The History of WordPress [2003 to 2021 Covered]

Have you ever wondered about the history of WordPress? What is it, how, and when it started? The world’s most popular site developer with more than 32% of the total websites on the Internet, how actually began with a simple idea in the mind of a blogger?

Well, in today’s post, let’s glance over the history of the biggest site developer that we know today: WordPress!

Apart from that: we’ll also discover the secret that despite being so well-loved, why the heck is WordPress free?

So make sure you stick till the end of the article.

Let’s begin.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is like the engine of a car. Or, you could say, WordPress is the administrative office of a hotel. It’s software that lets you create, manage, and edit the content on your website.

With WordPress, you can make your own website within 20 minutes. Yes, WordPress has made it that easy for everyone to become a future entrepreneur, business guru, or a lifetime blogger that shares his views with the world.

If there were no open-source CMS like WordPress, you’d have to go through a painful process to build your website. You’d have to learn to use HTML and CSS language and the use of software like FrontPage.

(It takes months to learn to code. It takes weeks to sit in front of the laptop, type countless codes, and then launch a website. Then you realize half of the codes don’t even work. Then you sit again and correct them.

The whole process sucks.

But, thanks to free open source developers like WordPress that make it lightning-fast for us to create our dream website.

(If WordPress software is that awesome, then why its owners don’t sell it like Adobe? Wait, you’ll know how & why WordPress is free later in the post)

Alrighty then, now that you know what actually WordPress is used for, let’s talk about WordPress’s history.

History of WordPress — the Origin

The history of WordPress started as simple as the falling of an apple. However, the simplest notions transformed everything.

Two young developers; an American, Matt Mullenweg, and an English, Mike Little launched the first version (WordPress 0.7) in the year 2003. They did it by copying the code of the existing b2/cafe blog blogging software, then modifying it, and giving it an entirely new shape, a new version.

And their friend Christine Tremoulet named it: WordPress.

Then in January 2004, they launched the WordPress 1.0 (aka Davis version) version for its users. After many tries, they managed to get the GNU GPL license. And that made WordPress an open-source platform, FREE forever.

Actually, this is the era when WordPress started taking hype to the sky.

People, hackers, and developers, from all over the world started taking interest in the platform. They pitched emails to the owners about performance improvements and possible exciting things that they could do.

So now, one thing is clear, no one could single-handedly make WordPress what it is today.

A tech hero, who is now retired, Ryan Boren, introduced the idea of using plugins. And that literally made the platform exciting as a pool party! Because, as you know, plugins help you achieve from anything to everything — from a ranking of a website on Google to the world’s best aesthetics, you can do all with the easiest help of plugins.

One of the prime examples: Mullenweg’s Akismet, comment spam plugin. He created this plugin back in 2004 for WordPress. And, surprisingly, to this day, it is one of the most popular plugins to block spam comments on blogs.

Follow along…

Fast Forwarding: Twists & Turns

From 2003 to this day, there were fixes, updates, improvements, and more.

Matt worked for CNET and then left in December 2005. Then he created his own company, Automattic, and with the help of funds, he started growing it.

Came the update: WordPress 2.0 (aka Duke), in the following year in December.

In 2006, Automattic took a big leap because Matt’s prime focus was WordPress and his company. It was the first of a kind company with thousands of users, but only fewer employees.

Then in September 2007, the first WordCamp was hosted in Beijing. It’s the same year when the concept of Avatar started on WordPress.

In 2008: they rose more than 25M for technological improvements of WordPress. The WordPress Theme Directory initiated in the following year. Now anyone could build and upload themes for thousands of users after a quality check test.

The year 2009 was awesome for developers because WordPress got an update: 2.8 (aka Baker). This update featured a CodePress editor to allow manual coding. The following year, WordPress won an award: Packt best Open Source CMS.

The groundbreaking update for WordPress in 2010: WordPress 3.0 (aka Thelonious). It allowed custom posts/content types, for example, restaurants, news sites, by adding relevant keynotes.

Feb 2011: An update WordPress 3.1 (aka Reinhardt). It improved the performance and added an admin bar.

(July 2011: 50 million blogs were built on WordPress…that was 12% of the total blogs on the web!)

In December 2013, they released an update, 3.8 (aka Parker) with an enhanced and responsive dashboard for mobiles and tablets.

2014: WordPress now covered 22% of the total sites on the Internet!

The update 4.0 (aka Benny) brought major merit for the editor to create ease in writing and enhance the visual experience.

The 4.3 (aka Billie) update made customization and formatting more serene…and it even allowed editing in mobiles.

Again in the 4.5 (aka Coleman) update, they made more improvements in customization to help sites look appealing on every device.

The 4.6 updates made it a little easier to install plugins and help notice broken links immediately after they were inserted.

After that, an exciting all-new update, 4.7 (aka Voughan) added the twenty seventeen theme, and a lot of other features.

The updated 4.8 & 4.9 mainly focused on enhancing the widgets, creating a powerful code editor, and the new way to add links.

In Feb 2019, there was a major update 5.0. It came with a ton of user-oriented features, especially when editing and writing. The update also improved compatibility with using plugins.

Fast-forwarding to December 2020: WordPress 5.6 (aka Simone). There is much cooler stuff than the previous ones, such as the Twenty-twenty theme, better PHP 8.0 support, and especially the enhanced editor.

More Coming Soon…

Answer why the platform is free: The world’s biggest CMS developer is open source and free. That lets thousands of talented users help improve its performance. Anyone can contribute to fixing bugs or suggesting new features. Read more about it here: GNU Philosophy.

The history of WordPress is so vast. I could not go on every little detail of it. So, I only tried to cover some of the major portions to help you become more familiar with the invention. Let me know if it worked for you or ask any questions in the comment section.

(There are plenty of more updates coming on the way. I’ll be covering all of those. So stay tuned)

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Elioverbey is a Hillman professor of information science and human-machine emeritus at Carnegie Mellon University. Elioverbey has a broad interest in design technology and social effects, spanning from computer-based teamwork and computer-assisted collaborative research to human-robot interaction.

One Comment

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