Intro to WordPress

WordPress is a free and open source blogging tool and content management system (CMS) based on PHP (scipting language) and MySQL database. As of August, 2011 it powered 15% of the top million websites in the world. 22 out of every 100 new active domains in the US are running WordPress. Similar open source CMS tools include Drupal, Joomla! and DotNetNuke.

WordPress.com, the Freemium Option

Since it’s a free service, WordPress.com is a great way to evaluate WordPress. If you want to remove advertising or use your own domain name, you can for a small, yearly fee. By default your blog’s address (URI) looks something like this: danlamppa.wordpress.com.

Hosting WordPress with a Hosting Service

Hosting a WordPress blog with a hosting service is more complicated than WordPress.com but allows more control of the design (you can modify all of the source files). Hosting services offer more services than WordPress and charge by the month rather than having a free option as WordPress.com does.

As a detail oriented software developer (is that redundant?), I wanted to tweak my blog more than was allowed at WordPress.com. I searched for a hosting service to host my own implementation of WordPress. I choose BlueHost based on user reviews and since it was on the list recommended by WordPress.org.

I was prepared to download source code from WordPress.org and install it myself. To my surprise, I installed WordPress with the click of a button. When an update is available, I am notified in my blog’s dashboard. When ready, I can apply updates to WordPress, plugins or themes with another button click.

Extending WordPress

WordPress is surprisingly configurable. Different themes dramatically change the look of a blog and a vast array of plugins offer features more specific to your needs. You don’t need programming skills to create a great looking blog though such skills allow you more options. I wish I would have discovered WordPress years ago!

A list of popular sites that use WordPress.

What are your impressions of WordPress or other blogging/CMS tools?