Backend

Backend refers to the system configuration area of an application such as a CMS. So, for WordPress for example, the WordPress backend is the administrator area of WordPress where you add content, users, and customize the CMS by installing plugins and themes. Another name for the WordPress admin area is “wp-admin”, thanks to the URL used for this section.

What can you do in the backend section of WordPress?

Logging in to the admin section in WordPress is simple – simply add “/wp-admin/” at the end of your domain name. You’ll find the following sections in the WordPress administrator area:

  • Dashboards. In this section you get an overview of your site and what’s currently happening on it – it’s the first screen you see.
  • Want to add content to your WP site? This is where you do it – this backend page lets you draft up, publish, edit and remove articles (pages) on your website.
  • Some of your articles will require content – you upload this in the Media section, where you can also manage media – deleting, editing and searching for media assets.
  • You might have some static pages on your WordPress site – this is where you add and edit these static pages.
  • If you have enabled comments on your WordPress site you can use this page to approve or moderate comments.
  • It’s easy to change the look and feel of your WordPress site – you do this in the appearance section, changing themes, managing the user menus on your site and adding WordPress widgets.
  • WordPress is highly extensible and the plugins section is where you add software that extends your WordPress capabilities.
  • It’s essential that you closely manage who is able to edit your WordPress site, the users section is where you do it – adding users, editing roles and removing users.
  • Tools. In this section you’ll be able to efficiently do batch tasks like managing personal data and exporting or importing WordPress content.
  • Settings. Finally, the settings backend page is where you edit the fundamental settings governing your site.

Note that because WordPress is so customisable you might also find that the WordPress backend may look very different from one instance of the CMS to another – you can find very different settings and options in the WordPress backend depending on how WordPress is configured.

Across the content in your site you will notice that we use the word “backend” as part of another phrase a lot – backend language, backend developer etc. We’ll now look at what these phrases mean.

What backend developer means

The tech that makes your site work efficiently and properly is developed by a backend developer. These developers are specialists in the use of databases, scripts, APIs and various other systems that all work together to make your website work.

Backend languages

Applications, databases and servers all have to communicate with each other – and the languages that facilitate this communication are called backend languages. Backend developers are able to use server-side application languages such as Java, .NET, PHP, Python and Ruby.

The languages used for backend development combine with databases such as SQL Server, Oracle and the popular MySQL so that data can be found, saved and edited from the front end of your website. In the case of WordPress, JavaScript and PHP are the two key backend languages. Developers use these languages to store and organise website data by communicating with the WordPress database.

Understanding backend development projects

Websites often require extensive planning – and this planning is divided up into front-end planning, back-end planning and of course all the other elements such as design, SEO and content. The back-end planning looks at the nuts and bolts behind the website – setting up the website infrastructure.

Distinguishing between back-end and front-end

Your users will never see the back-end area of your website: in other words, it is at the back – working behind the scenes on your website. Only the people who manage your site will get access to the back-end, and perhaps some other registered users too. On the other hand the front-end of your site is the part of your site seen by the public: it’s the reason your site exists, to show content to the public.

CDN

CDN stands for “Content Delivery Network“, which is a group of servers spread throughout the country or around the world. They replicate the data for a website in one country in another country. So you could call up a webpage from an Indian website but the server that delivers it to you would be located in your country, so it has less far to travel and loads faster.  The CDN intelligently delivers the same content to people from the server that is closest to them.

This approach is great for large businesses because it allows them to avoid the kind of bottlenecks that would happen if they served data from just one location. A CDN also makes DDoS / DoS  attacks less effective, because it naturally provides multiple targets. Downtime from things like technical problems can be virtually eliminated because the CDN can route traffic to working servers when something breaks. All

Cloud services and media distribution networks like YouTube or Netflix will often use CDNs to keep things running smoothly. Every user is connected to the best server for them, eliminating the need to choose the best location manually, which is what you need to do with some FTP services.

Note that although CDNs usually use standard URLs, you may see a tell-tale “cdn” in their web address.

Joomla!

Just like Drupal, the Joomla! CMS has a seemingly random word for a name. It doesn’t matter though, just because WordPress says what it does in its name doesn’t mean it’s the only game in town. Joomla! is, just like WordPress, an excellent content management system ( CMS ) which is widely used for websites around the world. In fact, it’s one of the most popular CMS options out there. In this article we’ll uncover why Joomla! CMS is so popular.

