WordPress Terminology Explained

If you’re a techie, the meaning of various words, or terms, employed by WordPress will probably be quite evident to you.

If however you are, like me, not a techie and especially if you are fairly new to WordPress, you may well have experienced some bafflement with terms such as “The Loop”, “.htaccess” and “Codex”.

This can be very frustrating, especially if you find yourself trying to set something up or fix a problem in WordPress and you discover you need to know the meaning of some special term before you can resolve the matter.

The post WordPress Lingo on weblog tools collection is a good entry point to understanding some of these terms.

It’s not by any means comprehensive (not that it pretends to be), but as well as providing a basic explanation of selected terms it does point the way to finding out what you really need to know. For example, you can find out a certain amount about what WordPress calls “The Loop”, but if you want to follow an instruction, as I have had to do, to place some code “inside The Loop”, you won’t get an immediate answer from the post on WordPress Lingo.

But just now when I checked, I found that if I followed a link from that post to the WordPress Codex (another term that is explained), I arrived at a fairly lengthy and reasonably technical explanation of The Loop. It did not tell me, or at least not clearly, how to find the magic space of “within The Loop”. Having been on that path before, I did not actually take long to find the paragraph I needed, which read:

For a beginners look at The Loop, see The Loop in Action.

That’s me, a beginner (in many respects, still, after all this time with WordPress).

Then in that page I found what I was looking for, a section headed Begin The Loop, which opened with:

Found at the top of the default index.php template file is the starting code for The Loop.

<?php if (have_posts()) : ?><br />
<?php while (have_posts()) : the_post();

and further down, under Ending The Loop, I read:

The following ends The Loop. After this, the various post-related template tags will not work as expected (or if they do, they will use the last post from The Loop). This means, that if you need to use a template tag that works within The Loop, you need to put it in before this point.

<?php endwhile; ?>

Thanks folks, that’s what I wanted.

As I say, the post on the weblog tools collection site is good, but you need to accept that it’s an entry point, not the whole story.

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About Des Walsh

I show business owners and other professionals how to navigate the social media maze and use LinkedIn effectively. I'm an author, speaker, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites.


  1. Shaun Cartwright says:

    Thanks for the information. I am not too WordPress savvy just yet, but after struggling myself with installing some plugins and extra features such as Googles site analytics, I am improving. Definitely a little different than dealing with standard HTML. =)
    Thanks again for the great info.

  2. Dan
    The theme is Silhouette by Brian Gardner: http://tinyurl.com/344ngl. With WordPress blogs you can usually tell what the theme is and get a link for downloading bu scrolling down to the bottom of the page or else looking at the bottom of the sidebar or sidesbars.

  3. Dan (future gadgets blog) says:

    I like your blog theme. I want to use it on my blog.
    Can you please tell me from where I can download these theme?

    Many thanks

  4. I wish that this information had been around (or that I had known about it) when I started blogging. Thanks for putting this together. I know that a lot of beginners will thank you.

  5. The article you present here is helpful. Many people that are new to bogging need to know the basic lingo. Missing out on these terms can cause a loss of visitors especially with terms like ping. I have been able to jump the page rank of my blog by 15%. I think at some point this will be a regular net term! Thanks for the article I enjoyed reading it. I think newbie bloggers can always use come help with things like anchor text and simple html formulas.

  6. Yeah. When I need support, I visit the Codex first, then the support forums, then I ask in the WordPress IRC chat room, then if that still doesn’t work, I’ll leave a post in the forum, write a blog post about it, or Google until I can’t Google no more.

    Despite how great the Codex is, I believe it could use an overhaul in terms of design, and navigation. It’s based on MediaWiki. I’m currently working on a small project to somehow get a PRINT stylesheet into the Codex so people can click on a link and see a printer friendly version of the article. Something I think that is badly needed.

  7. Don’t get me wrong. I think it is truly amazing, what has been done with the Codex by so many volunteers. I think the smart thing to do if the Codex doesn’t provide immediately the answer is to google or otherwise search on the question you want answered. Often the question will have been dealt with in a blog post by someone like you or Lorelle Van Fossen.

  8. I understand what you mean with the codex. When you come across a page that has yet to be documented or written, it makes it that much harder to get something accomplished. However, the codex is run by volunteers and if we could somehow muster the power of the people to do this thankless job, we would be in a much better position.

  9. Jeffro2ptO

    Thanks for the comment. Yes, I acknowledged in the post that you were not pretending to offer a comprehensive explanation. And while you are right in saying that the Codex does a “pretty good job”, I have to say that I have been frustrated by the Codex at least as often as I have been enlightened.

    Suggestions for other terms? One that springs to mind is not so much about the term as how to find something. For a user not really familiar with the coding or the structure of the WordPress file system, an instruction to place some code after the tag and before the tag can be less than enlightening.

  10. I’m glad that the post helped you, or at least pointed you in the right direction. I had no intentions of giving full blown explanations on those specific terms because the Codex does a pretty good job of that already.

    I’m liking the suggestions I’ve been receiving already for a part 2. Can you suggest any terms that might be worth knowing about?