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WordPress Backend Tutorial: All You Need to Know

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WordPress remains the world’s most used content management system. At present, it powers 42.4% of websites around the globe. The CMS has grown exponentially over the past few years because of its impressive features and the wide variety of plugins. 

Yet, like all good things, mastering WordPress takes time, effort, and patience, especially when it comes to WordPress backend management. For anyone who has limited experience and expertise in web development, working with WordPress backend may seem pretty overwhelming. 

If you have been grappling with WordPress backend for a while, it makes sense to learn more about this subject and its role in enterprise WordPress development. Whether you own a WordPress website or are a part of the backend development team, the WordPress backend will be a big part of your life. 

The information shared in this post will help make WP’s backend easy to understand and navigate. 

Let’s begin with understanding what WordPress backend is all about. 

What Is WordPress Backend?

The part of the WordPress website that’s only available for authenticated users is its backend. WordPress backend is often referred to as wp-admin, admin panel, WordPress admin area, or simply the dashboard. 

It is the area of the website where the admin or the registered users create and manage content, install plugins, add functionality, manage design settings, change styling, and more. You can access the backend of your WordPress website by visiting – 

http://www.yoururl.com/wp-admin/ 

Once you enter this URL, you’ll be prompted for the username and password set when creating the website. On logging in to the backend, you’ll see the dashboard (like the one shared above), containing various sections for different features of the website. 

For instance, depending on the nature of your website, it will hold sections like Posts, Media, Pages, Comments, Appearance, Settings, and others. This dashboard offers admins complete control over editing these features. 

On adding plugins, your WP dashboard will expand to accommodate more sections, allowing you to further change the settings and appearance of your website. 

WordPress backend developers typically use special coding languages like PHP and JavaScript to help servers, applications, and databases communicate with each other. 

Working with the WordPress Backend

The WordPress admin dashboard offers an overall glance of the default screen with widgets such as activity, quick draft, events and news, and many more. However, when managing the website you need to access other sections of the dashboard. 

Use the options in the sidebar to see the options. Each website has a specific number of options, so your dashboard may appear slightly different from the one shared above. 

Here’s how you can use the dashboard to manage your website. 

Customize Your Dashboard

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with using the WordPress dashboard as is. The CMS interface is well-designed, user-friendly, and intuitive enough to accommodate every web developer’s need. 

However, as you add new themes, features, and plugins to improve your website performance and security, you’ll notice the dashboard getting cluttered. This is especially true if you decide to turn your backend into a lean, mean content management machine for your customers or a promotional tool for your business. 

To get the most out of the dashboard it’s wise to customize the backend and eventually expand your WordPress development services. There are specific benefits of this exercise. 

  • An organized dashboard creates a welcoming WordPress experience for all. 
  • You can add the client’s logo and theme to create a refined space. This will allow you to deliver premium service to clients. 
  • A clean and organized dashboard will reduce the risk of customers unintentionally harming your website. 
  • It also helps you offer ongoing support to clients, especially when you aren’t working on their website. They will appreciate you proactively leaving support material and helpful tips. 

Here’s how you can customize your WordPress dashboard to support your business goals. 

  • Use the Branding Plugin 

There are loads of white-label backend customization plugins that offer the ability to control and transform the appearance of the backend without coding. These plugins come with extensive documentation, making the process easy. 

Plugins like White Label CMS, Branda, Ultimate Branding, and White Label Megapack Branding are a few that can customize every aspect of WordPress to fit your brand. 

  • Customize the Login Page

The login page is the first thing a user sees when accessing the backend. Though there’s nothing wrong with the default login, you can surely add a logo or colors to this page. 

This can be easily done by accessing the ‘Logo and Background’ section where you can replace the WordPress logo with that of the client. 

  • Customize the Admin Toolbar and Sidebar

The standard admin toolbar menu can be transformed to improve the available menu options. Use plugins like Ultimate Client Dash and Admin Menu Editor plugin to customize the admin top bar, footer, menu, and more. 

This will transform the dashboard into a modern theme that represents your corporate image

  • Hide Plugins

Plugins like the Admin Menu Editor can help you hide certain plugins from other users. It ensures that no one, except the ones given explicit access, sees or accesses them. 

As you can see, being able to customize the WP backend can come in quite handy when you are working with clients. Here are a few other things you can do under backend customization. 

  • Hide or change the admin menu. 
  • Organize the options using drag and drop.
  • Hide the WordPress toolbar or restrict it to admins only.
  • Create new custom menus.

A few other plugins I recommend for this purpose are – 

Create a New Blog Post 

The admin dashboard allows you to create a new post on your WordPress blog. Follow the below-mentioned steps. 

  1. Hover over the ‘Post’ option in the sidebar. This will reveal a set of submenu options. 
  2. Click on the ‘Add New’ submenu. 
  3. Fill the blanks by entering the post title in the upper field and the post body content in the main post editing box. 

You can also upload images and assign categories as per your preference.

Manage Your Website Appearance

The WP admin allows you to modify how your website appears merely by choosing and customizing themes. Follow these steps to modify your site’s appearance. 

Hover on the ‘Appearance’ option in the side menu bar to expand a list of options. 

You can manage your themes, install, preview, delete, update, and activate them as per your needs. 

