WordPress Jargon Glossary

It's easy to forget that in WordPress we use a lot of jargon. So the Marketing Team has created this document and a downloadable PDF as a resource for you.
It’s easy to forget that in WordPress we use a lot of jargon. So the Marketing Team has created this document and a downloadable PDF as a resource for you.


.htaccess is a configuration file for use on web servers running the Apache Web Server software. When a .htaccess file is placed in a directory that is in turn ‘loaded via the Apache Web Server’, then the .htaccess file is detected and executed by the Apache Web Server software.


Accessibility (https://a11yproject.com/). A11y is an acronym for accessibility. The 11 represents the 11 letters that that were removed between the a and y to make accessibility shorter to write particularly on social media.


Apache is the most widely used web server software. Developed and maintained by Apache Software Foundation. Apache is an Open Source software available for free.


An API or Application Programming Interface is a software intermediary that allows programs to interact with each other and share data in limited, clearly defined ways.


Free and Open Source text editor designed for code development- https://atom.io/.


An avatar is an image or illustration that specifically refers to a character that represents an online user. It’s usually a square box that appears next to the user’s name.

Back-end developer

A back-end developer builds or manages the WordPress database, CMS and how it connects to the server. The front end user, for example, a content creator, can then use WordPress to create content and other applications available at the front end of the website.


Incoming links to a web page. Search engines view backlinks as a reputation builder. The more quality (as determined by the search engine)  incoming backlinks a site has usually helps a site to rank better in search engine results.


Free, open source software built on top of WordPress for easily creating forums on sites. https://bbpress.org.


A pre-release of software that is given out to a large group of users to trial under real conditions. Beta versions have gone through alpha testing in-house and are generally fairly close in look, feel and function to the final product; however, design changes often occur as part of the process.


Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the Gutenberg editor and some plugins. The idea combines concepts of what in WordPress today we achieve with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience.


The ‘category’ taxonomy lets you group posts / content together that share a common bond. Categories are pre-defined and broad ranging.

Child theme

A Child Theme is a customized theme based upon a Parent Theme. It’s considered best practice to create a child theme if you want to modify the CSS of your theme. https://developer.wordpress.org/themes/advanced-topics/child-themes/.


“CHange MODe” is a way to make a file executable by a linux or mac based computer.


Command Line Interface. Terminal (Bash) in Mac, Command Prompt in Windows, or WP-CLI for WordPress.

Contributor Day

Contributor Days are standalone days, frequently held before or after WordCamps but they can also happen at any time. They are events where people get together to work on various areas of https://make.wordpress.org/ There are many teams that people can participate in, each with a different focus. https://2017.us.wordcamp.org/contributor-day/ https://make.wordpress.org/support/handbook/getting-started/getting-started-at-a-contributor-day/.


Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress.

Core Contributors

Core contributors are those who have worked on a release of WordPress, by creating the functions or finding and patching bugs. These contributions are done through Trac. https://core.trac.wordpress.org.

Cowboy Coding

This refers to making code changes on a live site rather than in a staging site.


The brand name for a specific type of standardized web hosting control panel used in shared linux web hosting environment. https://cpanel.com/.


CSS is an acronym for cascading style sheets. This is what controls the design or look and feel of a site.

Custom Field

Custom Field, also referred to as post meta, is a feature in WordPress. It allows users to add additional information when writing a post, eg contributors’ names, auth. WordPress stores this information as metadata. Users can display this meta data by using template tags in their WordPress themes.

Custom Post Type

WordPress can hold and display many different types of content. A single item of such a content is generally called a post, although post is also a specific post type. Custom Post Types gives your site the ability to have templated posts, to simplify the concept.


Tool built into WordPress core that hooks into most modern themes. You can use it to preview and modify many of your site’s appearance settings.

Development Site

You can keep a copy of your live site in a separate environment. Maintaining a development site is a good practice that can let you make any changes and test them without affecting the live/production environment.


DNS is an acronym for Domain Name System – how you assign a human readable address to a website’s exact numeric coded location (ie. google.com used the actual IP address


An excerpt is the description of the blog post or page that will by default show on the blog archive page, in search results (SERPs), and on social media. With an SEO plugin, the excerpt may also be in that plugin’s metabox.


This is the ability to add additional functionality to the code. Plugins extend the WordPress core software.

Featured image

A featured image is the main image used on your blog archive page and is pulled when the post or page is shared on social media. The image can be used to display in widget areas on your site or in a summary list of posts.


Filters are one of the two types of Hooks https://codex.wordpress.org/Plugin_API/Hooks. They provide a way for functions to modify data of other functions. They are the counterpart to Actions. Unlike Actions, filters are meant to work in an isolated manner, and should never have side effects such as affecting global variables and output.


