All You Ever Wanted to Know About WordPress in 10 Minutes or Less

Here’s a quick rundown of my talk at the first WordPress Meetup Jeonju for 2015 (January 24).

In this talk, I covered 4 points:

  1. What is WordPress?
  2. How big is WordPress?
  3. Why should you care?
  4. What can you do with it?

What is it?

WordPress is an open-source Content Management System licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2 license. This means the software is completely FREE to:

  1. Use commercially
  2. Modify or build upon
  3. Distribute
  4. Place under warranty

So long as you:

  1. Track dates/changes in the source files
  2. Keep all modifications under the same GPLv2 license
  3. Disclose the source code

(See the simplified GPLv2 summary)

WordPress was started as a joint software project by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little in 2003. The two met personally in London in 2005, the same year that Matt formed the company Automattic and went live.

The Difference Between and

The major difference between and is that the .com will host your blog for FREE at (and you can’t change that address unless you pay for a premium upgrade), and the .org is where you can download your own full version of the software to upload it to your own self-hosted domain (

So, in this way, is the best place for people starting out with the software to learn the ropes, and once you’re comfortable with everything, then it’s time to move over to downloading your own software from

Here are some more differences in a quick list:
  1. Hosts your site for FREE at
  2. Limits your ability to customize colors, code, etc
  3. Has a limited number of plugins and FREE themes
  4. Offers upgrades you can pay for (premium themes, your own domain name, customizations, etc)
  1. Is the DOWNLOAD location for the WordPress software, themes, and plugins
  2. Requires you own your own domain name and have a hosting provider
  3. The open source software allows FULL customization (depending on how deep you want to go)
  4. You have the ability to find and install your own themes and plugins, or even write your own

Think of it as the difference between renting a house and buying one. is the renter where you can’t really change all the wallpaper to exactly how you might like, and you have to call the landlord if something breaks. is the purchased home that provides the full software for you to freely download and do with as you please.

How big is WordPress?

WordPress powers over 60,000,000 websites around the world – 23% of all the world’s websites!

It powers plenty of famous and popular websites like:

  1. The New York Times blogs
  2. CNN blogs
  3. Forbes blogs
  4. Reuters blogs
  5. The Rolling Stones
  6. Jay-Z
  7. Katy Perry
  8. TechCrunch
  9. The GOP (US Republicans)
  10. Mashable

For a more robust list, see’s Notable Users page. And for a FULL list, see’s Showcase.

Why should you care?

#1: It’s Free

Because of its open-source nature and the GPL2 license, you never have to pay any kind of licensing fees to use or modify the software.

#2: It’s Powerful

There are:

Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, you can achieve. – Napoleon Hill

#3: It’s Scalable is the world’s largest SINGLE INSTALLATION of WordPress. There are over 500 million users with their own unique database tables that are running on a SINGLE code base. Now that’s pretty impressive!

In the same way, WordPress can scale to meet any of your website needs – whether you are a blogger writing a daily diary, or a Fortune 500 company that needs individual store sites for each of its +1,000 stores (Best Buy).

#4: It’s Growing

In 2014, there were 81 WordCamps (large-scale WordPress conferences) held in over a dozen countries. And 2014 was also the first year that non-English downloads of WordPress surpassed English downloads. This shows the company is growing internationally as well as in the US market.

Additionally, the number of monthly unique visitors to is comparable to the number of monthly unique visitors to Facebook – though the company is much smaller.
#5: It’s Comparatively Easy

I’ve worked with, customized, and programmed:

  1. Static HTML sites
  2. Moodle
  3. Joomla!

And I can say from experience that WordPress has the LEAST complicated administrator backend.

Years ago, Joomla! may have been more powerful than WordPress, but with the 5 major releases of WordPress in 2014 and continual development from a fine community of programmers, it is no longer.

In fact, after transferring one site ( from static HTML to Joomla! in 2011, I ended up transferring it over to WordPress within 2 years to better enable the content creators of the site to work. Joomla! menus and the backend just ended up being more complex than they needed to be.

Generally, a full WordPress site can be:

  1. Setup in 5 minutes
  2. Built in 4-5 weeks

If you can Word, then you can WordPress. The Editor interface is virtually the same.

