WordPress Installation Files: A Glossary For Non-Techies

Need to know what WordPress installation folders and files in your server are used for? Here is a glossary of WordPress installation files for non-techies …

WordPress Installation Files: A Glossary For Non-TechiesWhen WordPress is installed on your domain, either by performing a manual WordPress installation or using a WordPress installation script like Softaculous or Fantastico, a number of folders and files get added to your server’s root directory.

Although these folders and files are mostly accessed by technical users like website developers, it’s good to know what these folders and files are used for, especially if you plan to build or manage your own WordPress site.

WordPress installation files

(WordPress installation files)

You can view these folders and files using an FTP application or cPanel’s File Manager. For help with this, see the tutorial below:

Knowing what WordPress installation folders and files do is also important for areas like:

WordPress Installation Files: A Glossary For Non-Techies

Your WordPress site is made up of your WordPress installation files and your WordPress database. These are responsible for creating, storing, and managing all of your site’s information, web pages, etc.

Below is a glossary of WordPress installation files for non-techies. The glossary includes non-technical explanations and descriptions with links to related tutorials.

If you need more technical information about the folders or files below, please refer to the official WordPress documentation here:


This folder contains all of the files that control your WordPress site’s installation, administration, and management functions …

WordPress wp-admin folder

(WordPress wp-admin folder)


This folder holds all of the content supplied by users (e.g. images uploaded to the WordPress Media Library) and stores all of the WordPress Themes and WordPress Plugins installed on your site …

WordPress wp-content folder

(WordPress wp-content folder)

This folder is also used for things like:


This folder contains most of the technical files and instructions required for supporting WordPress functionality …

WordPress wp-includes folder

(WordPress wp-includes folder)


An .htaccess file is a configuration file used on web servers running the Apache Web Server software. It contains important server instructions …

WordPress .htaccess file

(WordPress .htaccess file)

The .htaccess file is used to enable/disable functionality, such as:

  • Enabling password protection on a directory
  • Enabling content protection
  • Denying visitors access to the website
  • Redirecting visitors to another page or a custom error or 404 page
  • Preventing images on your site from being hotlinked
  • Etc.

If you experience WordPress errors, it may be because your .htaccess file has become corrupted. If this happens, see this tutorial:


This is the core WordPress index file that instructs your WordPress theme and blog to load.

This file looks to see if you have set a home page in WordPress and displays that page to your visitors. If not, it displays a default blog page.

Basically, what the index.php file does, is show visitors a page like this when they visit your site …

This is what visitors see thanks to index.php

(This is what visitors see thanks to index.php)

Instead of a directory of internal files like this …

This is what visitors see if index.php file is removed

(This is what visitors see if index.php file is removed)


This file contains the WordPress GPL license which states that WordPress is free software and can be redistributed and/or modified under the terms of the GNU General Public License.


This file contains useful pre-installation information about WordPress …

WordPress ReadMe file

(WordPress ReadMe file)


This file confirms that the activation key sent in an email after a user signs up for a new site matches the key for that user and then displays confirmation.


This file decides what to display based on the parameters that are passed to the blog from any page that wants to display WordPress content and loads the WordPress environment and template.


This file receives posted comments and adds them to the WordPress database. It also prevents duplicate comment posting.


This is a sample of the wp-config.php file used to connect WordPress to your MySQL database. You can use this sample file to manually create the wp-config.php file (see below).


The wp-config.php file is one of your most important WordPress installation files. The wp-config.php file is located in the root of your WordPress file directory and contains your website’s base configuration details, such as your database connection information (e.g. Database Name,  Database Username, Database Password, Database Host, etc.)

Here is some useful information about wp-config.php file:

  • The wp-config.php file isn’t included in the WordPress download files. It is created during the WordPress setup process based either on the information you provide during the manual installation process, or automatically, if you use a WordPress installation script (e.g. Softaculous, Fantastico, etc.)
  • A wp-config.php file can be created manually by editing the sample file (“wp-config-sample.php”), resaving it as wp-config.php and uploading this file to the root install directory.
  • The content of the wp-config.php file follow a specific order. Rearranging the order of this content may create errors on your website.
  • Editing WordPress files like wp-config.php should always be done using a plain text editor. Never use a word processor like Microsoft Word or Google Docs to edit WordPress files.