The term Footer usually refers to the bottom section of a web page. It usually contains information like copyright notices, links to privacy policy, credits, etc. It may also contain source code to include scripts that a WordPress theme developer uses, and putting them in the footer is considered good practice.

Front-end developer

Front-end web development is the practice of producing HTML, CSS and JavaScript for a website or a web application which a user can view and interact directly.


FTP is an acronym for File Transfer Protocol which is a way of moving computer files from one computer to another via the Internet. You can use software, known as a FTP client, to upload files to a server for a WordPress website. https://codex.wordpress.org/FTP_Clients.


Git is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency. Git is easy to learn and has a tiny footprint with lightning fast performance. Most modern plugin and theme development is being done with this version control system. https://git-scm.com/.


Github is a website that offers online implementation of git repositories that can can easily be shared, copied and modified by other developers. Public repositories are free to host, private repositories require a paid subscription. Github introduced the concept of the ‘pull request’ where code changes done in branches by contributors can be reviewed and discussed before being merged be the repository owner.  https://github.com/


GPL is an acronym for General Public License. It is the standard license WordPress uses for Open Source licensing https://wordpress.org/about/gpl/.The GPL is a ‘copyleft’ licensehttps://www.gnu.org/licenses/copyleft.en.html . This means that derivative work can only be distributed under the same license terms. This is in distinction to permissive free software licenses, of which the BSD license and the MIT License are widely used examples.


Is an acronym for Globally Recognized Avatar. It is the avatar system managed by WordPress.com. https://en.gravatar.com/.


General Translation Editor – One of the polyglots team leads in a geographic region https://make.wordpress.org/polyglots/teams/.


Forthcoming editor for WordPress coming in 2018. The editor will create a new page and post building experience aimed at making writing rich content much simpler, It will use ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. https://wordpress.org/plugins/gutenberg/ https://ma.tt/2017/08/we-called-it-gutenberg-for-a-reason/.


The header of your site is typically the first thing people will experience. The masthead or header art located across the top of your page is part of the look and feel of your website. It can influence a visitor’s opinion about your content and you/ your organization’s brand. It may also look different on different screen sizes.


In WordPress theme and development, hooks are functions that can be applied to an action or a Filter in WordPress. Actions are functions performed when a certain event occurs in WordPress. Filters allow you to modify certain functions. Arguments used to hook both filters and actions look the same.


HTML is an acronym for Hyper Text Markup Language. It is a programming language that is used in the development of web pages and websites.


HTTP is an acronym for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. HTTP  is the underlying protocol used by the World Wide Web and this protocol defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and what actions Web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands.


HTTPS is an acronym for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. HTTPS  is the secure version of HTTP, the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website that you are connected to. The ‘S’ at the end of HTTPS stands for ‘Secure’. It means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted. This is especially helpful for protecting sensitive data like banking information.


iFrame is an acronym for an inline frame. An iFrame is used inside a webpage to load another HTML document and render it. This HTML document may also contain JavaScript and/or CSS which is loaded at the time when iframe tag is parsed by the user’s browser.


JavaScript or JS is an object-oriented computer programming language commonly used to create interactive effects within web browsers. WordPress makes extensive use of JS for a better user experience. While PHP is executed on the server, JS executes within a user’s browser. https://www.javascript.com/.


JSON, or JavaScript Object Notation, is a minimal, readable format for structuring data. It is used primarily to transmit data between a server and web application, as an alternative to XML.

Kitchen Sink

When using the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor in WordPress, you can expand the capabilities to allow more options. This expanded area is called the “Kitchen Sink.”


LAMP is an acronym for Linux, Apache, MySql, PHP. It is the underpinnings of WordPress.


LEMP is an acronym for Linux, NGINX, MySQL, and PHP.

Local Install

A local install of WordPress is a way to create a staging environment by installing a LAMP or LEMP stack on your local computer.


The Loop is PHP code used by WordPress to display posts. Using The Loop, WordPress processes each post to be displayed on the current page, and formats it according to how it matches specified criteria within The Loop tags. Any HTML or PHP code in the Loop will be processed on each post. https://codex.wordpress.org/The_Loop.

Major Release

A set of releases or versions having the same major version number may be collectively referred to as “X.” — for example version 2.x.x to refer to versions 2.0.1, 2.3.1, 2.7.10, and all other versions in the 2. (two dot) branch of that software. Major Releases often are the introduction of new major features and functionality.


All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through https://www.meetup.com/. A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on meetup.com will help you find options in your area.


Meta is a term that refers to the inside workings of a group. For us, this is the team that works on internal WordPress sites like WordCamp Central and Make WordPress.


A post metabox is a draggable box shown on the post editing screen. Its purpose is to allow the user to select or enter information in addition to the main post content. This information should be related to the post in some way.


Moving the code, database and media files for a website site from one server to another. Most typically done when changing hosting companies.

