WordPress Admin Area – Introduction To WordPress Dashboard

Once you’ve logged into your WordPress site via the login form, you should be presented with the WordPress Dashboard, which is your site’s admin area. WordPress dashboard is the interface where administrators or other users manage website page, posts and perform other tasks. So let’s dig right in…

What is the WordPress Dashboard?

WordPress dashboard is the interface that appears when you log in to your WordPress website by appending wp-admin to the URL of your website. Hence if your website is https://www.example.com/ The WordPress dashboard login URL for this website would be https://www.example.com/wp-admin/

wordpress admin area

The dashboard contains various settings which help you set up your website efficiently and modify several aspects of your site without needing to FTP to your site or touch the WordPress database.

Your WordPress administration section is where all of your site’s administration is controlled from. Your Dashboard is divided into several areas that provide you with access to tools and features such as:

  • Useful data and information about what is taking place on your site. It also provides you with “at-a-glance” metrics and reports about recent activity taking place on your site, system updates, and notifications, and to be kept updated on the latest news from the WordPress community and various WordPress-related resources, such as notifications and announcements from WordPress product vendors of plugins and themes that you have installed on your site.
  • Management and control of all website settings and options.
  • Features that let you modify, expand, update and enhance the design and functionality of your site, upgrade plugins and themes, and add, modify and delete content or content sections.

In version 3.8, WordPress introduced new design changes to its backend section …

wordpress admin page

Even though this new design was mostly cosmetic and aimed at giving WordPress users and developers cleaner typography for a better optimized mobile and desktop viewing experience and a more aesthetic experience, it also affected much of the existing WordPress documentation around the web, including thousands of tutorials and articles about WordPress online, in print and on video that are now in need of being updated.

Your WordPress Dashboard

Depending on whether you or someone else manages your site, you may or may not see the messages below. The first time you log into your WordPress site, you may see a “Welcome to WordPress” message displayed at the top of the Dashboard…

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If you are new to using your website and want to spend a little time learning more about WordPress, just click on the “Get Started” or “Next Step” links. To dismiss the “Welcome” message or prevent it from showing again inside your admin area the next time you log in, click on the Dismiss link near the top right-hand corner of the page…

Feel free to explore the information displayed in the “welcome” message if you want to learn about new features and updates to the software. To go back to the dashboard, just select “Dashboard” (or click on Dashboard > Home) on the admin menu section…

Or scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the link to dismiss the message and return to your main Dashboard…

WordPress Dashboard Screen Areas

Your Dashboard gives you access to all of the main controls and features that you will need to administrate the site…

Your main Dashboard screen is divided into the following sections:

  • Header And Toolbar Section (1)
  • Main Navigation Menu (2)
  • Work Area (3)
  • Footer Section (4)
wordpress admin panel

WordPress Dashboard Area: Header Section

The header section displays system updates, messages, warnings and notifications. A whole range of updates, messages, banner, announcements, notifications, and warnings can display on your header, depending on what area you are working on, what action has been performed, or which plugins you have installed on your site.

  • Screen Options Feature

The Screen Options tab is located in the top-right corner of your WordPress administration screen, in the header section. Clicking on this tab displays different options and features on your screen, depending on which section of the administration backend you are currently working on.

For example, if you are in the main Dashboard, clicking on the Screen Options tab allows you to configure options like which panels of your Dashboard screen you want to hide or display. If you are in the Posts section of your site management area, clicking on the Screen Options tab lets you select totally different options, such as displaying or hiding information in the listings section (e.g. tags, comments, etc.), specifying the number of posts to display per page, and other configurable options depending on the plugins you have installed on your site.

  • Online Help Section
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You can access the official WordPress documentation and user help forum sections by clicking on the Help tab located on the top right-hand corner of your header area.

Like the Screen Options tab, the Help tab also displays context-specific information. So, for example, if you are editing content in the Edit Post area, clicking on the Help tab will bring up help information and tutorials relevant to editing posts.

WP Admin Area: Toolbar

The Toolbar displays at the very top of your Dashboard screen and provides you and your logged in site users with access to a range of important administration functions, features, information and “quick links” to other areas of your site. Most Toolbar items can expand to display additional information by hovering your mouse over the icons.

wordpress admin dashboard

For example, the “updates” icon on the toolbar lets you see if the WordPress software or any plugins or themes need to be updated. You can also see at a glance how many comments are awaiting moderation, create new posts or pages, add new media or links into your content, add new users to your site and a whole lot more.

how to use wordpress guide

WordPress Admin Area: Navigation Menu

On the left side of the Dashboard is the main navigation menu that contains links to all the administrative functions that you can perform on your website.

Keep in mind that what users see inside the Dashboard area when logged in depends on the role and capabilities assigned to them and how the site administrator has configured settings and options for different features.

In order to access all of the WP control area features, you must be an administrator of the site.

wordpress plugin admin panel

Users with roles other than that of an administrator (e.g. “Subscriber”, “Author”, etc.) get access to fewer menu options inside the dashboard.

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Irrespective of the role assigned to a user, some admin menu items like “Collapse menu” remain accessible to all. Click the Collapse menu button at the bottom of the menu bar.

And the admin menu collapses into a narrow band with only a set of icons displaying for all functions.

wordpress admin demo

This is a useful feature if you want more space in your admin working area. If you are working with the collapsed menu and are not sure what the icons mean, just click the bottom icon to expand all items, or hover over an icon to display its submenus.

If you hover your mouse over a menu item, a submenu will fly out. To stick” sub-menus into the navigation menu bar while you’re working, click on a menu item.

WordPress Admin Area: Working Area

The large area in the middle of your admin screen is your main work area. This is where you will get access to most of your site’s information, do most of your admin work, create, modify and delete pages, posts and content related to these, upload images and media to your site, add, update and configure plugins and themes, change your site options, etc.

When you log into your site, your Dashboard displays a number of panels with information about various activities taking place on your site, including updates and notices from several sources.

wordpress administration

As you get busier and start adding more content and functionality (e.g. adding e-commerce or a support helpdesk, etc.) and more users begin to interact with your site, this section will start looking very busy.

Fortunately, you can customize your admin area by hiding, minimizing and reorganizing the layout and display of your information sections. For a quick and easy tutorial on ways to customize your WordPress Dashboard, go here: Customizing The WordPress Dashboard Section.

WordPress Administration Area: Footer

The footer section is found at the bottom of your WP Dashboard area and displays a link to WordPress and your site’s current WordPress software version.

wordpress site admin


As you can see there is a lot of useful information on the WordPress Dashboard that you can use. So make full use of the Dashboard.

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