WordPress was born out of a desire for an elegant, well-architectured personal publishing system built on PHP and MySQL and licensed under the GPL. It is the official successor of b2/cafelog. WordPress is modern software, but its roots and development go back to 2001. It is a mature and stable product. We hope that by focusing on user experience and web standards we can create a tool different from anything else out there.
There are also various post launch versions with improvements for security, bug fixes and stability. Please review the full WordPress Release Archive for details or check out the version announcements!
2018 – Announcements: 5.0
Version 5.0 (Bebo): (432 Contributors) introduced a new block based editor with a showcase theme (Twenty Nineteen). Support for the classic editor was maintained and the community translated the release to support a total of 37 languages.
Version 4.8 (Evans) (346 Contributors) brought an array of new widgets (image, video, audio and rich text). Adding links improved greatly setting boundaries around groupings of text to avoid mismatching. WordPress event streams became visible in the Admin Dashboard. Developer enhancements were introduced for added accessibility, API introduction to make the editor more portable to different areas via plugins.
Version 4.9 (Tipton) (443 Contributors) focused on user experience and introduced the ability to save design drafts for review and alteration prior to publishing. Design locking rolled out, protecting two multiple designers to override changes in progress. This was also the introduction point of code syntax checking and error reporting within the Admin experience. An official callout for contributors and testers went out for the Gutenberg project.
Version 4.5 (Coleman) (298 Contributors) added inline links, added formatting shortcuts and responsive previews in Customizer to preview on mobile, tablet or desktop. Additionally, support was added for Custom Logos, smart image resizing for speed improvement and script loading improvements for dependent scripts from the header and footer.
Version 4.6 (Pepper) (272 Contributors) brought significant speed changes to Multisite with cached and comprehensive site queries to improve the network admin experience. Theme addition, activation and plugin updates were adapted to a one screen process. Local draft saving to browser was introduced. Native fonts were also made available to be used from the operating system for speed enhancement.
Version 4.7 (Vaughan) (482 Contributors) arrived along side a new theme with modern elements (including starter content) with video header support. New Customizer features allow editing CSS with live previewing. REST API endpoints allow for machine-readable external access for enhanced third party interaction. Page template functionality was opened up to all post types. Bulk actions additionally were branched out with custom option support. The Customizer continued extension to support auto saving of drafts. This was an exciting release for WordPress as the number of contributors significantly increased with this release.
Winner of CMS Critic Award’s “Best CMS for Personal Websites.”
Version 4.2 (Powell) (283 Contributors) added emoji support, add extended character support and switched database encoding from utf8 to utf8mb4. Plugin updates became dynamic from one page without reloading. Two new oEmbed providers were added (Tumblr, Kickstarter). Theme switching became available through the Customizer. This version also included developer query improvements.
Version 4.3 (Billie) (246 Contributors) added built-in site icons support and introduced formatting shortcuts in the visual editor. Live Menu previews became available from the Customizer. Password processes were improved for security as well as List Views in the Admin panel.
Version 4.4 (Clifford) (471 Contributors) added responsive images, embeddable posts, and a new default theme, “Twenty Sixteen.” oEmbed support was added for WordPress posts with rich previews and display as well as five new providers (Cloudup, Reddit Comments, ReverbNation, Speaker Deck, and VideoPress). Developer improvements included integration of the REST API structure, query improvements for comments, Term Metadata and two new Objects (Term and Network) for more predictable added interaction capability within code.
Version 3.9 (Smith) (267 Contributors) improved the media experience and introduced live widget and header previews. The Visual Editor was improved for speed, accessibility and mobile use. Image and media improvements included adding the ability to upload images via drag and drop from desktop and image editing enhancement. Audio and video playlist support was added as well as Gallery previews from within the editor. Themes became browsable from the Appearance section.
Version 4.0 (Benny) (275 Contributors) introduced a grid view for the media library and for installing plugins. Previews for embedded content such as Twitter and YouTube became available from within the editor while preparing content. Editor writing improvements included expanding the editor with content for an easier experience. The Plugin section was enhanced to show more detail and provide a better search experience.
