What is WordPress? Explained in detail

What is WordPress? Explained in detail for beginners.

A shortlist of contents in this article:

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a free and open-source content management system written in PHP and paired with a MySQL or MariaDB database. Features include a plugin architecture and a template system, referred to within WordPress as Themes.


WordPress users may install and switch among different themes. Themes allow users to change the look and functionality of a WordPress website without altering the core code or site content. Every WordPress website requires at least one theme to be present and every theme should be designed using WordPress standards with structured PHP, valid HTML (HyperText Markup Language), and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Themes may be directly installed using the WordPress “Appearance” administration tool in the dashboard, or theme folders may be copied directly into the themes directory, for example, via FTP. The PHP, HTML, and CSS found in themes can be directly modified to alter theme behavior, or a theme can be a “child” theme that inherits settings from another theme and selectively overrides features. WordPress themes are generally classified into two categories: free and premium. Many free themes are listed in the WordPress theme directory, and premium themes are available for purchase from marketplaces and individual WordPress developers. WordPress users may also create and develop their own custom themes. The free theme Underscores created by the WordPress developers has become a popular basis for new themes.


WordPress plugin architecture allows users to extend the features and functionality of a website or blog. As of January 2021, WP has 58,164 plugins available, each of which offers custom functions and features enabling users to tailor their sites to their specific needs. However, this does not include the premium plugins that are available (approximately 1,500+), which may not be listed in the WordPress.org repository. These customizations range from search engine optimization (SEO) to client portals used to display private information to logged-in users, to content management systems, to content displaying features, such as the addition of widgets and navigation bars. Not all available plugins are always abreast with the upgrades, and as a result, they may not function properly or may not function at all. Most plugins are available through WordPress themselves, either via downloading them and installing the files manually via FTP or through the WordPress dashboard. However, many third parties offer plugins through their own websites, many of which are paid packages.

Award received by WP

  • Winner of InfoWorld’s “Best of open source software awards: Collaboration“, awarded in 2008.
  • Winner of Open Source CMS Awards’s “Overall Best Open Source CMS“, awarded in 2009.
  • Winner of digitalsynergy’s “Hall of Fame CMS category in the 2010 Open Source“, awarded in 2010.
  • Winner of InfoWorld’s “Bossie award for Best Open Source Software“, awarded in 2011.
  • WordPress has a five-star privacy rating from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

WordPress Releases

VersionsRelease DatesDownloads
5.7March 9, 2021
5.6December 8, 2020
5.5August 11, 2020
5.4March 31, 2020
5.3November 12, 2019
5.2May 7, 2019
5.1February 21, 2019
5.0December 6, 2018
4.9November 16, 2017
4.8June 8, 2017
4.7December 6, 2016
4.6August 16, 2016
4.5April 12, 2016
4.4December 8, 2015
4.3August 18, 2015
4.2April 23, 2015
4.1December 18, 2014
4.0September 4, 2014
3.9April 16, 2014
3.8December 12, 2013

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