WordPress is a popular content management system that powers over 40% of all websites on the internet. It is an open-source platform that is completely free to use, but that doesn’t mean that the company behind it, Automattic, isn’t making money. In fact, WordPress and its related products have a fascinating financial history.
WordPress was founded in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little as a fork of the b2/cafelog blogging software. Initially, the platform was intended for personal use, but it quickly gained popularity as a blogging platform. In 2005, Mullenweg and his team decided to turn WordPress into a full-fledged content management system, which allowed users to create websites of all types, not just blogs.
Since then, WordPress has grown exponentially, and today it powers some of the world’s most popular websites, including The New Yorker, TechCrunch, and the BBC. In 2005, Automattic was founded by Mullenweg as a commercial entity that would support the development of WordPress and other related products.
So how does Automattic make money? There are several revenue streams that support the company’s finances:
- Jetpack: Jetpack is a suite of WordPress plugins that provide website owners with additional functionality, such as security, performance optimization, and marketing tools. Jetpack has both free and premium versions, with the premium version offering more features and support. Jetpack is a significant revenue stream for Automattic.
- WordPress.com: WordPress.com is a hosting service for WordPress websites. It allows users to create a website quickly and easily, without having to worry about hosting, security, or maintenance. WordPress.com has both free and premium plans, with the premium plans offering more features and support. WordPress.com is another significant revenue stream for Automattic.
- WooCommerce: WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress that allows users to create an online store. It is a popular e-commerce platform, with millions of users worldwide. WooCommerce is a significant revenue stream for Automattic.
- VIP: VIP is a managed hosting service for large-scale WordPress websites. It provides additional support and features that are not available on WordPress.com. VIP is a premium service and is a significant revenue stream for Automattic.
Overall, Automattic’s revenue in 2020 was estimated to be over $300 million, with the majority of the revenue coming from Jetpack, WordPress.com, and WooCommerce.
In conclusion, WordPress is a remarkable success story, both in terms of its popularity as a content management system and its financial success. Automattic has managed to build a thriving business model that supports the development of WordPress and other related products, while still maintaining the open-source ethos that has made WordPress so popular in the first place. It will be exciting to see how WordPress and Automattic continue to evolve and grow in the years to come.