Version 4.1 (Dinah) (283 Contributors) introduced a refreshed Distraction Free Writing mode, language installation from the Settings screen (to switch between 40 different languages with support from Google’s Noto font family), and a beautiful new default theme, “Twenty Fifteen.” Developer improvements included addition of advanced metadata query conditional logic.
Version 3.6 (Oscar) introduced a new default theme called “Twenty Thirteen,” built-in Audio and Video support, dynamic and scalable Revisions, improved Autosave and Post Locking. Audio and video improvements included native support for audio and video embeds, a built-in HTML5 media player, a new API for supporting metadata (such as ID3 tags) and enhancement to existing oEmbed providers Spotify, Rdio and SoundCloud.
Version 3.7 (Basie) (211 Contributors) introduced automatic updates for maintenance and security updates, a stronger password meter and enhanced language support and auto installation of language files.
Version 3.8 (Parker) (188 Contributors) introduced a new magazine style default theme called “Twenty Fourteen.” The Admin panel was completely overhauled with a fresh modern look and new vector icons. Color schemes were also made available to be applied to the Admin experience. The Widget section was also streamlined for easier use.
Version 3.4 (Green) introduced the Theme Customizer and previewer, allowing to test and check theme revisions prior to applying them. The Media Library was extended to support using images to populate custom headers and to choose the height and width of the images. Image captioning saw improvements to support HTML. With this release, Twitter “Tweets” were made to format a nice display by dropping the URL into the editor. There were many developer improvements, including XML-RPC, a custom header API and performance improvements to WP_Query.
Version 3.5 (Elvin) introduced the new media manager and the new default theme called “Twenty Twelve” with focus on mobile display. Focus was also placed on the flow for uploading photos and creating galleries. The Admin Dashboard saw the coming of a Retina-ready display with high resolution graphics.
Winner of Infoworld’s “Bossie award for Best Open Source Software.”
Version 3.1 (Reinhardt) (180+ Contributors) introduced Post Formats and the Admin Bar. A redesigned linking workflow was added to more easily work with existing posts and pages. The beginnings of a streamlined writing interface were introduced. The import/export system was overhauled and there were many query improvements to enable performing perform advanced taxonomy and custom fields queries.
Version 3.2 (Gershwin) made WordPress faster and lighter, this version upgraded minimum requirements to PHP 5.2.4 and MySQL 5.0.15, and introduced a new fully HTML5 default theme called “Twenty Eleven.” The Dashboard design was refreshed and the previously introduced Admin Bar saw additions. This release featured introduction of a Distraction Free Writing mode. The Comments Moderation screen was improved for approvals and replies. The update process was streamlined, making updates much faster with added stability.
Version 3.3 (Sonny) made WordPress more friendly for beginners with welcome messages and feature pointers. Improvements included a new drag and drop uploader, improved co-editing support, navigation and toolbar improvements and better touch support for iPad and other tablets.
2010 – Announcements: 3.0
Winner of digitalsynergy’s “Hall of Fame CMS category in the 2010 Open Source.”
Version 3.0 (Thelonious) (218 Contributors) was a major release, it introduced custom post types, made custom taxonomies simpler, added custom menu management, added new API’s for custom headers and custom backgrounds, introduced a new default theme called “Twenty Ten” and merged former WordPress MU (allowing the management of multiple sites) to be part of WordPress Core, renamed to Multisite. Bulk plugin updates were further streamlined from the previous release. Theme developers saw introduction of new APIs allowing implementation of custom backgrounds, headers, shortlinks, menus, post types, and taxonomies without file editing. An initiative to add contextual help going forward saw its start.
Winner of Open Source CMS Awards’s “Overall Best Open Source CMS.”
