WordPress is an open-source content management system licensed under GPLv2, which means that anyone can use or modify the WordPress software for free. A content management system is basically a tool that makes it easy to manage important aspects of your website – like content – without needing to know anything about programming.
Many years ago, WordPress was primarily a tool to create a blog, rather than more traditional websites. That hasn’t been true for a long time, though. Nowadays, thanks to changes to the core code, as well as WordPress’ massive ecosystem of plugins and themes, you can create any type of website with WordPress.
For example, not only does WordPress power a huge number of business sites and blogs, it’s also the most popular way to create an eCommerce store as well! With WordPress, you can create:
- Business websites
- eCommerce stores
- Social networks
- Membership sites
- …pretty much anything else you can dream up.
- WordPress.org, often called self-hosted WordPress, is the free, open-source WordPress software that you can install on your own web host to create a website that’s 100% your own.
- WordPress.com is a for-profit, paid service that is powered by the WordPress.org software. It’s simple to use, but you lose much of the flexibility of the self-hosted WordPress.
Most of the time, when people say “WordPress”, they mean the self-hosted WordPress available at WordPress.org. If you want to truly own your website, self-hosted WordPress.org is almost always the best option.
All you need to do to get started with self-hosted WordPress is purchase web hosting and a domain name.
WordPress was created as a standalone project all the way back in 2003, originating as an offshoot of a previous project called b2/cafelog.
WordPress is open-source software, so nowadays it’s made by a huge community of contributors. But if we were to trace WordPress’ origins back to its roots, its original creation was a collaboration between Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little.
WordPress is used by individuals, big businesses, and everyone in between! On an immediate note, this website is on WordPress! Lots of other well-known entities use WordPress as well. Here are some of my favorite examples:
The official Whitehouse.gov website is powered by WordPress:
Microsoft uses WordPress to power its official blog. It also uses WordPress to power blogs for specific products like Windows and Skype:
Even famous bands love WordPress! The Rolling Stones’ website is powered entirely by WordPress:
Ok, so over 43.0% of all the websites on the Internet are using WordPress, including well-known entities like the White House and Microsoft.