This document is intended as a reference for commonly used terms and phrases used in the WebDotUNC Knowledge Base articles.
The admin bar is an area of the screen just above your site that lists useful admininstration screen links such as add a new post or edit your profile.
When you are writing or editing your posts and pages, the changes you make are automatically saved every 2 minutes. In the lower right corner of the editor, you’ll see a notification of when the entry was last saved to the database. Autosaves are automatically enabled for all posts and pages. There is only one autosave for each post/page. Each new autosave overwrites the previous autosave in the database.
An avatar is a graphic image or picture that represents a user.
The back end is the area that authorized users can sign into to add, remove and modify content on the website. This may also be referred to as “WordPress back end”, “admin area” or “the administration area”.
A blog, or weblog, is an online journal, diary, or serial published by a person or group of people.
Blogging is the act of writing in one’s blog. To blog something is to write about something in one’s blog.
A blogroll is a list of links to various blogs or news sites.
Each post in WordPress is filed under a category. Thoughtful categorization allows posts to be grouped with others of similar content and aids in the navigation of a site.
A capability is permission to perform one or more types of task. Each user of a WordPress site might have some permissions but not others, depending on their role. For example, users who have the Author role usually have permission to edit their own posts, but not permission to edit other users’ posts.
Comments are a feature of blogs which allow readers to respond to posts. Typically readers simply provide their own thoughts regarding the content of the post, but users may also provide links to other resources, generate discussion, or simply compliment the author for a well-written post.
Content consists of text, images, or other information shared in posts. This is separate from the structural design of a web site, which provides a framework into which the content is inserted, and the presentation of a site, which involves graphic design.
Content Management System
A Content Management System, or CMS, is software for facilitating the maintenance of content, but not design, on a web site.
CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, is a programming language for specifying how a web page is presented. It allows web site designers to create formatting and layout for a web site independently of its content.
In WordPress a Dashboard is the main administration screen for a site (a weblog), or for a network of sites. It summarizes information about the site or network, and also external information, in one or more widgets that the Dashboard user can enable, disable, and move around.
Every installation of WordPress has a Default Theme. The default theme is sometimes called the fallback theme, because if the active theme is for some reason lost or deleted, WordPress will fallback to using the default theme.
DNS, the domain name system, is the system that maps domain names to IP addresses. When you use a web browser to visit a website, your browser first extracts the site’s domain name from the URL. Then it uses the DNS to find the IP address for that domain name. Then it connects to that IP address.
A domain name is a name used for identification purposes on the Internet. In WordPress a domain name usually identifies a server where WordPress is installed. To make this work, the Internet’s domain name system (DNS) maps the domain name to a server’s IP address. For example, the domain name example.com maps to the IP address 22.214.171.124. Many domain names can map to the same IP address, allowing a single server to run many websites. For example, the the domain names www.example.com and example.net also map to the IP address 126.96.36.199.
The draft post status is for WordPress posts which are saved, but as yet unpublished. A draft post can only be edited through the Administration Panel, Write Post SubPanel or by users of equal or greater User Level than the post’s author.
End of Life (EOL)
A plugin or theme that has been designated as end of life (EOL) will be removed (deprecated) from service at some point in the future (generally within six month of receiving this designation) and for which support from the web.unc.edu support team will be minimal. Normally plugins or themes receiving this designation have been replaced by a newer plugin or theme which provides greater functionality. In accordance with the web.unc.edu Terms and Conditions plugins or themes may be removed at any time without prior notice however every attempt is made to communicate such changes to the community.
An excerpt is a condensed description of your blog post and refers to the summary entered in the Excerpt field of the Administration > Posts>Add New Post and then click the Screen Options tab in the upper right hand corner of the page. A dropdown menu will appear where you can select the Excerpt option. The excerpt is used to describe your post in RSS feeds and is typically used in displaying search results. The excerpt is sometimes used in displaying the Archives and Category views of your posts.
A feed is a function of special software that allows “Feedreaders” to access a site automatically looking for new content and then posting the information about new content and updates to another site. This provides a way for users to keep up with the latest and hottest information posted on different blogging sites. Some Feeds include RSS (alternately defined as “Rich Site Summary” or “Really Simple Syndication”), Atom or RDF files.
The front end is what your visitors see and interact with when they come to your website (e.i. YourSite.web.unc.edu).
A Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar (a graphic image or picture that represents a user). Typically a user’s gravatar is associated with their email address, and using a service such as Gravatar.com. The site owner to can configure their site so that a user’s gravatar is displayed along with their comments.
HTML, or Hypertext Markup Language, is the W3C standard language with which all web pages are built. It is the predecessor to XHTML, but HTML is often still used to describe either one.
An IP Address is a unique number (e.g. 188.8.131.52) assigned to a computer (or other internet-capable information appliance, such as a network printer) to enable it to communicate with other devices using the Internet Protocol. It is a computer’s identity on the internet, and every computer connected to the internet is assigned at least one — although the methods of assigning these addresses, and the permanence and duration of their assignment, differ according to the use of the computer and the circumstances of its internet use.
Every web server is assigned an IP address as well, but often times hosting providers will assign multiple IP addresses to one computer, in the event that multiple web sites reside on the same physical server. This is the case with most inexpensive ‘managed’ or ‘group’ hosting packages.
Domain names were created to provide an easier means of accessing internet resources than IP addresses, which are cumbersome to type and difficult to remember. Every domain name has at least one corresponding IP address, but only a small number of IP addresses have a domain name associated with them, since only computers that are servers require domain names. The domain name system (DNS) is what maps domain names to IP addresses.
Meta has several meanings, but generally means information about. In WordPress, meta is the HTML tag used to describe and define a web page to the outside world (search engines).
Multisite is a feature of WordPress that allows multiple virtual sites to share a single WordPress installation. When the multisite feature is activated, the original WordPress site can be converted to support a network of sites.
MySQL is a popular open source SQL (Structured Query Language) database implementation, available for many platforms, including Windows, Unix/Linux and Mac OS X.
Navigation is the term used to describe text on a page that, when selected, redirects you to a corresponding page elsewhere on the website. Navigation may sometimes be referred to as the menu, links and hyperlinks.
A network is a collection of separate sites created in a single WordPress installation by the multisite feature. The sites in a WordPress network are not interconnected like the things in other kinds of networks. They are similar to the separate blogs the reside at WordPress.com.
A news aggregator or news (feed) reader is a computer program which tracks syndicated information feeds. Most news aggregators allow one to ‘subscribe’ to a feed, and automatically keep track of the articles one has read, similar to an email client tracking read emails.
Open source is simply programming code that can be read, viewed, modified, and distributed, by anyone who desires.
A Page is often used to present “static” information about yourself or your site. A good example of a Page is information you would place on an About Page. A Page should not be confused with the time-oriented objects called posts. Pages are typically “timeless” in nature and live “outside” your blog.
The word “page” has long been used to describe any HTML document on the web. In WordPress, however, “Page” refers to a specific way to present content.
A permalink is a URL at which a resource or article will be permanently stored. Many pages driven by Content Management Systems contain excerpts of content which is frequently rotated, making linking to bits of information within them a game of chance. Permalinks allow users to bookmark full articles at a URL they know will never change, and will always present the same content.
Permalinks are optional in WordPress, but are highly recommended as they greatly increase the cleanliness of a URL and are important for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
PHP is a recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. It is a popular server-side scripting language designed specifically for integration with HTML, and is used (often in conjunction with MySQL) in Content Management Systems and other web applications. It is available on many platforms, including Windows, Unix/Linux and Mac OS X, and is open source software.
Pingback lets you notify the author of an article if you link to his article (article on a blog, of course). If the links you include in an article you write on a blog lead to a blog which is pingback-enabled, then the author of that blog gets a notification in the form of a pingback that you linked to his article.
A Plugin is a group of php functions that can extend the functionality present in a standard WordPress weblog. These functions may all be defined in one php file, or may be spread among more than one file. you can activate a plugin from the “Plugins” page in the administration interface of your weblog.
Also known as “articles” and sometimes incorrectly referred to as “blogs”. In WordPress, “posts” are articles that you write to populate your blog.
A few lowercase words separated by dashes, describing a post and usually derived from the post title to create a user-friendly (that is readable and without confusing characters) permalink. Post slug substitutes the “%posttitle%” placeholder in a custom permalink structure. Post slug should not be changed and is especially useful if the post title tends to be long or changes frequently.
The status of a post, as set in the Administration Panel, Write Post SubPanel is either: Published (viewable by everyone), Draft (incomplete post viewable by anyone with proper user level), or Private (viewable only to WordPress users at Administrator level).
