WordPress is a popular open source blogging platform that is used by many as the base for their blogs, although it is also a powerful CMS that can be used to power the backbone of ordinary websites. WordPress is a PHP and MySQL based system meaning that it will operate on Windows and Linux servers, although some of the more advance features will only function correctly on Linux web hosting services. It is very easy to install WordPress as all you need to do is setup a MySQL database and then upload the files, from there it is just a simple case of following the installation wizard as this will do everything else for you. WordPress is ideal for small websites because it is very easy to manage meaning that once you have applied a simple these to your WordPress installation, it is simply a case of adding the required content to your WordPress blog. On the other hand, WordPress is also ideal for use in situations where the blog or website in question is going to receive a large number of visitors; this is because WordPress is a very scalable web application that can be modified to cope with large visitor numbers easily.
Appropriate Web Hosting Package
Choosing the appropriate web hosting service for a WordPress blog can be hard since virtually any web hosting package available will be more than suitable for the hosting of a WordPress based website. The recommended form of web hosting would be a Linux web hosting package as Linux will allow you to make the most of WordPress’ features such as URL rewriting for permalinks; a Linux web hosting service will also offer you the option of low cost web hosting services. As long as you have PHP and MySQL installed on the server, a Windows server will also be able to host a WordPress installation when configured correctly. If your requirements are more demanding then WordPress will work fine with any dedicated server, granted that the server is running either Windows or Linux; you may wish to use multiple servers if you have high visitor loads since distributing the database over to a second server whilst retaining a primary web server will offer you a more stable WordPress web hosting solution.
Using WordPress for a Blog
WordPress’ primary purpose is to be used as the base for a blog to which articles and other content are published on a regular basis. The main features of WordPress are orientated towards this since you can easily add content using the WYSIWYG editor through the admin interface at any time. You can also choose to allow your readers to comment on any of the posts you make to your blog, which makes it easy to create a ‘community spirit’ with your blog as you can encourage reader debate. The application will also create an RSS feed of your latest posts that your readers can then add to their favourite RSS reader so that they are informed of any new posts that you make to your WordPress blog.
Using WordPress as a CMS
If you don’t want to create a blog but want to instead use WordPress as the base of an ordinary website then you will be able to using the ‘Pages’ feature that is standard to WordPress. As is the case with posts, WordPress will assign a permalink to each individual page, albeit in a more professional and organized manner than is the case with posts since the permalink will just be the page name. You manage your pages in the same way as you would manage your posts as the WYSIWYG editor is universal to WordPress. The application is a popular standard CMS because it is easy to expand and is very scalable; it is used by some of the world’s busiest websites for both their blogs and standard system management, which is a good advert for the popularity and stability of the application.
As WordPress is such a popular application, many developers have taken it upon themselves to create their own array of plugins based on the WordPress API. A plugin allows you to expand the uses of a particular application by adding new features that aren’t part of the application by default and as is the case with WordPress, there are a number of different plugins available for a variety of different purposes. Plugins can be installed fairly easily as it is usually just a case of uploading the plugin files to your web space and then activating them through your WordPress administrator interface, although some of the more complex plugins may require that you create a new database so that they are able to function properly. A good example of a plugin that will benefit your WordPress web hosting service is WP Super Cache – this is designed in a way that will boost the performance of your WordPress installation and will make it more scalable.
Themes and Design
WordPress also has a built in themes mechanism which makes it easy for you to create your own designs to work with WordPress; it is also helpful if you are using WordPress along an existing website and wish to integrate the two installations seamlessly. Similarly to plugins, there is also an extensive themes database that contains themes and designs that have been created by third-party developers and designers for use on any WordPress website. Although third-party themes are a good way to get started, to make the most of WordPress it is recommended that you create your own themes to use as if you are an experienced web developer then it really isn’t that hard to do.
In conclusion, WordPress is such a popular application because it is easy to expand use any of the plugins that can be downloaded from the main WordPress website. The good thing with WordPress is that it will work on any web hosting service meaning that regardless of the platform that you are using, compatibility is pretty much guaranteed. If you don’t have your own web hosting service then it is a good idea to consider a free hosted WordPress blog for your needs.