There are basically 2 parts to WordPress. The first part contains the WordPress application files. These files are what’s included in the .zip file you may download from WordPress.org or the files you see when you log in with your FTP client (not sure what an FTP client is? We’ll go over that later!). The WordPress files are PHP files (meaning they have a .php extension). The second part of your blog is your database. WordPress interacts with a MySQL database to store information about your blog. This may sound like I’m getting too technical here, but hang with me.
PHP is a scripting language. These are files that you can open on your computer in a text editor (like Notepad). These files when opened in a text editor, will most likely look like a bunch of gibberish to you. When those same files are on a web server, the web server actually goes through the lines of gibberish and ends up displaying a pretty web page. For this reason, you can’t “run” WordPress on your computer (that’s why you need a web server).
So, now you know under your web hosting account, you’ll see a bunch of PHP files. These PHP files will tell the web server to connect to a database server — to your database. When that connection is made, the PHP files will pull information out of the database and display it on the web page. Your entries — the headlines, the content and things like the date, are stored inside database fields. Think of the database as a big container. Inside that big container are individual little containers that hold a title, the text, and other information about your blog and blog posts.
This is most important to understand when we talk about backing up your blog (coming in a few days). If you look at the WordPress PHP files, that’s only half of your blog and not even the most important half. The WordPress PHP files can be reloaded by downloading the files again from WordPress.org. If you lose what you’ve written — the stuff that’s saved in your database — well, you can’t get that back unless you have a backup of the database.
Check out today’s posts at A Woman Inspired Conference. All of the bloggers who are participating are linked there and you can jump to their blog and back. Or go directly to their blog to catch up on days past: