In simple words, WordPress is a CMS (Content Management System) which powers more than 39% of all of the websites of the world and it’s popularity continues to grow.
You might wonder what exactly is a CMS? Well, a CMS is a web application that allows anyone to make an website and more importantly publish content on their website without any programming knowledge.
WordPress is built on PHP and it uses MySQL as its database. These two things are supported by nearly every web host. But for the best speed and performance, one should go with specialized WordPress optimized hosting. This ensures that the site performance is always top-notch.
WordPress is mostly used for blogging but it can be easily turned into an e-commerce store, news site, portfolio etc. with the help of thousands of themes and plugins.
One of the best things about WordPress is that it comes with an intuitive and easy to use UI. It has no learning curve and anyone who writes documents on MS Word can write content on WordPress very easily.
The best part about WordPress is its open-source and free for everyone to use. So it costs almost nothing to get started with!
History of WordPress
WordPress started way back in 2003 when two developers – Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little started to build a new blogging platform on top of a software called b2/cafeblog (as it was getting discontinued).
Soon they released the first version of WordPress, version 1.0 on January of 2004. It was nothing like WordPress version 5.7 (the latest at the time of writing). However, it had most of the core features that is found in the modern versions of WordPress such as the post editor, user manager, custom permalinks etc.
Since 2004, WordPress has went through numerous changes. Now-a-days, the project is being maintained by an open-source community of hundreds of volunteers from all around the world. Due to their hard work, a new version is released every 2 to 3 months. Each new version adds features and security updates to the platform.
Difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
When you will google the word WordPress, you will find two results – WordPress.com and WordPress.org. This can be really confusing as to which one a user should choose. Below are the differences between these two.
It is a web hosting platform which uses WordPress.org’s software as its CMS for all of the blogs it hosts. They have a free plan but that has many restrictions like user cannot connect their own domain (their blog’s address will be subdomain.wordpress.com). Also, the free plan shows ads to users and that cannot be turned off. Also, users cannot install WordPress.org themes and plugins. To remove these restrictions, one has to upgrade to a paid plan.
WordPress.org provides the WordPress software which can be install on any web host. You only need to register a domain name and purchase some plan from a web hosting company. Here, you won’t find any restrictions on themes and plugins installation.
Types of Websites that Can Be Made with WordPress
The versatile nature of WordPress enables users to create different types of websites. Below are some of the most common types of websites that are made with WordPress.
WordPress was initially made keeping blogging in mind. So it’s no surprise that the most common use of WordPress is for creating blogging sites. You can start with a cheap hosting and as users increase, you can upgrade to more powerful plan.
These days, almost every artist, musician or in other words, creative professionals use WordPress to build up their websites. There are several portfolio themes available on the WordPress.org repository. Several plugins are also available to add features like image galleries, portfolio grids etc.
An eCommerce site can be created very easily with WordPress. The most popular plugin used for this purpose is WooCommerce. It adds features like shopping carts, stock management, payment gateways etc.
Popular Websites that Use WordPress
Although WordPress is mostly used by small businesses and bloggers, there are some notable websites that use WordPress as their CMS.
TechCrunch is arguably the best website technology and startup information website. So its not a surprise that they have chosen WordPress as their CMS.
Flipboard is a news site which aggregates news in form of magazines from various sites. Who knew they used WordPress as their CMS!
The official website of The White House runs on WordPress! I bet no one would’ve even thought about it!
Pros and Cons of WordPress
WordPress, just like every other software, has both pros and cons. Let’s take a look at some of them below.
- Ease of Use – WordPress is built keeping newcomers in mind. As a result, it’s really easy to use for beginners.
- Simple Management – One does not needs any programming knowledge to manage anything in WordPress. So, it’s really simple to manage for everyone.
- Huge and Helpful Community – There are hundreds of forums about troubleshooting WordPress. So
- Open-Source – As WordPress is Open-Source, you don’t need to pay for it.
- Security concerns – As WordPress powers more than 39% of the websites on the internet, its a huge target for hackers. But if you follow best security practices for WordPress, you ca reduce the risk of getting hacked.
- Third-party content – One of the things that is the strength of WordPress becomes the cause of downfall in this case. Most plugins and themes are made by third-parties. This often leads to incompatibilities and also introduces extra security risks.
- Page load time – As WordPress is written on PHP (which isn’t particularly known for speed), it’s slow in general. But this can be fixed to some extent by using caching plugins and CDNs.
WordPress is an incredibly versatile platform for creating different types of blogs and websites. On top of that, it’s free. It’s easy to get started with WordPress. There is absolutely no learning curve for working with WordPress. One does not even need any knowledge of programming for working with WordPress. On top of that, you have great community support to help you out with any problem that you might face.