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What are the WordPress core files?

When you install WordPress, you are actually installing a group of files (the “WordPress core”) that become the admin interface of your website.

You may never need to look into these WordPress core files. However, you will probably need to troubleshoot them at some point, and it will be very useful to have an understanding of what you’re looking at when you’re trying to find an offending file.

You could split the WordPress files into two groups – the core files and the content files. Core files make up the appearance and functionality of the WordPress platform, and content files are added by the user in the form of themes, plugins, and images. There is also a special file called wp-config.php that tells WordPress where to find your site’s database.

To access the WordPress files, you’ll need to use an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) client. To put it simply, when you access a site via FTP, you are viewing the files that live online, and transferring these files to and from your computer. To achieve this, you either need to access the files through your browser (by logging into your web host’s cPanel), or by using an FTP client (a desktop application). There are many of these to choose from, however I use and recommend Cyberduck, an open source client. The instructions and screencast in this course are using Cyberduck, however you can adapt them for any FTP client.