What is WordPress?

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What is WordPress?  How is this important to my church website? In this age of instant information and excessive technology, it’s all too easy to take for granted the products and services we use every day. But sometimes it can be fun to stop and consider the origins of these products and services, and learn some details about how they work and what makes them unique.

For that reason, today we are going to consider…


All the way back in 2003, two guys named Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little took a strand of code and a handful of clients, and created WordPress. Mike was an English web developer and Matt was a 19-year-old American college student with varying interests, from jazz saxophone to political science. (Incidentally, Mullenweg also went on to create several other online-based companies, such as Akismet and Polldaddy.)

Matt and Mike collaborated with French developer Michel Valdrighi, who had created “b2/cafelog,” the original site from 2001 that led to the spin-off, “Wordpress.”

Since 2003, WP has grown into “the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world” (WordPress.org/about), powering over 75 million sites worldwide. The company also hails itself as an “open community,” which means people all over the planet maintain it.


In the early years following the creation of WordPress, themes, plugins, and widgets were introduced.

*Theme: the overall design of a website, including fonts, colors, layouts, and other stylistic details

*Plugin: an additional software program that extends the abilities of an existing application (analytics, advanced navigation, search engine optimization, etc.)

*Widget: an element that allows a web user to interact with a website application (icons, buttons, menus, etc.)

Along with these new formatting options, WP also presented auto-save and spell checker. In 2007, the company introduced an fresh, updated user interface (UI), an annual tradition they would continue to the present day.

These new options provided the company’s continued rise in popularity, along with one other external force.

The powerful WP competitor known as “Moveable Type” made some changes to their company in 2004, the most notable being greater restrictions for users not paying a licensing fee. As a result, many Moveable Type users migrated toward free websites, causing a huge influx in the WP clientele.


There are two versions of WordPress you should know about: .org and .com. Both are comprised of the same software, so users are getting the same product no matter which url they opt for. However, the differences between these two versions can be confusing, so let’s take a look at both for a moment.

*Wordpress.com is where you go for a free website that’s very simply and almost instantaneously set up. You choose your site from about 100 standard templates and a few “customizing” options, but beyond that, you have very little control over what the site looks like (unless you want to pay extra for other options).

If you choose .com, your website’s name will have the extra “.wordpress.com” tag on the end and after a while you may start to notice third party advertisements cropping up on your pages.

*Wordpress.org is where you go for a much more individual, customizable site. You personally download the software and have total control over every aspect of the setup. (For this reason, .org can take significantly longer to set up than .com.) You choose from thousands of designs, plugins, widgets, and other advanced options, and can even add or rewrite computer code (if you are so fortunate as to speak/write that language).

If you’re looking to make money or showcase your professional skill set, you’ll probably want to go with .org. However, if you’re just looking to blog/journal about your life as a single Millennial in the city trying to have it all… you may want to save your money for groceries and stick with .com.


In August 2006, WP hosted an all-day event in San Francisco called “Word Camp.” The purpose of this event was to provide in-depth information to users of every age and level of expertise with regards to using and developing WordPress. The event’s popularity spread and word camps began popping up all over the world.

To date, there have been nearly 700 Word Camps hosted in 50 countries on all six habitable continents. Each camp is unique, based on the local host community, special speakers, and workshops, but all share the common goal of continuing to provide helpful information to the WP community.


If you’re like me, you may enjoy occasionally performing a little extra research for your own benefit. For more information on WP, check out these websites.

*COM: https://wordpress.com/
*ORG: https://wordpress.org/
*WP Timeline: https://codex.wordpress.org/History
*Word Camps: https://central.wordcamp.org/

How do you feel about WordPress? Have any questions? Leave a quick comment below; we’d love to hear from you!


About the Author:

Mike Williquette is the owner of this business. He enjoys meeting pastors and church leaders who want their website to grow their church by helping to bring website visitors through their church doors, as well as equipping church members to share site content with their neighbors and friends. Mike has been building websites since 1998.
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