What Is the WordPress Admin Dashboard? Explained for Beginners
Published on January 31, 2022 by Kevin Graham
Table of Contents
If you’re new to WordPress, you may be wondering “What is the WordPress Admin Dashboard?” Or “How do I login to WordPress?”. We’re here to answer those questions and more for you today.
The WordPress admin dashboard holds the control settings for your WordPress website. This is where you create and edit content, upload images and text, choose themes, add plugins, assign roles to multiple users, and much more.
While the WordPress interface is quite user-friendly, it may be a bit confusing at the start, especially if you don’t consider yourself to be very tech-savvy. Creating a website sounds like a big deal, right? Well, it isn’t! With a bit of help and guidance, you’ll find the admin dashboard quite easy to use.
After reading this simple introduction for beginners you’ll see that you’re quite ready to utilize every function of the WordPress admin dashboard to build your ideal website.
We will go over how you can use the WordPress admin dashboard to configure the look and functionality of your website. You’ll learn where to find your dashboard on WordPress, what it has to offer, and how you can use it to take control of your website and customize it to your liking!
Knowing how to use the WordPress admin dashboard will help you expand your website, be it for a business, for entertainment, or for a personal blog. But first things first…
How Do I Log Into My WordPress Admin Dashboard?
A frequent question that we get asked by beginners to WordPress is where do I find my dashboard on WordPress? The answer to where you find the dashboard and how to log in is one and the same.
If you’re a WP Bolt customer, there’s a one click button to login to your WordPress admin for each of your sites from your customer account area.
Otherwise, to access your WordPress admin dashboard, just add /wp-admin/ at the end of your website’s URL. For instance, this is what it should look like:
If you’re already logged in, this link will directly take you to the admin dashboard. If you’re not logged in, WordPress will redirect you to the login page where you will need to enter your username and password to access the admin dashboard.
Alternatively, if you know you’re not logged in, you can append /wp-login.php to your website’s URL. Here’s an example:
But before we get into the overview of what you can do from the WordPress admin dashboard, we’ll go over two important points for beginners concerning your login page.
How To Change Your Default Login URL
Pro Tip: Change your default login URL.
You may not be aware of it, but it’s just as easy for hackers to access your default login URL as it is for you. If your login URL is exactly what we have presented (i.e. https://yourdomainname.com/wp-login.php), then any bot or hacker will be able to discover it.
One way to improve security is to use a strong password, but this isn’t always enough.
Website security is very important. This additional step takes little time, but significantly improves security. Plus, in addition to keeping you safer from online attacks, changing your login URL will decrease the amount of bandwidth that gets eaten up by bots accessing it. When bots randomly open your login URL, WordPress counts it as bandwidth being spent by you.
Don’t worry though, changing your default login URL is easy and won’t complicate the login process for you. The easiest way to change your default login URL is by using a plugin.
We recommend using the WPS Hide Login. This handy WordPress plugin is free, uses very little space, and doesn’t change anything on your WordPress. It simply intercepts and redirects requests to access your login URL.
Once you download the WPS Hide Login plugin, just select it from the Settings options in the admin dashboard panel. From there, you can choose the new login URL that you will use. You will also create a redirect URL for hackers and bots.
When these pesky threats try to access your login URL using /wp-login.php, they’ll be at your mercy! You can go for the standard 404 NOT FOUND, or you can get creative.
How To Use the WordPress Admin Dashboard: Overview
When you access your WordPress admin dashboard, you’ll see an overview of all your website’s functions and activities. At first glance, the admin dashboard serves to update you on what’s been going on on your website. This includes notifications about activity on your web pages and notifications about WordPress and plugin updates.
At a second glance, it allows you to edit and tweak the content and functionality of your website.
On the left side of the screen, the admin panel and toolbar offer all sorts of activities. This panel allows you to select from the menu and submenu items to get around your web page. You can view, edit, and upload new posts, manage your media, respond to visitor comments, and so on. You can also update your WordPress to a newer version, install or deactivate plugins, and play with different themes.
If your website has multiple contributors, you, as an admin, can also assign roles and limit accessibility for different users.
But let’s go through all the main functionalities step-by-step.
How To Create A New Post
Underneath the Dashboard bar on the left side panel, you can see a bar that says Posts. Simply click on Posts (or hover over it, depending on your WordPress version), then select Add New from the submenu items.
Your dashboard overview will be replaced by a page that resembles a Word Processor, like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, where you can easily insert text and other content, adjust headings.
If you’re trying to edit a previous post, instead of Add New, select All Posts from the submenu. From here, you can select past posts and edit their content.
How To Create A New Page
You can create a new page just as easily. Once again, find the Pages option underneath the Dashboard bar. Click on it (or hover over it), and select Add New from the resulting submenu items.
