All websites have a front end and a back end. The front end is what is viewed by visitors, where we see the results of what happens on the back end. The back end is hidden from visitors, and only viewable to those who can either log into the site (as in WordPress and other content-management systems) or have access to the files used for building the site.
In order to login to your WordPress site, you must navigate to the login page. To get to that page, you can usually add /login or /admin to the end of the site’s URL address at the top of your browser screen, like so:
Both of these will redirect you to the more complete URL address: www.yourwebsiteaddress.com/wp-login.php
In some instances, the login page may have been changed by the web developer (as a security precaution), so the suffix you add will be different. When you get to the login page, I recommend that you bookmark it before entering your username and password. On many of the sites that I manage, I install a CAPTCHA to ward off hackers. Before clicking the Log In button, users are required to fill in the correct response. Logging in takes you directly to the Dashboard area of the site.
The Dashboard is the administrative area. It is the home of some basic WordPress widgets:
- At a Glance – identifies the active theme and displays the number of pages, posts, comments, and spam comments
- Activity – lists recently published posts and comments
- Quick Draft – a place to quickly write a post draft
- WordPress Events and News – displays a feed of recent WordPress-related events and news
- Other plugin widgets may display here, such as Backup Buddy, Google Analytics, and Wordfence
When you are logged into the back end of WordPress, you’ll see the ever-present sidebar on the left side of your browser screen. This sidebar is the main navigation for all of the administrative areas of the site. The key areas are: All Posts (blog posts), Pages (regular site pages), Media (library where images, documents, videos are stored), Comments, Appearance (themes, widgets, menus, etc.), Plugins, Users, Settings, and plugin-related configuration areas. Use this sidebar as you would use any navigation menu; hover on an item to reveal its sub-categories, and click on an item to get there.
Viewing the Front End
In the upper left corner of the Dashboard, you’ll see a Home icon next to the name of the site. There is also a drop-down link Visit Site. Click on either of these links to change the view to the front end.
The only problem with doing this is that you’ll always be going back and forth to and from the back and front ends. So, I like to have a second tab open for viewing the front end of the site. Create a New Tab (CMMD-T or CNTRL-T) and type in the site URL address. This way, whenever you make changes in the back end, you can easily view them in the front end after refreshing the browser screen.
Don’t forget to log out! Go to the upper right corner, hover over your username, and click on Log Out in the drop-down menu.
If you prefer, you can watch the video tutorial I made that shows you how to log into WordPress and view the back end:
WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com: Compare and Choose
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Adding Images to a WordPress Sidebar
How to Resize an Image in WordPress
How to Create a Navigation Menu in WordPress