The reason WordPress is the most popular CMS, is that it is well documented and well structured. Though it is a huge system, one can easily follow-up with WordPress without much efforts, the reason being things in WordPress pretty much follow the same pattern. So if you learn to do one thing, you will be able to do similar things too. But this behavior leads to some confusions that people often have. Let’s have a look at five such things and clarify them.
1. Page vs Post:
Most WordPress beginners get confused between posts and pages as both have similar fields in the dashboard. But there is a significant difference between both of them. Pages are static and timeless, you create pages to show the static content of your website like your About page or Contact page where as posts are timely. In WordPress’s own words posts are reverse chronological content, it means that the newer the post is, the upper it will be shown in blog page; the older it is, the more user will have to dig down to find the post.
Apart from this there are some others differences too, like Pages are hierarchical, that means you create pages and subpages of them. Posts are categorized, you create a category and classify your posts under different categories. Posts are included in RSS feeds, Pages are not.
2. Tag vs Category:
Tags and Categories both are used to group your content. Technically there is only one difference between categories and Tags i.e Categories are Hierarchical vs. Tags are not. But then there arise a question “Why do we need tags when we have categories that can be hierarchical too”. But Tags exists for a different reason. Tags are used to highlight the important keywords in your post, so you can use tags to show the beef of your content, while categories classify your content.
3. the_content() vs. get_the_content():
Again a basic thing to know about. Both these functions are used in WP Loop to retrieve and show content of post to user. But when called, the_content() function will print the result simply but get_the_content() function will return it, so you can format the content as you like, you can use it as it please you. To say in single line “the_content() is quick and dirty while get_the_content() gives control to you”.
Note: There are number of other functions with same rivalry relation example:-
-the_title() vs get_the_title()
-the_permalink vs get_the_permalink()
-the_ID() vs get_the_ID()
Each of these have the same difference i.e one will print the data and other will return it instead.
4. WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
Another common confusion is that “why do we have two different sites for WordPress?” Again it is not a coincidence or misplanning but a consequence of deliberate actions. WordPress.org is the place from where you can download WordPress, “the free and open source software”, also you can download thousand of WordPress plugins from here. WordPress.com on the other hand provides free hosting for pre-installed WordPress sites. If you are a DIY kinda guy then you’d like to go to WordPress.org download your copy of WordPress and customize it your way else if you are one of kind who avoid such fuss, can go to WordPress.com and get your site up within just a few clicks.
5. Filters vs Actions:
Filters and Actions both being similar in functions, one may find them confusing because Filters and Actions both are called over a hook to get your work done at some particular instance. Actions let you run your piece of code at some hook, say if you want to check a comment against a spam word dictionary, then you will want to call your code at ‘comment_post’ hook but Filters are used to modify texts, say, if you would like to sanitize a query before executing against database.