What Is WordPress Core And Why Is It Important?

Ever hear anyone refer to “WordPress Core” and wonder what they’re talking about? When I started with WP, it was a mystery to me too.

Virtually every WordPress site has 3 parts, which incidentally, may need to be updated from time to time. By “parts” I’m referring to different types of software. (Yes, let’s not forget that it is software that comprises WordPress.) You need to understand these 3 components – WordPress Core, Themes, and Plugins – to work happily with WordPress.

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WordPress Core

If you remove all plugins and all themes, you will be looking at WordPress Core. Of course, you can’t really do that because you must have an active theme in order to see a WP site.

Think of WordPress Core as the default or what people say is “WordPress itself”. You know that you can…

  • login users
  • make pages and posts
  • add media
  • create a blog
  • let users reply
  • delete content
  • add categories and tags
  • add widgets
  • embed a video.

Got the idea? Without any help from a plugin or theme, WP can do all that and more. But it can’t do everything you need to make a complete web site. That’s where themes and plugins come in and they can easily get confused.

Themes

Illustrations of WordPress Themes

Every WP site needs an active theme of which there are thousands to choose from. A theme’s primary – but not only – purpose is to set the art direction of your entire site. Built into each theme are instructions that set every parameter as to how your site will look. Things like:

  • typeface color, size, style, and weight
  • background color
  • layout
  • image sizes

and more, which define your theme. But it doesn’t stop there. Many features – such has how you might build your home page or how social media is used – can also be part of your theme.

Plugins

WordPress Plugins

Plugins, like apps on a cellphone, add to what WordPress does by default. Currently, there are about 50,000 plugins to choose from. Not that each one does something unique. Just about every plugin has a competitor plugin that does something very similar but in a different way. Take backing up your site. There are many plugins that make a copy of your site for safe keeping just in case bad stuff happens, but each backup plugin does it a little differently.

So, Why Is It Important To Know What WordPress Core Is?

Sometimes, a plugin gets very popular and everyone says it should be part of WordPress. What they really mean is that the plugin should be part of Core. Often that is exactly how WordPress itself (Core) evolves.

This will be the case when Gutenberg is released this Spring for all the world to use. It’s currently a plugin, but when it is released into WordPress v5.0, it will be part of Core. All you’ll need to do is update to 5.0 and you will automatically have Gutenberg.

Not sure what Gutenberg is? Have a look at “WordPress In 2018 Is Getting A New Page Editor And It’s Called Gutenberg.”