A quick introduction to Joomla! CMS

A wide variety of websites make use of Joomla!. Think IKEA for example, while the main LINUX website also runs on Joomla! – and don’t forget about the Guggenheim museum.

In fact, Joomla! says that the CMS has been download 50 million times. As a result, Joomla! is arguably the second most popular CMS after WordPress. It’s been around for a long time too, with the first edition of Joomla! launching back in 2005.

Joomla! top features

It might not be first but getting to be the second most popular CMS in the world does not come easily, and Joomla! has a lot of terrific features that makes a solid match against WordPress. Let’s take a look at some of Joomla! key characteristics.

It’s easy to localise

Don’t forget, English is not the only language used around the world. Developers who need to deliver web content in a different language than English can struggle with pre-packaged CMS due to language restrictions.

Not so with Joomla!, which is known as one of the easiest CMS engines to customize for a language other than English. Joomla! comes with 70 languages you can choose from, these language are just a few clicks away.

Joomla! also provides a tool that can cope with themes that do not cover your language of choice. In contrast Joomla’s rivals may require you to hack away at the theme code in order to meet customer language requirements.

Joomla! support is broad and deep

Developers like open source because they feel they can consult with a supportive community. Joomla! is, of course, open source and anyone can add to Joomla! or offer support – it’s all done by volunteers.

The team behind Joomla! has developed documentation for the CMS that is very in depth and there is also an official discussion forum where Joomla! users can post questions and concerns. Of course, as open-source software, Joomla! doesn’t have an official support line you can call, but the wide user support base means this is rarely an issue.

In particular, it’s worth remembering that the problem you are experiencing has already been experienced by another Joomla! user. So, in most cases, the answer you are looking for is already available in a discussion forum.

Responsive design

With mobile devices increasingly used to access web content, Joomla! has long ago catered for responsiveness. In other words, websites running on Joomla! will smoothly resize to fit whatever screen they are viewed on.

Using Joomla! you can make sure that your website will appear in good shape whether it is viewed on a desktop PC, a laptop, a smartphone or a tablet.

Updates are hassle-free

CMS platforms inevitably see regular updates, whether it is to add features or to improve security. Some say that Joomla! is one of the most frequently revised CMS engines, in part because the developers behind Joomla! are very keen to get new features out to Joomla! users.

Thankfully Joomla! makes it easy for you to update the CMS, it’s just a couple of clicks in the control panel and your update is ready. Of course, as always, even with Joomla!’s excellent upgrade tools, backing up your site before an upgrade is a good idea.

What makes Joomla! better than other CMS options?

Each CMS has its own pros and cons and Joomla! is popular with developers for a range of reasons. We think these five factors are the most important reasons why people choose Joomla! over other CMS solutions.

Edit your site from the front end

Do you find it tedious to always log into the admin panel to make changes to your site content? WordPress forces you to log in to the administration area to access article editing tools. Not so with Joomla!.

Using Joomla! you simply click on the gear wheel that appears next to a module and proceed to make any modifications right on the page. It saves you time and makes sure you can keep your site up to date much more quickly.

Contact and user management

A CMS’ core purpose is the management of content, and here Joomla! does a top job – even if it might be a little more difficult to learn compared to WordPress. This learning curve comes with a benefit: many people find that Joomla! is simply more flexible when compared to WordPress.

This flexibility also shows in Joomla!’s user management facilities which are really great for large companies who have a lot of users editing a website. You can specify very detailed roles for users and can split users into specific departments and categories.

Large extension database

At last count, Joomla! had more than 8,000 extensions which can build on internal CMS functionality. Whatever you want your website to do, chances are you will find a plugin or a module that can do it for you, with many of these modules completely free of charge.

Even the paid modules often have free versions, or at least a version you can try before you buy. This large extension database makes Joomla! even more flexible than its peers and it’s a key reason why developers are so keen on using Joomla!.

Joomla!’s media manager

Websites often have a lot of media, think images, video and sound. The Joomla! Media Manager is packaged with the Joomla! CMS and is an excellent way to manage thousands of media assets. It is really simple to use and just works.

In a big distinction between Joomla! and other CMS systems, the Joomla! Media Manager can even pick up files that you add to your website via FTP or hosting control panel – just create the files and folders and the media manager will find your content.

Joomla! Toolkit

Just like all other content management systems Joomla! is a platform that requires regular maintenance, updates and non-stop protection against security attacks. It’s just the nature of today’s websites. Thankfully the Plesk Joomla! Toolkit makes the process of keeping your Joomla! sites so much easier.

Plesk Joomla! Toolkit Features

Plesk is used to support countless Joomla! sites, and we know what site admins need most from a Joomla! toolkit. We’ve put all these essentials features into the Plesk Joomla! Toolkit, including essential functions that include:

  • Mission control. A single place for you to manage all your Joomla! sites. Joomla! Mission Control lets you build, secure and start up all of your Joomla! instances. We even support a total of 32 languages so wherever you are, you can use our Joomla! toolkit.
  • Better user experience. The latest edition of our toolkit for Joomla! includes a single-click installer to make adding new sites easier. It downloads, initialises and sets up Joomla! from start to finish. We’ve made big steps forward with an improved user interface alongside state filtering and the ability to search for an instance.
  • Joomla!, like all other CMS solutions, is often at the sharp end of cybersecurity attacks. Our toolkit automatically hardens your Joomla! instance while also providing a Backups Manager plus a dedicated security scanning tool. You don’t need to know anything about security to make sure your Joomla! site is safe – thanks to our toolkit’s security features.
  • Automate tasks. The Plesk Joomla! Toolkit lets you easily automate common tasks through Extension Manager, including the installation of templates and extensions. You can also closely monitor the performance of your sites with the audit logs tool – all from one single dashboard.

Clearly the Plesk Joomla! Toolkit has the essential features you need to streamline your Joomla! experience.

How Plesk Joomla! Toolkit helps you with your Joomla! sites

Let’s take a look at exactly how the Plesk Joomla! Toolkit helps you start and manage your Joomla! websites.

Building new sites

It’s easy to install a new Joomla! site with our toolkit thanks to a one-click installer which completes all the essential tasks for you. Click the installer and the toolkit will:

  • Download the latest edition of Joomla! and install it
  • Create a new CMS database, and manage it for you
  • Configure and harden your Joomla! instance automatically
  • Make sure your Joomla! CMS is ready to use out of the box

Securing your site

You know how important it is to secure your Joomla! site, but often it seems like it requires a lot of effort. Thanks to our Joomla! Toolkit you can immediately harden your website with 1-click hardening, automatically protecting core installations without any manual intervention. Choose items you want to harden and click the “Secure” button. That’s it.

Because we execute all commands locally, we ensure that no back doors exist because data is never passed to a third party server or any external server at all.

Thanks to our one-click security scanner and automatic hardening you can rest assured that your site is safe. You can reduce the cost of securing your site without compromising on security. You don’t need to hire an expensive security team or specialist consultant.

Ongoing Joomla! maintenance

Keeping your sites running smoothly takes a lot of time, but we make it easy for you thanks to a single master view of your Joomla! sites where you can instantly manage and monitor your Joomla! CMS instances – all in one place.

Updates are easy too, as you can update all your Joomla! sites including the latest security updates as well as new Joomla! features. Whether it’s the Joomla! core or specific extensions, you can update it right from our dashboard.

Monitoring the performance of your sites is crucial too, and you can do so easily from our Joomla! Toolkit – across all your sites and covering all the important performance statistics.

WordPress

WordPress is a widely-known brand on the internet, but what exactly is WordPress? In simple terms, WordPress (or WP) is the most popular way to create a website, or to run a blog. In fact, as of 2019, WordPress is behind 33.5% of all the websites on the internet. So, more than a quarter of website on the net uses WP to serve website pages to you.

That’s the simple explanation. Looking at the WP CMS at a more technical level, WordPress is firstly an open-source software program: it’s published under GPL so anyone can make use of WP or make changes to WordPress as they see fit.

WordPress is also a content management system, or CMS. In essence a CMS is a server application that makes it easy to publish content on the internet. A CMS manages a range of important aspects of your website for you, without the user needing any programming knowledge.

The net effect is that WP makes it really simple to build a website: anyone can do it, without any technical programming knowledge.

How does WordPress.org differ from WordPress.com?

You’ll notice that you will find a presence for WordPress in two places: WordPress.org, and of course on WordPress.com. Why do you get two different websites for WordPress? It’s simple really.

The free edition of WordPress that you host yourself or with a hosting provide of your choice is available through WordPress.org. It really is 100% free and completely open-source so you can simply fetch it at WordPress.org and start hosting your own website without paying anything to WordPress.

In contrast, WordPress.com is a paid platform that, though powered by WordPress.org, loses some of the flexibility that’s inherent to WordPress.org. It is very easy to use.

