Using WordPress

WordPress is one of the website creation systems that we reccommend. There are others on this page about websites and blogs.

Using WordPress

There is a draft manual on Wordpress here. The manual is an in-depth look at how to use WordPress in a community setting. It doesn't seek to replace the help on the official WordPress codex pages, but is intended at a step by step guide to lead you through each stages. It covers amongst other things;

  • how to install and configure WordPress
  • add posts, images, audio & video
  • adding users to your site and setting permisison levels
  • change the look of your site with themes and widgets
  • add to the functionality of your site with extra plugins
  • how to set up or administer a WordPress network or community

This is a manual that links to a lot of examples of use in the site. We hope to keep this manual updates as WordPress evolves but to do this we need your help. If you would like to contribute to the manual and help to keep it up to date please sign up for an account and edit away. Then please join the Flossmanuals discuss mailing list to let us know about your changes so we can make them live.

Background Info on WordPress

WordPress is best known as blogging software but it has now developed to the point where it can be used to create more advanced websites. As such, we should really call it a Content Management System (CMS). A blog (web-log) is an online journal, diary or commentary, presented as a website. Generally, one or more contributors (bloggers) add new content to the top of the website on a semi-regular basis.

WordPress is very sophisticated and is often used to create and manage websites. However, you should be aware that WordPress was not originally built for managing websites with large numbers of users. It may sometimes require a bit of creativity to get it to do what you need. 

WordPress has a reputation as being easy to use and flexible. It is particularly interesting for its enormous additional list of plug-ins. These are small additions to the software that add extra features. Using plug-ins you can turn WordPress into a social networking site, add Testimonials, generate visitor statistics, and much much more.

There are two basic ways in which you can start using WordPress:

  • Sign up for an account on or a similar site that offers free blogs.
  • Install your own WordPress CMS on a server that you have access to.

The first option is the easiest, but if you wish to have more control over how WordPress is configured and be able to add more functionality, then you may wish to choose the second option of installing WordPress yourself. If this is the case then you should download the software from

Privacy limitations of is a large company with a huge number of blogs and which keeps records of its users. It is also a US company and it complies to US law when it comes to disclosing users details. Their privacy policy for international cases is less clear.

For the most part seems to host controversial content without problem. However, there have been several cases where Automattic has come under criticism for releasing details of its users and for suspending blogs. If this is something that concerns you, then you should probably try to set up own blog or use a WordPress service other than