WordPress – an Excellent FREE Content Management System (CMS) for Your Website. But what is CMS?
A content management system is a computer system that allows publishing, editing, and modifying content as well as site maintenance from a central page. A web content management system (web CMS) is a bundled or stand-alone application used to create, manage, store, and deploy content on Web pages. Web content includes text and embedded graphics, photos, video, audio, and code (e.g., for applications) that renders other content or interacts with the user. A web CMS may also catalog or index content, select or assemble content at runtime, or deliver content to specific visitors in a personalized way, such as in different languages.
WordPress is a free and open source blogging tool and a dynamic content management system based on PHP and MySQL. It has many features including a plug-in architecture and a template system. WordPress is used by over 14.7% of Alexa Internet’s “top 1 million” websites and as of August 2011 manages 22% of all new websites. WordPress is currently the most popular CMS in use on the Internet.
It was first released on May 27, 2003, by founders Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little as a fork of b2/cafelog. The name WordPress was suggested by Christine Selleck Tremoulet, a friend of Mullenweg. In late 2005, Mullenweg founded Automattic, the business behind WordPress.com (which provides free WordPress blogs and other services). The core contributing developers include Ryan Boren, Mark Jaquith, Matt Mullenweg, Andrew Ozz, Peter Westwood and Andrew Nacin. WordPress is also developed by its community, including WP testers, a group of volunteers who test each release. They have early access to nightly builds, beta versions and release candidates. Errors are documented in a special mailing list, or the project’s Trac tool. As of December 2011, version 3.0 had been downloaded over 65 million times.
In WordPress CMS, data can be defined as nearly anything: documents, movies, text, pictures, phone numbers, scientific data, and so forth. CMSs are frequently used for storing, controlling, revising, semantically enriching, and publishing documentation. Serving as a central repository, the CMS increases the version level of new updates to an already existing file. Version control is one of the primary advantages of a CMS. WordPress has a web template system using a template processor.
WordPress users may install and switch between themes. Themes allow users to change the look and functionality of a WordPress website or installation without altering the informational content. Themes may be installed by using the WordPress “Dashboard” administration tool, or by uploading theme folders via FTP. The PHP and HTML code in themes can also be edited for more advanced customizations.
One very popular feature of WordPress is its rich plugin architecture which allows users and developers to extend its abilities beyond the features that are part of the base install; WordPress has a database of over 18,000 plugins with purposes ranging from SEO to adding widgets.
Widgets are small modules that offer users drag-and-drop sidebar content placement and implementation of many plugins’ extended abilities. Widgets allow WordPress developers to add functionality to their sites. These small modules can be used to add functionality such as a slideshow, Facebook-like box, small news slider, and more.
Multi-user and multi-blogging
Prior to WordPress 3.0, WordPress supported one blog per installation, although multiple concurrent copies may be run from different directories if configured to use separate database tables. WordPress Multi-User (WordPress MU, or just WPMU) was a fork of WordPress created to allow multiple blogs to exist within one installation that is able to be administered by a centralized maintainer. WordPress MU makes it possible for those with a website to host their own blogging community, as well as control and moderate all the blogs from a single dashboard. WordPress MU adds eight new data tables for each blog. WordPress MU merged with WordPress as part of the 3.0 release.
Native applications exist for WebOS, Android, iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) Windows Phone 7, and BlackBerry which provide access to some of the features in the WordPress Admin panel and work with WordPress.com and many WordPress.org blogs.
Other features of note
WordPress also features integrated link management; a search engine-friendly, clean permalink structure; the ability to assign nested, multiple categories to articles; and support for tagging of posts and articles. Automatic filters are also included, providing standardized formatting and styling of text in articles (for example, converting regular quotes to smart quotes). WordPress also supports the Trackback and Pingback standards for displaying links to other sites that have themselves linked to a post or article.
Many security issues were uncovered in the software, particularly in 2007 and 2008. According to Secunia, WordPress in April 2009 had 7 unpatched security advisories (out of 32 total), with a maximum rating of “Less Critical”. Secunia maintains an up-to-date list of WordPress vulnerabilities.
In January 2007, many high-profile search engine optimization (SEO) blogs, as well as many low-profile commercial blogs featuring AdSense, were targeted and attacked with a WordPress exploit. A separate vulnerability on one of the project site’s web servers allowed an attacker to introduce exploitable code in the form of a back door to some downloads of WordPress 2.1.1. The 2.1.2 release addressed this issue; an advisory released at the time advised all users to upgrade immediately.
In May 2007, a study revealed that 98% of WordPress blogs being run were exploitable because they were running outdated and unsupported versions of the software.
In a June 2007 interview, Stefan Esser, the founder of the PHP Security Response Team, spoke critically of WordPress’s security track record, citing problems with the application’s architecture that made it unnecessarily difficult to write code that is secure from SQL injection vulnerabilities, as well as some other problems.
Individual installations of WordPress can be protected with security plugins such as Better WP Security, WP Security Scan and many others. Users can also protect their WordPress installations by taking steps such as renaming the default admin account, as well as editing the site’s .htaccess file to prevent many types of SQL injection attacks and block unauthorized access to sensitive files.
Bottom-line: If you need a Content Management System for your website, WordPress is just the best! You cannot find a better one!