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Dissecting WordPress: Understanding Directory Structure



You are a doctor.

In fact, you will soon be a doctor.

You have got admission in countrie’s best medical school.

You go there and on the first day, you are asked to come into ICU.

There, a patient is suffering from a serious heart conditions.

Doctors do not say anything and give you the responsibility to operate.

Will you be able to do that?


Because you do not yet know about the details of the heart completely.

Heck, if you are like me, you might not even be sure how different heart is from lungs ( although Thanks to God that I am not a medical student but an enginnering student! )

Anyway, now think of WordPress as your patient and you as doctor (WordPress Developer!).

You need to be familiar with WordPress, right?

And part of it is to be familiar with WordPress Directory Structure so that you know which files located where.

To start, download WordPress from and unzip the files.

Now, let’s start exploring!

WordPress Directory Structure

Inside WordPress folder, you will find lots of files of code and 2 folders, wp-admin, wp-content and wp-includes.

Here’s what these folders have and do:


Does wp-admin ring some beels in your head?

Right, this is your dashboard (you go to after you log in)!

This folder holds all the files for back-end.


wp-content holds all the content of your blog.

Plugins, Themes and your uploaded content.

The contents are clear from the names.

Plugins folder holds all plugins. Each plugin gets their own folder. e.g. Aksimet sits inside akismet folder.

Similarly, Themes folder holds all your themes. Just like plugins, each theme has seperate folder.

Uploads folder has all you uploaded pics, videos and attachments.


wp-includes holds all the files and libraries that are necessary for WordPress. If you dig deep, you will find the CSS and image fiels for WP Administration, Editor and JavaScript libraries like prototype etc.

WordPress is not much complex after all. Just 3 folders, eh!

Now that you know where themes and plugins are, you can easily solve problems. If there’s a problem with a theme or plugin that takes whole site down, simply delete that theme or plugin folder and boom, site will be back!

Also, take care of not to change anything inside wp-admin and wp-includes without knowing exactly what you are doing.

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Image Credit: quinnanya via flickr.

Published inMust ReadsPluginsThemesWordPress