Post type refers to the various structured data that is maintained in the WordPress posts table. Native (or built-in) registered post types are post, page, attachment, revision, and nav-menu-item. Custom post types allow users to easily create and manage such things as portfolios, projects, video libraries, podcasts, quotes, chats, and whatever a user or developer can imagine.
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“Really Simple Syndication“: a format for syndicating many types of content; specifically frequently updated content on a Web site, and is also known as a type of “feed” or “aggregator”. An RSS feed can contain a summary of content or the full text, and makes it easier for people to keep up to date with sites they like in an automated manner (much like e-mail).
The content of the feed can be read by using software called an RSS or Feed reader. Feed readers display hyperlinks, and include other metadata (information about information) that helps people decide whether they want to read more, follow a link, or move on.
The original intent of RSS is to make information come to you (via the feed reader) instead of you going out to look for it (via the Web).
In WordPress a screen is a web page used for managing part of a weblog (site) or network. The term ‘screen’ is used to avoid confusion with ‘page‘, which has a specific and different meaning in WordPress. For example, the web page used to manage posts is known as the Posts Screen.
A Shortcode is a technique for embedding a snippet of PHP code into the body of a page or other content item.
A sidebar is a vertical column provided by a theme for displaying information other than the main content of the web page. Themes usually provide at least one sidebar at the left or right of the content. Sidebars usually contain widgets that an administrator of the site can customize.
A slug is a few words that describe a post or a page. Slugs are usually a URL friendly version of the post title (which has been automatically generated by WordPress), but a slug can be anything you like. Slugs are meant to be used with permalinks as they help describe what the content at the URL is.
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is the predecessor to Transport Layer Security. These are cryptographic protocols for secure communications across an unsecured network like the Internet.
Stock Plugins and Themes
Stock Plugins and Themes provide core functionality and as such receive additional testing and support from the web.unc.edu support team. If you note an issue with one of these plugins or themes please let us know on the support forums or by email at webdotunc[at]groups.unc.edu.
A Tag is a keyword which describes all or part of a Post. Think of it like a Category, but smaller in scope. A Post may have several tags, many of which relate to it only peripherally. Like Categories, Tags are usually linked to a page which shows all Posts having the same Tag. Tags can be created on-the-fly by simply typing them into the Tag field. By default, tags can be assigned only to the Post and custom post types.
Tags can also be displayed in clouds which show large numbers of Tags in various sizes, colors, etc. This allows for a sort of total perspective on the blog, allowing people to see the sort of things your blog is about most.
Many people confuse Tags and Categories, but the difference is easy: Categories generally don’t change often, while your Tags usually change with every Post and are closer to the topic of the Post.
A tagline is a catchy phrase that describes the character or the attributes of the blog in a brief, concise manner. Think of it as the slogan, or catchline for a website.
A taxonomy allows for the classification of things. In WordPress, there are two built-in taxonomies, categories and tags. These taxonomies help further classify posts and custom post types. Also, custom taxonomies can be defined.
In WordPress a template is a file that defines an area of the web pages generated by a theme. For example, there is typically a template for the header area at the top of the web pages, a template for the content, a template for the sidebars, and so on. The templates are like building blocks that make up the complete web page.
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In WordPress, a term is a classification, group or subset of a Taxonomy, where the latter can be a Category, Tag or Custom Taxonomy. By default, terms have a title, a slug and a description. Hierarchical taxonomies like categories can define a parent term.
A theme is a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design for a weblog. A theme modifies the way the weblog is displayed, without modifying the underlying software. Essentially, the WordPress theme system is a way to skin your weblog.
The Toolbar is an area of the screen just above that site that lists useful admininstration screen links such as add a new post or edit your profile. The Toolbar was added in as an Admin Bar and, in WordPress Version 3.3, it was replaced by the Toolbar. The toolbar can be turned on/off from the User Profile Screen.
Trackback helps you to notify another author that you wrote something related to what he had written on his blog, even if you don’t have an explicit link to his article. This improves the chances of the other author sitting up and noticing that you gave him credit for something, or that you improved upon something he wrote, or something similar. With pingback and trackback, blogs are interconnected. Think of them as the equivalents of acknowledgements and references at the end of an academic paper, or a chapter in a textbook.
In WordPress a widget is a self-contained area of a web page that performs a specific function, or the code that generates such a self-contained area. For example, WordPress has a built-in widget that displays a list of pages in a weblog’s sidebar, and it has another built-in widget that displays a list of recent comments in the Dashboard. Plugins and themes can provide additional widgets.