File system wizardry for WordPress newbies

Fun with directories

You’ve done your hosting homework and wrangled the best Managed WordPress® provider you could find. Your content strategy is on lockdown. You’ve found the perfect theme, and set up your menus like a WordPress champion. It was easy to install WordPress with one click, but what’s actually going on underneath it all?

WordPress is wizardry that just works, so why take a look at the inner workings? Because you’re just that good.

The file system and structure of a WordPress installation holds your website together like a human skeleton. WordPress core developers have been thoughtful in how they’ve structured the file system of the WordPress CMS to make the system easy to understand, no matter what your experience level.

So here are a couple things you should know about the structure of the WordPress file system:

Plugins directory

It used to happen more often than it does today, but occasionally a rascally plugin will step out of line, making the admin area of your WordPress site inaccessible. However, the plugins directory has been engineered in a way that will help you troubleshoot the issue quite easily. As outlined on OS Training, disabling a plugin is as simple as connecting to your Web server via FTP and renaming the plugin directory to [plugin]-disabled. You’ll then be able to access your administrator area once again.

Themes directory

Looking to install or remove a theme manually? The themes directory works similarly to the plugins directory. You can add or remove a theme simply by uploading or removing the folder from the wp-content/themes/ directory on your Web server (check out wpbeginner’s instructions on that).

For more on the WordPress file system, Sourav from WPExplorer lays it out so you can play it out. If you have other tips related to the WordPress file system, please share in the comments below.

Image by: redjar via Compfight cc

Mendel Kurland
Hey there, I’m Mendel, an intrapreneurial change-maker, developer, speaker, and teacher. I love the outdoors, so you’ll usually find me hittin’ the trails between tech events and code-slinging. I’ve also usually got my nose in a cup of single origin, Chemex-brewed coffee. As a GoDaddy Evangelist, I spend most of my time hanging out with developers, designers, entrepreneurs, and creative people all around the world to make sure their opinions and suggestions are heard.