We get a lot of questions about how to use WordPress that … seem dumb, but actually aren’t at all. WordPress is probably the easiest content management system out there, but it’s still complicated. Here are 10 frequently asked questions about WordPress, with simple answers:
1. How do I access my WordPress admin dashboard?
In almost all cases, simply add /wp-admin/ after your domain in the URL bar. (For example: http://www.example.com/wp-admin/) This will work in most cases unless you have a security plugin installed to change the default URL.
2. How do I show/hide certain items in the admin areas?
WordPress allows administrators and editors to control much of the layout of the admin dashboard, including hiding and showing modules.
- Move your mouse over the “Screen Options” drop-down tab in the top right corner of your screen. In the drop-down, you should see a list with checked boxes.
- By checking and unchecking these boxes you can control what you can and can’t see for your account.
This is useful if you only care about certain areas you want to see and don’t want to feel overwhelmed by everything else.
3. How do I change my account photo for WordPress?
Automattic, the company that owns WordPress, has integrated WordPress to use Gravatar to control a user’s profile picture. To change or add a profile picture you simply need to:
- Go to Gravatar’s website.
- Create an account using the same email that you use for your WordPress account.
- Upload to Gravatar the image that you want to use on WordPress.
With that done, any website (not just WordPress websites) that integrate Gravatar will use that image as your profile image, as long as your account on those websites uses that same email address.
4. How do I add a customized favicon (icon that appears in the browser tabs for your website) to my WordPress website?
- Log into the WordPress Admin Dashboard.
- Navigate to “Appearance > Customize > Site Identity.”
- From this screen you will be able to select a favicon from your media library and use that as your website’s favicon.
- The recommended size for this image is 512px x 512px.
5. Why can’t my visitors see new changes made to the website?
Most of the time this problem is a result of users having a cached version of a web page on their browser. You may have made a change, but anyone with a cached version of that page won’t be able to see it.
This can be solved in one of two ways:
First, you can ask any users with problems to clear their browser cache. Every browser (Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer) has instructions on how to do this.
Obviously, this requires asking a user to spend about 30 seconds fixing the problem, and that’s less than ideal. Plus, you don’t always know when a visitor needs to do this, so people may be seeing an old version of your website without either of you knowing it.
We recommend this second option: manually clear the cache by installing one of these WordPress plugins:
- W3 Total Cache https://wordpress.org/plugins/w3-total-cache/
- WP Super Cache. https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-super-cache/
6. My WordPress, plugins, or themes have an update. Should I update them?
Keep in mind how comfortable you are with the process and the complexity of the update.
- If you feel comfortable with updating, then this should be done as often as possible. Many updates provide new features or more importantly, security updates. If you do not feel comfortable it is probably a good idea to consult with a web developer on what to do.
- Another thing to consider is the complexity of the update. Most of the time WordPress core and plugin updates are fine to update without breaking anything. (With that said, however, it is always a good idea to make a backup before updating.) Updating themes, on the other hand, tends to result in unwanted changes. Sometimes, styles, layouts, or custom changes are overwritten when updating. Themes should be safe to update if a child theme is being used.
7. Is there a limit to how many posts, pages, products, images or other files that my WordPress site can have?
WordPress itself does not limit the amount of content or files that you can have on your website. If you are reaching a limit, check with your website’s host.
Every time you add something to WordPress, that thing physically takes up room in either the database of your website or on the actual server where your files are stored. The bigger the hosting plan, the more likely that you will be able to store many more files and data than for cheaper hosting plans.
8. What are permalinks?
Permalinks control the structure and format of your website’s URL address. WordPress defaults to using the IDs of pages and posts as the URL. The most common Permalink option is the “Post Name” option, which changes your URLs to use that actual names of pages rather than their ID numbers. This makes them much more user friendly and SEO friendly.
9. Why am I not receiving emails or contact form submissions from my website?
By default, WordPress uses phpMail(), which causes some hosts to restrict WordPress from sending out emails that aren’t authenticated. By switching to SMTP Mail, WordPress is able to send out messages successfully to resolve this issue.
10. What are the best WordPress plugins to use?
Fortunately for you, our blog post last week covered this in depth. Take a look at that page for our answer.