A Detailed History of WordPress From 2003-Now

A Detailed History of WordPress From 2003-Now

According to W3Techs, over 43.2% of all websites use WordPress. You can attribute this reputation to its user-friendliness, which makes web site administration really feel straightforward.

But have you ever ever puzzled how WordPress received to the place it’s in the present day? Since its inception in 2003 to its twentieth anniversary in 2023, WordPress has acquired a number of updates to turn into the highest running a blog device available in the market.

Read on to discover what WordPress is, its historical past, and what its up to date model can do for your online business.

  • WordPress 101
  • History of WordPress: 2003-now
    • 2003 — the start of WordPress
    • 2004 — WordPress 1.2 and plugin structure
    • 2005 — WordPress 1.5, pages, remark moderation, Kubrick theme, and Automattic
    • 2006 — WordPress 2.0, WYSIWYG editor, and WordPress logos
    • 2007 — WordPress 2.1
    • 2008 — WordPress 2.5, new admin dashboard
    • 2009 — WordPress 2.8, BuddyPress
    • 2010 — WordPress 3.0, WordPress Foundation
    • 2011 — WordPress 3.1, 3.2, and three.3
    • 2012 — WordPress 3.4
    • 2013 — WordPress 3.6, 3.7, and three.8
    • 2014 — WordPress 3.9 and 4.1
    • 2015 — WooCommerce
    • 2016 — WordPress 4.5, 4.6, and 4.7
    • 2017 — WordPress 4.9 and safety vulnerabilities
    • 2018 — WordPress 5.0, Gutenberg editor
    • 2019 — WordPress 5.1, website well being
    • 2020 — COVID and WordCamps
    • 2021 — WordPress 5.7 and 5.8
    • 2022 — WordPress 5.9 and 6.0
    • Now — future of WordPress
  • Modern WordPress: Offerings
  • What varieties of web sites are you able to make with WordPress?
  • Final ideas: A detailed historical past of WordPress

WordPress 101

WordPress is an open supply content material administration system used to create, modify, and handle web sites. It works beneath the GNU GPL v2 license, so you may set up it on a private server or a third-party net host’s server to run your web site.

What is WordPress used for?

Individuals and companies use WordPress to construct and keep their web sites. It’s a well-liked answer for constructing web sites because it requires little to no coding expertise. Even a newbie can begin and construct an internet site inside a day.

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History of WordPress: 2003-now

WordPress has undergone a number of modifications since its inception in 2003 to its present-day success.

Here is a brief recap of its actions and developments by in the present day.

2003 — the start of WordPress

In 2001, a French programmer, Michel Valdrighi, created a running a blog platform named b2/cafelog to create dynamic webpages from a MySQL database’s contents. While he gathered a small following of customers, Michel deserted the undertaking and dropped its assist in 2002.

Two disgruntled customers, Matt Mullenweg, and Mike Little, took up the problem and reimagined b2/cafelog to create a brand new strategy to construct web sites. That was the start of WordPress.

On May 27, 2003, Matt and Mike introduced the primary model of WordPress primarily based on a b2/cafelog fork however with important enhancements. Besides a brand new admin interface, WordPress got here with generated XHTML 1.1 templates with a put up editor similar to the one beneath.

2004 — WordPress 1.2 and plugin structure

In May 2004, the WordPress crew launched model 1.2 to the general public with a brand new characteristic, plugin architecture. It enabled users to build WordPress plugins to extend the default WordPress functionality.

2005 — WordPress 1.5, pages, comment moderation, Kubrick theme, and Automattic

In 2005, WordPress 1.5 was launched, with a number of notable options.

First was the Kubrick theme. Matt launched Kubrick as a brand new default theme to showcase the “incredibly flexible theme system” 1.5 supplied. Second, WordPress went past weblog posts and added assist for pages. Lastly, WordPress 1.5 made it straightforward to reasonable feedback by requiring approval on first-time feedback.

Also, Matt Mullenwag began Automattic and began recruiting main WordPress contributors.

2006 — WordPress 2.0, WYSIWYG editor, and WordPress logos

Just earlier than the flip of the yr, WordPress 2.0 was launched. It launched an inbuilt WYSIWYG web page editor and improved the publishing workflow. Users may add tags and classes whereas engaged on the put up and preview the ultimate put up earlier than publishing it.

The WordPress crew additionally launched the theme listing, which allowed customers to search out tried-and-tested themes in a single place.

Given the recognition of WordPress, Automattic registered WordPress’s model title and well-known blue emblem to guard it.

Lastly, Matt Mullenweg organized the world’s first WordCamp in San Francisco.

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2007 — WordPress 2.1

Version 2.1 got here with a number of new options, together with improved search performance and an autosave characteristic to forestall the loss of unsaved content material. With this new replace, customers may additionally spell-check their content material earlier than posting it.

Unfortunately, WordPress additionally encountered its first main safety breach in 2007, which led builders to create safeguards, safety updates, and patches for safety points.

2008 — WordPress 2.5, new admin dashboard

In 2008, Happy Cog, an online design firm, collaborated with the WordPress crew and helped design WordPress’s new administrator interface.