Many important modifications to WordPress can be done manually by adding lines of code to the wp-config.php file. Some of the features and functionality affected by the wp-config.php file, for example, include:

  • Adding WordPress Security Keys
  • WordPress Autosave And Post Revision (including changing the Autosave interval and disabling Post revisions)
  • Increasing PHP Memory Limit
  • Defining the ‘home’ URL of your WordPress site (i.e. the URL people type in to visit your site).
  • Moving folders (e.g. content, plugins, themes, uploads folder, etc.) to directories in your server other than their default location.
  • Enabling WordPress Multisite
  • Using WordPress In Other Languages
  • Disabling plugin and theme installation, updates, and edits
  • Disabling WordPress automatic and core updates
  • Blocking external URL requests
  • Forcing Admins and Logins to use SSL
  • Overriding default WordPress File Permissions
  • Changing WordPress Cron settings
  • Emptying the trash
  • Debugging WordPress (troubleshooting errors and making repairs)
  • Allowing WordPress users to optimize and repair the WordPress database
  • And so much more …


A CRON job is essentially an automated scheduled task. It’s like someone programming a robot to do XYZ at a specific time. If someone asks the robot “is it time to do XYZ yet?” the robot can then either say “no, it’s not time yet” or “yes, it’s time” and then automatically perform the task.

By default, WordPress calls up wp-cron.php whenever someone visits your WordPress site and a scheduled task is present. Also, web hosting providers normally offer CRON. The wp-cron.php file provides a CRON function for hosts that do not offer CRON or where a CRON job has not been set up by software installed on your site.

The wp-cron.php file is used to perform virtual cron jobs (i.e. scheduled tasks) to automate things like publish scheduled posts, check for plugin or theme updates, send email notifications, etc.


This file converts links added to your site via the WordPress admin menu into a format called OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language).

OPML allows outlines and lists to be exchanged between different platforms, such as exchanging lists of RSS feeds between different feed aggregators.

Essentially, this file allows links to be exported from one WordPress site to another.


In computing terms, bootstrapping is a technique for loading a program by means of a few initial instructions which then enable the rest of the program to be loaded from somewhere else.

The wp-load.php file is a bootstrap file that loads the wp-config.php file. The wp-config.php file then loads the wp-settings.php file, which then sets up the WordPress environment.


This is the file that handles the WordPress login page for registered users, including user authentication, user registration, and resetting passwords.


WordPress uses this file to obtain blog posts submitted via email. The URL of this file is usually added to a CRON job so that it is regularly retrieved, enabling new email posts to be accepted.


This file performs various pre-execution routines and procedures, including checking for correct installation, including auxiliary functions, applying user plugins, initializing execution timers, etc.


WordPress uses this file to set up the area where users can sign up to your website or blog.


This file handles incoming trackback requests to WordPress.


This file provides XML-RPC protocol support for WordPress. This allows you to do things like post content to your site using programs and applications other than the built-in web-based administrative interface and for WordPress developers to extend WordPress functionality using plugins.

Additional Files

The additional files below aren’t part of the default WordPress installation but may be found in your server’s WordPress directory:


A php.ini file is the default file for configuring and running applications that require PHP. The server looks for this file when PHP starts up for instructions on how to control variables such as upload sizes, file timeouts, and resource limits.


We hope that you have found the above information useful.

WordPress Installation Files: A Glossary For Non-Techies

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WP Total Audit – Find And Fix Common WordPress Errors

Find and fix common WordPress errors with WP Total Audit.

WP Total Audit – Find And Fix Common WordPress Errors

WP Total Audit - Find And Fix Common WordPress ErrorsIn this post, we look at a WordPress security plugin that can help you find and fix common WordPress installation faults.

For additional information on keeping WordPress secure and troubleshooting common WordPress errors, see the following sections:

WP Total Audit

WP Total Audit - Find & fix common errors in WordPress

(WP Total Audit – Find & fix common WordPress errors)

After logging into thousands of WordPress sites while providing help or support for customers, the expert WordPress developers of WP Total Audit noticed the same installation or configuration mistakes being made over and over again, leaving the sites vulnerable to security attacks, plugin conflicts, etc.

Fortunately, these common mistakes are easy to fix and the WP Total Audit plugin provides ‘one-click’ fixes to from your dashboard. Whether you are a WordPress newbie or you have been using WordPress for years, WP Total Audit is a useful and inexpensive plugin that will automatically scan your site for security and performance loopholes and instantly alert you about any issues that need fixing …

WP Total Audit - Find & fix 17 hidden WordPress dangers in seconds!

