themes files

Theme files in WordPress are responsible for setting the styling, layout, background, image sizes, and typeface/font attributes of a website. Many WordPress themes include pre-built pages and page templates that users can easily apply to multiple pages on the website for a quicker setup. Some themes offer the ability to import demo content that users can customize with page builders.


WordPress plugins are like “apps” for your website, providing additional functionality and features in many areas. WordPress plugins are easily found, installed, and set up through the WordPress admin dashboard. Some examples of common plugin types include caching, minifying CSS and JS, contact forms, eCommerce, website backups, and many more.

Features of WordPress

WordPress is a powerful tool with which businesses and individuals build websites and basic web platforms. WordPress offers many features to help developers and non-technical individuals create and manage their websites without coding or extensive technical know-how. In this section, we dive into key WordPress features, how they work, and how they impact real-world use cases.

  • Flexible website builder

  • Powerful eCommerce

  • SEO and analytics built-in

  • Simple media and user management

Website builder

WordPress has a feature-rich website builder that offers a range of customizable options, offering 60 unique styles for different types of content and functionalities. WordPress’s block editor lets designers and developers effortlessly customize pages without coding or styling skills. The WordPress platform supports many plugin builders such as Elementor and WP Bakery, enhancing its default drag-and-drop page builder and its customizable features.

With WordPress, managing pages is quick and non-technical, including the ability to build responsive websites and pages, test this responsiveness for different types of devices – and more – all within the editor itself. Scheduling content publishing and managing user access for teams of admin/creators is easy to manage and access, making WordPress as user-friendly and as non-technical as possible.


WordPress is a wildly popular platform for eCommerce websites, with over 20% of WordPress sites reportedly using WooCommerce. Business owners and organizations can monetize websites and sell products online quite easily through debit/credit card blocks, non-technical website builders, and online payment platform integration. WordPress supports this extended functionality through using 3rd party plugins, with many free and paid themes offering default eCommerce features.

Hundreds of eCommerce themes are available for a wide range of industries and product types. Many of these themes are paid and come with recommended plugins that have well-established and documented support, providing an easy and simplified way for companies and brands to get started cost-effectively and reduce the chance of technical errors.

“WordPress is a wildly popular platform for eCommerce websites, with over 20% of WordPress sites reportedly using WooCommerce.”

SEO and analytics

WordPress is a great platform for SEO and is designed to guide search engine crawlers through posts, pages, and categories with minimal setup required. WordPress comes with many built-in SEO tools such as custom permalinks (more readable URLs), blog-rolling, and more – using the .htaccess file.

Hundreds of third-party plugins such as Yoast provide SEO tools and features such as easily adding titles and meta descriptions to posts, SEO analytics and best-practices, XML sitemaps, and much more. Plugins are used to enhance your website’s SEO efforts by providing functionality and features for caching, CSS and JS minification, image compression, lazy loading, CDNs, and more.

WordPress makes publishing, scheduling, and managing content straightforward, encouraging content marketing, which can be a direct driver of good search engine performance. WordPress seamlessly integrates with popular analytics tools like Google Analytics, Tags Manager, Search Console, and more, letting business owners monitor key website metrics, traffic data, speed and performance reports, search engine performance, and more.

Media and user management

WordPress provides intuitive media and user management, letting website owners easily upload, organize, and manage all of their image, video, and audio files from a single place. A built-in media library makes finding and using media files across multiple pages and posts intuitive and significantly faster – especially for large-scale content production and management.

Website owners can create and manage user accounts (particularly important for subscriber and login-restricted access for niche sites such as real estate portals and paywall content), set user roles and permissions, control who has access to different areas of the website (e.g., admin panel, theme settings, etc.). It’s ideal for collaborative efforts within teams and projects, managing user access to sensitive information and controls.

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Why is WordPress so popular?

WordPress is popular because it’s straightforward, free to use (for wordpress.org and 3rd party hosting), versatile, and scalable through plugins, themes, and more. WordPress provides a user-friendly interface, built-in features, and thousands of themes and plugins, making it easy to create and customize websites without coding, getting them up and running with minimal time and resource cost.

As WordPress is open-source, it’s free to use and has a large community of users and developers around the world, along with extensive supporting documentation, paid support, and a wealth of useful guides and information online. In terms of usage, WordPress has increased by an average of 12% per year since 2011; powering over 65% of websites that use a CMS.

What can WordPress build?

As a versatile and extensible CMS, WordPress is used to create a host of website types, from broad industries such as eCommerce websites and online stores, or niche websites such as forums and job boards. Here are some of the most common types of websites that WordPress is used to build and manage:

  • Personal blogs and portfolios

  • News and magazine sites

  • eCommerce stores

  • Non-profit websites

  • Listing sites and directories

  • Booking portals and travel websites

Personal blogs and portfolios

One of the most popular uses for WordPress is among bloggers as it provides an easy-to-use platform for creating and managing a blog with access to hundreds of straightforward themes and plugins. Built-in tools for writing, publishing, and updating posts, creating categories & tags quickly, and managing comments – along with SEO tools & plugins and accessible scalability – make WordPress the ideal choice for personal blogs and portfolios.

