WordPress: The Internet’s Largest CMS | All You Need To Know

So you want to learn more about WordPress? You’re not the first.

Not only is WordPress the most used website management platform in the world, it’s 10x more popular than the second most used platform in the world. It is an internet titan.

But to the uninitiated it can seem daunting. We’re here to fix that. This page will provide an overview of WordPress’s history, what it can do, and whether it’s for you.

What is WordPress?

WordPress.org is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world. A CMS is software that allows you to organize, edit, and publish online content easier.

WordPress.org is different to WordPress.com. WordPress.com is a dedicated blogging platform — an offshoot of WordPress.org. From here on out, when we talk about ‘WordPress’ we’re talking about the CMS.

A third of all websites use WordPress. That’s tens of millions of sites, and likely billions of pages. Its combination of power and ease of use (by CMS standards) makes it an ideal fit for large and small websites alike.

But if you don’t think WordPress is for you, why not check out our article on the best alternatives to WordPress.

A Brief History of WordPress

WordPress was released in May, 2003, by founders Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. From the beginning it has been free and open-source software (FOSS), which means everyone is licenced to use it, edit it, and add to it as they see fit.

As a result, WordPress has a huge and vibrant community around it. There are over 55,000 WordPress plugins and counting. The amount of passion, talent, and money orbiting this free piece of software is nothing short of remarkable. And it’s only growing in popularity.

Looking forward, Matt Mullenweg sees WordPress’s future as ‘simpler’. Responsiveness, flexibility, and ease of use are the focus right now. The Gutenberg update — an unprecedented step towards a drag and drop WordPress experience — speaks to a renewed focus on accessibility.

How Does WordPress Work?

WordPress works by being installed on a web server. You can set up a web server yourself or through a web hosting provider. Most opt for the latter. A web server is your plot of internet land, the place where your website’s files and data can be accessed by anyone, anywhere, at any time.

WordPress structures that data in a way that’s easy to manage. It’s a mediator between you and the tangled, code-heavy world of web development. It provides templates for appearances, and a structured backend framework for managing content.

You’d do well to use WordPress without having to use any code, but you’d be surprised (quite possibly elated) by how much it removes from the equation. You don’t get tens of millions of users by being difficult to use.

Who is WordPress For?

Everyone, in short. Out of the box WordPress isn’t that far removed from the cuddly, supportive world of website builders. To add a page you click ‘Add Page’. To add a post you click ‘Add Post’. You can keep things simple on WordPress if you want to.