WordPress is currently the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world. WordPress powers more than 30% of the websites around the world — and it’s rapidly growing!
Overall, a content management system is a web application that allows website owners, editors, and authors to manage their website and publish content without any programming knowledge.
WordPress uses PHP and MySQL, which is supported by nearly all web hosts. But a specialized WordPress hosting plan can give you the edge in terms of speed, performance, and reliability.
One of the best things about WordPress is that it comes with an intuitive and user-friendly interface. If you know how to use Microsoft Word you don’t need to worry about WordPress; you will be able to create and publish content just as easily!
The best part is that WordPress is open-source and free for everyone to use. In fact, it allows millions of people around the world to have a high-quality, modern website — even for the smallest players.
The journey of WordPress started in 2003 when two developers, Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, began to build a new blogging platform on top of a discontinued software called b2/cafeblog. Shortly after that project was abandoned, they decided to fork it and continue the development on their own terms.
They released the first version of WordPress (WordPress 1.0) in January 2004. It looked quite different from the feature-rich content management system that these days we know as WordPress. However, it already had most of the core features we still use today, such as the WordPress editor, a simple installation process, pretty permalinks, a user management system, comment moderation capabilities, and others.
Since 2004, WordPress has gone through an incredible transformation. Nowadays, the WordPress project is developed, managed, and maintained by a dedicated open-source community of thousands of worldwide members. They work remotely, many of them as volunteers, and meet in person at WordPress’ distributed conference called WordCamp. WordPress is still rapidly growing and a new version is released every 2 or 3 months. Each version adds new features and security updates to the platform.
When you look up WordPress in Google or another search engine, you will find two related websites: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. First, this can be confusing, however, both sites have their own purpose and user base.
WordPress.org is the website you need if you want to run a self-hosted WordPress site. Here, you can download the platform and find a plethora of free plugins and themes. To host your own website, you also need to register a domain and sign up for a web hosting plan.
WordPress uses PHP and MySQL to run, which is something that all web hosts support. However, there are also specialized WordPress hosting plans which are based on a hosting environment specifically optimized for the best performance of the CMS.
WordPress.com is a hosting company that uses the WordPress content management system for all the blogs it hosts. Users who sign up for the service get their own blogs with a myblog.wordpress.com type of domain (however custom domains are also available as a paid feature). The default plan is free, though it comes with some limitations.