WordPress is one of the largest website platforms available and currently powers over 26 percent of the internet. It is also the largest open-source software in the market, with over 60 million websites currently running the software. WordPress has used open-source to set itself apart and provide a long lasting impact on the online community. Continue reading as we dive in deeper and explore why open-source makes WordPress so successful.
According to Opensource.com, “open-source refers to something people can modify and share because its design is publicly accessible.” Many platforms use this concept to maximize user contribution and improve existing products. It can also be applied to software, open-source software is, “software with source code that anyone can inspect, modify and enhance.” Using open-source allows users to be part of the product or software development process.
The opposite of open-source is proprietary or closed-source software. Proprietary software is owned and modified by a specific person, team or organization. Users are only able to customize the product, such as their website, as much as the owner has permitted. Users are often required to sign a license requiring them to stay within a set of guidelines written by the owner.
WordPress allows users the freedom to work around such guidelines and instead use the platform as a starting point for each project. As WordPress.org notes on their website, “Everything is created by and for the community.” Users are free from signing any licenses or requirements to follow specific guidelines. Websites can be customized in any way the user chooses, whether a recipe blog, a corporate business’ website or an artist’s portfolio. WordPress’ commitment to open-source allows users to continue to increase the possibilities of each individual website.
WordPress also encourages their global community to contribute to the platform in order to continue improving and updating it. All users are able to download the basic WordPress script, reviewing and modifying as they like. As users develop new items, such as WordPress themes, they are able to submit them back to WordPress for others to review, implement and edit.
The freedom of a completely customizable platform without rules or regulations has developed a loyal fan base for WordPress. Users not only love using the platform, but they want to give back. WordPress.org lists 14 different ways that users can contribute to WordPress, including submitting open-source content. This can include developing PHP, creating and uploading plugins or designing themes. Through these contributions, users become heavily invested in the platform. They know they have contributed to the continued growth and success of WordPress alongside hundreds, if not thousands, of others.
Opening the door to the community to contribute their own ideas and improve upon current practices has had a strong impact on WordPress. Thanks to their commitment, WordPress will continue to grow and expand with each passing year, bringing bigger and better tools, themes, plugins and more to the market.
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