By Lisa Sabin-Wilson

The WordPress software is a personal publishing system that uses a PHP and MySQL platform. This platform provides everything you need to create your own blog and publish your own content dynamically, without having to know how to program those pages yourself. In short, all your content is stored in a MySQL database in your hosting account.

PHP (which stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor — and PHP itself originally stood for personal home page, as named by its creator, Rasmus Lerdorf) is a server-side scripting language for creating dynamic web pages. When a visitor opens a page built in PHP, the server processes the PHP commands and then sends the results to the visitor’s browser.

MySQL is an open source relational database management system (RDBMS) that uses Structured Query Language (SQL), the most popular language for adding, accessing, and processing data in a database. If all that sounds like Greek to you, just think of MySQL as a big filing cabinet in which all the content on your blog is stored.

Every time a visitor goes to your blog to read your content, he makes a request that’s sent to a host server. The PHP programming language receives that request, obtains the requested information from the MySQL database, and then presents the requested information to your visitor through his web browser.

The term content refers to your blog posts, comments, and options that you set up on the WordPress Dashboard. The theme (design) you choose to use for your blog isn’t part of the content in this case. Those files are part of the file system and aren’t stored in the database. So create and keep a backup of any theme files that you’re using.

When you look for a hosting service, choose one that provides daily backups of your site so that your content/data won’t be lost in case something happens. Web-hosting providers that offer daily backups as part of their services can save the day by restoring your site to its original form.