This past weekend, at WordCamp US 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee, WordPress founding developer Matt Mullenweg offered top accomplishments, current open projects, and future goals for WordPress in 2017. For those that couldn’t attend, we’ve compiled the highlights from the year’s State of The Word.

Mullenweg noted that attendance at WordCamps and Meetups has increased significantly in 2017. He attributed this  64.9 % uptick in Meetups and 6.8% uptick in WordCamps attendance to the release of the Events Widget in WordPress 4.8.

WordPress now powers 29% of the web!

128 WordCamps in 48 countries worldwide

39,625 tickets, 1,008 organizers

2,310 speakers, 1,091 sponsors

4,379 Meetups in 73 countries  

99,301 Meetup attendees

Giving Back

The WordPress Foundation supports the international community in many ways including donations to educational opportunities within the WordPress community which included a $15,000 donation to Hack the Hood, Internet Archive, and Black Girls Code.

WordPress also sponsored do_action events in 4 cities. These events are community-organized hackathon events that are focused on using WordPress to give deserving charitable organizations their own online presence.

In May 2017, WordPress launched hackerone, a bug bounty system. 52 WordPress bugs were resolved thanks to 46 hackers on using hackerone. Mullenweg revealed that as hackerone gets more sophisticated and WordPress continues to get more secure, the plan is to apply it to the top plugins and themes as well. launched a brand new homepage for over 26 different language so that people all over the world are introduced to WordPress in a stylish, up-to-date way. is now equipped with 47,350 active plugins which have been downloaded 633,274,305 times. WordPress has grown in its ability to reach global audiences with 1,166 themes with a language pack and 2,023 plugins with a language pack.


To ensure a more reliable and secure open web, XWP has introduced Tide, a service consisting of an API, Audit Server, and Sync Server, working in tandem to run a series of automated tests against the plugin and theme directories. Scores generated by Tide represent the overall quality of code for plugin or theme.

WordPress Growth Council

Huge masses of money are being spent on proprietary systems that compete against WordPress. In order to combat this and further enable the growth of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg announces the first meeting of the WordPress Growth Council. The council will bring together organizations that would like to contribute to growing WordPress.

Let’s Encrypt

With the assistance of Let’s Encrypt, a certificate authority who is making HTTPS ubiquitous by providing free SSL/TLS certificates and the adoption from hosts like WP Engine, 36% of all WordPress sites in the world are over HTTPS.


Mullenweg set the tone for the three large focuses for 2017 in his 2016 State of the Word: editing, customization, and the REST API. He discussed the current state of each in 2017.


Weston Ruter, Mel Choyce and Jeff Paul led the advancements in the customization focus. Mel and Weston discussed the what was noteworthy in WordPress 4.8 and 4.9.


  • New widgets and widget updates: an easy way to add an image to your sidebar, add rich text formatting to text widget
  • Link boundaries: easily update text within and around a link
  • Events widget


  • Scheduling site customization drafts; the Customizer provides a staging environment for your live site
  • Share live preview of your saved drafts
  • customization locking
  • Better native code editing: syntax highlighting and auto-complete features to the code editors in WordPress
  • Integration of linters into code editing for air checking

Rest API

Mullenweg noted that there’s still room to improve the REST API. He proclaimed there was still a lot to do to make the REST API a first-class citizen in the WordPress world but the goal to have wpadmin go through the WP API.

WP-CLI (Bonus Focus)

WP-CLI became an official WordPress project in 2017. In 2017, there were 4 releases from 124 contributors.

Editing with Gutenberg

As the longest running major feature development for WordPress ever, Gutenberg, was arguably the most noteworthy aspect of The State of the Word 2017. Gutenberg is an effort to simplify all components of WordPress into one elegant concept: blocks. Gutenberg, in its 11 months of existence, has had 4,302 commits, over 100 contributors,  1796 issues, and 18 iterations.

Matias Ventura came to the stage to demo Gutenberg. You can learn about some of the new features of Gutenberg here.

Mullenberg noted that Gutenberg will probably need 12 more iterations and would be released in April with WordPress 5.0.  He called for people to test out Gutenberg and contribute. For those skeptical about the nearness of April 2018, he noted that he Gutenberg team has created a Classic Editor plugin.

What’s Next For 2018 and Gutenberg?

The next step in Gutenberg for 2018 is Gutenberg-based site customization which will include reusable blocks for site fundamentals like header, site title, social icons as different blocks. These could be put in a poster page as dynamic blocks but also be used to lay out the whole site.

Mullenberg revealed this would be the default theme for 2018 and the top 3 focuses for 2018 are Gutenberg Editing, Gutenberg Customization, and Gutenberg Theme. 

Check back to the WP Engine blog as we continue to keep you updated on the Gutenberg editor.

What a fantastic year for WordPress!