We’ve written articles on why WordPress can be of great use for students, but today, we’re taking it back a bit and introducing our readers to its history. Find out how WordPress started in the early 2000s and the rest of its unfolding.
For regular users of the platform, reading about its history is going to be a great source of inspiration. The free for all website creator has had a long path to reach success.
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Before we get down to the details, let’s refresh our memory on what WordPress essentially is.
WordPress: Firstly, What Is It?
It’s a CMS, or a Content Management System, in clearer terms. WordPress is a free-to-use open-source software. It’s for bloggers, webpage starters, and any content creator who needs to get a website up and running. WordPress runs for free, but there are paid versions as well that come with more features and benefits. There are four choices.
- Personal: 4 € per month billed annually
- Premium: 8€ per month billed annually
- Business: 25€ per month billed annually
- eCommerce: 45€ per month billed annually
The company has a rich and interesting history, so we’ll dive right into it ‒ from its roots to now.
The company and website were born from the concept of having a refined and well-built personal publishing system. Before it was WordPress, it was b2/cafelog. Its roots go all the way back to the dawn of the new millennium: 2001.
Now, WordPress is a mature and stable product. The people behind it slowly improved it during the years, focusing on
- user experience;
- web standards.
Inevitably, its community expanded: for example, Studyfy Reddit, where you can get instant tips on all academic woes, is also built on WordPress. The core developers kept adding new features every few years, with other developers contributing to WordPress as well.
18-year-old programmer Matt Mullenweg started using b2/cafelog to share pictures of his travels to Washington, DC. He was fond of b2 until the owner started releasing updates on the platform, basically shutting it down. Mullenweg wasn’t ready to let the idea of an open-source blogging software fail.
Mullenweg meets Mike Little online, and the two partner up to do something about b2 ‒ make it go through a kind of metamorphosis. And that’s the start of WordPress. Evidently, the number of people contributing to their project increased as time passed since they saw the value in it.
Finding the GPL
The two found out about the General Public License (GPL). It’s a series of popular and free software licenses. The GPL guarantees that end users have the liberty to modify, run, share, and study the software freely if it has this license.
In 2005, Automattic was founded – Mullenweg and Little’s brainchild. On the Automattic website, users can see all of the companies they’ve founded, including WordPress. In the same year, WordPress developers added the critical page creation function, which allowed users to have more tools for their website building.
Focusing on user experience was the right move for the company, as the user population continued to grow, earning WordPress a community and fanbase.
Expansion and Branding
Over time, the creators of WordPress, along with existing users who dedicated a lot of time to the website, helped the platform grow. New features to improve the user experience were continuously added throughout the years.
- Automattic trademarked WordPress along with its logo in 2006. The branding from over a decade ago is what you see today. About 50 million blogs were running on WordPress in 2011, with the addition of an admin bar and extra features that gave creators even more options. 50 million was definitely a milestone for the people behind it.
- In 2013, developers noticed that the number of mobile users was steadily increasing, prompting them to improve WordPress’ interface so that it was readily accessible on mobile devices as well.
- Mullenweg committed to dedicating five percent of time and resources to WordPress core. He also invited businesses and people outside of the company to join and contribute.
- Rest Application Programming Interfaces Infrastructure was added in 2015. This has let other programs access WordPress data, even from outside of the software. Several improvements and features were added in the years that followed, but these were some of the most crucial achievements throughout the history of WordPress development.
The Present Story
As of now, Version 5.8 (Tatum) of WordPress is up and running. 530 contributors helped realize this version. Contributors have added a query loop block and support for WebP images. Moreover, with the addition of the Gutenberg editor, WordPress helps creators of different levels to make beautiful web pages at lightning speed.
The platform has achieved great success, with around 20% of all self-hosted blogs and websites running on WordPress. Those who are familiar with its roots can conclude that WordPress has many similarities to the original inspiration: b2.
Throughout the years, WordPress has taken great leaps to end up being one of the most successful website hosts of today. And although many changes have been made, WordPress continues to be an open-source blogging software. Mullenberg has honored its main concept since the beginning.
Its history shows us that open-source communities can work out and that people can create something useful for everybody. Without the dedication of its initial founders, along with the developers, users, and fans, WordPress wouldn’t exist today. What makes WordPress’ story stand out from the rest is that its progress wasn’t merely triggered by the desire to make a profit. Its story is based on a passion for making things more convenient for users. Thus, we urge any content creator aspiring to make their own website to try out WordPress ‒ it’s intuitive and easy to set up.