WordPress is a totally free web publishing solution for creating and running blogs and any other kind of website, easy to use by anyone without having to learn any programming language.
It’s an open-source software called CMS (content management system) based on PHP programming language and MySQL (a database management system) that lets you create and manage dinamic content without having to be a web developer.
WordPress is by far the most popular website bilder since it powers over 35% of all the sites on the net, wich means that around one in three websites are using wordpress!
This CMS was created in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little mainly as a blogging platform, but since then e then it has evolved – thanks to its open-source nature and a huge community of developers and contributors – to become an advanced platform that lets you create any type of website! It is, in fact, the most common solution to build online stores, business websites, forums, Social Networks, Portfolios and much more…
Due to its flexibility and extensibility, WordPress is the right choice for beginner’s small blogs but also for extremely complex projects. Big businesses like The New York Times, Microsoft itself and entities like the White House use WordPress!
WordPress is available in 2 versions:
- WordPress.org: Also called Self-Hosted WordPress, it’s the downloadable open-source software that can be installed on your own web hosting service and create the website you want without limitations. Note that with the best web hosts (links are below) you don’t have to download and install the software, it can be done with some easy steps via control panel. When people say WordPress, usually this self-hosted software is meant.
- WordPress.com: It’s an online blogging service provided by a for-profit company (Automattic) that provides hosting, a subdomain and basic functions for free. Top level domains and more options are offered with paid plans. This service has many restrictions, for instance, only a limited choice of themes can be used, third-party plugins and themes cannot be installed (safe for expensive plans). Furthermore, neither affiliate links nor Google Adsense are allowed, wich means that you cannot use this online platform if you plan to get some income with your site/blog.
It’s clear that WordPress.com and WordPress.org are different web solutions not related with each other, and it’s important not to confuse them. The first one ( the self-hosted version) is highly recommended for many reasons (installation and maintenance are fairly easy). Only with WordPress.org you can achieve full control over your website, extend the functionality without boundaries and most important, monetize your site. Some of the best hosting companies with affordable plans that fully support WordPress are: A2 Hosting, Siteground and Hostinger.
The main reason for WordPress’s success is its incredible flexibility and extensibility, which allows the addition of widgets, third-party plug-ins (over 50,000) and themes (more than 5000), in other words you have plenty of choices which allow you to radically change the website’s look and feel of user navigation.
One of the most powerful and flexible themes around is definitely Divi from Elegant Themes, suitable for everyone because it allows you to make changes not only to pages and articles, but also to fixed elements such as the sidebar, footer and header in a visual way. Another interesting theme, considered among the best in the world, is definitely Genesis by StudioPress (it’s actually a framework that allows the installation of a child theme).
For those interested in creating video streaming sites, a good choise could be the eccellent products of WP-Script that currently offers 5 themes and many plugins to create and manage a video website.