WordCamps represent the very pulse of the WordPress community, brought to life with the enthusiasm and contributions of hundreds, if not thousands, of WordPress enthusiasts. They are becoming more and more prevalent throughout the United States and around the globe. With so much excitement and growth, we wanted to take a look back at where WordCamps started and why they have become such a strong force in the WordPress community.

A Brief History

The first WordCamp was the creation of Automattic Founder and CEO, Matt Mullenweg. In 2006, he came up with the idea to create a “camp” that would bring people together that were passionate about WordPress. On July 9, 2006, Matt shared this idea on his blog, MA.TT, hoping to put together an event in under a month. Less than one month later, Matt’s dream became a reality when 300 WordPress enthusiasts from all over the world came together, shared ideas and participated in talks about the present and future of the platform. Matt delivered his first “State of the Word” address and the WordCamp phenomenon began.

How WordCamps Work

WordCamps are locally organized and run by volunteers passionate about WordPress. The camps usually vary in length from one to two days with optional workshop or contributor days. WordCamps are designed to be all-inclusive and accessible to everyone. $40 or less typically covers admission and lunch for both days.

Why They Matter

WordCamps allow something that a web platform like WordPress alone does not—the opportunity to come face to face with the incredible community that powers over 75 million websites across the Internet. WordCamps bring together people at every level of expertise, from new users to experienced designers and developers, and gives them the opportunity to network and learn from one another.

WordCamps also distinguish themselves through their speaker tracks, consisting of multiple talks by experts in a variety of focuses, including plugin and theme development, basic uses, advanced techniques, security and more. Attendees have the opportunity to choose which sessions apply most to them and can participate in Q&A with each speaker.

Since the original WordCamp, there have been a total of 578 camps, held in 67 cities, in 48 different countries, with new camps organized and added every day! Check out WordCamp Central and find out when the next WordCamp is being held near you and make sure to add it to your calendar!

Already attending a WordCamp this year? Make sure to keep an eye out for the SiteLock team and stop by our sponsor table at these upcoming events or read about our own WordCamp experiences.