Minor Release

A set of releases or versions having the same minor version number may be collectively referred to as .x , for example version 2.2.x to refer to versions 2.2, 2.2.1, 2.2.10, and all other versions in the 2.2 (two dot two) branch of that software. Minor Releases often make improvements to existing features and functionality.


Multisite is a WordPress feature which allows users to create a network of sites on a single WordPress installation. Available since WordPress version 3.0, Multisite is a continuation of WPMU or WordPress Multiuser project. WordPress MultiUser project was discontinued and its features were included into WordPress core.https://codex.wordpress.org/Create_A_Network.


MySQL is a relational database management system. A database is a structured collection of data where content, configuration and other options are stored. https://www.mysql.com/.

Navigation Menu

A theme feature introduced with Version 3.0. WordPress includes an easy to use mechanism for giving various control options to get users to click from one place to another on a site.


NGINX is open source software for web serving, reverse proxying, caching, load balancing, media streaming, and more. It started out as a web server designed for maximum performance and stability. In addition to its HTTP server capabilities, NGINX can also function as a proxy server for email (IMAP, POP3, and SMTP) and a reverse proxy and load balancer for HTTP, TCP, and UDP servers. https://www.nginx.com/.

Open Source

Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified.  Open Source is often delivered via a licensing model, see GPL.


P2 is the term people use to refer to the Make WordPress blog. It can be found at https://make.wordpress.org/.


A page in WordPress usually refers to the page post type. It is one of the default pre-defined WordPress post types. Pages are static one-off type of documents which are not tied to the blog’s reverse chronological order of content.


PHP (recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely-used open source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML. http://php.net/manual/en/intro-whatis.php.


The act of sending a very small amount of data to an end point.  Ping is used in computer science to illicit a response from a target server to test it’s connection. Ping is also a term used by Slack users to @ someone or send them a direct message (DM). Users might say something along the lines of “Ping me when the meeting starts.”


A pingback is a special type of comment that’s created when you link to another blog post, as long as the other blog is set to accept pingbacks. Pingback allows you to notify other bloggers that you have linked to their article on your website. Although there are some minor technical differences, a trackback is basically the same thing as a pingback.


A plugin adds code which performs a function on your site. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party.


A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. https://wordpress.org/plugins/.

Point Release

The least significant digits in a release number, refers primarily to the patch level. For example 2.2.1 or 2.2.5 Point releases are often bug fixes or security patches, sometimes adding new functionality but mostly just amending an issue with a Major or Minor release.

Polyglots Team

Polyglots Team is a group of multilingual translators who work on translating plugins, themes, documentation, and front-facing marketing copy. https://make.wordpress.org/polyglots/teams/.


Posts are entries listed in reverse chronological order on the blog home page or on the posts page.

Post Meta

Post meta are also known as metadata or custom fields in WordPress. They can be defined as data that describe posts. For example, the post type is a meta data, or the post format. In WooCommerce, the price is a post meta, or the product type.

Post Slug

The post slug is the user friendly and URL valid name of a post. Most common usage of this feature is to create a permalink for each post.

Production Site

A production site is a live site online meant to be viewed by your visitors, as opposed to a site that is staged for development or testing.


React is a JavaScript library that makes it easy to reason about, construct, and maintain stateless and stateful user interfaces. https://reactjs.org/.


A release is the distribution of the final version of an application. A software release may be either public or private and generally constitutes the initial or new generation of a new or upgraded application. A release is preceded by the distribution of alpha and then beta versions of the software.

Release Candidate

A beta version of software with the potential to be a final product, which is ready to release unless significant bugs emerge.

Release Lead

The community member ultimately responsible for the Release.


The REST API is an acronym for the RESTful Application Program Interface (API) that uses HTTP requests to GET, PUT, POST and DELETE data. It is how the front end of an application (think “phone app” or “website”) can communicate with the data store (think “database” or “file system”) https://developer.wordpress.org/rest-api/.


The WordPress revisions system stores a record of each saved draft or published update. The revision system allows you to see what changes were made in each revision by dragging a slider (or using the Next/Previous buttons). The display indicates what has changed in each revision.

RSS Feed

RSS is an acronym for Real Simple Syndication which is a type of web feed which allows users to access updates to online content in a standardized, computer-readable format. This is the feed.


SFTP is an acronym for Secure File Transfer Protocol: A standard protocol to move computer files from one host to another over the Internet with enhanced security.


A shortcode is a code generated by your plugin to insert a form or function in a specific location on your site like a widget or in the copy.


A sidebar in WordPress is referred to a widget-ready area used by WordPress themes to display information that is not a part of the main content. It is not always a vertical column on the side. It can be a horizontal rectangle below or above the content area, footer, header, or any where in the theme.


Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/.


Secure SHell – a protocol for securely connecting to a remote system in addition to or in place of a password.


Secure Socket Layer – Encryption from the server to the browser and back. Prevents prying eyes from seeing what you are sending between your browser and the server.

