The most important WordPress terms explained

WordPress is a good way for beginners to create their own website or first blog. With WordPress, you can customize your website and incorporate additional elements as needed. The software is easy to install and operate, and if you get stuck, WordPress’s large community can help you out. But the numerous forums, video tutorials and instructions are not of much use if one fundamental aspect is missing: the vocabulary. We’ve compiled a list of the most important WordPress terms to help you on your WordPress journey:

Backend & frontend

These are two important terms that you will find in every WordPress glossary. Every CMS, as well as every blog software tool, generally has both frontend and backend areas. The term frontend describes the part of the website that visitors see. This includes the interface, which contains the layout, the design and all the visible content. The backend, however, is invisible to the user and can only be accessed by the website administrators. The coding, including the design specifications of a WordPress site, can be found in the backend.


WordPress is a content management system, or CMS for short. A CMS is a software system that is used to manage, create and maintain digital content. Such systems are mainly used for websites and designed so that people who don’t have extensive programming knowledge can use them. This makes them ideal for those who are just starting out in the field of web development.


The core is the basic structure of a WordPress installation. You will receive this when you download the blog system. Through customization, the installation of themes and plugins, and content creation, you can turn this basic structure into a unique, fully functional site.


FTP (File Transport Protocol) is a data transfer protocol that allows files to be exchanged between two different computers regardless of which operating systems are being used. Data uploads and downloads can be controlled through the browser or special programs like FileZilla. WordPress users use FTP when transferring files from local PCs to the web. FTP is also needed when creating backups or migrating a WordPress site to a new server.


If you want to run your own website, you’ll need a hosting provider to get a domain and make your website available via a server. Managed hosting is a popular type of web hosting, where the hosting provider not only sets up the web server but also takes care of management tasks like updates.


Interested in managed hosting for your WordPress site? IONOS offers managed WordPress hosting, helping you to keep your website up to date and fully customized to fit your specific needs.


MySQL is an open-source database management system (DMS) and is offered by most internet providers as a server database. Data can only be added, expanded or accessed with a DMS, making it the basis for every dynamic web presence. MySQL is essential for running a WordPress blog.

Open source

Open-source software is software whose source code is open to the public and can be modified by anyone. By making software open to everyone, a community of users can actively contribute to improving the software and implement new features on their own. Another added benefit of open-source software is that end-users can generally use the software for free. This is for example the case with WordPress.

A permalink is a hyperlink that permanently links to an article or post on a website. In the admin area, you can define the URL structure for links on your WordPress site under Settings> Permalinks. You can create permalinks for each post using article names, a sequential numbering system or unique identifiers.


PHP is a scripting language, or a programming language, that is used to write websites. WordPress is based on PHP. Thanks to its broad database support, protocol integration and abundance of function libraries, PHP has become one of the most widely used scripting languages.


Plugins offer users additional features and the option to expand the core of their WordPress site. The Plugin Directory contains an overview of all available plugins and can be installed in the admin area. The admin area is also where administrative tasks, regular updates for plugins, deactivation and deletion can be carried out. Check out our article about the best WordPress plugins to discover how plugins can help enhance your site’s functionality.


Numerous keywords or “tags” can be added to each WordPress article to help categorize it. Individual topics can be classified with the help of these keywords. Using tags, however, is optional.


Themes are design templates for WordPress sites and can be found on the main WordPress website. You will find a large selection of free themes ranging from simple blog designs to business layouts. Other designs are available for purchase. You can activate a new theme by going to the design/themes part of the menu. You can also create your own theme or customize an existing theme so that it better fits your needs. Knowledge of HTML, CSS as well as PHP basics puts you at an advantage.

Trackbacks and pingbacks

With trackbacks and pingbacks, you can automatically establish connections to other blog owners and their visitors. If you post a link to content from another WordPress site, the pingback function will automatically place a brief excerpt of your post that contains the link in the comment section of the post that you linked to. This, however, only works if both WordPress accounts have the trackback/pingback function enabled. You can learn more about trackbacks und pingbacks in our Digital Guide.


Widgets are individual elements that can be directly integrated into the sidebar or footer footer of a site. Classic examples of widgets include a calendar, a display of the latest articles and comments or a text input field with a search function. Widgets can be managed through the admin area, where they can easily be rearranged or placed in different widget areas using drag and drop.

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