What is WordPress?

Although WordPress started off as a tool for blogs way back in 2003, it has evolved into an open-sourced content management system publishing software which powers over 31.4% of all websites on the internet.  To put this in context, Joomla – the closest rival to WordPress – has a market share of 5.9% of all websites on the net, putting WordPress way ahead as the primary publishing software when it comes to web development.

As a content management system (CMS), WordPress is software which enables you to manage different aspects of your website, from content to structure, editing organising and publishing. And all this is possible without having to know anything about code and programming to publish content on your blog or website.

While WordPress may be user friendly and fairly easy to use, it does require a certain amount of knowledge and understanding in order to use it effectively and creatively.  However, WordPress also has one of the of the largest communities that is more than willing to share what they know to help others out on platforms such as Quora or wordpress.org.

If you would like to become more tech savvy, then it is a good idea to learn the three core WordPress programming languages:  PHP, CSS :  and HTML.

PHP:  This is the central language for WordPress.  (As an aside, it also runs the largest social network on the web – Facebook).  PHP controls the interaction of the different components and features in WordPress.

CSS or Cascading Style Sheets: This is a language used to describe different elements of the way in which your content is going to be presented, addressing various aspects such as colour, size, font and much more.

HTML:  Hypertext Markup Language is one of the cornerstones of coding languages on the web. HTML is the standard markup language for specifying the format and content

Although it is beneficial to know these languages, you can still create your WordPress website without them.

And if you are wondering just how to get started using WordPress – we’ve got good news for you:  WordPress is free.  You heard (well, read) right.  Two main places for downloading WordPress are WordPress.org and WordPress.com.

Although there are many differences between these two cites, the main difference is that WordPress.com is a for-profit, paid service which provides web hosting and the web server.  Additionally, with WordPress.com, you don’t need to download software.  WordPress.org on the other hand,  is a free, open-source software that you download and install on your own web server. All you need to do here is sort out your domain name and web hosting to keep your website live on the internet – plus you get the flexibility of being totally in control of your own website.

WordPress is a community-driven project with thousands of contributors from around the globe. Its origins can be traced to its first creators, Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little in 2003.  Since then it has undergone numerous evolutionary stages with a major release of WordPress happening around every four months.  In fact, if you would like to contribute to future releases with a idea suggestions or voting on ideas, you can do so at the WordPress Extend Ideas site – allowing you to participate in the next WordPress version which powers some of the most famous websites on the internet.

As a side note – all new WordPress versions are named in honour of famous jazz artists – Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Thelonius Monk, Charles Mingus, Carmen McRae, Art Blakey (and more) – because of WordPress developers’ love of this music genre.

Matt Mullenweg went on to establish, Automattic which is a commercial enterprise providing the WordPress.com service.

As a website creation tool, WordPress is continuously evolving in line with new web trends and new developments to meet the requirements of millions of web publishers across the web.  Used by individuals to large businesses, WordPress has developed into the most popular CMS with customization options which enable you to create any type of website with a unique edge which reflects your brand.


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