The WordPress software is a personal publishing system that uses a PHPand-MySQL platform, which provides you everything you need to create your blog and publish your content dynamically without having to program the pages yourself. In short, with this platform, all your content is stored in aMySQL database in your hosting account.
PHP (which stands for PHP Hypertext Preprocessor) is a server-side scripting language for creating dynamic Web pages. When a visitor opens a page built
in PHP, the server processes the PHP commands and then sends the results to the visitor’s browser. MySQL is an open source relational database management
system (RDBMS) that uses Structured Query Language (SQL), the most popular language for adding, accessing, and processing data in a database.
If that all sounds Greek to you, think of MySQL as a big filing cabinet where all the content on your blog is stored.
Every time a visitor goes to your blog to read your content, he makes a request that’s sent to your server. 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.
The PHP and MySQL requirements you need to run WordPress. What is PHP introduces you to the basics of PHP and MySQL and provides information about how they work together with WordPress to create your blog or Web site.
Content, as it applies to the data that’s stored in the MySQL database, refers to your blog posts, comments, and options that you set up on the WordPress Dashboard, or the control/administration panel of the WordPress software where you manage your site settings and content. The theme (design) you choose for your blog (whether it’s the default theme, one you create, or one that you have custom designed) isn’t part of the content. Those files are part of the file system and aren’t stored in the database. Therefore, it’s a good idea to create a backup of any theme files you’re using. See Book VI for further information on WordPress theme management.
When you look for a hosting service, keep an eye out for hosts that provide daily backups of your site so that your content will not be lost if a hard drive fails or someone makes a foolish mistake. Web hosting providers that offer daily backups as part of their services can save the day by restoring your site to a previous form.
Archiving your publishing history
WordPress maintains chronological and categorized archives of your publishing history automatically. This archiving process happens with every post you publish to your blog. WordPress uses PHP and MySQL technology to organize what you publish so that you and your readers can access the information by date, category, author, tag, and so on. When you publish to your WordPress blog, you can file that post under any category you specify — a nifty archiving system in which you and your readers can then find posts in specific categories. The archives page on Lisa’s blog (http://lisasabin-wilson.com/archives) contains a Posts by Category section,
where you find a list of categories she’s created for her blog posts. Clicking the Blog Design link below the Posts by Category heading takes you to a listing of posts on that topic.
WordPress lets you create as many categories as you want for filing your blog posts. We’ve seen blogs that have just one category and blogs that have up to 1,800 categories — when it comes to organizing your content, WordPress is all about personal preference. On the other hand, using WordPress categories is your choice. You don’t have to use the category feature if you’d rather not. Interacting with your readers through comments An exciting aspect of blogging with WordPress is receiving feedback from your readers after you post to your blog. Feedback, or blog comments, is akin to having a guestbook on your blog. People can leave notes for you that publish to your site, and you can respond and engage your readers in conversation. These notes can expand the thoughts and ideas
you present in your blog post by giving your readers the opportunity to add their two cents’ worth.
On the WordPress Dashboard, you have full administrative control over who can leave comments. Additionally, if someone leaves a comment with questionable content, you can edit the comment or delete it. You’re also free to not allow comments on your blog. The blogging community says that a blog without comments isn’t a blog at all because exchanging views with visitors is part of what makes blogging popular. Allowing comments on your blog invites your audience members to involve themselves in your discussion. However, publishing a blog without comments lets your readers partake of your published words passively and, sometimes, that’s okay. For example, if your content on a controversial topic may attract visitor insults, it would be reasonable to publish a post without enabling the comment feature. Mostly, readers find commenting to be a satisfying experience when they visit blogs because comments make them part of the discussion. Still, it’s up to you.