WordPress was created in 2003 as a free, open source content management system. What it’s developers could not have imagined, is how it would revolutionise the web industry and go on to create thousands of jobs and a new industry of designers and developers.
When WordPress was launched it included an admin interface and a few templates but was vastly different to the product we use today. It wasn’t until the 2004 release of WordPress version 1.2 that we saw the introduction of plugin architecture which allowed the community to create and share plugins that expand the functionality of WordPress.
In 2004 WordPress had a fortuitous turn of luck when it main competitor released a new set of licensing terms that set it users searching for an alternative. Consumers saw WordPress as an easy to use, stable alternative and flocked to the new platform. With more users came more progress with the new platform and in February 2005 WordPress version 1.5 was released. This new updated included some great features such as a new theme system, pages, and comment moderation tools.
WordPress was on a roll now and they had their developers working around the clock to improve there already popular system. Version 2.0 was released in December 2005 with an overhaul of the admin area and a new dashboard which meant users were now able to manage their site more easily.
Now that the company was established and ingrained into everyday use, WordPress wanted to know exactly what it’s consumers wanted. In 2008 they conducted a study to determine how usable their product was and what changes people would like to see. This lead to several updates such as a new admin interface, built-in plugin installation and automatic upgrading.
In 2010 WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg transferred ownership of the WordPress trademark to the WordPress foundation. This is a charitable foundation whose goal is to further the mission of the WordPress open source project. This added further stability to the project as it was no longer dependant on a single company or developer group.
2010 also saw the release of version 3.0. This added several features that added further customisation, such as custom menus, headers and backgrounds. This release also saw the addition of Multisite that allowed a single user to control multiple sites.
The next major update came in 2013 with version 3.6. This version incorporated built in audio and video support. Stronger security was also at the forefront of this update with automatic security updates and a stronger password meter. This update lead to WordPress being the number 1 used CMS in the world.
WordPress is now up to version 4.9 and has a 60% market share of all content management systems and is used on almost 27% of all websites on the internet. This equates to almost 75 million websites running WordPress.
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