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WordPress is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL. Features include a plugin architecture and a template system. WordPress was used by more than 23.3% of the top 10 million websites as of January 2015. WordPress is the most popular blogging system in use on the Web, at more than 60 million websites.
It was released on May 27, 2003, by its founders, Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, as a fork of b2/cafelog. The license under which WordPress software is released is the GPLv2 (or later) from the Free Software Foundation.
WordPress has a web template system using a template processor.
WordPress users may install and switch between themes. Themes allow users to change the look and functionality of a WordPress website and they can be installed without altering the content or health of the site. Every WordPress website requires at least one theme to be present and every theme should be designed using WordPress standards with structured PHP, valid HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Themes may be directly installed using the WordPress “Appearance” administration tool in the dashboard or theme folders may be uploaded via FTP. The PHP, HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and CSS code found in themes can be added to or edited for providing advanced features. WordPress themes are in general classified into two categories, free themes and premium themes. All the free themes are listed in the WordPress theme directory and premium themes should be purchased from marketplaces and individual WordPress developers. WordPress users may also create and develop their own custom themes if they have the knowledge and skill to do so. If WordPress users do not have themes development knowledge then they may download and use free WordPress themes from wordpress.org.
WordPress’s plugin architecture allows users to extend the features and functionality of a website or blog. WordPress has over 40,501 plugins available, each of which offers custom functions and features enabling users to tailor their sites to their specific needs. These customizations range from search engine optimization, to client portals used to display private information to logged in users, to content management systems, to content displaying features, such as the addition of widgets and navigation bars. But not all available plugins are always abreast with the upgrades and as a result they may not function properly or may not function at all. Plugins transform WordPress into a powerful CMS and can be used for any kind of websites, not only blogs. WordPress encourages developers to submit a plugin, either free or paid, to the depository subject to a manual review.
WordPress also features integrated link management; a search engine–friendly, clean permalink structure; the ability to assign multiple categories to articles; and support for tagging of posts and articles. Automatic filters are also included, providing standardized formatting and styling of text in articles (for example, converting regular quotes to smart quotes). WordPress also supports the Trackback and Pingback standards for displaying links to other sites that have themselves linked to a post or an article. WordPress blog posts can be edited in HTML, using the visual editor, or using one of a number of plugins that allow for a variety of customized editing features.
Development and support
Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little were cofounders of the project. The core lead developers include Helen Hou-Sandí, Dion Hulse, Mark Jaquith, Matt Mullenweg, Andrew Ozz, and Andrew Nacin.
WordPress is also developed by its community, including WP testers, a group of volunteers who test each release. They have early access to nightly builds, beta versions and release candidates. Errors are documented in a special mailing list, or the project’s Trac tool.
Though largely developed by the community surrounding it, WordPress is closely associated with Automattic, the company founded by Matt Mullenweg. On September 9, 2010, Automattic handed the WordPress trademark to the newly created WordPress Foundation, which is an umbrella organization supporting WordPress.org (including the software and archives for plugins and themes), bbPress and BuddyPress.
WordCamp developer and user conferences
A WordCamp in Sofia, Bulgaria (2011)
WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. The first such event was WordCamp 2006 in August 2006 in San Francisco, which lasted one day and had over 500 attendees. The first WordCamp outside San Francisco was held in Beijing in September 2007. Since then, there have been over 507 WordCamps in over 207 cities in 48 different countries around the world. WordCamp San Francisco 2014 was the last official annual conference of WordPress developers and users taking place in San Francisco, having now been replaced with WordCamp US.
WordPress’s primary support website is WordPress.org. This support website hosts both WordPress Codex, the online manual for WordPress and a living repository for WordPress information and documentation, and WordPress Forums, an active online community of WordPress users.
Multi-user and multi-blogging
Prior to version 3, WordPress supported one blog per installation, although multiple concurrent copies may be run from different directories if configured to use separate database tables. WordPress Multisites (previously referred to as WordPress Multi-User, WordPress MU, or WPMU) was a fork of WordPress created to allow multiple blogs to exist within one installation but is able to be administered by a centralized maintainer. WordPress MU makes it possible for those with websites to host their own blogging communities, as well as control and moderate all the blogs from a single dashboard. WordPress MS adds eight new data tables for each blog.
As of the release of WordPress 3, WordPress MU has merged with WordPress.
WordPress makes migration from one server to another relatively simple due to its use of a configuration file (wp-config.php, usually located in the root directory). This file controls the base settings for a WordPress website including (but not limited to) the database connection settings. Due to the use of a configuration file, migrating from one server to another can be accomplished by the following basic steps:
- Download a copy of the WordPress files/folders (e.g. via FTP).
- Download a copy of the associated database (view the ‘DB_NAME’ row in the wp-config.php for the associated database to back up).
- Upload the files/folders to the new server.
- Create a new database on the new server and import the sql backup.
- Update the wp-config.php database fields to reflect.
b2/cafelog, more commonly known as b2 or cafelog, was the precursor to WordPress. b2/cafelog was estimated to have been installed on approximately 2,000 blogs as of May 2003. It was written in PHP for use with MySQL by Michel Valdrighi, who is now a contributing developer to WordPress. Although WordPress is the official successor, another project, b2evolution, is also in active development.
WordPress first appeared in 2003 as a joint effort between Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little to create a fork of b2. Christine Selleck Tremoulet, a friend of Mullenweg, suggested the name WordPress.
In 2004 the licensing terms for the competing Movable Type package were changed by Six Apart, resulting in many of its most influential users migrating to WordPress. By October 2009 the Open Source CMS MarketShare Report concluded that WordPress enjoyed the greatest brand strength of any open-source content management system.
As of January 2015, more than 23.3% of the top 10 million websites now use WordPress.
As of February 2016, WordPress is used by 59.1% of all the websites whose content management system we know. This is 25.8% of all websites.