The Top 15 WordPress Terms You Need to Know

by | Dec 8, 2020 | Web Design

Do you ever wonder what all those terms are regarding WordPress? Even the initial research while looking into it can be overwhelming, especially for a non-techy. In this post, I share the top 15 WordPress Terms that keep popping up as the ones needing the most explanations.


These are the apps that enhance your website.  WordPress out of the box is ready to go.  But the plugins are what makes WordPress so powerful. 

Examples of plugins are:  e-commerce, graphics, security, page builders, ability to offer courses.   You can find plugins in the plugin directory or inside the admin area of your website.


The header is the top section and the footer is the bottom section of your website.  The body is what’s in-between.

2-factor authentication

An extra layer of security added to your account to prevent someone from logging in, even if they have your password. This is usually a random 6-digit code that’s sent to you via text message or email.

WordPress Dashboard

This is the main interface that’s visible when you log in as an administrator into your WordPress website.


Although this has nothing to do with WordPress, you’ll likely see this term as you need Website Hosting if you’re using the self-hosted version of WordPress. 

This is the brand name for a control panel used to manage your website hosting.  It’s the interface between you and the server to make account management easy.

Through Cpanel, you can create email addresses, change passwords, access your files and databases (outside of WordPress), password protect folders and create or restore backups. 

Side-note:  95% of my clients don’t even access Cpanel once WordPress is installed and email is setup.

Page Builders

These are plugins to build and maintain the look of your website so you don’t need to know coding languages. There are many page builders available such as Divi, Themify, Elementor and Beaver Builder.


An acronym for Application Programming Interface is software that allows programs or apps to talk to each other. 

For example I use MailerLite for my email list. I also have it installed on my WordPress website and the two are connected via an API code so they can talk to each other in real-time. 

When someone opts-in to my email list on my website, they are automatically added to the email list via the API code.

Front-end editing

Depending on what you use to build your WordPress website, you can add or change content from the front-end so you can see your work in real time and is very close to what your website visitor would see. 

The back-end is the administrative area that is not viewed by the general public.


The WordPress editor came into existence in 2018 to replace what’s called a “classic editor” that looks more like a toolbar in Google Docs or Microsoft Word. 

There are pros and cons to Gutenberg, but it doesn’t affect you if you use a page builder such as Divi.

WordPress core

This is the software required to run WordPress.  It’s the engine of the website.  For example Windows 10 is the core on a laptop.   Android is the core of a smartphone.


Keywords used to identify content. Think of this as the WordPress version of hashtags.


In WordPress, this refers to an area on the website used to display information that isn’t part of your content.

For example, if you have an e-commerce website, a sidebar could appear on the right side displaying your cart contents, recommended products or even a login box to access your account.


An acronym for cascading style sheets. This is what controls the design, look and feel of your website.

Most of the time, you don’t need to concern yourself with this, but when certain customizing is required, you’ll need to “add this css code to your site”, usually by copying and pasting what’s provided to you by the plugin developer.

Child theme

A customized theme based upon a Parent Theme. It’s considered best practice to create a child theme if you want to change the core coding of your theme.

Depending on the page builder you use, this won’t be necessary, but you may come across the term if you’re looking for a new theme.

Of all the websites I’ve designed since using WordPress when it was created, I’ve used child themes 3 times.


A simple way to embed something.  For example, if I used Gravity Forms to create a contact form, that form is built inside the plugin.  I then create a page in WordPress,  copy and paste the shortcode to that form and voila.  The form now appears on the page.

So that’s it, I hope this post helps you understand the top 15 WordPress terms that are the most common with my clients.

Now, I’m going to be honest, there are about 50 more terms that you’ll likely come across that may or may not be relevant.  So if you do come across some that you’d like help understanding, let me know the term and I’d be more than happy to help you.

Until next time, stay inspired.



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