#6: (Not in the PPT) The WordPress Community

The WordPress community is quite large and very supportive, helpful, and friendly. WordPress Meetups are held FREE of charge all over the world to teach and help others build WordPress websites.

WordPress Support Staff call themselves “Happiness Engineers” and make it their job to “deliver happiness” on the user forums:

  1. Forums ( hosted sites)
  2. Forums (self-hosted sites)

In fact, a “recommended read” for their Happiness Engineers is Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, CEO of

#7: It’s great for Platform Building

If you want to sell anything, you need a platform. WordPress is an amazing platform building tool that makes it easy for anyone to take a simple blog with 30 views per month to over 30,000 views per month (I speak from experience). site stats site stats

Main idea:

If you have a story worth telling, then you have a platform worth building.

What can you do with it?

From my own experience, I’ve built:

  1. Classroom sites
  2. Academy sites
  3. School & organizational sites
  4. Educational sites
  5. Church websites + podcasting
  6. Portfolio websites
  7. And personal blog sites (like this one)


Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, you can achieve. – Napoleon Hill

So the real question isn’t “What can you do with it?” but rather:

What will you do with it?

Liked my short PPT and talk (article)? Leave me a comment below.

Or for our Meetup members, feel free to ask any questions you might have about WordPress or give me suggestions for the next Meetup subject and talk!~

How to Add FontAwesome (or Other Icon Fonts) to your WP Theme or Plugin

So, you want to use FontAwesome in your Theme, eh? Add the following snippet to your functions.php file:

wp_enqueue_style( 'font-awesome', '//' );

Do you want to use it in your Plugin? Just place that code in one of your functions within your plugin file and hook into the wp_enqueue_scripts Action:

add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'plugin_slug_load_iconfont' );

function plugin_slug_load_iconfont() {
    wp_enqueue_style( 'font-awesome', '//' );

The same principle holds true for the other icon fonts that are available online.

But here, this one’s even easier: Dashicons. They’re already included as part of the WordPress admin dashboard, so in order for you to get them working for non-logged in users, all you have to do is:

add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'plugin_slug_load_dashicons' );

function plugin_slug_load_dashicons() {
    wp_enqueue_style( 'dashicons' );

Simple, right?

How to Enable Social Icons in the WordPress Theme Customizer

I figure I might as well write about this before I deprecate it in my upcoming Theme. Social Nav Menus are much better.

A week or two ago as I was getting deep into developing a new WordPress Theme, I stumbled upon some pretty good looking code that would allow me to add Social Media Icons to the Theme Customizer like so:


At the time, it was a superb idea. I was just learning about all the possibilities the Theme Customizer affords developers and it was fun to implement the code and watch it work so smoothly.

However, after watching Morten Rand-Hendriksen’s Building Themes from Scratch Using Underscores and reading Justin Tadlock’s post on building Social Nav menus, I think I will scratch this bit of code in favor of Tadlock’s solution.

It just makes sense to not want to have to re-enter your Social Media links in every new Theme you install. Why not just leave all the Social links you want in a nav menu and use your Theme to style and output it specifically as a Social menu?

TwentyFifteen also does just that. (See #3 in this post.)

Nevertheless, I felt that the code itself was worth my time to invest in learning, so I’m reproducing it here for reference. This code is modified slightly from the example I found – I’ve included email as an option. It should be pretty easy to see how it’s done:

add_section(), add_setting(), add_control()

 * Social site icons for Quick Menu bar
 * @link:
 $wp_customize->add_section( 'social_settings', array(
     'title' => __( 'Social Media Icons', 'theme_slug' ),
     'priority' => 100,
 $social_sites = theme_slug_get_social_sites();
 $priority = 5;
 foreach( $social_sites as $social_site ) {
     $wp_customize->add_setting( "$social_site", array(
         'type' => 'theme_mod',
         'capability' => 'edit_theme_options',
         'sanitize_callback' => 'esc_url_raw',
     $wp_customize->add_control( $social_site, array(
         'label' => ucwords( __( "$social_site URL:", 'social_icon' ) ),
         'section' => 'social_settings',
         'type' => 'text',
         'priority' => $priority,
     $priority += 5;

function theme_slug_get_social_sites()

