What is a CMS? Why do I need both hosting and a domain name? What’s the difference between a theme and a framework?
Every blogger knows that WordPress can be a bit overwhelming. And even though it’s the most popular blogging platform in the world, there are many WordPress terms that even experienced bloggers are unfamiliar with. This is why I put together this post that explains many common WordPress and web development terms.
I know it’s pretty boring, but the glossary will help you take control of your website. Because I want to explain over 40 WordPress terms, this week I will post the web development glossary and next week I will share more WordPress and blogging terms.
What’s the difference between a blog and a website?
Blogs and websites are very similar and the words are often used interchangeably so it’s very hard to explain the difference.
A website is a page or a collection of pages that are linked together. Websites are usually static (the content is rarely updated) and the information is not ordered by date. There are many types of websites: personal, business, portfolio, e-commerce, news, or forums.
A blog is a type of website that contains posts shown in reverse chronological order. Blog is short for web log, and blogs were created for online journals. Blogs often have comment forms at the end of each post and it’s easier to connect with your readers.
Depending on your goals, you can have a website, a blog, or a website with a blog.
Web development glossary
Caching is a technology that makes your website load faster. When you visit a web page, you will load the whole page directly from the server. After the first visit, your browser will store a simplified version of that page so that the website will load faster the next time you visit it.
CMS comes from Content Management System. A CMS is an application that helps users create and modify digital content. It helps you create, edit, and organize your website’s content with the help of a front-end user interface. This helps non-developers to build websites and publish posts and pages.
Popular examples of CMSs are WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, and Squarespace.
If you have a self-hosted website, you might have heard of or even used a cPanel. This is a Linux-based control panel that will help you access and administer your web host using a graphic interface.
Domain Name Systems (DNS) are the equivalent of phone books. They maintain a directory of domain names and transform them into IP addresses. While it’s easier for us to remember domain names, computers use IPs to access websites. They translate domain names into IPs using name servers.
This is the address where your website can be found on the Internet. Domain names have extensions like .com, .net, .org, or your country’s code.
A name server is a specialized server that handles queries regarding the location of your domain name’s various services. They allow using domain names instead of IP addresses. Each domain name must have at least two name servers listed where the domain is registered.
Front End vs. Back End
The front end of a website is what your visitors see when they visit your website at www.yoursite.com. Your front end includes content (posts, pages, media), your theme, navigation menus, and widgets.
The back end in WordPress is usually the administration area. Although the back end also refers to everything that is behind a website (servers, applications, databases).
Web hosting is where your files are stored. So your website needs an address (domain name) and a place to save your files (hosting). If you use WordPress, you will need a place to install the CMS and store your files.
Free blogging platforms like Blogger and WordPress.com or website builders like Squarespace and Wix will also give you a place to save your files so you don’t have to purchase hosting from a third-party.Common WordPress and web development terms explained for bloggers and non-developersClick To Tweet
A hyperlink, or simply a link, is a link from one page to another. You can use hyperlinks to direct readers to another post or page from your website or to link to a different site.
The text that is linked from is called anchor text. A text that has hyperlinks is called hypertext.
The database is the software that is used to store and organize data. An example of a simple database is a spreadsheet.
MySQL and phpMyAdmin
MySQL (pronounced ‘my sequel’) is an open source database management system used by WordPress to store your data.
phpMyAdmin is another open source software that you might have heard of if you are using WordPress. This is a software tool written in PHP that is used to administer MySQL.
PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is a server-side scripting language that was designed primarily for web development. PHP is used with HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) to create dynamic pages.
HTML is a language that uses tags to describe the content of a website’s page.
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a language that describes how to display HTML elements.
HTML provides the structure of the page, while CSS adds the visual layout.
For example, you add links using HTML, but you use CSS to change the color of that link or to turn a simple link into a button.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology that establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. It is used to protect credit card information, personal data, file transfers, login info, and other things.
You can purchase an SSL certificate from your hosting provider or use a free SSL certificate (Let’s Encrypt). Free SSL certificates are great for your blog, but I do not recommend using them if you collect credit card information.
FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It allows you to transfer files from your computer to your web hosting server. You can also use FTP to edit your website’s files. You can access your files using free FTP software like FileZilla.
Stands for Hypertext Access. It’s a file placed in the directory level of your website and it is a configuration file for use on web servers running the Apache Web Server software. WordPress modifies this file to be able to handle pretty permalinks. You can also modify this file to create redirects.
Responsive web design is an approach to web design that makes the website resize itself based on the size of the screen or browser window. Responsive web design is very popular and it’s also good for SEO.
The parallax effect is an effect often used in web design where the background image is moved at a different speed than the foreground content. This effect adds depth to the design.
The parallax effect is often confused with infinite scroll. The infinite scroll adds content continuously as the user scrolls down the page.
Come back next week for the second part of the WordPress and web development glossary.
Did I miss any web design and development terms? Is there a web development term that has you confused?