What is WordPress?

WordPress is an open source content management system (CMS) which began in 2003 as a blogging platform but soon branched out into a platform for different types of websites, including news sites, corporate and government sites, ecommerce sites, and many more.

Today, WordPress powers roughly 18% of the top 10 million websites on the planet, making it the most widely-used CMS in the world. The next largest CMS is Joomla, with 3% of the top 10 million sites, and followed by Drupal at 2%.

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Data taken from http://w3techs.com/

How is WordPress being used in government?

WordPress is used heavily at all levels of government, and there has been a recent surge in adoption and growth as government agencies seek out lower-cost, scalable open source solutions to power their websites, intranets, and blogs. Technologists at all level of government are now assessing WordPress as a replacement for legacy CMS’s and we expect to see a continued acceleration of WordPress’s growth in the coming years in government as well as other sectors where it’s currently growing. WordPress has a federal–compatible Terms of Service agreement, which makes purchasing services from WordPress.com and WordPress.com VIP fast and easy. Visit GSA’s Office of Citizen Services & Innovative Technologies HowTo.gov website for a link to our amended Terms of Service.

Get in touch if you have any questions about running WordPress in a government environment – we have a dedicated set of government services that are designed to help support you throughout this process.

Who uses WordPress in government?

There are dozens of government agencies who have adopted the use of WordPress to power their CMS, as well as their blogs and sub-agency sites. WordPress is also heavily used for internal communications and collaboration. Following the release of President Obama’s Digital Government Strategy, agencies are seeking out affordable, scalable, and extensible open source software solutions that are heavily documented and supported by a robust community of developers, designers, and engineers.

Some notable examples of government agencies currently using WordPress include the White House, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Department of Justice, NASA, Environmental Protection Agency, Library of Congress, National Institutes of Health, United States Army and the USAID. For more examples of WordPress in government, please refer to our Government Spotlight.

Why would a government agency use WordPress over other CMS / custom-built solutions?

One of the great advantages of WordPress is that you get a ready-to-use CMS right out of the box. Should your project require a more complex approach, you can easily build out custom solutions by integrating plugins with the core WordPress software. Good examples of companies using WordPress as a full content management system are the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Time.com and CBS Local.

On the most recent 2012 WordPress user survey, we found that 92% of all users were utilizing WordPress as a full CMS and not just as a blogging tool. WordPress is the content management system (CMS) of the web – 18% of the top 10 million sites are powered by WordPress and WordPress sites attract more than 663 million unique visitors each month. With a good team and a knowledgeable developer, you can make WordPress work for projects of any size – with simple, as well as complex development requirements and with varying traffic demands.

How secure is WordPress?

WordPress is very secure and powers some of the largest, most highly-trafficked websites on earth, including WordPress.com, which is one of the top 25 most trafficked websites in the world, and the #1 network of websites in the United States. Like any software, vulnerabilities and security issues can be encountered if developers are not following up-to-date best practices or if the server setup, whether internal or managed by a third-party, isn’t optimized for WordPress use. However, if you’re running a fully optimized WordPress install, your site will be running software that is safe, secure, and scalable.

Refer to the Security FAQ on WordPress.com VIP site for more information on how we approach security as the WordPress.com VIP team, and also some insight on how the core software team handles security issues. Our VIP Add-on services are additional resources to help enterprise customers set up and scale an architecture that can support massive traffic, while remaining safe and secure for the publisher, as well as users.

My agency wants to use WordPress. How can we tap into the community and find experienced partners?

There are many companies, teams, and individuals which help power the WordPress ecosystem. Automattic, a company created by WordPress co-founding developer Matt Mullenweg, is the company behind WordPress.com and WordPress.com VIP.

Automattic offers a range of products, including WordPress.com VIP Services (http://vip.wordpress.com/) which are designed for large-scale enterprises. WordPress.com VIP offers a robust cloud platform for hosting with 24/7 support, as well as support services for those who are hosting their own WordPress install. WordPress.com VIP clients include AllThingsD, CBS, CNN, GigaOm, InStyle, NBC Sports, NFL, PandoDaily, TED, TechCrunch, TIME, and many more.

Automattic’s focus on WordPress ensures there is continuous, centralized and strategic development of the software available on WordPress.com, therefore offering a stable and secure product that is updated daily. In addition to WordPress.com, Automattic offers a network of additional web services for online publishers including Jetpack, VaultPress, Akismet, VideoPress, Polldaddy, IntenseDebate, Gravatar, and more.

WordPress.com VIP has partnered with a number of design and development agencies to provide services for WordPress projects. These Featured Partner agencies specialize in high-profile WordPress sites and are familiar with WordPress development best practices. If you’re looking for help with your WordPress project, get in touch and we can connect you with our partners.

How big is the WordPress developer ecosystem?

Because WordPress is an open-source platform, there are thousands of developers, designers and plugin-builders who are familiar with building for WordPress. Their participation helps WordPress improve and increase functionality every single day. The WordPress community is very large, and has ample technical documentation, how-tos, case studies, and other materials which are continually updated as new features and functionality are released.