Self-hosted WordPress from WordPress.org is usually what people talk about when they refer to the WordPress CMS. For most people who want to set up their own website WordPress.org, the free WordPress, is usually the better option. However, you still need to buy web hosting for your WP instance and of course a domain name which reflects your website.

Who created WordPress and when was the first version of WordPress released?

The creators of WordPress is arguably two people called Mike Little and Matt Mullenweg who spun WordPress out as a separate project from another project of theirs, b2/cafelog. Nowadays Matt Mullenweg is really seen as the person who represents WordPress, however WP is really a big open-source collaboration project.

That said, Automatic is the company which runs the WordPress.com website, which has a profit motive, and Matt Mullenweg is the person who founded Automatic. But, like we said, you can use WP completely free if you choose to do so – via WordPress.org.

Of course, in technology terms, 2003 is a very long time ago. Clearly WordPress has had a very long history from its founding in 2003. The massive community behind WordPress and the countless contributors that continuously add to it has really made it into the incredibly popular solution it is today.

Which types of website is WP good for?

Interestingly, WordPress in its initial form started out as an application that really supported blogs. As you can imagine, blogs are far simpler websites compared to many of the other websites on the internet. However, over time, WordPress has evolved extensively, and you can now create just about any type of website using WordPress – in part thanks to the large array of WordPress extensions on the market.

So today WP CMS is used to run extensive corporate websites, and even large and complex e-commerce stores. In fact, statistics show that WordPress is the most popular CMS to base an e-commerce store on.

You can create all sorts of other websites on WordPress too, ranging from portfolios to discussion forums and social networks through to membership websites and much more.

Examples of well-known WordPress websites

Just to illustrate exactly how popular WordPress is, we’ll refer to some examples of websites that run on WordPress. You might be surprised at how everything from big enterprises through to government and private individuals make use of WordPress. Let’s take a look:

TechCrunch

One of the most popular technology blogs on the internet runs on WordPress. TechCrunch is not just a blog, it is a database too with a sophisticated Crunchbase with extensive searching features. It shows just how versatile WordPress can be.

MTV News

Everyone knows the popular MTV brand. Well, MTV’s news website – MTV News – runs on WordPress and is a great illustration of how WordPress can run attractive, action-packed sites visited by millions of users.

The White House

Even the US Government thinks WordPress is a top choice. When you visit whitehouse.gov you get a WordPress experience straight from the commander-in-chief. Clearly WordPress is a dependable platform that even the most traditional of institutions are happy to rely on.

Reasons to consider WordPress

With more than a quarter of the world’s websites already making use of WP as the CMS of choice you might wonder whether WordPress is the right platform for you. Here are a couple of points you should think about:

  • Open source, free to use. WordPress software does not cost a penny, it is completely free to use in contrast to some other popular CMS systems which are not free. You will also find that many excellent WordPress themes are free, while some of the most popular WP plug-ins also have free versions.
  • It is easy to get started. Let’s admit, website software can be technically difficult to use. Many people think they need to be technically minded to get a website up and running. That’s really not the case when it comes to WordPress. You can easily make use of a website host that gives you a pre-installed version of WP so you can get started right away. Other hosts will give you installation tools that are very easy for non-technical people to use.
  • Customise and extend. Again, WordPress makes it easy for people who are not developers to add custom functionality and experiences to the CMS. Themes let you instantly change the way your website looks, with over 5,000 free themes currently on the market. WordPress plugins help you add new functionality such as e-commerce or response forms – there are over 50,000 plugins for WordPress.
  • Finding help is easy. The popularity of WordPress means that there is a huge support community that exists purely to help people get the most out of WordPress. If you experience any problems at all you can know that you can rely on a mix of tutorials, forums and blogs to help you out. Of course there is also a legion of paid developers that can offer help when you need it.
  • Ultimate flexibility. Building a website can be unpredictable because you might end up requiring features and tools you didn’t expect you’d need. WordPress gives you the required flexibility because you can simply add features via plugins when you need it. You are never limited because you chose WordPress, you can always adapt WordPress to your future needs.

So you can clearly see why WordPress is so popular: it’s free, it’s easy to use and you can customize it to almost any website requirement.

WordPress Toolkit

WordPress is really easy to use and broadly secure but expert website managers will know that WordPress management still requires time, while maintaining full WordPress security is becoming more and more difficult. Besides, as WordPress has grown, the CMS has become relatively complex and beginner users can find WordPress baffling. Plesk WordPress Toolkit aims to solve all of these issues and more.

