For static websites, built-in packages for WordPress and other content management systems do an excellent job at abstracting complexity away from the technical challenges of setting up a server, securing it, configuring a database, setting up routing and reverse proxies, and other complexity involved in setting up a website hosting server from scratch. But occasionally, there may be a good reason for you to dive directly into the stack, either through an FTP (file transfer protocol) program or with an ssh (secure shell) terminal connection. WordPress installations by default run on LAMP stacks, which stands for Linux – Apache – MySQL – PHP, which has more or less been the default setup for a web servers powering static websites for over 20 years. Linux is the operating system, like Windows or Mac’s OS X. Linux can be considered to have a higher learning curve, but makes up for any initial usability issues by being powerful as well as completely free and open source. Apache is server that process HTTP requests and responses to the server, with a common substitute on modern servers being the newer server called nginx, considered to have better support for scalability than Apache. MySQL is the database that allows you to store content (for WordPress that is typically posts, pages, and users), and PHP is the web programming language that WordPress is written in, allowing for interactions between the database, the server, and the users’ browsers.
As implied by the name, FTP is a very useful tool for adding and transferring files and making edits to pages on the website. For websites that do not use modular code, the ability to log into bash via ssh means that PHP, bash or awk scripts can help make changes that need to happen to multiple pages accomplished more efficiently.
If you ever find yourself on the victim’s end of an emailing error in WordPress, in some cases you can find the headers for emails that you lost stored in records on the server. While the contents of the emails may not be recorded in the log files, you will be able to track down the emails of any potential missed customers during the downtime and follow up with them to prevent a missed sale.
Occasionally a website may require certain PHP configuration settings to be adjusted for compatibility with certain database exporting functions when transferring a WordPress website from one domain to another. Accessing these files to make the correct changes is only possible with direct server access through FTP or ssh.