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How to understand the structure of WordPress files

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Do you want to know more about WordPress files and the general structure of its files? 

All WordPress files: themes, plugins, and downloads are stored on your website and can become a real shambles.

But in this guide we will explain the structure of WordPress files.

If you have never installed WordPress, discover How to Install a WordPress Blog in 7 Steps et How to search, install and activate a WordPress theme on your blog

But let's go back to why we are here.

Why should you know more about WordPress files and its directory structure?

Most users can run their WordPress website without ever learning how WordPress works. However, understanding how WordPress stores files and uses its directories can help you solve many common problems.

This guide will help you to:

  • Understand which WordPress files and folders are part of the core.
  • Understand how WordPress stores your images and media in the library.
  • Where WordPress stores themes and plugins.
  • Where are stored the WordPress configuration files.

This information also lets you know which WordPress files should be backed up.

You will also be able to perform troubleshooting tasks like disabling all WordPress plugins, activating a default theme, or fixing others. common mistakes on WordPress.

With that said, we'll walk through the WordPress directory structure.

Access to WordPress files and directories

First you will need a FTP client to connect to your WordPress server. See our guide on how to install WordPress via an FTP client.

An easier alternative to FTP is the file manager. It is a web-based application that is integrated into the cPanel of your web hosting.

Once you are connected to your WordPress website using an FTP or File Manager, you will see a file and directory structure similar to this:

File and folder structure on WordPress

Files and folders framed in red are WordPress core files. These are the files and folders needed to run WordPress. You are not supposed to edit these files on your own.

Go further by discovering also How to manage WordPress files and folders

Here is a list of kernel WordPress files and folders you will find in the root directory of your WordPress website.

  • [Dossier] wp-admin
  • [Folder] wp-includes
  • index.php
  • license.txt
  • readme.html
  • wp-activate.php
  • wp-blog-header.php
  • wp-comments-post.php
  • wp-config-sample.php
  • wp-cron.php
  • wp-links-opml.php
  • wp-load.php
  • wp-login.php
  • wp-mail.php
  • wp-settings.php
  • wp-signup.php
  • wp-trackback.php
  • xmlrpc.php

WordPress configuration files

The root directory of WordPress contains specific configuration files. These files contain important settings specific to your WordPress website.

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WordPress configuration file

  • .htaccess - A server configuration file, WordPress uses it to manage permalinks and redirects.
  • wp-config.php - This file tells WordPress how to connect to your database. It also defines some global settings for your WordPress website.
  • index.php - The index file is the base file that loads all of WordPress and performs user queries. This is the gateway to WordPress.

You will probably often need to modify the "wp-config.php" or ".htaccess" file. Be very careful when modifying these two files. A small mistake can make your website inaccessible.

When editing these two files, you should always create backup copies on your computer before making any changes.

If you do not see the .htaccess file in your directory, then it is probably hidden. Read this tutorial to understand how to display it.

Depending on how your WordPress blog is configured, you may or may not see the following files on the root of your installation.

  • robots.txt - Contains instructions for search engine crawlers 
  • favicon.ico - A favicon file is sometimes generated by WordPress.

Contents of the wp-content folder

WordPress stores everything that is not included in the WordPress core, in the “wp-content” folder.

WP-Content folder on WordPress

It is generally accepted that you can easily edit files and folders in the “wp-content” folder. However, this is not entirely true.

Let's take a look inside the "wp-content" folder to understand how it works and what you can do about it.

WordPress WP Content folder

The contents of the wp-content folder may vary from one WordPress website to another. But all WordPress websites usually have the following organization:

  • [folder] themes
  • [Folder] plugins
  • [Folder] uploads
  • index.php

WordPress stores your themes in the folder " wp-content/themes/". You can edit a theme file, but this is not recommended. As soon as you update your theme for a newer version, your changes will be overwritten when you update.

This is why it is recommended to create a child theme for a WordPress theme to make your customizations. Read This tutorial to learn more.

All the WordPress plugins that you download and install on your website are stored in “wp-content / plugins /”. You are not supposed to edit plugin files directly, unless you've created the plugin just for your WordPress website.

Discover how create a WordPress plugin.

WordPress stores all your images and media in the folder " /wp-content/uploads/". By default, downloads are organized in " /année/mois/files ”. Every time you create a WordPress backup, you need to include it in the "upload" folder.

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You can download fresh copies of the WordPress kernel, your theme and plugins from their sources. But if you lose your upload file, then it will be very difficult to restore without backup.

Many WordPress plugins can also create their own folders in your wp-content folder. Other folders may contain files that you can safely delete.

For example plugins cache can save the cache in their specific folders.

Discover also some themes and premium WordPress plugins  

You can use other solutions to give a modern look and optimize your blog. We offer here some premium WordPress themes and plugin that will help you do that.

1. EventOn

The WordPress EventOn plugin is the best-selling calendar plugin on CodeCanyon, with over 7000 sales. It has a ton of useful features like featured images for events, shortcodes, unlimited creation of event calendars, customizable metadata fields, and event features.

Eventon

Its main extensions are among others: the ability to sell tickets, import / export of events in CSV format, free integration with Google Maps, sorting and filtering on the event list, the fully responsive layout, the multilingual support, and easy customization of the calendar

Some features are already available for free in other plugins, but the value is an effective compromise.

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2. Grid FX

With four unique skins, Grid FX is a very versatile WordPress portfolio plugin, available for $ 19 on CodeCanyon. It allows you to place images, videos, audio, blog posts and products WooCommerce in elegant grids, Pinterest-style galleries, and image carousels.

Grid fx plugin wordpress portfolio

Personalization is king with this plugin, with its over 80 different styling options. You can choose from a range of skins, lightbox backgrounds, title animations, colors, and buttons. You can also define the number of items that will appear in the portfolio, the size of each element and the number of columns.

To improve navigation, visitors will be able to filter the grids to find what they are looking for. Adding a portfolio to your website with this WordPress plugin is as simple as pasting a shortcode into a post, page or widget area.

Download | Demo | Web hosting

3. Divi

Divi is the multipurpose WordPress theme developed by the team of Elegant Themes. It highlights an excellent price-quality ratio, given the large number of models it abounds - 87 - you will have the opportunity to create any type of website and this very easily.

Divi theme wordpress multi-purpose multipurpose create website

One of the best features of this popular WordPress theme is the integrated Divi Builder. This drag-and-drop tool makes it easy to create custom layouts for your WordPress website, including the home page. Thanks to the user interface of Divi Builderyou can create custom layouts with multiple rows and columns.

Modules such as the slider, the price list, the testimonials section, the email capture form, animated countdown timers, etc… will also allow you to add more advanced features to your website.

Try the demo of this WordPress theme and come back and leave us your impressions.

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Recommended Resources

Find out about other recommended resources to help you build and manage your website.

Conclusion

Here is ! That's it for this tutorial and I hope it gives you an understanding of how WordPress and its files are organized. If you liked, n'do not hesitate to share with your friends on your favorite social networks

However, you will also be able to consult our resources, if you need more elements to carry out your projects of creation of Internet sites, by consulting our guide on the WordPress blog creation.

But, in the meantime, tell us about your Comments and suggestions in the dedicated section.

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