Version 2.8 (Baker) introduced a built-in theme installer and improvements to themes, widgets, taxonomies, and overall speed (including a new Widget API) (and drag and drop). There were significant speed enhancements relative to style and scripting. A new CodePress editor added syntax highlighting to the Dashboard based code editor. Screen Options were added to the Admin in order to customize user interaction with the items being used and the ability to filter out the others.
Version 2.9 (Carmen) (140+ Contributors) was a development intensive release introducing image editing, a Trash/Undo feature, bulk plugin updating, and oEmbed support allowing integrated 3rd party provider content to seamlessly integrate with content. There were also significant batch updating compatibility improvements, comment framework enhancement, editor upgrades, user profile, registration and automation improvements, gallery items usage across multiple posts introduction and better hooks and filters for excerpts, smilies, HTTP requests, user profiles, author links, taxonomies, SSL support, tag clouds, query_posts and WP_Query.
Winner of Infoworld’s “Best of open source software awards: Collaboration.”
Version 2.5 (Brecker) was released with a new administration UI design by Happy Cog, and introduced the dashboard widget system and the shortcode API.
Version 2.6 (Tyner) built on 2.5 and introduced post revisions and Press This. A usability study was done on 2.5 over the summer, leading to the development of the Crazyhorse prototype, and the following release.
Version 2.7 (Coltrane) which redesigned the administration UI to improve usability and make the admin tool more customizable. Version 2.7 also introduced automatic upgrading, built-in plugin installation, sticky posts, comment threading/paging/replies and a new API, bulk management, and inline documentation.
Version 2.1 (Ella) introduced a new UI, autosave, spell check and other new features. Enhancements added ability to switch between content and code editor, setting pages as the front page, adding no-indexing to the entire site for search engine privacy, XML importing improvements and the addition of the private pages feature. MySQL queries saw an aggressive optimization and re-write. Other developer additions included new hooks and APIs, language improvements and psuedo-cron scheduling.
Version 2.2 (Getz) brought better Atom feed support and speed optimizations for plugins and filters. Widgets introduction laid the groundwork for moving additional features into design, which provided a base for plugin features extension. Protection was added on activating plugins, checking for errors prior to successful activation. phpMailer was added which also provided support for SMTP Mail. Database collation control and many code notation improvements were also part of this release.
Version 2.3 (Dexter) offered tagging, update notifications, pretty URLs and a new taxonomy system. Core update notifications were introduced allowing users to better keep track of when new release updates were available. The jQuery version was updated bringing speed increases. canonical URL fixes were added and a new $wpdb->prepare() syntax support rolled out allowing for safer MySQL queries.
Version 1.5 (Strayhorn) introduced a Theme system and featured the introduction of static pages, bring WordPress to be poised as a content management system. A new theme became available to showcase how the newly deployed Theme system could be extended and utilized. Hundreds of hooks were made available, allowing for integration of plugins to key parts of WordPress. The WordPress Plugin Repository was created allowing for a collaborative environment between Plugin Developers and users.
Version 2.0 (Duke) was introduced with persistent caching, a new user role system and a new backend UI. WYSIWYG editing brought a better experience producing content which also included inline image, video and file uploads. Post previewing allowed to review posts before being made live on sites. Plugin hooks were enhanced to allow for features extension by plugin developers. Theme functions were introduced to enhance themes with code, similar to plugins.
Version 1.0 (Davis) was the official 1.0 bringing browser installation, search engine permalinks, multiple category support, an intelligent upgrade process and import enhancement for moving from other systems to WordPress. Support was added to the Admin experience for editing posts and comments as well as the start of many other features to be improved on in the future.
Version 1.2 (Mingus) introduced plugins, hierarchically category support, OPML import and export as well as introductory language support. Features like automatic thumbnail creation, multiple update service pinging and password encryption also were highlights.
2003 – Announcement: 0.7 (initial)
Version 0.7 Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little fork b2 and create WordPress. This initial release included a texturize engine, links manager, XHTML 1.1 compliant templates, a new administration interface, the ability to do manual excerpts and new templates.
b2 cafelog launched by Michel Valdrighi.