FAQ

Tech Stuff Explanations

At WordPress.com, we got your back! You can fully focus on creating your sites without having to worry about the technical stuff that occurs behind the scenes. In case you’re curious about what some of that tech stuff implies, we want to offer an explanation in metaphorical everyday examples.

Table of contents

Caching
WordPress.com hosting, plans, websites, and domains
Domains and websites
Domain mapping
Nameservers and DNS

Caching

If someone asks you what the capital of the US was, you’d probably know the answer right away. But if someone asks you what the capital of Algeria is, chances are high you’d probably need to check it on Google. However, next time someone asks what the capital of Algeria is, you won’t need to refer to Google again. You’ll know the answer straight away. Caching works in a similar way our mind does. The first time you visit a site, it gets loaded straight from the server (just like when you Google an answer). The next time you visit it, though, instead of sending the request to the server again (Googling the answer again), we can access the data directly from the cache (our mind) which we stored when the initial request was sent to the server. To sum it up, every time you visit a site, certain information gets saved so that a site can load faster the next time; this saved information is called cache. There are different types of caching and one of them is the browser cache. Clearing the browser cache will require your browser to reload that site from scratch all over again with new information. You can read further here on our support page.

WordPress.com hosting, plans, websites, and domains

Think of WordPress.com as a building where someone can rent an apartment by paying for a year’s lease (hosting). The furniture (the content of the site) and interior design are up to the renter, but the size (storage space) is determined by the type of apartment (plan). Each apartment has a primary mailing address (primary domain), and any other addresses can be forwarded to it. Sometimes, if someone has signed leases at 2 different apartment buildings (e.g. WordPress.com and SiteGround), that means they want two separate apartments in separate buildings, with different furniture in them, and different mailing addresses.

Domains and websites

Imagine your site is a jar of pickles. Your domain name or URL is like the label on the jar. When you add a new domain or change your existing domain, it’s like adding another label to your jar. So you end up with a new label, but the pickles are still there.


Similarly, you can think of your site as a car and your domain as a license plate number. Every site (car) comes with a default domain (license plate number), but you can register a custom domain if you’d like. At WordPress.com, by default, a site will always have .wordpress.com in its web address. If you want to get fancy, you can register a custom domain and have the web address be whatever you want (as long as it hasn’t already been registered by someone else). Just like a vanity license plate. Even better, if you decide to build a new site someday, you can transfer your custom domain to your new site, too. As long as you keep it registered, you never have to give up your custom domain. Just like a vanity license plate.

Domain mapping

Mapping a domain to your site here is like connecting both ends of a chained link. Our end here is connected, the other end is where you purchased the domain from, and it needs to be connected as well for the connection to work.

Nameservers and DNS

Imagine a set of name servers as a box. Inside that box, you have various DNS records (A, CNAME, MX, SRV, TXT, NS, etc.). The DNS records control how to route visitors. By changing the name servers, you’re telling your domain to use a different box of DNS records. As such, if you want, say, your email to be unaffected, you would need to update your email DNS records in the new box first so they match what is working in the old box.

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