Getting to Know The WordPress Dashboard

The Dashboard, also called the “Admin Screen” or the Backend, is where you DO things to your site.  You add/edit/delete content, install software (plugins) to add specialized functionality to your site, and otherwise administer the site.

The dashboard for any WordPress site is available by adding “/wp-admin” to the end of a site’s address, e.g:  (It also usually works to use “/login” instead, which is easier to type and to remember.)

Once you’ve logged in, you’ll arrive at the site’s administrative dashboard. The key feature here is the vertical menu on the left. (A variety of dashboard “widgets” take up the main part of the page. The default widgets show some top-level information about your site and news about WordPress, but they can be added to or replaced if desired.)

The main menu contains links to everything you can do on your site: add or edit a page or post; manage the site’s appearance, and add or remove plugins, which are small add-on software packages that add features or functionality to a site.

The screenshot below identifies some important areas on the dashboard:

WordPress Dashboard (3.8)

WordPress Dashboard (3.8)

  1. The main menu
  2. The short “admin” menu.  You’ll see your site’s name on this menu: clicking the name will toggle you back and forth between the public view of your site and the administration dashboard (see screenshots below).
  3.  Item #3 includes three things:
    • Your log in name
    • Options to change what is displayed on the screen
    •  HELP
  4. Item #4 is important to know about if your menu disappears unexpectedly: click it to toggle between a collapsed and an expanded view of the menu.

From the dashboard, if you click the site’s name in the admin bar you can go directly to the public site:

And from the public site, you can click the site’s name in the admin bar to go directly to several places in the dashboard:


Most items on the menu have submenus that fly out to the side when clicked.  If you click Pages, for example, you can go directly to clicking “add new” if you like.

The default menu can be divided roughly into two sections: content and function. The content section appears at the top, and includes Posts, Media, Links, Pages and Comments.  The function section includes Appearance, Plugins, Users, Tools and Settings.  Note that many sites will have additional items in these menus as well.

The items most site owners will visit frequently are:

Post and/or Pages (depending on how your content is organized)

  • Appearance: Theme
  • Appearance: Menus
  • Appearance: Widgets

For more information, the WordPress codex has a nice article explaining each aspect of the Dashboard in detail, Administration Screens. From there, try the article called First Steps with WordPress.