What is meant by “Rooting an Android phone”?
Rooting a device gives the user Super User rights, much like an Administrator account on Windows machines gives users the ability to access and control the main system files, such as permission settings of files (read only, write, and read/write permissions).
Phone manufacturers and cell phone service providers want to make sure that basic users do not mess up the Android operating system (or other operating system) as easily, which helps protect the companies from extra costs and hassle from users that happen to make a mistake and cause the phone to malfunction, and then have to take calls to help remedy the situations. It also helps to protect against some forms of malware that can destroy the operating system, but not against malware that steals and sends personal information and contact information.
Unless you have good reason or use for rooting a phone, it is recommended not to root your phone. If you choose to root your phone, use extra precautions to help ensure the security and safety of your phone.
We produced our own guide to rooting an Android handset here - http://www.makeuseof.com/pages/take-control-android-rooting-guide
(Android rooting is the process of allowing users of smartphones, tablets, and other devices running the Android mobile operating system to attain privileged control (known as "root access") within Android's sub-system.)