The data structure of WordPress is a complex system with many different folders and subfolders. If you log in to your website’s FTP, you will primarily see three main folders where WordPress stores various data based on its usage. This article will focus on what the data structure of WordPress looks like and its main folders and files. We will also discuss their significance in the functionality of this popular content management system.
Which files and folders are included in a newly installed WordPress?
The Data Structure of WordPress – Main Folders
There are three main folders in WordPress that contain the following data:
a) wp-admin – This folder contains all the files and code used for the WordPress administrator dashboard (your-domain/wp-admin). It includes files for managing users, site settings and plugins, page and post management, visitor statistics, and other important functions.
b) wp-content – This folder contains files related to the content of your website, including theme files (themes), plugins (plugins), images (uploads), style files, and other content. This folder is usually the largest in terms of capacity, especially for websites with a large number of posts. This is because WordPress stores all media files, such as images or videos, in this folder (wp-content/uploads).
c) wp-includes – This folder contains all the files for the WordPress core system itself, such as functions and classes for working with databases, creating forms, and other functions that are essential for running your website.
You will be working with this folder the most on FTP. Therefore, it is good to know at least the most important subfolders that take care of the visible content of your WordPress.
wp-content/themes – This folder contains all the theme designs, including inactive ones. Theme designs contain CSS and PHP files, as well as design graphics. These files ultimately determine the look of your website and what functions the template will offer.
wp-content/plugins – Here, WordPress stores the plugins that you can install and activate from the administration environment. This subfolder is mainly important when a plugin compatibility issue causes the system to crash. Here, you can disable the plugin by renaming it and restore the website to its original functional state.
wp-content/uploads – The last user-important folder is uploads. This is where WordPress mainly stores media that appears in website content, mainly images and videos. The folder structure is named for better orientation by date. Therefore, you usually see the month and year in the folder name in which you uploaded the folder’s content to the website through the administrative interface. In addition to images and videos, you can also find documents, PDF files, and many others here. However, in summary, the content that you uploaded as administrators through the administration interface is stored here.
WordPress Data Structure and Important Files on FTP
There are three main user files in WordPress, in a simplified description. These are the following files:
Index.php can be described as the introductory file. It is the file that the server looks for first and based on which it performs further actions. It immediately connects to the database, loads the website settings, and displays its content, etc. If you were to rename this file, the website would stop working. On a Linux server, changing only the letter case (e.g., Index.php) is enough.
The second important file in WordPress is wp-config.php. As you might guess from the name, it is a configuration file. In this file, WordPress stores important data such as the database connection (server, name, login, and password), or settings for various behaviors (debug mode, database table prefix, etc.).
The last file that you as a user will probably modify and debug is the Linux Apache configuration file, .htaccess. This file allows you to specify various settings for specific directories and their subdirectories. The .htaccess file is placed in the root directory of the website and contains directives that affect its behavior. It is important, for example, for URL address rewriting to so-called pretty URLs, it can ensure automatic redirection to https or to a subdomain with www, enable website compression, etc. Various plugins for caching, security, or GEOIP blocking also store their directives in it for their operation.
The data structure of WordPress – conclusion
The files and folders mentioned above are essentially the ones that users need the most. However, it cannot be simply stated that the WordPress data structure is limited to only these files and folders, as there are many more.
Nevertheless, for you as a user, these files and folders are the most important ones if you are planning to debug your website or configure certain elements and behaviors.
The purpose of this article is not to describe the entire data structure, but rather to offer a brief overview of the files and folders so that you can familiarize yourself with them and gain at least a basic understanding of them. It is therefore important to have some knowledge about these files and folders, as you will likely encounter them personally on FTP sooner or later.
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