a glossary of terms for understanding wordpress

Es­ti­mated reading time is 5 min­utes.

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!

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.


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


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.”


AndersNoren WPGlossary1 1000

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.”


AndersNoren WPGlossary2 1000

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


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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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