Getting to know the WordPress Dashboard

In this workshop, we will be introduced to the WordPress Dashboard. We will briefly look at everything you need to know to start your WordPress journey.

Learning outcomes

  1. Familiarise yourself with the WordPress Dashboard and how to navigate it.
  2. Control the elements that appear on your administrative page.
  3. Clarity on the difference between posts and pages.
  4. Add and manage media in your Media Library.
  5. Manage post comments.
  6. Distinguish between the Site Editor and Customizer.
  7. Add and manage user roles.

Comprehension questions

  • What is the difference between the front-end of my site and the WordPress Dashboard?
  • Where can you add new users or contributors to your site?
  • What are the advantages of using plugins?


User roles and capabilities

Managing Settings: General

Managing Settings: Writing

Managing Settings: Reading

Managing Settings: Discussion

Managing Settings: Permalinks

Managing Settings: Privacy


Welcome to Learn WordPress. Join us as we get more acquainted with the Dashboard. To log into your site, enter the following in a web browser address bar, fill in your details and click on Login. Once we log into the Dashboard, we can see the admin bar at the top, and when you hover over the WordPress icon, a dynamic menu with four links appear. links to the main WordPress site. Documentation links to the official WordPress support documentation. Support links to the support area of and Feedback links to the support forum on that is dedicated to requests and feedback.

The next icon on the admin bar is the home icon for your site and clicking on this takes you to the public-facing homepage of your site, and when you click on it again, it takes you back to your Dashboard. Then there are two notification icons: New comments and Updates will appear here. Hovering over New brings up a menu of links to create new items such as posts, media items, pages, or even adding new users, and the actual contents of this list depend on your user role. And all the way in the right corner of the admin bar you’ll see your username and Avatar, and from this menu, clicking on either your name or edit profile, it will take you to the Edit Profile page. Just below the dark grey admin bar are two tabs, the screen options tab and the help tab. The screen options tab appears on most administrative pages, and it allows you to control the elements that appear on that page.

In the body of the Dashboard, you’ll find a number of administrative widgets or panels, and you’ve seen how these can be shown or hidden using the checkboxes in the screen options tab. And their position can also be changed simply by dragging and dropping them where you want. As a note, this is just one of the possible WordPress Dashboard configurations. The Dashboard view will change based on what plugins you have active and your hosting company and how you personally configure it. When using the Quick draft widget, anything entered into this forum will be saved as a draft post, that is, it will be saved but not published on your site. This is very handy for jotting down quick ideas for posts that you would like to come back to and finish later. The At a glance widget gives you a quick total for the number of pages, posts and comments that are currently on your site. It also displays the current theme and the version of WordPress that you’re using. Activity shows your most recent posts and comments. And the WordPress events and news panel is a great way to get involved with the WordPress community. Based on your location, you’ll see a list of different WordPress related events and meetups.

Now the most common way of moving around in the admin area is by using the navigation links in the left sidebar. Some of these are used much more frequently than others, particularly posts, pages and comments. With that in mind, you’ll notice that more of the content focused menu items are located in the top section, whereas menu items focused on functionality, appearance and other settings are grouped together down at the bottom.

Next up, let’s talk about posts. Posts are what make your blog a blog. They are individual pieces of content on your blog page. When you publish a post, it will generally appear in reverse chronological order on your posts page so that when visitors come to your site, they will always be presented with the latest posts, and posts will change over time as you add new content. Pages, on the other hand, are for more static content. When you click on Quick edit, you can quickly change categories, tags and several other items. Trash moves the post to the trash folder, and you can recover anything that you’ve put into the trash for up to 30 days. You can use checkboxes next to the posts to perform actions on multiple items. You can also filter the list of posts by date, month, and year, and categories. Lastly, you can search for words or phrases that may be contained in your posts. Before we look at media, let’s talk about pages. So a page is for static content and the page generally will always stay the same, though just like a post, you can update it whenever you want. Pages are useful things like an about page, contact page or even something like the history of your site or company.

The Media Library contains all your media files, from images, audio files, Excel spreadsheets to PDF documents. You can display items in the grid view or list view. When you select Add new, and click on Select files, you can upload media from your computer, or drag and drop multiple files at the top. The only bulk action for the Media Library is to delete media items permanently.

Next up, we are going to talk about comments. When you click on comments, you will see a list of all the comments on your site. As you hover over each comment, you can see the different options that are available to you, such as approve, unapprove, reply, quick edit, edit, spam and trash. To the left, you can see the comment has information like their name, their Gravatar and their email address. As you move your cursor to the right, you can also see which post or page this comment was left on. And all the way to the right, you’ll find the date and time that the comment was submitted.

In the Appearance section, you can change your site’s theme. If you are using a block-based theme, you will have access to the Site Editor, which will allow you to create overall site structure. Check out the links below resources to learn more about the Site Editor and full site editing. But if you’re using a classic theme, you will have access to the Customizer, widgets and so forth. When you open the Plugins menu and click on Add new, you will be able to install, manage and uninstall plugins for your site. Under the Users menu item, you can manage users on your site. The different roles are subscriber, contributor, author, editor, and administrator, and you can learn more about these roles from the resources below. To learn more about settings, also follow the links below resources. We have published a series of Settings Workshops.

All the best as you start exploring and using WordPress. Visit Learn WordPress for more workshops and training material.

Workshop Details


Wes Theron

I am an Instructional Designer for the WordPress open-source project sponsored by Automattic. I am a strong supporter of the open-source movement. I have a background in education and content development. I am a husband, father, dreamer and lifelong learner.