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The history of wordpress – A Success Story Overview

WordPress is today one of the largest Content Management System (CMS) system on the internet, powering more than 67 millions websites worldwide. But how it became so big? Was there a turning point? What is the secret behind wordpress success?

ImageIn this post we will try answer these questions and to see how a small personal project became to be one of the most popular publishing platform on the internet.

WordPress began in 2003 when Matt Mullenweg from Houstan, TX, aged 19 at that time,  wanted to create a fork of the GPL licensed b2/cafelog blogging publishing system, in order to bring it to the current internet standards and to make it satisfy all of Matt’s needs. He posted his idea on the b2 forum and was soon contacted by Mike Little from UK, who teamed up with Matt to create the online CMS system that is known today as WordPress. The original b2 developer, Michel Valdrighi also joined their team later. The name “WordPress” itself came from Christine Tremoulet of BigPinkCookie.com, a friend of Matt. The first version of WordPress came to life on May 27, 2003 with the launch of WordPress 0.7, which was actually an upgrade from the b2 version 0.62, which a lot of people had waited for. This first WordPress release was XHTML 1.1 complaint, had new default templates and a new admin interface.

Between this first release and 2005, there were many updates to the software, with the most important one coming on may 22, 2004, which announced massive changes to the software, such as post preview, new plugin architecture, more advanced comment moderation system, etc. This update made WordPress a truly professional content management system for blogs, which made blog management and post publishing easy even for people with no programming skills or knowledge. 

During this month, the principal WordPress competitor Movable Type announced a radical price change to their services which drove thousands of users to seek alternate solutions. This is widely regarded as the tipping point for WordPress.

From this point, till WordPress Success, was a blink of an eye. Many Movable Type users, attracted by the free WordPress services and its various CMS possibilities, started migrating their blogs to WordPress. The open sourceness of WordPress also attracted many developers, who created thousands of plugins, themes, improvements, etc, which made WordPress the leading website CMS and blog publishing system that we know today.

Just as with many successful projects from the internet, and the very core of the internet, it was the free services and the open source of WordPress, mixed with a good platform for customization and improvement, and a high demand from bloggers, that made WordPress the most popular web content management system on the internet.

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