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Sarah “Sassy” Vaughan
William John “Bill” Evans
WordPress is a website content management system. The History of WordPress is that it was created as a CMS that allows people to easily edit and manage their website through a simple to use interface, for example adding pages, editing posts, adding images and more. WordPress is written in PHP and uses MySQL to power its database. It is open source, meaning the core WordPress product is entirely free to download and use under the GPLv2 (or later) license.
WordPress was historically created to be a blogging tool, and over the years has grown into being an Enterprise ready CMS. Organisations of all kinds use WordPress to power their websites. High profile websites such as whitehouse.gov are powered by WordPress now, whilst organisations such as NASA, Sony, Microsoft and others use WordPress to power certain websites in their digital estates.
In 2002, the developer behind a tool blogging CMS called b2/cafelog decided they were going to stop working on their platform. As users of b2/cafelog, Matt and Mike decided to keep moving forward the development themselves, and so they ‘forked’ b2/cafelog. This means they effectively took a copy of the codebase, so that they could keep developing features and maintaining the software themselves.
This was the beginning of what would go on to become WordPress.
Matt Mullenweg is now the CEO of Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com and other WordPress related services and products. Matt actively leads the development of WordPress as a product. Mike Little remains a WordPress specialist developer and is actively involved in the WordPress community.
WordPress.org remains open source and free to use by all.
The history of WordPres is that first version of WordPress was released on May 27th 2003, but development had been underway for some time before this after Mike and Matt forked b2/cafelog in 2002.
After version WordPress 1.0 was released on May 27th 2003, Matt and Mike continued to develop WordPress whilst gaining the support of other developers who were keen to contribute to the project. Since then WordPress has built an extensive ecosystem of developers and contributors who continue to move the project forward with a regular release program. As a WordPress Agency, we at 93digital focus on delivering WordPress for clients.
Further back in the history of WordPress, WordPress was not a widely used CMS. But as of May 2020, WordPress powers over 36% of the entire internet according to w3techs Usage Statistics.
This equates to an over 63% share of the entire Content Management System market.
Relative to WordPress, other CMS platforms such as Joomla, Shopify, Drupal and Workspace are next in terms of popularity, but they have a relatively very small proportion of usage compared to WordPress. For example, Joomla is the next most used CMS, but only has a just over 4% share of the CMS market, relative to WordPress with over 63%.
The history of WordPress shows just how dramatic the growth of a pioneering technology can be.
On the WordPress.org website you can see a list of the recent Release History of WordPress. But by exploring our interactive WordPress Time Machine above, we hope you can get a full visual picture and timeline of WordPress History.
The History of WordPress interactive timeline will hopefully give you an idea of how WordPress used to look when it was first released, and how the default theme and CMS interface have progressed over the years.
Whilst the original WordPress Founders Matt and Mike are still involved in the WordPress project in different ways, there is now a big group of developers who give up their team to work on WordPress as a core product. Earlier in the history of WordPress Matt and Mike were more actively involved in a hands on way.
The WordPress Core Team maintains a Roadmap of all the things that are being worked on currently and planned for the future, as well as planned release dates for some future versions of WordPress.
There is also WordPress Trac where if you’re a developer you can submit bugs or suggestions on the future roadmap for WordPress and get involved with continuing to make WordPress a great product!
The history of WordPress is interesting, but its future story is even more interesting!