Introducing Plesk WordPress Toolkit

Plesk knows website hosting inside out and understand where WordPress can be difficult to manage – so we address the biggest WordPress pain points with our toolkit. For a start, our toolkit offers a single-click installer which both initializes and configures your WP instance.

We offer a single dashboard where you can manage all your WordPress websites and which also allows you to test new website ideas in a staging and testing sandbox, without the need to install additional plugins for testing.

In essence, Plesk’s toolkit removes the complexity that is inherent to running WordPress websites – whether you are updating, syncing, cloning or staging. Migration is made easier too, it’s just one click with Plesk toolkit. The result is a more relaxed development environment and less chance of a major problem or data loss.

WordPress security is a big issue, but Plesk’s WordPress toolkit hardens WP sites by default and offers a security scanner too. Updating WordPress and its plugins are also made much easier, it’s all available from one dashboard.

Plesk’s WordPress Toolkit is not just suitable for beginners, we offer plenty of professional tools as well including full control using the WordPress command line interface. Our toolkit also offers search engine management plus full debug facilities. Let’s take a closer look at what’s included with the Plesk WordPress Toolkit.

Using Plesk’s WordPress Toolkit when building a WP site

Everyone can use Plesk WordPress Toolkit to help launch a site, but the toolkit is particularly useful where developers are building a lot of sites.

Installation and staging

Our WordPress Toolkit offers an installer that sets up a new WordPress site with just a single click. The installer downloads the latest edition of WordPress, creates a new database include user credentials and also sets up an admin account for WordPress. Once done it initializes WordPress so users can simply get started publishing right away.

Likewise, staging your WordPress site is made much easier with the Plesk WP toolkit. The toolkit clones your site for you so that you can use it as a staging environment, making it easy to try and now features. Once you are sure everything is working just fine you can synchronize the staging site to your production environment with a single click.

Managing WordPress

In several ways the WordPress Toolkit makes managing your website a lot easier. For example, we make it simple to find and install themes and plugins to one WordPress instance, or indeed across all your WordPress instances. Similarly, you can activate and deactivate plugins on a single or multiple WordPress sites – and you can bulk remove the themes and updates you no longer need.

Now in beta, we also offer remote management of WordPress instances using the Plesk toolkit – version 4.0. With this feature you can bring into your WordPress Toolkit management area any of the WordPress websites that you currently host on a remote Plesk Onyx-based server.

Securing your WP site with Plesk WP Toolkit

Everyone knows how crucial security has become in a world where cyber attacks are no longer the exception to the rule. WordPress is very popular so hackers often target WP sites, but Plesk’s WordPress Toolkit has a couple of tricks up its sleeve.

First, we allow you to automatically harden your WordPress instances against the most common exploits with just a single click. The toolkit can scan your sites and identify areas that need to be protected. Simply click “Secure” and the items you checked will be hardened automatically.

It’s not just the basic hardening tactics we offer: we implement all the most important security suggestions from across the WordPress community, including some of the top WordPress security experts and of course the WordPress Codex.

How Plesk’s WordPress toolkit helps with day to day WordPress tasks

Whether you have just one site to manage or hundreds, Plesk’s WordPress Toolkit aims to make managing your WordPress instances far easier.

Backing up and restoring WordPress instances

Regular backups are an essential aspect of good website management: backing up ensures that you can restore your website in case something happens that breaks your website – whether it’s an error, or due to a new feature.

With our WordPress Toolkit you can easily restore your site to a restore point of your choice, putting it back in a fully functional condition with just a single click.

Site indexation management

Don’t want Google and other search engines to index your WordPress site? You can use our toolkit to disable and enable site indexing for every WordPress instance individually.

Debugging and maintenance mode

Plesk’s toolkit allows you to manage all the debugging facilities included in WordPress in a much easier way, allowing you to use a single interface to manage debugging on individual WordPress instances.

We also allow you to activate the useful WordPress maintenance mode whenever you are in the process of updating either the CMS, or specific themes and plugins. You can activate maintenance mode with just one click.

Use the command line

Finally, sometimes the command line is simply the easiest way to achieve your WordPress goals. With the Plesk WordPress Toolkit you have access to the WP command line for every instance so that you can create users, import databases and perform updates.

All-in-all Plesk’s WordPress Toolkit just makes it much easier to manage WordPress. It’s a huge help whether you are in charge of one site or hundreds. Besides, it’s included with Plesk so there’s no reason not to check it out.