When it comes to WordPress there are many impressive stats out there, but if you’re at all familiar with WordPress they probably come as no surprise.
For example, you’ll be unsurprised to know that WordPress remains one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) around the world and as a result it powers 35% of the internet and takes a whopping 50-60% of the CMS market share.
It’s in the lesser known details that things get really interesting. So if you’re looking for questions for your next general knowledge quiz, or are just interested in learning more – here are some facts we bet you didn’t know about WordPress.
1. WordPress Was Founded by a 19-Year-Old Student
Despite its popularity, not many people actually know about the origins of WordPress. As a result, you might be surprised to learn about the background of one of its founders.
Matt Mullenweg, who created WordPress alongside British web developer Mike Little in 2003, was not a seasoned developer at the time. In fact, he was far from it, being a 19-year-old college Freshmen majoring in Political Science.
Mullenweg was studying at the University of Houston, but never completed his degree – he dropped out to pursue a job at CNET Networks. Still, things seemed to have worked out for him!
Aside from other roles and serving as a keynote speaker at various conferences and events, Mullenweg still maintains an active role within Automattic and The WordPress Foundation – the companies that run and manage WordPress.
2. The WordPress Team is Surprisingly Small
Automattic is the company behind WordPress. Founded by Matt Mullenweg, Automattic is responsible for not only WordPress but other major ventures including WooCommerce, Longreads, and Tumblr.
With such an impressive resume, you might imagine the company has a workforce of 10,000+. Guess again, as Automattic operates with an incredibly small team.
As it stands, Automattic has just 1,192 employees. Compare this with Facebook’s 44,942 employees and the 118,899 employees at Google and you see what a tight knit community the WordPress team is.
3. The Work Culture at WordPress Is the Subject of a Book
Sticking with the theme of WordPress’ work environment, the culture at the company has been the subject of journalistic investigation. Not because it’s bad or controversial, but because it was heralded as the future of the workplace in the mid 2010s.
WordPress has an ethos of remote working, allowing employees to do their work from anywhere in the world. While this is more commonplace now, when author and speaker Scott Berkun took a job as a manager at the company in 2013, it was revolutionary.
Berkun’s experience is detailed in the book The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work.
4. WordPress Was Not Its Original Name
What eventually became WordPress was originally known as b2/cafelog and was created by Michel Valdrighi. While not a global behemoth like its successor, the original venture was pretty successful in its own right in the early 00s – it was installed on 2,000 websites at the time of the WordPress launch in 2003.
So, where did WordPress come from?
WordPress as we know it today was developed by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little as an offshoot of b2.
And if you’re wondering where the name WordPress comes from, it was actually the idea of Matt Mullenweg’s friend Christine Selleck Tremoulet. She came up with the name and suggested it to Mullenweg and Little. They liked it and history was made!
5. WordPress Plugins Were Not Always Available
There are now over 50,000 plugins available for WordPress – both free and premium – and it’s rare to find a site that doesn’t use at least one. So, you might be surprised to learn that plugins were not always a part of WordPress.
It took nearly a year for them to be introduced. They came with the release of the second version of WordPress, Mingus, which was launched on May 22nd 2004 – just five days shy of the software’s first birthday.
If you are looking for the best quality WordPress plugins out there, check our catalog!
6. …And It Had No Logo for Two Years
Anyone in marketing will tell you the importance of a logo, so you might be surprised to learn that WordPress went without one for the first two years of its life.
Now synonymous with the strong, simple ‘W‘ logo, this wasn’t actually introduced until 2005 – two years after the business first launched. Even more surprisingly, Automattic didn’t file the trademark registration for WordPress and its logo until 2006.
7. WordPress Has an Unlikely Connection with Jazz
Speaking of the names given to WordPress updates – the developers of WordPress are jazz music fans and they express their appreciation by naming each version of the software after their favourite jazz artists.
This tradition began in 2004, when the first version of WordPress was given the codename ‘Davis’ after the legendary musician and composer Miles Davis. Since then, jazz artists given the honour include Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, and George Gershwin. Keep your eyes peeled to find out which artist is given a namesake next!
8. The Story Behind Gutenberg
In keeping with the theme of WordPress and names, you might be interested to know where ‘Gutenberg’ comes from.
If you’re up to date with WordPress news, then you’ll know that Gutenberg is one of the biggest additions the software has ever seen. The Gutenberg update introduced a new editing and publishing tools, giving WordPress users greater design capabilities.
But where does the name Gutenberg come from? The WordPress team have been very clever with this one – naming their publishing tool after Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press.
Gutenberg, who lived in the 15th century, was a multi-talented man – he was a goldsmith, inventor, printer, and publisher. This reflects the multi-faceted nature of the Gutenberg editor, as well as honoring a key figure in the history of publishing.
9. WordPress is Translated Into 200 Languages
10. It Generates Billions in Revenue Every Year
Despite being free to use, WordPress actually generates billions in revenue every year for the American economy.
This is through companies that develop websites for other businesses, developers making and selling professional themes and plugins, WordPress marketplaces, and companies offering specialized hosting services.
If you need a clear demonstration of the global popularity of WordPress, look no further than the sheer amount of languages it’s translated into.
According to official documentation from WordPress, it’s been translated into 200 locales – though only 61 of the total 200 are currently up to date. The list of languages runs through the alphabet from Afrikaans to Maltese right through to Zulu.
Additional translations are constantly being rolled out to further WordPress’ reach to all corners of the globe. If you’re multi-lingual, you can even help the effort to translate it.