Control Various Other Features

When you explore the other menu and submenu items of the WordPress admin panel, you’ll realize that the WordPress backend allows you to control various aspects of your website. So, go ahead and experiment with the plugins, comments, and other settings. 

8 Tips to Protect the WP-Admin Area

WordPress is the world’s largest CMS. So, it isn’t surprising that WordPress websites are the major targets for hackers and cybercriminals. Since the wp-admin directory is the control panel of a WordPress website, it is the most commonly attacked area. 

If the hacker gains access to your admin dashboard, they can insert malicious code into your plugins or themes. Hence, protecting the admin area from unauthorized access is critical to blocking the common WordPress security threats. 

Here are a few tips to protect your WordPress admin area.

Apply a Website Application Firewall (WAF)

The WAF monitors web traffic, blocks suspicious requests, and only allows legitimate traffic to pass through. You can use several WordPress firewall plugins to protect your website from malicious attacks. 

Plugins like Sucuri, MaxCDN, Cloudflare, and Wordfence Security offer DNS-level firewall, intrusion and brute force prevention, and malware removal services. These plugins can also boost WordPress website performance by reducing server load through caching optimization and website acceleration.

Use Strong Passwords 

It’s quite common to see WordPress users maintain the default usernames and passwords shared by the platform. Such weak passwords are easily guessable, making the dashboard vulnerable to brute force attacks. 

Always use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters in passwords, making it tough for anyone to crack them. 

Apply the Two-Step Verification to WP Login Screen 

Two-step verifications add an extra layer of security to passwords. So, instead of only asking for the password, the system asks for a verification code generated by the Google Authenticator app on a connected device.

Limit Login Attempts 

WordPress, by default, allows users to try to log in multiple times. This feature could leave your website backend vulnerable to brute force attacks as hackers may try various password combinations to gain access. 

Limit login attempts and access by using the Login LockDown plugin that records the IP address and timestamp for every failed login attempt.

Limit Access to IP Addresses

If you have a few trusted users who need access to the backend, limit access to them. Simply use this code in your .htaccess file (the X needs to be replaced with your IP address). 

1 AuthUserFile /dev/null

2 AuthGroupFile /dev/null

3 AuthName “WordPress Admin Access Control”

4 AuthType Basic

5 <LIMIT GET>

6 order deny,allow

7 deny from all

8 # whitelist Syed’s IP address

9 allow from xx.xx.xx.xxx

10 # whitelist David’s IP address

11 allow from xx.xx.xx.xxx

12 </LIMIT>

Logout Idle/Inactive Users 

WP doesn’t automatically log out users unless they explicitly close the window or log out manually. Thus, if a user hasn’t logged out, they’ll be shown as idle. This can be a cause of concern and a threat to sensitive website information.

To fix this, use the Idle User Logout plugin that detects idle and inactive users in both the front end and admin end. Enter the time after which you want users to be automatically logged out and protect your WordPress admin area. 

Limit Access to Dashboard

Not all users need access to the WordPress dashboard. However, WordPress by default allows all admin users to access this area. 

The Remove Dashboard Access plugin can help in this case. It allows you to limit access to admins, editors, or authors by their specific roles and capabilities.

Update WordPress

Using an older version of WordPress can leave your website vulnerable to attacks. To fix this, you should always use its latest version.

WordPress consistently releases newer versions of the software. Make sure you update to the latest version to fix bugs, introduce new features, and tackle security issues. 

So, How Does Decoupled WordPress Work? 

Decoupled WordPress (Headless) separates the backend from the frontend to create a better user experience. Decoupling allows developers to experiment with different JavaScript frameworks like Angular for building the customer experience users expect. 

Translating modern design into the traditional monolithic CMS can be tricky. Separating the UX layer frees up developers to leverage tools that can make the frontend truly agile and user-friendly. 

Moreover, a headless CMS simplifies future updates and saves a great deal of time and resources need for redesigning. Thus, the frontend developers can work at their own pace and focus on the best language for a specific task. 

Finally, approaching a decoupled build is easy with WP REST API. Decide how much of your website needs to be separate and download the API to help you with the process. It is available for all WP users and offers an easy solution to work with WordPress REST API via HTTP.  

What’s the Catch?

Decoupling WordPress comes with its pitfalls. It is a customized and complex project that demands more time and upfront cost. It can mean losing content previews, easy string translations, and UI-oriented plugins and themes that are otherwise easily available in the coupled CMS. 

Also, decoupling WordPress is a fairly new concept with the community still sharing best practices in the field. Hence, there’s no set way to achieve it. You need to experiment and tailor it to your needs. 

Thus, the possibilities with headless WordPress are endless. Yet, it’s up to the community to share and document what they learn when working with it.

Summing Up

There’s a lot that goes into developing a WordPress website, ground up! After all, building and running a website is just about picking your favorite theme and installing some plugins.

One of the most appealing features of this CMS is that it offers complete control over a website through the admin dashboard. If you have just about started working with WordPress, navigating the sea of options available on the dashboard can be intimidating. 

I am sure this guide will help you know more about the WordPress backend and leverage it to achieve your business objectives.

Author Bio:

Lucy is a creative content writer and strategist at Marketing Digest. She specializes in writing about digital marketing, technology, entrepreneurship, and education. When she is not writing or editing, she spends time reading books, cooking and traveling.

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