Introduction to your Domain’s File Structure
At it’s root, a WordPress installation contains 3 folders and a bunch of files. The 3 folders are wp-admin, wp-content and wp-includes. Then you have all of these files here. The first of the 3 folders is wp-admin. You won’t ever need to edit or change any of the files in wp-admin. These are the files that make WordPress work properly so you want to leave it alone entirely.
The same thing is true for wp-includes, again there is no reason for you to ever change any of these files as they are necessary for the operation of WordPress itself and any changes you make will more than likely break the installation. So we’ll leave both of these folders alone.
However, wp-content is a folder that you will work in fairly regularly. It contains all of the files that are created when you customize your site. The two most important folders inside the wp-content are “plugins” and “themes”. If you select Plugins folder for a moment, you can see that there are two plugins; “hello” and “Akismet”. Anytime you install a plugin it gets stored in this folder.
If you go in to Themes, you can see that this installation of WordPress has 2 themes in it. We have the default theme which is 2011, and the former default theme. When you install a new theme, you will install that new theme in this themes directory. The same thing is true for plugins, when you install new plugins you will install them in the plugins directory.
Now the reason for this file structure is that WordPress upgrades or updates fairly regularly. and so when you want to update WordPress, you want to leave the customization that you’ve done alone so that it carries through to the next version of WordPress. You only want to upgrade those files that are necessary to upgrade. So, WordPress sets aside all the customization files into this one folder and when you upgrade in the future, this folder doesn’t get changed, only the other folders get changed.
The take away for this lesson is that wp-content, plugins and themes are the folders that you’ll be working within as we customize your site. We will talk about this and demonstrate it extensively in Lesson 4 of this series.
That pretty much concludes Lesson 3, in the next lesson we will learn how to use the FTP – File Transfer Protocol to install themes and plugins.