Adding pages is quite useful if you’re trying to make a versatile website. You can use this feature to easily direct visitors across the different content on your website. For instance, in addition to a Home page, you can have an About page, a Product page, an Archive, a Contact page, and so on.
How To Change the Appearance of Your Website
You can create and adjust the look on your website from the WordPress admin page. Look for the Appearance option from the sidebar. Hovering over it or selecting it will result in submenus that will allow you to:
- install new themes,
- change old themes
- control your widgets and menus.
Themes basically dictate the look of your website. WordPress offers thousands of theme options you can choose from. Browsing through the sea of choices can lead you to finding the ideal look for your website.
You can also customize the themes and the page to your liking.
Go to Appearance > Customize. Under Customize, you can adjust different aspects of your selected theme. The interface that pops up to let you do this is called the WordPress Customizer.
The WordPress Customizer allows you to change the look and functionality of your website. With the Customizer, you can play with fonts, colors, layout and menu options on your website. Here are examples of what the Customizer offers:
- Changing the site title and tagline. You can see how your site title and tagline will look on your selected theme on a preview window on the right as you edit!
- Managing menus. Under the Customizer, you can go to the Menus tab, then select Add a Menu, write its name, and click Create Menu. You can come back to this menu and change its name, rearrange the menu options, add new ones, manage the menu’s location, and more!
- Changing the website colors. You can change the color scheme of your selected theme from the Colors option of the Customizer. This allows you to tweak the look of your website with very little effort! You can see what the change would look like in the preview. Keep in mind, however, that different themes offer different arrays of color options.
- Modifying your background image, adjusting the single post settings, changing mobile and tablet previews… Just do some exploring – the Customizer has a lot to offer!
How To Manage Your Plugins
You can add and manage your plugins from the admin panel. Plugins allow you to adjust the functionality and features of your website without knowing anything about coding. You can use them to improve your SEO, make an eCommerce store, add a chat option, and pretty much anything you can think of. As WordPress is an open-source CMS, developers from across the world create and share plugins. In fact, there are 54,000 free WordPress plugins, and additional paid, premium options.
You can select Plugins from the admin panel and install new plugins or manage existing ones.
How To Manage Users
If your website has multiple contributors – writers, photographers, product developers, and so on – you can adjust their roles from the admin panel. This changes how much control each user has over the website.
Just select the Users tab from the panel to assign roles to different users.
Once you open the Users tab, you can select various users and manage their roles
How To Adjust the Look and Functionality of the Admin Dashboard
You can even adjust the look and function of the WordPress admin panel.
For instance, if there are some items that you don’t use, you can hide them from the dashboard. This will make your interface simpler, and your work more efficient!
Just click Screen Options in the top-right corner of the admin page and uncheck the boxes on the items you don’t use much or don’t want to see.
You can uncheck the boxes of the items you don’t want to see on your admin dashboard, if you want to reduce clutter
You can also change the default color scheme of WordPress admin dashboard and panel. If the classic blue-gray-black scheme isn’t doing it for you, just go to Users > Your Profile > New Admin Color Scheme. You’ll see a number of cool color scheme options to give your interface some edge.
And Much, Much More…
Just do some exploring of the menu options of the WordPress admin panel! You’ll find that there’s lots more you can do – manage settings, comments, widgets…
As we’ve – hopefully – taken some of the confusion out of your WordPress experience, you can now boldly go forth and prosper! If you are looking for good quality WordPress hosting you should check out our WordPress hosting here.
Bonus: How To Fix Bugs On Your Login Page
Whether you’re new to WordPress or you’ve been using it for a while, you may all of a sudden be surprised to find that the /wp-admin/ extension doesn’t work. It may be redirecting you directly to the homepage or refreshing the login page, rather than to the admin dashboard.
Here’s how to fix that.
- Deactivate Plugins. There are thousands of useful plugins to choose from for your WordPress website – but sometimes they can cause login troubles. As logins are created from different users and for different purposes, sometimes these plugins come into conflict with one another! To deactivate all your WordPress plugins so you can login and see what the hell is going on, connect to your web host using FTP client. Then, change the name of /wp-content/plugins/ directory to plugins_backup. Now you can try logging in again!
- Deactivate Your Theme. As there can be conflicts between plugins, there can also be a conflict between themes and WordPress. Especially if you’ve upgraded your WordPress to a newer version, but your theme is only compatible with an older one, this can cause problems logging in. To fix this, once again connect to your web host using FTP client. Select /wp-content/themes/ and change the name to your theme directory. This will cause WordPress to go back to the default theme. If the issue was caused by theme incompatibility, you’ll now be able to login.