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WordPress: how to create a site with the open source CMS


WordPress has not become the most used tool for designing a website for no reason. Everything you need to know about this flexible and free platform: its plugins, graphic themes, hosting offers…

WordPress, what is it?

WordPress is the most popular web content management tool (or CMS) in the world, with a 64% market share according to w3techs. According to Builtwith, it powers more than 30 million sites around the world. If WordPress was first deployed to create blogs, today the platform is used by much larger sites. WordPress is known for its flexibility. Its many layout “themes”, plugins and widgets, easy to install, allow you to push the customization of a website very far.

No in-depth computer knowledge is required to create a site in WordPress. The solution, once installed, is very oriented development without code (no code). This CMS is also quite well predisposed to facilitate SEO: many sites using this web content management system are very well referenced, and obtain excellent positions in Google results.

Capture of the WordPress backoffice. © CaptureJDN

Is WordPress free?

WordPress is free open source software. It is available under the open source GNU General Public License. The CMS can be downloaded in its latest version from the WordPress.org open source project site.

Using the open source version of WordPress helps minimize the costs of a website. On the other hand, it will still be necessary to host the site on the server(s) of a host or on a cloud to make it accessible from the Internet. Which has a cost. Ditto for the reservation of the domain name. Here is a walkthrough to install a WordPress site in minutes:

  1. Choose a host (us lws.fr to get started),
  2. Opt for a WordPress hosting offer (lws offers an offer allowing you to install WordPress in one click with the domain name included),
  3. Connect to the backoffice of WordPress http://nomdusite/wp-login.php,
  4. Configure the site and the permalinks,
  5. Choose a graphic theme (see below),
  6. Install priority extensions (see list below).

It is the WordPress theme (or template) that will allow you to graphically dress a site. Once installed, WordPress provides access, via its backoffice, to hundreds of themes (free and paid). This library is also available online. Many of these themes can be installed with one click. However, some require configuration, or even the installation of several plugins. This is particularly the case for themes using specific features (e-commerce, cartography, etc.).

There are also WordPress theme app stores on the web. These marketplaces connect buyers and sellers of WordPress themes. They manage the financial transaction, and provide access to technical support for the theme when it is offered. One of the most popular of these is themeforest. But there are many others (Solostream for example).

What does WP mean?

WP is obviously the acronym for WordPress. This acronym is used to identify the addresses and files of the CMS once installed. For example, the WordPress publishing backoffice login page will be http://sitename/wp-login.php, the admin interface homepage will be http://sitename/wp-admin.php . Why .php? Quite simply because WordPress is developed in PHP language.

What are the essential WordPress plugins?

A WordPress plugin is an extension that enriches the CMS with additional possibilities. WordPress plugins are accessible like themes via the WordPress backoffice. There are hundreds of plugins in many, many areas. Most contribute to providing the website with additional functionalities (contact form, integration with social networks, Google Maps, etc.). Some will go so far as to transform WordPress into an e-commerce system (this is the case with WooCommerce) or a social network (BuddyPress). There are some reference plugins:

  • Yoast SEO : it is the first all-in-one SEO solution for WordPress, including content page analysis, XML sitemaps…
  • WP-Optimize : this extension cleans the database, compresses images and caches pages. All to optimize the performance of access to the site.
  • iThemes Security : this plugin protects the site against the main types of attacks (by brute force, DDoS), and systematizes the protections (backup, two-factor authentication, encryption…).
  • SiteKit by Google : this extension allows you to synchronize WordPress with Google Analytics to follow the audience of your site, but also with the Google Search Console to follow the positions in Google as well as with Google Ads to monetize it.
Via the “Extensions” tab of the WordPress backoffice, it is possible to download and install WordPress plugins to enrich your site with features. © CaptureJDN

Tutorial: some links

Without needing to be a programmer, deploying a WordPress site involves a certain know-how. Certainly, a standard installation can be carried out without difficulty. On the other hand, as soon as it comes to finely personalizing a site, securing it, adding functions not provided for in the CMS, or even translating into French an existing theme only in English, the work can quickly become complicated. . Here are four key articles/tutorials to start addressing these issues:

A large number of traditional hosting offers (shared or dedicated) facilitate the installation of WordPress by offering an automatic deployment mode. But today there are WordPress site hosting services that want to be even simpler. This is the case of WordPress.com or Themecloud which allows you to test a WordPress theme in one click, then just as easily to switch it online.