A Re-Introduction to WordPressAt Blue Zenith, we love WordPress! In fact, we couldn’t image building great websites for our clients without it. WordPress is a free and open source blogging platform and Content Management System (CMS) that brings to life many blogs and websites. As of 2014, WordPress is the largest self-hosted blogging platform in the world, and yet it remains completely free to use, distribute and modify. What makes WordPress so great for building and powering websites, and what does the co-founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg, have planned for the platform’s future?

Tens Of Millions Of Sites Use WordPress

When we say there are “many” blogs and websites hosted by WordPress, we mean it – WordPress is used to power over 60 million websites around the world, and more than 22% of the top 10 million websites used WordPress as of August 2013. It’s hard to believe that the software is barely over a decade old, having first been released in 2003.

Content Distribution

WordPress is Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), which means it is not owned by a company like Microsoft or Google. A team of volunteers develops, tests and contributes to the project, and it receives some support from Automattic, a company founded by WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg. Automattic owns and operates the cloud-hosted blogging platform WordPress.com, which is a separate service powered by WordPress.org. Since WordPress is released under a FOSS license, anyone can download the software, utilize it for personal and commercial purposes, review and modify the source code, and redistribute those modifications with some restrictions. Because of the open and “free” nature of the platform, an entire community of developers and companies create themes, plugins and widgets for WordPress, which allows the base software to be modified, augmented and extended in thousands on practical and imaginative ways, creating millions of unique ways that websites can be customized to exact specifications. WordPress can be used to create the website you’ve always dreamed of, and it can even be used to support features that you may not even know you need.

What “Free” Means

One of the most difficult concepts for those unfamiliar with FOSS software is the “free” part. With FOSS software, free often means two things – you are “free” to do many things with the software and the source code that you cannot do with commercial software, and most of the time the software is available free of charge. Unlike other “free” software and services that are available online, especially products by Google, WordPress and other FOSS software is not supported by advertising, and neither WordPress nor its developers collect information about you or your users. While there are some themes, widgets and plugins that require a subscription or one-time fee, the WordPress software itself is completely free. Does that mean that it is inferior to commercial CMS platforms? Not at all, although there are other platforms that may offer advanced features or capabilities that are better suited to specialty sites – for instance, if you are seeking a dedicated eCommerce platform with premium features and security, other platforms may be a better solution for your website.

Is WordPress A Good Platform For The Future Of The Web?

Even though the first version of WordPress was published in 2003, the way that users interact and utilize the Internet has changed radically in the past eleven years. In 2003, the vast majority of users connected to the Web using a Windows desktop or laptop computer – now, more and more users are connecting through mobile devices powered by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems. In 2003, individuals, companies and organizations who wanted to publish content to the Web needed a self-hosted blog or website – now, more and more content is being published to social media networks.

The WordPress developers, especially co-founder Matt Mullenweg, are attuned to these changes, and while they still believe that there is valuable and dominant place on the Web for self-hosted websites and blogs, they have implemented features such as better social media integration and responsive design into the newer versions of WordPress, guaranteeing that both users, writers, editors and administrators can use WordPress comfortably on a wide variety of devices, including mobile devices, and that WordPress-powered websites and blogs will continue to seamlessly adapt to the changing nature of the Web.