How technical are you? You might have a lot of experience, or you might have just a little. I know some readers here have NO technical experience when it comes to websites. Whatever category you fall into, that is ok!
I want to take a little bit of time and explain what some of this techie stuff is. Knowing something is better than knowing nothing!
The software used to create WordPress uses a language called PHP and a database called MySQL. These 2 things provide you with all the parts to create your own blog and publish your own “stuff” on the web; this can be reports, articles, blog posts, images, whatever! It is all created automatically so you do not need to know how to program everything yourself.
Here comes some of the techie explanations!
PHP (which stands for PHP Hypertext Preprocessor – whatever!) is a language that lives on your website server (not on your computer) and is used to create dynamic Web pages. When a visitor comes to a page on your site that is created with PHP, your website server processes the PHP commands and then sends the results back to your visitor. These results end up looking like your webpage!
MySQL is a database that holds all the writing of your website. Technically, it is a free database management system (RDBMS) that uses Structured Query Language (SQL). SQL is just a language used to get data into and out of the database. If that still sounds crazy, think of MySQL as a big filing cabinet where all the content on your blog is stored and SQL is a way to store things in the file cabinet as well as getting information out!
Whenever someone goes to your website to read your content, a ‘request’ is made to your website server. This request is probably something like, “I want to see your Contact us page, or I want to read a specific blog entry. Of course, the actual request is going to be more technical than that, but you get the idea!
OK, so the PHP programming language receives that request, obtains the requested information from the MySQL database, and then presents the requested information to your visitor through his Web browser.
In using the term content as it applies to the data that’s stored in the MySQL database, I’m referring to your blog posts, comments, and options that you set up in the WordPress Administration panel. The theme (design) you choose to use for your blog — whether it’s the default theme, one you create for yourself, or one that you have custom‐designed for you — isn’t part of the content in this case. Those files are part of the file system and aren’t stored in the database. So it’s a good idea to create and keep a backup of any theme files that you’re currently using.
When you look for a hosting service, keep an eye out for the hosts that provide daily backups of your site, so that your content/data won’t be lost in case something happens. Web hosting providers that offer daily backups as part of their services can save the day by restoring your site to its original form. Make sure they can restore your complete website and not just your database. You will need it all (By the way, I use WPTwin).
Who has questions?
If you have any WordPress techie questions that you want an answer for, let me know and I will create a post answering your question! The more you know about what drives your website, the better (but you still do not need to know how to do it all yourself!).