 * Social Media icon helper functions
 * @return array
 * @link:
function theme_slug_get_social_sites() {
     // Store social site names in array
     $social_sites = array(
 return $social_sites;

function theme_slug_show_social_icons()

// Get user input from the Customizer and output the linked social media icons
function theme_slug_show_social_icons() {
     $social_sites = theme_slug_get_social_sites();
     // Any inputs that aren't empty are stored in $active_sites array
     foreach( $social_sites as $social_site ) {
         if ( strlen( get_theme_mod( $social_site ) ) > 0 ) {
             $active_sites[] = $social_site;
     // For each active social site, add it as a list item
     if ( !empty( $active_sites ) ) {
         echo "<ul class='social-media-icons'>";
         foreach ( $active_sites as $active_site ) { ?>

             <a href="<?php echo get_theme_mod( $active_site ); ?>">
             <?php if( $active_site == 'vimeo' ) { ?>
                 <i class="fa fa-<?php echo $active_site; ?>-square"></i> <?php
             } else if( $active_site == 'email' ) { ?>
                 <i class="fa fa-envelope"></i> <?php
             } else { ?>
                 <i class="fa fa-<?php echo $active_site; ?>"></i> <?php
             } ?>
             </li> <?php
         echo "</ul>";

Oh, and obviously you’ll need to remember to enqueue FontAwesome in your WordPress Theme in order to make this all function properly. Then, the CSS styling is totally up to you.

6 Choices for a localhost Web Development Environment

For web development, the bare minimum you need access to is AMP:

  1. Apache server
  2. MySQL database
  3. PHP programming language

You can install these as a collection on your computer locally using various OS-specific installations:

  1. Windows: WAMP
  2. Mac: MAMP
  3. Linux: LAMP
  4. Cross-platform: XAMPP

Or, if you prefer an auto-installerBitnami is an excellent option. (And Softaculous also looks promising.)

Wikipedia also lists plenty of other Apache, MySQL, and PHP bundles if you’re interested in checking out any of the other ones, but in this post, I’ve taken screenshots of each major offering for you to compare:

#1. WAMP

WAMP homepage and server window
WAMP Server Homepage

#2. MAMP

MAMP homepage and server window
MAMP Server Homepage

#3. LAMP

LAMP Wikipedia and install
LAMP Software Bundle on Wikipedia

As the above picture indicates, if you want a straight up LAMP installation, you’ll likely be doing it all piece-by-piece – or through your Linux distribution’s get or yum installers. But if you’re a Linux user, you’re probably already comfortable with that kind of thing. Here are instructions for installing LAMP on various Linux distributions (source: Wikipedia):


XAMPP homepage and server window
XAMPP Server Homepage


AMPPS homepage and server window
AMPPS Homepage

#6. Bitnami

Bitnami homepage and server window
Bitnami Homepage

I’ve personally used WAMP, MAMP, and XAMPP and none has really been disappointing.

  • XAMPP is slightly more complicated and has more features (but that’s to be expected because it’s a Linux program as well).
  • WAMP is a good and simple option for Windows – I’ve used it with my high school students.
  • MAMP is a clean and simple option for Mac and I’ve used it exclusively on Mac before.
  • MAMP PRO is also a good option if you’re willing to pay a little bit because it allows multiple WordPress installations on the same localhost.

However, recently, I’ve been using Bitnami quite a bit on the recommendation of Morten Rand-Hendriksen, from, and I’ve quite enjoyed it. It’s very easy to download and install and the Server Manager program is very clean and well designed. It’s a simple one-click START or STOP for your servers and a one-click ACCESS SITE to go to your localhost install right from the Manager.

Which installation do you prefer? Leave me a comment with your thoughts.