(WP Total Audit – Find & fix 17 hidden WordPress dangers in seconds!)

WP Total Audit can be used in brand new or established WordPress sites and can be installed alongside other WordPress security plugins for hardened security.

Here are some testimonials from WP Total Audit users:

”One of the best plugins or probably the best plugins one can invest this year!” Richard Cheah

”Anyone who can push a button can handle it. The instruction video is actually superfluous. A must have, for such a ridiculously low price!” Peter Heine

This inexpensive plugin installs in seconds, can be used on all your WordPress sites, offers a 30-day money back guarantee and lifetime updates and support.

Learn more: WP Total Audit

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How To Test Your WordPress Site’s Mobile Friendliness Using Google TestMySite

Learn how to test your website’s mobile friendliness and make sure that your site is optimized for mobile users using a Free online tool developed by Google.

Get Thrive Leads for WordPress

How To Optimize Your WordPress Site For Mobile Using Google TestMySiteHow mobile friendly is your site?

As part of its goal to help users find relevant mobile-friendly pages when searching online, Google’s ranking algorithm looks at how mobile-friendly your website is and how fast your pages load on mobile devices.

According to Google:

  • Users spend 177 minutes on their mobile phones per day.
  • People are five times more likely to leave a mobile site that isn’t mobile-friendly.
  • Nearly half of all visitors will leave a mobile site if the pages don’t load within 3 seconds.

(Source: https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com)

In this short tutorial, we’ll show you how to test your website’s mobile friendliness and make sure that your site is optimized for mobile users using a FREE online tool developed by Google.

Useful Tip

Make sure that you have installed and are using a mobile-responsive WordPress theme on your site before you perform the tests below.

How To Optimize Your WordPress Site For Mobile Using Google TestMySite

Open your web browser and visit the following site:


This brings you to Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool, TestMySite. Type in the URL of your website and click the ‘Test Now’ button …

Google's free mobile-friendly testing tool

(Google’s free mobile-friendly testing tool)

Allow a few seconds for the tool to run through and complete various tests …

Google performs mobile-friendly tests on your site in seconds

(Google performs mobile-friendly tests on your site in seconds)

Once the tests are completed, results are displayed on the screen for:

  • Mobile Friendliness
  • Mobile Speed
  • Desktop Speed

Your site's mobile test results

(Your site’s mobile test results)

You can test as many different sites as you like simply by repeating the above process …

Test as as many sites as you like using Google's free tool

(Test as as many sites as you like using Google’s free tool)

Once your tests are completed, you can see what needs fixing or improving by clicking on the link next to your scores …

Click to see how to improve your results

(Click to see how to improve your results)

The tool lets you know which aspects of the test are ok, what you should consider fixing and what Google recommends you fix to improve your site’s scores and results …

Google lets you know what areas of your site need fixing

(Google lets you know what areas of your site need fixing)

Repeat this process to view the results for other sections of the test …

Learn how to improve your site's desktop speed

(Learn how to improve your site’s desktop speed)

According to Google, 9 out of 10 people say they use multiple screens for tasks like booking flights online or managing their personal finances, so it’s worth learning how to make your site load faster not only on mobile devices, but also on laptops and desktop computers …

See how fast your site loads on laptops and desktop computers

(See how fast your site loads on laptops and desktop computers)

You can also request a Free report of the test by clicking on the “Get My Free Report” button …

Google will email you a free report with your test results

(Google will email you a free report with your test results)

Enter your email address and click ‘Submit’ to receive the report …

Get your test results sent via email

(Get your test results sent via email)

After requesting the report, wait a few minutes and then check your inbox …

A Free report with your test results will arrive in your inbox shortly

(A Free report with your test results will arrive in your inbox shortly)

Once your test results arrive in your inbox, go through and click on the recommendations to learn how to fix issues or improve your site’s performance …

Mobile-friendly test results sent via free report by Google

(Mobile-friendly test results sent via free report by Google)

Clicking on links in the report takes you to the relevant sections of the Google Developers site. You can go through the information yourself, or refer it to your web developer …

Google Developers guides

(Google Developers guides)

Congratulations! Now you know how to test and improve your website’s mobile-friendliness.



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Disclaimer: This site has no direct association with WordPress or any of the WordPress-related products reviewed on this site. We may receive an affiliate commission from the sale of any products advertised, promoted or linked to our website. All images are the copyright of their respective owners and have been used only for training or illustrative purposes.

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