In this tutorial you will learn how to navigate around the WordPress administration area and familiarize yourself with the WordPress dashboard, the administration menus and the main admin modules.
You will also discover some of the “hidden” features that will become more useful as your proficiency with WordPress increases.
Please note: This tutorial assumes that you already have a WordPress site installed on your domain. If you need help installing a WordPress site or getting one set up for you, then check out our free WordPress installation offer here.
How To Access Your WordPress Admin Area: WordPress Login Page
In order to access your WordPress site administration area, you first need to log in.
You can normally access your login page by visiting your site’s home page and clicking on the Login link in the Meta section of your sidebar menu …
Click on Log in …
And you will be taken to your WordPress login page. Enter your username and password, and then click on the Log In button to access your WordPress Administration area …
Note: The “login” link is hidden in some WordPress themes. If you cannot find your WordPress login link, then type your WordPress site login URL into your browser.
The default WordPress admin login URL typically looks like this:
- http://www.yourdomain.com/wp-login.php (if WordPress is installed in the root directory of your domain)
- http://www.yourdomain.com/subfolder/wp-login.php (if WordPress is installed in a subfolder of your domain, e.g. “blog)
- You can also get to the login page by typing http://www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin
Your WordPress Dashboard
After logging into your WordPress site, you will typically be taken to your WordPress Dashboard, which is the main administration area of your site.
Your WordPress Dashboard provides a number of useful data and information about the activities and actions taking place on your WordPress site. It also allows you to see “at-a-glance” the most recent activity that has taken place on your site and to be kept up-to-date on new information from various WordPress-related resources.
Watch the video below and then complete the step-by-step tutorial to learn more about using your WordPress Dashboard and your main WordPress Administration features …
Your WordPress Dashboard – Tutorial
The first time you log into your WordPress site, you may see a “Welcome to WordPress” message displayed inside your WordPress Dashboard.
If you want to spend a few minutes learning more about WordPress, you can click on the “get started” links.
To dismiss the “Welcome” message from displaying inside your WordPress admin area next time you login, click on the Dismiss link near the top right-hand corner of the message.
Note: You will also see “Welcome to WordPress” messages displayed whenever WordPress gets updated to a new version …
Once again, feel free to explore the information displayed in the “welcome” message, or just scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the link to dismiss the message and return to your Dashboard …
WordPress Dashboard Screen
The screen that you see in the Dashboard after logging into your site gives you access to all of the main administration controls and features you will need to manage your WordPress site.
The Dashboard screen is divided into the following main sections:
- WordPress Toolbar and Header Section (1)
- Main Navigation Menu (2)
- Work Area (3)
- Footer Section (4)
WordPress Administration Area: Toolbar
The Toolbar displays at the very top of your Administration Screen and provides your with access and links to various administration functions on your site Ö
Many Toolbar items expand (flyout) when hovered over with your mouse to display more information.
For example, you can quickly see what needs to be updated on your site …
You can also create new posts and pages, add new media and links in your content and add new users to your site …
As you begin to add new functions to your site, you may see that new items have been added to your Toolbar …
The Toolbar also allows you to view how any changes you make to your posts, pages or settings will affect what visitors see on your site. Just hover your mouse over the website title displayed in the toolbar and click on Visit Site.
Tip: To continue working on your site and view your home page in a separate window, right-click on the Visit Site link and choose either ìOpen Link In New Tabî, or “Open Link In New Window” Ö
Important: If you cannot see the Toolbar in your administration area, then make sure you have enabled it for your site.
The section below shows you how to do this.
The “Howdy, User” Section
On the far right of the Toolbar is the “Howdy, User” section, with an image of your Gravatar. If you hover over this section with your mouse, it will expand with links to your Profile Screen and a Log Out link …
Note: When you log into your WordPress site, WordPress stores a “cookie” in your web browser. This cookie allows WordPress to remember who you are. If you leave your site for a while but come back again later, WordPress will recognize the cookie and not ask you to log in again.
Important: The cookie cannot tell WordPress who is actually logged into your site. If you have a WordPress cookie set in your web browser, anyone using your computer can access the Administration Screens of your site. To prevent this from happening (especially when using a public or shared computer) click on the Log Out link, and WordPress will delete the cookie from your web browser.
To reset the cookie just log into WordPress again.
How To Enable Your WordPress Toolbar
Click on the “Howdy, Your Site Name” tab at the very top right hand corner of your administration screen toolbar and select Your Profile.
Make sure that Show Toolbar when viewing site is enabled in the Toolbar section of your Profile area.
Remember to click the Update Profile button at the very bottom of your page to save your changes.
Now you should be able to see the WordPress Toolbar displayed at the top of your screen.
To learn more about editing your user profile, see this tutorial: How To Edit Your User Profile
WordPress Administration Area: Screen Options
The Screen Options section is located in the header of your WordPress administration area and displays different options for your screen depending on which area of the administration section you are currently viewing …
For example, if you are in the Dashboard, clicking on the Screen Options tab allows you to specify options such as the number of columns displayed in the layout of your Dashboard work area.
If you are in the Posts section of your Administration area, clicking on the Screen Options tab gives you completely different options, such as displaying or hiding information in the listings section (e.g. tags, comments, etc…), and specifying the number of posts to display per page.
Tip: Some web developers, or web designers may choose to hide certain elements from displaying on your site because they may assume that most users wonít be using or needing these features, or simply to give sections of your site a less “cluttered” look.
If you are looking for a particular function in your administration area and canít find it, or donít know where to look, try clicking on the Screen Options tab … you may just find what you are looking for!
WordPress Online Help Section
You can access the official WordPress documentation and user support forum sections by clicking on the Help tab located at the top of your screen.
Like the Screen Options tab, the Help tab located at the top of your administration area also displays information that is relevant to the specific area that you are working on.
So, for example, if you are editing content in the Edit Post section of your site, clicking on the Help tab will bring up help information relevant to editing posts …
Tip: To learn more about any particular feature or function of WordPress while logged into the WP administration area, just click on the Help tab.
WordPress Administration Area: Navigation Menu
On the left side of the administration screen is the main navigation menu containing links to all the administrative functions that you can perform on your WordPress site …
Click the Collapse menu button at the bottom of the navigation menu section …
And the sidebar menu shrinks into a narrow bar with only a set of icons displaying for all functions.
Use this feature if you need to create more space in your admin working area, or if you see the collapsed menu when you log in and are not sure what the icons mean …
If you hover your mouse over each of the menu items, the sub-menu for that function will fly out.
To fully expand any menu function click on the main menu item.
To learn more about each of the navigation menu items and what they mean, visit this page in the official WordPress documentation site:
WordPress Administration Area: Work Area
The large area in the middle of your administration screen is the work area. This is where you will do most of your work, such as creating and editing posts, configuring plugins, themes, site settings, etcÖ
When you log into WordPress, your Dashboard will display a number of information panels contain information from various WordPress-related sources…
Most of the panels in your Dashboard screen will also display additional options when hovered over with your mouse.
For example, here is a panel with no mouse hovering Ö
And here is the same panel displaying additional options when you hover your mouse over the title bar …
You can minimize the information screens in your dashboard by clicking on the inverted triangle symbol in the corner of their title bar.
You can also rearrange the layout of your WordPress dashboard using “drag and drop” …
WordPress Administration Area: Footer
The footer section is found at the bottom of your WordPress Administration Screen. It displays links to WordPress and your current WordPress version …