This post has been modified slightly from my original post on

Default WordPress Theme Customizer Controls

I’ve recently been messing around with the WP Theme Customizer a bunch and have been looking for the names of all the default settings, sections, and controls. I found them in a file in the wp-includes folder:


The various default section names, setting names, and 'priority' are listed below.This is mostly useful if you’re trying to simply rearrange the position ('priority' => 20) of some options, or want to rename some of them like so:

$wp_customize->get_section( 'nav' )->title = __( 'Menus', 'theme_slug' );
$wp_customize->get_control( 'blogname' )->priority = 10;
$wp_customize->get_setting( 'background_color' )->default = '#169A70';
  1. Site Title & Tagline ('title_tagline'), 20
    1. 'blogname'
    2. 'blogdescription'
    3. 'display_header_text'
  2. Colors ('colors'), 40
    1. 'header_textcolor'
    2. 'background_color'
  3. Header Image ('header_image'), 60
    1. 'header_image'
    2. 'header_image_data'
  4. Background Image ('background_image'), 80
    1. 'background_image_thumb'
    2. 'background_repeat'
    3. 'background_position_x'
    4. 'background_attachment'
  5. Navigation ('nav'), 100
    1. "nav_menu_locations[{$location}]"
  6. Widgets ('widgets'), 110
  7. Static Front Page ('static_front_page'), 120
    1. 'show_on_front'
    2. 'page_on_front'
    3. 'page_for_posts'

The code specifically for 'widgets' is located in:


The full code for the default Theme Customizer settings is here:

 * Register some default controls.
 * @since 3.4.0
 public function register_controls() {

 /* Control Types (custom control classes) */
 $this->register_control_type( 'WP_Customize_Color_Control' );
 $this->register_control_type( 'WP_Customize_Upload_Control' );
 $this->register_control_type( 'WP_Customize_Image_Control' );
 $this->register_control_type( 'WP_Customize_Background_Image_Control' );

 /* Site Title & Tagline */

 $this->add_section( 'title_tagline', array(
 'title' => __( 'Site Title & Tagline' ),
 'priority' => 20,
 ) );

 $this->add_setting( 'blogname', array(
 'default' => get_option( 'blogname' ),
 'type' => 'option',
 'capability' => 'manage_options',
 ) );

 $this->add_control( 'blogname', array(
 'label' => __( 'Site Title' ),
 'section' => 'title_tagline',
 ) );

 $this->add_setting( 'blogdescription', array(
 'default' => get_option( 'blogdescription' ),
 'type' => 'option',
 'capability' => 'manage_options',
 ) );

 $this->add_control( 'blogdescription', array(
 'label' => __( 'Tagline' ),
 'section' => 'title_tagline',
 ) );

 /* Colors */

 $this->add_section( 'colors', array(
 'title' => __( 'Colors' ),
 'priority' => 40,
 ) );

 $this->add_setting( 'header_textcolor', array(
 'theme_supports' => array( 'custom-header', 'header-text' ),
 'default' => get_theme_support( 'custom-header', 'default-text-color' ),

 'sanitize_callback' => array( $this, '_sanitize_header_textcolor' ),
 'sanitize_js_callback' => 'maybe_hash_hex_color',
 ) );

 // Input type: checkbox
 // With custom value
 $this->add_control( 'display_header_text', array(
 'settings' => 'header_textcolor',
 'label' => __( 'Display Header Text' ),
 'section' => 'title_tagline',
 'type' => 'checkbox',
 ) );

 $this->add_control( new WP_Customize_Color_Control( $this, 'header_textcolor', array(
 'label' => __( 'Header Text Color' ),
 'section' => 'colors',
 ) ) );

 // Input type: Color
 // With sanitize_callback
 $this->add_setting( 'background_color', array(
 'default' => get_theme_support( 'custom-background', 'default-color' ),
 'theme_supports' => 'custom-background',

 'sanitize_callback' => 'sanitize_hex_color_no_hash',
 'sanitize_js_callback' => 'maybe_hash_hex_color',
 ) );

 $this->add_control( new WP_Customize_Color_Control( $this, 'background_color', array(
 'label' => __( 'Background Color' ),
 'section' => 'colors',
 ) ) );

 /* Custom Header */

 $this->add_section( 'header_image', array(
 'title' => __( 'Header Image' ),
 'theme_supports' => 'custom-header',
 'priority' => 60,
 ) );

 $this->add_setting( new WP_Customize_Filter_Setting( $this, 'header_image', array(
 'default' => get_theme_support( 'custom-header', 'default-image' ),
 'theme_supports' => 'custom-header',
 ) ) );

 $this->add_setting( new WP_Customize_Header_Image_Setting( $this, 'header_image_data', array(
 // 'default' => get_theme_support( 'custom-header', 'default-image' ),
 'theme_supports' => 'custom-header',
 ) ) );