Staging Environment

A staging environment is a non-production copy of your site. This is a private place to build the site — design, copy, and code — until your client approves it for production or live. Sometimes used in addition to, or as a Development Environment.

State of the Word

This is the annual report given by Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress at WordCamp US. It looks at what we’ve done, what we’re doing, and the future of WordPress. https://wordpress.tv/tag/state-of-the-word/.

Static Front Page

A WordPress website can have a dynamic blog-like front page, or a “static front page” which is used to show customized content. Typically this is the first page you see when you visit a site url, like wordpress.org for example.

Support Forum

WordPress Support Forums is a place to go for help and conversations around using WordPress. Also the place to go to report issues that are caused by errors with the WordPress code and implementations. https://en.forums.wordpress.com/.


Apache Subversion (often abbreviated SVN, after its command name svn) is a software versioning and revision control system. Software developers use Subversion to maintain current and historical versions of files such as source code, web pages, and documentation. Its goal is to be a mostly compatible successor to the widely used Concurrent Versions System (CVS). WordPress core and the wordpress.org released code are all centrally managed through SVN. https://subversion.apache.org/.


Tag is one of the pre-defined taxonomies in WordPress. Users can add tags to their WordPress posts along with categories. However, while a category may cover a broad range of topics, tags are smaller in scope and focused to specific topics. Think of them as keywords used for topics discussed in a particular post.


A taxonomy is a way to group things together. In WordPress, some common taxonomies are category, link, tag, or post format. https://codex.wordpress.org/Taxonomies#Default_Taxonomies.

Team Rep

A Team Rep is a person who represents the Make WordPress team to the rest of the project, make sure issues are raised and addressed as needed, and coordinates cross-team efforts.

Theme / Parent Theme

A theme dictates the style and function of your WordPress website. Child Themes derive from the main parent theme.


Trac is the place where contributors create issues for bugs or feature requests much like GitHub.https://core.trac.wordpress.org/.


Trash in WordPress is like the Recycle Bin on your PC or Trash in your Macintosh computer. Users with the proper permission level (administrators and editors) have the ability to delete a post, page, and/or comments. When you delete the item, it is moved to the trash folder where it will remain for 30 days.


Project management system using the concepts of boards and cards to organize tasks in a sane way. This is what the make.wordpress.com/marketing team uses for example: https://trello.com/b/8UGHVBu8/wp-marketing.


UI is an acronym for User Interface – the layout of the page the user interacts with. Think ‘how are they doing that’ and less about what they are doing.


This is the mechanism by which WordPress releases new features as well as provide security patches as needed. You should always update WordPress to the latest version. When a new version of WordPress is available you will receive an update message in your WordPress Admin Screens. To update WordPress, click the link in this message.


specific web address of a website or web page on the Internet, such as a website’s URL www.yourwebsite.com.


UX is an acronym for User Experience – the way the user uses the UI. Think ‘what they are doing’ and less about how they do it.


Vue (pronounced /vjuː/, like view) is a progressive framework for building user interfaces. https://vuejs.org/.


The primary goal of Varying Vagrant Vagrants (VVV) is to provide an approachable development environment with a modern server configuration. VVV is ideal for developing themes and plugins as well as for contributing to WordPress core. https://varyingvagrantvagrants.org/.


The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards.https://www.w3.org/.


WCAG is an acronym for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. These guidelines are helping make sure the internet is accessible to all people no matter how they would need to access the internet (screen-reader, keyboard only, etc) https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/.


A WordPress Widget is a small block that performs a specific function. You can add these widgets in sidebars also known as widget-ready areas on your web page. WordPress widgets were originally created to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress theme to the user.


Woo Commerce also known as Woo, is an eCommerce solution for WordPress. If you are going to set up an online store or marketplace, WooCommerce powers a great deal of online transactions and is a good choice since it has a robust community behind it. https://woocommerce.com/.


A WordCamp is a conference where the WordPress community come together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy.https://central.wordcamp.org/about/.

WordCamp Central

Website for all WordCamp activities globally.https://central.wordcamp.orgincludes a list of upcoming and past camp with links to each.

WordPress Codex

Living online manual to WordPress.org https://codex.wordpress.org/


An online implementation of WordPress code that lets you immediately access a new WordPress environment to publish your content.  WordPress.com is a private company owned by Automattic that hosts the largest multisite in the world. This is arguably the best place to start blogging if you have never touched WordPress before. https://wordpress.com/


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.  https://wordpress.org/


WP CLI is the Command Line Interface for WordPress, used to do administrative and development tasks in a programmatic way. The project page is http://wp-cli.org/


What You See Is What You Get. Most commonly used in relation to editors, where changes made in edit mode reflect exactly as they will translate to the published page.


#glossary, #jargon, #wordpress-terms