A Quick History of WordPress

A Quick History of WordPress - We Are Digital

As you have dropped by the We Are Creation website, you will no doubt be aware of the power of digital technologies, and the ways the internet has revolutionised the way we now live our lives.

The internet impacts on everything we do: how we communicate, how we shop, even how we fall in love.  You will know your way around websites, and how to use and engage with websites for everything from booking holidays to ordering groceries.  There may well be some sites you love, and some that frustrate you more than traffic wardens on a sunny Sunday afternoon (no traffic wardens on ebay!).  However, you might not know too much about how those websites are built, and what actually separates a bad site from a good site.  And both of those from a great site.  This is where We Are Creation have the expertise, in not only creating websites, but beautiful websites.  And much of that it down to something called WordPress.

This blog will tell you a little of the history of WordPress, and some of it may surprise you.  Put simply, WordPress is the infrastructure around which many websites are built.  Consider it the timber frame of a house that you then build and complete yourself, to your particular needs and tastes.  Back in the digitally prehistoric days of Web 1.0 you needed to be an expert in software such as Flash to build websites, and those sites were then static, with no chance of updating content.  Imagine a shop window that never changed, whose goods stayed in exactly the same place… and that is where we were with the internet at that point.  And of course in an ever changing world websites now need to update and refresh their content, if people are going to return to your site, and to you digital ‘shop window’.

Who invented the WordPress platform?

WordPress arrived, with perfect timing, as part of Web 2.0 and offered users the ability to build, and manage, websites in a way that was both slick and professional.  WordPress is a technology (amongst others) that we use here at We Are Creation, and we are not alone.  WordPress is used by over 30% of the top 10 million websites in the world.  And that includes everyone from us to SONY, CNN, IBM and Samsung.  Even eBay is built around a WordPress site.

The origins of WordPress may surprise you.  Yes, co-founder Matt Mullenweg is from California, not too far from Silicon Valley where you would expect such technologies to originate.  However the other co-founder, Mark Little, is from Stockport in Greater Manchester… which means that the North-West can claim to be the beating heart of over 60 million websites on the World Wide Web.

Our story really starts in 2003 when Mark and Matt picked up on existing blogging software, intending to develop it into a much wider technology, while keeping it open for everyone to use.  Part of a community of dedicated digital explorers, the first version of WordPress began, as it continues today – open-source and free – offering different ‘templates’ users choose from to build their blogs.  Also part of an essentially creative community, each new iteration of WordPress was named after famous jazz musicians and a year later the boys were back with ‘Davis’, and then ‘Mingus’, which started to offer the chance to enhance your site with ‘plug-ins’, to make it more bespoke, and tailored to your individual needs.  A year later came the chance to have different ‘pages’, and then an administrative dashboard to control the ‘back end’ of your website, and further tailor your content.

The evolution of the WordPress CMS

Fast forward to 2010 and we have two important step changes.  WordPress 3.0 is launched, a big leap towards WordPress functioning as a true Content Management System (CMS), with even more choice around menus, headers and backgrounds.  Also, the ownership of the company was transferred to the WordPress Foundation, guaranteeing the future independence of the company.

Throughout the subsequent years of this decade, further innovations followed: new themes, new plug-ins (or ‘widgets’) and new ways of making your digital life immeasurably easier, including a smoother way of running WordPress sites on smartphones.  In 2018 – and already the most popular CMS on the planet – we’re now moving towards WordPress 4.0, with even more ways of customising your website to make it entirely your own.

To explain WordPress via an analogue analogy: Think of a hat, that you take to a milliner to adjust so that it fits the shape of your head precisely. Well, that is what we have with WordPress.  So, the technology is now here, at our finger tips, and in fact powers millions of websites across the world… including yours.  And it all started in Stockport.  As supporters of the local football team might say… Up the Hatters!


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