WordPress Glossary


For WordPress users without previous technical knowledge or experience in web development and design, the jargon associated with using the site’s admin can sometimes be a little perplexing. Here’s a brief A to Z of some of the common WordPress terminology you’ll come across.

Glossary of Common WordPress Terms

Absolute Path

An absolute path, otherwise known as a full path, is a unique location of a file or directory name, generally starting with the root directory or drive letter. Directories and subdirectories listed in a path are usually separated by a slash – for example, /Users/YourName/www/yourblog/images/profileimage.jpg

Back End

The back end of your website can also be referred to as the ‘admin’, and is the area authorised users or authors can sign into to add, remove and modify content on the website. Think of it as a backstage area that only directors see.


Each of your posts is associated with a category, which helps to keep relevant content grouped together and aids in the navigation of your website.


Your WordPress dashboard is the main administration screen for your website or blog, and summarises information about the site or network, as well as external information. Like the dashboard of your car, which presents crucial information such as your speed and fuel gauge, your WordPress dashboard allows you to quickly access the most used areas of your site’s admin.


Not to be confused with the teaser, which refers to the words before the <!–more–> in your posts’ content, an excerpt is a condensed description of your post and is used to describe your post in RSS feeds and is typically used in displaying search results.

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As it’s full name suggests, File Transfer Protocol is a client-server protocol for transferring files, and is the most common means of uploading files to a server. An FTP client is a program designed to download files from, or upload files to, an FTP server. You may need to use an FTP client to upload your WordPress files to your WordPress host.


A gravatar is a universally recognised photo or image representing you – the user – and is generally associated with the service Gravatar.com. The name is a combination of the words ‘global’ and ‘avatar’. You may configure your WordPress blog or website to display users’ gravatars (usually linked to their email address) beside their comments.


Short for hypertext markup language, HTML is the standard language used to create web pages, and is often used in conjunction with CSS (cascading style sheets) and JavaScript. Succeeded by XHTML (extensible hypertext markup language), the two terms are often used by users interchangeably.

IP Address

Your IP address is the unique number assigned to your computer or internet-capable device to allow it to communicate with other users of the Internet Protocol. Essentially, your IP address is your device’s identity on the web. Domain names were created to make it easier to access internet resources, because domain names are easier to remember and type than IP addresses.


In reference to your website, Meta generally means information about, and refers to admin information. For example, a Meta Tag is the HTML tag used to describe and define a web page, and is particularly helpful in describing your content to search engines.


Your website’s navigation, or menu, is the text that redirects users to corresponding content around your site.

Open Source

WordPress is distributed under an open source license. Open source is defined as programming code that may be viewed, modified and distributed by anyone.

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A permalink is a URL (uniform resource locator) at which content will be permanently stored, allowing users to bookmark posts and return to that exact content knowing that it will always be found via that URL.


A Quicktag is a shortcut that inserts HTML code into your posts, such as <strong> (bold) and </strong> (stop bold). Some Quicktags insert HTML code used by plugins to perform certain actions.


Short for really simple syndication, RSS is a format for syndicating or sharing your content via a web feed or aggregator – making it easy for users to stay up to date on sites they like via an automated news stream. The idea is for information to be delivered direct to users, rather than those users having to go and look for information.


Unlike your garden-variety pest, a web slug refers to the end part of a page or post’s URL, and is intended to be used with permalinks to help describe what the content at the URL is. As an example, the slug in the URL of this particular post is wordpress-jargon. Slugs are commonly a URL-friendly version of the page or post title, automatically generated by WordPress, but a slug can be anything you like.


Like categories, tags are used to group similar and relevant content together and make it easily accessible for readers. A tag will generally be a keyword relating to the post content in some way.


A widget is a self-contained area of a web page that performs a specific function, such as a subscribe sign up form. Plugins and themes can provide additional widgets.


The sound a hard-working WordPress user makes after a hard day blogging.

Nikki is a professional freelance writer and story teller with a passion for the web and technology. She writes for WP Dev Shed and amongst a roster of other clients.

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