With the brand new dashboard, the WordPress crew centered on the necessities and eliminated the litter from the admin interface to enhance the person expertise.

Besides that, WordPress 2.5 supported multiple uploads, one-click updates, plugin installation, and shortcodes. Two more versions of WordPress were also released in 2008, including:

  • Version 2.6 showed post revisions and the “press this” feature.
  • Version 2.7 resolved multiple bugs caused by previous versions. It also came with a redesigned user interface, sticky posts, comment replies, and customizable admin tools.

2009 — WordPress 2.8, BuddyPress

WordPress 2.8 was released, which came with improved widget management and a new theme browser. The WordPress team also built BuddyPress, a social networking plugin for WordPress, to help users looking to create websites like Facebook and Myspace with WordPress.

Later in 2009, version 2.9 came with major improvements to WordPress’s SEO features and an inbuilt image editor. It also pioneered bulk updates, letting users update multiple themes, widgets, and plugins at once.

2010 — WordPress 3.0, WordPress Foundation

2010 was a significant year for WordPress.

Automattic finalized the WordPress trademark and logo transfer to the WordPress Foundation. That ensured that WordPress would remain open source and community members would continue contributing to the project.

Besides that, WordPress 3.0 brought along exciting features like custom post types, taxonomies, headers, menus, and backgrounds. It also introduced a new default theme named Twenty Ten.

Version 3.0 also introduced multisite, enabling users to run multiple websites on the platform.

2011 — WordPress 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3

WordPress 3.1 was released, which introduced an admin bar and post formats. Version 3.2 came with a default Twenty Eleven theme. Finally, version 3.3 added support for drag-and-drop file uploading.

2012 — WordPress 3.4

The WordPress team released version 3.4 with a new theme customizer and improved custom headers. Administrators could now preview changes in the theme customizer before applying them sitewide.

Moreover, the WordPress team added a media library to simplify media management for large websites and updated the image editor, so users could add custom image dimensions.

Version 3.5, which came soon after, brought image captions and Twitter embeds.

2013 — WordPress 3.6, 3.7, and 3.8

The rapid development of WordPress continued in 2013, too, as WordPress had three major releases.

  • Version 3.6 came with a new default theme and improved audio and video files support, enabling users to preview audio and video files in the media manager.
  • Version 3.7 introduced automatic updates, better language support, and more secure password checks.
  • Version 3.8 brought a fresh visual feel with a long-due dashboard update. WordPress adopted MP6. Besides the new admin panel, WordPress users also got a more intuitive widget section and new color schemes to customize their admin experience. Version 3.8 also brought a new default theme with Twenty Fourteen.

With version 3.8’s admin update, WordPress also became responsive for access on mobile devices.

Lastly, the fourth quarter of 2013 saw the first WordCamp Europe held in Leiden, Netherlands.

2014 — WordPress 3.9 and 4.1

With version 3.9, the WordPress team brought changes to the visual post editor. Users could drag and drop images onto the editor and edit them on the fly with improved image editing capabilities. Besides that, WordPress also received live widget and header image previews.

Version 4.1 introduced a new default theme in Twenty Fifteen powered by Google’s Noto font family. It improved the multilingual support of WordPress, and as a result, non-English downloads of WordPress surpassed English downloads of WordPress in 2014.

2015 — WooCommerce

In an exceptional yr, Automattic acquired WooCommerce, which was already dominating as a WordPress plugin to create on-line shops. In a means, it made WordPress succesful of each publishing blogs and constructing ecommerce web sites.

Meanwhile, WordPress launched three variations — 4.2, 4.3, and 4.4 — in 2015, which added:

  • Support for emojis.
  • Embeds for Tumblr, Kickstarter, and different rising platforms.
  • List views within the admin panel.

2016 — WordPress 4.5, 4.6, and 4.7

In 2016, as soon as once more, WordPress launched three new variations. Each model introduced new options:

  • Version 4.5 introduced responsive and dwell menu previews for various display sizes, optimization of photos, and customized emblem assist.
  • Version 4.6 launched a greater multisite system, permitting customers to cache their web sites. Also, you possibly can replace plugins and themes extra cleanly.
  • Version 4.7 added WordPress REST API endpoints, letting builders work together with WordPress remotely. Besides that, it additionally launched a brand new default theme in Twenty Seventeen.

2017 — WordPress 4.9 and safety vulnerabilities

The yr 2017 didn’t begin out properly for the WordPress group because it discovered that the REST API had safety vulnerabilities that had been permitting hackers to deface web sites primarily based on WordPress 4.7.

WordPress mounted that by way of safety patches of 4.7.2.

In the second half of 2017, WordPress launched model 4.9, considerably bettering WordPress Customizer — what you employ to tinker together with your WordPress theme.

Before model 4.9, you needed to publish the modifications to save lots of design modifications carried out by way of Customizer to your web site. After the replace, you possibly can save the modifications drafts and even share the previews with different crew members.