 $this->add_control( new WP_Customize_Header_Image_Control( $this ) );

 /* Custom Background */

 $this->add_section( 'background_image', array(
 'title' => __( 'Background Image' ),
 'theme_supports' => 'custom-background',
 'priority' => 80,
 ) );

 $this->add_setting( 'background_image', array(
 'default' => get_theme_support( 'custom-background', 'default-image' ),
 'theme_supports' => 'custom-background',
 ) );

 $this->add_setting( new WP_Customize_Background_Image_Setting( $this, 'background_image_thumb', array(
 'theme_supports' => 'custom-background',
 ) ) );

 $this->add_control( new WP_Customize_Background_Image_Control( $this ) );

 $this->add_setting( 'background_repeat', array(
 'default' => get_theme_support( 'custom-background', 'default-repeat' ),
 'theme_supports' => 'custom-background',
 ) );

 $this->add_control( 'background_repeat', array(
 'label' => __( 'Background Repeat' ),
 'section' => 'background_image',
 'type' => 'radio',
 'choices' => array(
 'no-repeat' => __('No Repeat'),
 'repeat' => __('Tile'),
 'repeat-x' => __('Tile Horizontally'),
 'repeat-y' => __('Tile Vertically'),
 ) );

 $this->add_setting( 'background_position_x', array(
 'default' => get_theme_support( 'custom-background', 'default-position-x' ),
 'theme_supports' => 'custom-background',
 ) );

 $this->add_control( 'background_position_x', array(
 'label' => __( 'Background Position' ),
 'section' => 'background_image',
 'type' => 'radio',
 'choices' => array(
 'left' => __('Left'),
 'center' => __('Center'),
 'right' => __('Right'),
 ) );

 $this->add_setting( 'background_attachment', array(
 'default' => get_theme_support( 'custom-background', 'default-attachment' ),
 'theme_supports' => 'custom-background',
 ) );

 $this->add_control( 'background_attachment', array(
 'label' => __( 'Background Attachment' ),
 'section' => 'background_image',
 'type' => 'radio',
 'choices' => array(
 'scroll' => __('Scroll'),
 'fixed' => __('Fixed'),
 ) );

 // If the theme is using the default background callback, we can update
 // the background CSS using postMessage.
 if ( get_theme_support( 'custom-background', 'wp-head-callback' ) === '_custom_background_cb' ) {
 foreach ( array( 'color', 'image', 'position_x', 'repeat', 'attachment' ) as $prop ) {
 $this->get_setting( 'background_' . $prop )->transport = 'postMessage';

 /* Nav Menus */

 $locations = get_registered_nav_menus();
 $menus = wp_get_nav_menus();
 $num_locations = count( array_keys( $locations ) );

 $this->add_section( 'nav', array(
 'title' => __( 'Navigation' ),
 'theme_supports' => 'menus',
 'priority' => 100,
 'description' => sprintf( _n('Your theme supports %s menu. Select which menu you would like to use.', 'Your theme supports %s menus. Select which menu appears in each location.', $num_locations ), number_format_i18n( $num_locations ) ) . "\n\n" . __('You can edit your menu content on the Menus screen in the Appearance section.'),
 ) );

 if ( $menus ) {
 $choices = array( 0 => __( '&mdash; Select &mdash;' ) );
 foreach ( $menus as $menu ) {
 $choices[ $menu->term_id ] = wp_html_excerpt( $menu->name, 40, '&hellip;' );

 foreach ( $locations as $location => $description ) {
 $menu_setting_id = "nav_menu_locations[{$location}]";

 $this->add_setting( $menu_setting_id, array(
 'sanitize_callback' => 'absint',
 'theme_supports' => 'menus',
 ) );

 $this->add_control( $menu_setting_id, array(
 'label' => $description,
 'section' => 'nav',
 'type' => 'select',
 'choices' => $choices,
 ) );

 /* Static Front Page */
 // #WP19627

 $this->add_section( 'static_front_page', array(
 'title' => __( 'Static Front Page' ),
 // 'theme_supports' => 'static-front-page',
 'priority' => 120,
 'description' => __( 'Your theme supports a static front page.' ),
 ) );

