Asking “is WordPress frontend or backend?” may make experienced developers roll their eyes because the answer is obvious. However, it may need to be clarified for people just learning to code, develop websites, or use WordPress.
WordPress is a CMS that provides the framework for front-end and back-end development, allowing website administrators a great deal of flexibility, whether they code or not.
This article explores the front-end and back-end elements of WordPress.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a free, open-source, and self-hosted content management system (CMS) used to create and manage websites. Released in 2003, it’s become the most popular CMS platform in the world by powering over 40% of all websites.
CMSs are generally designed to be user-friendly, meaning that even people who don’t know how to code can create a website using the CMS’s built-in functions. WordPress is known for being particularly user-friendly, versatile, and scalable, fostering a large community of developers as a result.
Regardless of your skills, it’s possible to build any website using WordPress, from a personal blog to a large eCommerce site.
What are front-end and back-end in web development?
Front-end and back-end are distinct parts of any website or web application.
The front-end refers to the web app users interact with directly. It is the interface users see and interact with on their browsers. It comprises the content and styles, buttons, hover effects that appear before clicking, contact forms, search boxes, dropdown menus, layouts, texts, images, videos, and everything else users see when they visit a page.
On the other hand, the back-end is the part of the website that users don’t interact with. It’s the part hidden from them on the server side of things.
All websites are hosted on a server (a special computer designed for web hosting), and the web app and server interactions are the back-end. It comprises the server itself, the database, and the app logic that delivers dynamic content to the user. All the data storing and managing user sessions, authentication, and requests happen on the back-end.
Elements of WordPress’ front-end
Like any other CMS, the WordPress front-end consists of the elements users interact with. More specifically, the elements of WordPress’ front-end are the following.
The theme is the software that controls the layout, design, typography, color scheme, and other design elements of the website’s front-end. Developers can code themes from scratch or customize one of the thousands of free and premium WordPress themes.
All the media (images and videos), text, and comments that make up the website’s pages and posts.
Some themes support widgets, small content blocks that add functionality and interactivity to the site. They’re added to designated widget-ready areas of the theme (generally the sidebar and footer) and can display recent posts, categories, tags, calendars, search bars, social media links, and more.
The header, footer, and sidebar
The header is the uppermost section of the website, typically containing the site logo, dropdown menus, other navigation elements, social media links, opening times, account options, search functionality, and any other relevant information.
Finally, the sidebar is a vertical column to the side of the website’s interface, typically containing social media links and other widgets.
Plugins are software components third-party teams develop to modify existing WordPress functionality or create new functions. Many plugins, such as for user forms or social media buttons, interact with users.
Elements of WordPress’ back-end
As in other CMSs, the WordPress back-end is the part of the website that is not visible to users. Instead, it’s available only to site owners, employees, and collaborators. Often, the WordPress back-end is called the administration area or wp-admin.
The elements of the WordPress back-end are the following.
Web servers are computers that store websites and make them available to the rest of the world by answering requests from users trying to access them. Their primary function is to display website content through storing, processing, and delivering web pages to users.
Since WordPress is self-hosted, website owners must set up web hosting with third parties rather than with WordPress itself. Some web hosts like WPEngine specialize in WordPress hosting and offer managed hosting solutions.
A database is an organized collection of data. Data stored in the WordPress database includes posts, pages, categories and tags, user data and comments, site settings, plugin and theme data, and more. Admins use MySQL to manage the database.
The WordPress dashboard is the main admin control panel of the website’s back-end. From the dashboard, administrators can install and manage plugins and themes, modify user roles, create posts and pages, modify settings, and generally manage the entire site.
The media library
The media library stores all the media files uploaded to the website, including images, videos, and audio files.
As a WordPress developer, do you need to know both front-end and back-end development?
In short, yes. Indeed, people who don’t code can still use WordPress, but they won’t be able to make the most of the platform. Because of this, professional WordPress developers know how to build the front-end and back-end parts of the site.
WordPress developers can still specialize in specific areas, such as theme development and editing (front-end), or become database admins by diving deeper into MySQL. However, for developers just starting out, it’s better to learn all required languages and only specializes in an area once they’ve become proficient through everyday experience.
WordPress contains front-end and back-end
Understanding WordPress’s front-end and back-end elements will help you better understand how WordPress works as a platform and how the front-end and back-end interact to create a complete website.