2018 — WordPress 5.0, Gutenberg editor

In 2018, WordPress formally launched the Gutenberg editor in model 5.0. Gutenberg, a block editor, modified the entire WordPress expertise as you possibly can use and rearrange blocks to create weblog posts and even entire web sites.

WordPress additionally added assist for reusable blocks to hurry up web site design.

2019 — WordPress 5.1, website well being

In 2019, the WordPress crew spent a good bit of time debugging the instruments that got here with the Gutenberg undertaking.

However, that wasn’t all.

With model 5.1, WordPress launched Site Health, which might notify customers about outdated PHP code. In the 5.2 model, WordPress improved this device and launched a widget to show web site well being and advisable enhancements.

Finally, WordPress 5.3 introduced important updates to the Gutenberg editor, together with improved block administration and grouping.

2020 — COVID and WordCamps

Due to COVID, Matt Mullenweg canceled WordCamp Asia, which was to happen in Bangkok.

However, WordPress growth continued, and we received three new releases.

  • Version 5.4 launched a welcome display for inexperienced persons with no expertise in WordPress.
  • Version 5.5 launched automated updates for themes and plugins. Also, it launched block patterns and predefined block layouts enabling customers to tug and drop to hurry up web site creation.
  • Version 5.6 improved the block editor and added initial support for PHP 8.

2021 — WordPress 5.7 and 5.8

2021 brought more WordPress enhancements as it moved towards full site editing.

For instance, WordPress 5.7 added support for dragging and dropping blocks from the inserter. Also, it refined reusable blocks, so they would automatically save with the post.

Also, WordPress 5.7 made it easier to switch from HTTP to HTTPS via SSL certificates. Previously, WordPress users had to update many hard-coded URLs in the database themselves. With version 5.7, users could switch from HTTP to HTTPS with a single click.

Version 5.8 introduced Template Editor, where users could use the default block editor to edit templates. Also, users could customize widgets with blocks, which was another step toward no-code website development.

Finally, with 5.8, WordPress dropped support for Internet Explorer 11.

2022 — WordPress 5.9 and 6.0

In 2022, the WordPress team further refined the editing process to enable full site editing (FSE).

With version 5.9, WordPress announced, “Full site editing is here.” WordPress users got flexible block controls to modify spacing, borders, appearance, and more. Similarly, they got a block pattern directory to find block patterns the WordPress community had shared.

WordPress 6.0 improved the writing experience, added a global style switcher, and added even more design tools — controls for transparency, layouts, and borders.

Now — future of WordPress

So what’s in store for WordPress going forward?

WordPress has been changing the website development environment since the start of the Gutenberg project with WordPress 5.0. Currently, WordPress is completing its work with the second phase — Customization — of the Gutenberg project.

Once it finalizes that phase, WordPress will start working on Collaboration, the third phase of the Gutenberg project, to simplify co-authoring content.

After Collaboration, WordPress aims to make website development accessible for everyone, everywhere, by going Multi-lingual.

Modern WordPress: Offerings

Plenty has changed in WordPress since its inception in 2003. With all those developments, updates, and upgrades, what does the contemporary version of WordPress offer?


Modern WordPress simplifies website creation using themes. You can install themes to customize the whole visual look of your website within seconds. Each theme includes fonts, colors, layouts, and other design elements.

You can find thousands of free and paid theme choices in the WordPress theme library. Find a theme you like and implement it to speed up the initial website development.


WordPress also offers thousands of free and paid plugins to extend the default features and functionality. You can install plugins to integrate social media into your website, enhance security, optimize your SEO, and enhance your customer experience.

For instance, you can use Restrict Content Pro to show your WordPress web site right into a membership web site and LearnDash to develop a web based studying platform.

Block patterns

Block patterns are predefined layouts of blocks you should utilize to hurry up the creation of particular person webpages.

Say you’re making an attempt to create the hero part of your web site’s homepage and fall quick of concepts. You can go to WordPress’s Block Pattern Directory to search for inspiration and customise a block sample to make it your individual.

What varieties of web sites are you able to make with WordPress?

Regardless of your distinctive wants and necessities, you may depend on WordPress to construct and handle an internet site.

Here are a number of examples of web sites you may construct with WordPress.

Portfolio web sites

A portfolio web site permits you to showcase your artistic work to purchasers, prospects, and companies.

Ecommerce websites

With an ecommerce website, you can sell products or items to customers from your online store.

Magazine websites

A magazine website is an ideal choice if you want to create a digital publication on a specific interest or subject.

Personal blog

A personal blog is an online journal where you publish your thoughts and personal experiences.

Business website

A business website advertises your services and products and helps you create a digital footprint for your business.

Final thoughts: A detailed history of WordPress

WordPress has an extensive history of change and development, and what was originally a blogging tool has evolved into much more over the years.

If you’re looking for a web hosting partner that stays with you like WordPress, consider Nexcess. With the parent brand of Liquid Web, we’ve been serving WordPress users since its inception.

Check out Nexcess fully managed WordPress plans today to get started.

This blog was originally published in March 2019. It has since been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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