Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > The Web/Virtual Worlds/Social Networking

Introducing WordPress

In this lesson, you learn the basics of WordPress, different ways you can run WordPress, and ways to create your account on WordPress.com.
This chapter is from the book

Understanding What WordPress Is

WordPress is a powerful blog (short for web log) publishing system and content management system that is simple to set up and use. You can set up and manage your entire blog from any web browser. You don't need to be a web programmer or have a degree in information technology to start using it. All you need to know is how to log in, type your content, and click a button so the world can read your masterpiece.

So why should you use WordPress for your blog or—as many people have done—as the framework for your entire website? The answer is simple: It is easy to use, expandable, and affordable, and it offers a great community of support. Consider the following personal example.

Recently, our local chapter of a national organization recognized it was time to update its website. The content was fairly static. We would update it once or twice a month to announce the next meeting. Furthermore, our webmaster was the only one who could make changes to the content, and he was available for limited hours each week. Taking a cue from another chapter in our region, we looked at WordPress. It allows for more dynamic content, allowing any of the chapter board members to contribute and manage the content. Dynamic content leads to frequent readers, and having frequent readers (it is hoped) leads to more chapter members. WordPress worked for our neighbor, and it worked for us. Within a couple of months of our conversion to WordPress, our website was a thriving community with comments and conversations. As we had hoped, memberships also rose. The website was no longer an afterthought; it was at the core of how we communicated with our members.

Options for Using WordPress

WordPress comes in three basic modes: WordPress.com, WordPress.org, and WordPress MU (multiuser). Each one is described in this section so that you can decide which is right for you.

WordPress.com is what's known as a "hosted" solution, meaning a lot of the heavy lifting of installing and configuring the software has been taken care of for you. The benefits of this solution are that it is free and it doesn't take long to start using. You don't need to worry about paying for hosting, running a web server, or downloading software updates. You just create an account, name your blog, and start creating content. The drawback is that WordPress.com is not always as flexible as some people like. For example, you cannot install themes and plug-ins, run ads, or edit the database. To start using WordPress.com, visit its site at http://wordpress.com.

The second way to use WordPress is to download and install the software yourself from WordPress.org. This task requires a little more technical savvy (and money). The advantage is that you have more control over the appearance and functionality of the way your site is run. The additional flexibility, though, creates additional complexity. Don't worry; installing your own WordPress is not all that daunting, and you can read more about it in Lesson 10, "Installing WordPress." With this option, you need to pay for web hosting, so you can shop around for the service that best fits your needs. You need to ensure your hosting provider has PHP version 4.3 or greater (the programming language WordPress is built on) and MySQL version 4.1.2 or greater (the database behind WordPress).

The final way to run WordPress is to use WordPress MU (multiuser). It is the same software that runs WordPress.com, but it's meant for large organizations such as schools, networks, or companies that want to run dozens of blogs under one central administration. The use of WordPress MU is beyond the scope of this book. If you want more information on WordPress MU, you can find it at http://mu.wordpress.org.

WordPress Features

There are several reasons to consider WordPress instead of other blogging software sites or packages.

WordPress is extensible, meaning you can start with a basic setup and add on many plug-ins to extend the functionality of your software (see Table 1.1). The capabilities of plug-ins range from taking a simple poll to distributing audio and video files with your regular content. The official repository of WordPress plug-ins is available at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/.

Table 1.1. WordPress.org and WordPress.com Feature Comparison







Requires hosting



Requires download



Requires setup/installation



Ability to install your own templates



Ability to use sidebar widgets






Ability to install plug-ins



Ability to set up multiple blogs with one account



Customizable style sheets



One nice feature about WordPress is that you can always start simple with WordPress.com. Then, if you decide you want to extend your features beyond what WordPress.com can offer, you can migrate it later to your own website using the software downloaded from WordPress.org. If you think you might one day migrate from WordPress.com to your own website, there are some factors you should take in to account. We talk about them in Lesson 8, "Using RSS and Data Migration Tools."

WordPress has a large community of fiercely loyal followers that provide an excellent support network. If you have questions, you are likely to find the answers at http://wordpress.org/support or http://codex.wordpress.org. If you cannot find answers to your questions in this book, the Codex website is an excellent resource.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020