 $this->add_setting( 'show_on_front', array(
 'default' => get_option( 'show_on_front' ),
 'capability' => 'manage_options',
 'type' => 'option',
 // 'theme_supports' => 'static-front-page',
 ) );

 $this->add_control( 'show_on_front', array(
 'label' => __( 'Front page displays' ),
 'section' => 'static_front_page',
 'type' => 'radio',
 'choices' => array(
 'posts' => __( 'Your latest posts' ),
 'page' => __( 'A static page' ),
 ) );

 $this->add_setting( 'page_on_front', array(
 'type' => 'option',
 'capability' => 'manage_options',
 // 'theme_supports' => 'static-front-page',
 ) );

 $this->add_control( 'page_on_front', array(
 'label' => __( 'Front page' ),
 'section' => 'static_front_page',
 'type' => 'dropdown-pages',
 ) );

 $this->add_setting( 'page_for_posts', array(
 'type' => 'option',
 'capability' => 'manage_options',
 // 'theme_supports' => 'static-front-page',
 ) );

 $this->add_control( 'page_for_posts', array(
 'label' => __( 'Posts page' ),
 'section' => 'static_front_page',
 'type' => 'dropdown-pages',
 ) );

Quick Tip: You have reached a domain that is pending ICANN verification

Just tried to log into one of my client’s websites this morning and was met with the lovely notification you see here. I’ve never encountered this before on any of the other sites I’ve built.

So, why am I seeing this now? Apparently, the domain owner’s name and email address were never verified via the follow-up email they sent out after the domain was registered.

Here’s what Ryan Your Tech Guy says:

The domain has to be verified. You will have to verify the domain with the email sent to the whois contact email. Once you have verified the domain, ICANN will un-suspend the domain.

So, if you find yourself facing a similar message one day when trying to visit or work on your site (or any other site for that matter), do yourself a favor and (1) check your email, then (2) verify your contact info (or be helpful and “resend verification email” to the site owner – hopefully with an Inbox full of those emails, they’ll remember to click on one to verify their info).

Here’s some additional info:

  1. Dreamhost’s Official Verification Policy
  2. Ryan Your Tech Guy’s Write-up
  3. TechRepublic’s News Article

(Actually, I’m a bit surprised to be seeing this now. I’ve worked on and built up the site since July 2014. Why suspend it after 6 months of production? Why not earlier?)

Quick Tip: Problems After Upgrading WordPress? Try Some of These Suggestions

If you get stuck in a redirect loop, or get any number of HTTP errors (404, 500, 302, etc), then it probably has something to do with your .htaccess file.

  1. WordPress htaccess Rules
  2. Extended Instructions for Upgrading WordPress
  3. phpMyAdmin Fix

Quick Tip: WordPress Site Hacked? Follow These Links

One KEY thing to keep in mind BEFORE a hack:

Always have a backup.

BackWPup is a great (free) plugin that’s super-easy to use and setup automatic backups to Dropbox and other Cloud storage services. I use it on all my sites and highly recommend it (Multi-site compatible as well).

The following was originally posted by a Volunteer moderator on the forums, but they are great links worth keeping a copy of for later reference:

You need to start working your way through these resources:

Additional Resources:

Quick Tip: Use Chrome’s Emulator Tool for Better Development

Google Chrome has a pretty nifty emulator tool that enables better website development by emulating the different devices that you would want to test your websites on.

A few keys points about the emulator that makes it unique and much better for development than merely stretching your browser window to various sizes:

  1. Chrome’s minimum browser width (400px) is still wider than the smallest device size (320px iPhone 3/4)
  2. Using the emulator tool also changes the user agent variable in Chrome so that it thinks and acts as if it were the actual device it is emulating
  3. The emulator shows a grid and rulers with pixel dimensions behind the device window

How to use the Chrome Emulator?

  1. Open the Element Inspector (right-click “Inspect Element”)
  2. Click on the mobile device icon in the upper-left corner of the Element Inspector (see screenshot)
  3. Select the device you wish to emulate from the dropdown menu at the top (see screenshot)
  4. Tip: Refresh the page for proper user agent spoofing and viewport rendering
1. Open the Element Inspector and click the mobile device icon
2. Select the device you wish to emulate from the dropdown menu