a glossary of terms for understanding wordpress

WORDPRESS. I don’t write about it be­cause I am not tech­ni­cally qual­i­fied to say much. All my sites were built by me us­ing Word­Press and are main­tained by me. I was able to fol­low most di­rec­tions, even though many were poorly writ­ten. It took too much time and was un­nec­es­sar­ily dif­fi­cult and frus­trat­ing — five years and five blogs later and I am still a novice who is con­tin­u­ally con­founded!

WP Glos­sary ex­ists to make it eas­ier for you to find your way through the Word­Press ecosys­tem.

To learn a new field, the abil­ity to un­der­stand in­struc­tions re­quires un­der­stand­ing tech­ni­cal words and jar­gon. In many es­tab­lished fields, dic­tio­nar­ies or glos­saries are avail­able for be­gin­ners. Learn­ing Word­Press is no dif­fer­ent from learn­ing other fields and many tu­to­ri­als sim­ply as­sume the reader un­der­stands the words be­ing used.

Un­til re­cently, such a thing was not read­ily avail­able to users, but a new glos­sary of WordPress-related terms is a la­bor of love from An­ders Norén, a well-known Word­Press de­signer and de­vel­oper liv­ing in Stock­holm.

Ac­cord­ing to An­ders:

For the last cou­ple of years, I have been re­spon­si­ble for writ­ing most of the client doc­u­men­ta­tion at the agen­cies I’ve worked at. That doc­u­men­ta­tion has usu­ally in­cluded some generic in­for­ma­tion about Word­Press and a glos­sary con­tain­ing de­f­i­n­i­tions of dif­fer­ent terms in the Word­Press ecosys­tem.

The last time I up­dated the glos­sary, it hit me that there must be a web­site for this — a list of Word­Press de­f­i­n­i­tions writ­ten not for Word­Press de­vel­op­ers, but for those who man­age Word­Press web­sites ei­ther as part of their work or in their spare time.

I spent some time look­ing, but I didn’t find what I was look­ing for. Most of the de­f­i­n­i­tion lists were writ­ten for de­vel­op­ers, with code ex­am­ples and lists of rel­e­vant func­tions. But I did find a do­main name.”


This is the main page on WP Glos­sary, where the terms de­fined on the site are listed al­pha­bet­i­cally. The site is crisp and white with a touch of Word­Press blue and noth­ing else to in­ter­fere with its func­tion and pur­pose.

WP Glossary

And that do­main name was WP Glos­sary, which is now a web­site that is home to the de­f­i­n­i­tions a hun­dred words that both techies and non-techies (like you and me) come in con­tact with rou­tinely when us­ing when you use Word­Press.

There are a lot of dif­fer­ent terms in the Word­Press ecosys­tem, and get­ting the hang of what they all mean can be dif­fi­cult. WP Glos­sary ex­ists to make it a lit­tle bit eas­ier for you to find your way.

WP Glos­sary con­tains de­f­i­n­i­tions of most of the words you come into con­tact with when you’re us­ing Word­Press. It’s built for any­one who spends time in the Word­Press ad­min­is­tra­tion panel, whether you’re a pro­fes­sional us­ing it as part of your job or some­one who has a per­sonal Word­Press blog.

The de­f­i­n­i­tions are short and to the point, be­cause you’re a busy per­son with bet­ter things to do than to spend all day read­ing about Word­Press user roles.”

Here are de­f­i­n­i­tions of three com­monly used terms that are of­ten not fully grasped and un­der­stood by the novice:


Ed­i­tors can view, edit, pub­lish and delete all con­tent on a web­site, ir­re­gard­less of the orig­i­nal au­thor. If a post has been saved as pend­ing by a user with the con­trib­u­tor user role, who can’t pub­lish con­tent on their own, a user with the ed­i­tor role can pub­lish that pend­ing post. In ad­di­tion to edit­ing con­tent, ed­i­tors can also man­age cat­e­gories.”


The el­e­ments in­cluded in the header vary from theme to theme and web­site to web­site, but some are more fre­quently oc­cur­ring than oth­ers. It usu­ally in­cludes the name or logo of the web­site, the main menu, a search field or but­ton for dis­play­ing the search field, and links to ac­counts on so­cial me­dia.”

Child theme

The theme that the child theme in­her­its its func­tion­al­ity and styling from is called a par­ent theme. The par­ent theme must be in­stalled on the site for the child theme to func­tion. A child theme can be used to cus­tomize the styling of the par­ent theme, add new func­tion­al­ity to it or make other changes that are lim­ited enough in scope that you’d rather not cre­ate a new theme from scratch.”


This page on WP Glos­sary shows the open­ing para­graph of the de­f­i­n­i­tion and de­scrip­tion of ‘ed­i­tor,’ a term reg­u­larly con­fused by nor­mal users who think of some­one with glasses and a red pen­cil when they see the word.

Observations and criticisms

The WP Glos­sary site is sim­ple, clean, and de­void of the clap­trap that makes so many other sites painful to view and dif­fi­cult to nav­i­gate. The site has the req­ui­site search func­tion so read­ers can look for a word and find it if it’s in the glos­sary with­out hav­ing to scroll through the list.

Un­for­tu­nately, the search ser­vice only looks up the key­words in the glos­sary — it will not look up words used in the text of the de­f­i­n­i­tions. There is a link where read­ers can sug­gest a term for An­ders to con­sider adding to the site.

While each en­try has a link to al­low read­ers to of­fer cor­rec­tions (and there­fore sug­ges­tions), WP Glos­sary would cer­tainly ben­e­fit by an ad­di­tional link on each en­try where con­founded read­ers could re­quest a spe­cific fur­ther ex­pla­na­tion of a trou­bling topic

If this ar­ti­cle was of any use to you, con­sider giv­ing this one a read: Oops! I Do Not Think That Means What You Think It Means


FEATURED IMAGE: An­ders Norén also de­signs beau­ti­ful, fully func­tional Word­Press themes and they are free! His themes are based on a sim­ple lay­out, good leg­i­bil­ity, and a con­ser­v­a­tive num­ber of ac­cent col­ors. “There’s a place for the big themes with a hun­dred lay­outs and a thou­sand op­tions, but I think that most users want some­thing sim­ple that does the job they’re look­ing to get done.”

The theme pic­tured above is Hitch­cock, which An­ders de­scribes as, “a port­fo­lio theme for de­sign­ers, pho­tog­ra­phers, and other cre­atives.”

To see a live demo of the Hitch­cock theme, click here.

To check out the rest of his themes, click here.




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