WordPress

Characteristics

Programming language: 

PHP

Initial release: 

2004

Open Source as of: 

2004

License: 

Current major release: 

4.8

Core contributors: 

~ 20

Total downloads: 

> 75 000 000

Available languages: 

50
Last information update: 2017/10

WordPress is the most used content management system worldwide. It relies on the common combination of PHP and MySQL and runs on all webspace hosts.

Originally designed as a pure blog-system, WordPress rapidly spread out in the world of blogs and slowly converted into an adequate CMS. Today you can use WordPress to build complex websites, shops and communities.

User-friendly expandability

The development of the backend, the surface for technical and content management, follows the philosophy “decisions, not options”, and therefore makes the content development within the „naked“ system deceptively easy. 

WordPress generally distinguishes between static sites and dynamic articles. Those can easily be written in a simple editor and supported with pictures as well as other data.

Articles are automatically listed on the homepage in chronological order by date. 

Screenshot
Back-end dashboard

There are thousands of extensions for needs wich exceed the basic functions, called plugins, freely available in the central Plugin Directory at WordPress.org.

Those extensions can be downloaded and installed directly out of the directory within the WordPress backend or manually via FTP onto the web server. If needed, plugins can be updated with a single mouse click. Crucial security updates will be installed automatically. 

By now there are very good free plugins for the most important applications. The sheer number of fully developed, frequently updated high-quality plugins for common applications like search engine optimization, multilingualism, or e-commerce, is overwhelming. Additional to the thousands of free plugins WordPress has its own ecosystem of chargeable plugins which are sold through a variety of different platforms. 

The design, in WordPress called themes, is covered by an immense selection as well. Free of charge themes are, like plugins, mostly found in the central theme directory at WordPress.org. Additionally to thousands of free themes a huge variety of chargeable themes is available, too. However, the development of own themes is easily possible with basic PHP, HTML and CSS knowledge, thanks to plenty of templates and detailed instructions. By now, most of all new themes are responsive, meaning they adapt to the display width and optimized for most devices like tablets or phones.

german Vogue magazine

Simple architecture

Even complex adjustments which exceed the range of existing plugins are easily made. This is possible with the use of so-called hooks and filters. With the use of those you can inject your code almost anywhere in WordPress. A whole catalog of well-documented functions allows theme developers as well as plugin developers the simple and safe use of important basic functions. 

The use of WordPress as a platform for complex web applications and apps is now, thanks to a new interface, the so-called REST API even easier. Through this interface it is not only possible to use WordPress as a content management system for several channels (web, apps, etc.), but also the exchange of data between WordPress and other services is now easier and more reliable.

Services for WordPress

Besides plugins and themes the WordPress ecosystem has a range of external services to offer. On the one hand services which are embedded like plugins and for example enable the option for automatic backups, the compression of uploaded pictures or the distribution of newsletters. 

On the other hand, there has been a movement within the past years to provide professional services like frequent maintenance, translation or the development of individual themes.

Mobile apps

There are official apps to operate WordPress on a mobile device for iOS and Android. However, the WordPress backend is designed for a comfortable use on mobile devices without any apps and allows you to edit your content as well as to manage your installations.

Malala's home page
Malala's weapon in her fight for girl's education: WordPress

Community

WordPress is available in over 50 (fully translated) languages and has a huge international user/developer community. In addition to the excellent documentation on WordPress.org there is a multitude of professionals blogs, forums, chats, seminars, webinars, literatures and videos. Furthermore there is a movement to start more and more local user-groups, which organize themselves in so-called WordPress Meetups. Over 400 meetups can be found worldwide in bigger cities and other popular places where WordPress-interested developers, users and designers regularly work in easy-going, self-organized groups to solve problems and discuss selected topics.

In addition there are national as well as international and local WordCamps (BarCamps for WordPress-users and developers) which take place in different locations. 

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