News and magazine websites

Simple management of user access, payment support for subscription-based services, scalability, and a host of versatile plugins and themes, WordPress is a popular CMS for news sites and small to medium scales. Plugins provide useful functionality to these types of websites, including featured articles, social media integration, and more.

eCommerce websites

WordPress can be used to create online stores through eCommerce plugins such as WooCommerce – one of the go-to choices for WordPress eCommerce websites. Website owners can add shopping cart functionality, product pages, payment gateway integration, and more – all without extensive technical knowledge and coding.

“eCommerce websites can easily add shopping cart functionality, product pages, and payment gateway integration without extensive technical knowledge and coding.”

Non-profit websites

Creating websites for non-profit organizations with WordPress is affordable and straightforward. Using plugins and dedicated free and paid themes, website owners can create donation pages with online payment support, volunteer & contact forms, and event calendars, dedicated event pages, social media integration, and more.

Listing and directory sites

WordPress is often used to create directory and listing websites with plugins such as Listable. Organizations can create websites that allow end users to search and filter listings by location, category, tags, and more. It’s a common choice for small real estate agencies, car sales companies, and many more. Listing owners often have dashboards whereby they can manage their listings, reply to inquiries, and more.

Booking and travel websites

WordPress is great for cost-effectively creating booking and appointment websites with plugins such as Appointments, along with dozens of industry-specific themes. The website’s users can schedule appointments and services online, often with Google Calendar integration. Hotels and vacation rental websites use plugins such as WP Hotel Booking to let their users search and book rooms, manage reservations, pay online, and view nearby attractions and points of interest (through embedded maps).

These are just a few examples of common types of WordPress websites. It’s an incredibly versatile and cost-effective solution for small to medium-scale enterprises and organizations to get accessible and performant websites up and running. Custom-made web platforms can cost a lot more and require hiring several full-time staff. The trade-off is that customizability is limited and there is only so far website owners can go without technical expertise.

Pros of WordPress

WordPress’ extensibility through plugins allows for easy integration of various functionalities, from caching and performance optimization to SEO and image compression. It simplifies the creation of responsive websites, eliminating the need for manual code adjustments. With built-in SEO optimization tools and plugins, WordPress facilitates quick & affordable visibility on search engines, offering a user-friendly interface, drag-and-drop page builders, and themes make website building accessible to non-technical users.

Extensibility with plugins

WordPress websites are easily extensible through plugins for caching, performance, image compression, lazy loading, SEO, page builders, CSS and JS minification, and more.

Responsive websites

WordPress makes it easy to build and test responsive websites across different devices and pages. The display view is intuitive and doesn’t require coding.

SEO optimization

With various SEO plugins, and many themes’ default SEO optimization tools, WordPress websites are great for building a presence on search engines quickly and affordably.

Simple and user-friendly

Most WordPress websites can be built using drag-and-drop page builders, themes, and plugins – without extensive knowledge of coding or web development.

Ease of publishing

From the admin dashboard, WordPress websites make publishing, managing, scheduling, and editing/updating posts and comments straightforward.

Extensive documentation

Most WordPress themes include 6 months of support, which can be further extended through paid plans. There is also a wealth of support and self-help documentation.

Cons of WordPress

Despite being a popular and widely-used platform, WordPress isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution and there are some limitations worth noting. WordPress’s customizability is restricted compared to custom-built websites, and frequent updates can overwrite modifications made to the core files. Additionally, the platform’s security vulnerabilities, despite improved detection, pose potential risks that organizations must address with extra caution.

Limited customizability

While developers can use custom code, modify Core files and settings, and more, WordPress is – by design – not as versatile or flexible as custom-built websites and web platforms can be.

Frequent updates

Each update overrides any previous changes made to WordPress Core files. It’s generally recommended to not tinker with these files as some WP updates can break your website or impair functionality.

Security and vulnerabilities

WPScan reported over 600 new vulnerabilities with WordPress plugins and themes. Part of this increase is due to improved vulnerability detection, but is still a drawback for certain types of websites.

Asked Questions.

Whether you’re new to WordPress or looking to optimize an existing website, we will address common questions and provide valuable insights to help you harness the full potential of this powerful platform.

WordPress is a flexible website builder that’s used to build, manage, and even host many types of websites in various niches and industries. WordPress provides access to a huge collection of customizable free and premium themes and plugins that are employed to incorporate and features such as contact forms, online booking, e-commerce, social media integration, and many more.

Yes, WordPress continues to be a popular choice for website building for a wide range of website types, niches, and industries. With a user-friendly interface, massive collection of themes and plugins, and open-source nature, WordPress remains a go-to platform for real-world applications in personal blogging website to large scale eCommerce websites and massive enterprise-scale websites – further demonstrated by WordPress’s growing usage around the world.

CNN Press Room, Tech Crunch, Microsoft News, Mashable, Sony Music,Many large websites are built in WordPress, including widely-known names such as The New Yorker, Rolling Stones, Best Buy, TechCrunch, and many more. These websites leverage WordPress to deliver high-quality user experiences, handle high traffic, manage content distribution, and much more – showcasing WordPress’s versatility and scalability for a broad range of real-world applications.

Yes, WordPress websites are highly scalable. WordPress is a powerful and flexible website building platform used to any type of website from small personal portfolios & blogs to large, complex eCommerce stores and enterprise web platforms. Offering a host of built-in features and tools – as well as providing access to a large collection of third-party plugins and themes – WordPress enables organizations and individuals to easily add functionality and expand the website’s capabilities to meet growing demand and business objectives.

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Let’s discuss the future of your organization and how we can guide you on your journey to successful digital transformation.