Support, forums, training or documentation

There are several ways to find information regarding the features or issues in WordPress and each one of them has a function and a time. This is a short explanation of what each means, the difference and when to use them.

What is what?

A good way to differentiate them is to define them and to provide use cases for each. None is better or worst than the other neither is any more or less important. It all depends on when they are used.

  • Support is 1:1, requires interaction and it is used for more urgent issues, whether is a chatbot or person and is immediate.
  • Forums are intended for broader help or best advice on specific topics. Most of the time is asynchronous but is monitored by a team or person, paid or volunteer. Most importantly, forums are community driven.
  • Documentation are basically instructions on how to do things. There is no interaction of any kind for questions. Literally, “what you read is what you get.”
  • Training creates lessons on topics. These can be on video or written form. Can be individual or part of a series. And training can be immediate or in the user’s own time.

Some use cases

Users require information for different reasons and search for it in different ways.

For instance, hosting companies use support, either by chat or call, to resolve a user’s issue. Whether is urgent or not, it usually is something that the user cannot solve by themselves or it has an immediate need for solution.

The forums are topical and in threads. They are very useful for discussions and to provide guidance over an issue or topic. Forums are monitored and conversation are mostly asynchronous. Some of the uses could be a school discussion group, product sales, best practices, product help, product how-to’s, etc.

When a user wants to learn fairly quick how to do something, following the steps in a documentation article is the best way. There are no interactions and the user reads it in their own time.

In opposition to wanting to deeply learn about a subject, then the user would search for a training lesson or course.

What can a user find in The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. does not provide support. There is no team that will reply to questions 1:1 at any time. Instead there are the Forums that are monitored by contributors, volunteer and paid, that reply to questions posted.

There is documentation for end-users and developers and there are training lessons offered in Learn.

It is a strong recommendation by the documentation team to stop using the word support and instead refer to each instance with their respective name.

Props to @milana_cap and @atachibana for the review of this article.