The Saga Continues


WordPress was borne of initial idea seeding via B2 (Cafelog) in 2001, which was launched by Michael Valdrighi. In 2003, cofounders Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little forked B2 and created WordPress, an Open Source blogging and now content management system estimated to power the largest number of websites of any individual product (20%). Through the largest thriving community of any website management system, WordPress has grown to include theme designers, plugin developers, webmasters and site developers. With the power of participants, WP now can power anything from small individual blogs to large multi-user social communities to business websites. Core contributing developers include Ryan Boren, Mark Jaquith, Matt Mullenweg, Andrew Ozz, Peter Westwood and Andrew Nacin. WordPress has just recently celebrated its 10 year anniversary.

WPCommunity was started as an extension of Web Developer Tom Ford who found WordPress in the early days looking for a solution to power a group of large websites that had outgrown their flat HTML infrastructure. Needing more features, WordPress was chosen based on another user who was kind enough to put together a comparison chart of several platforms, with detailed information. The way this individual was able to present this side by side comparison using WordPress ultimately led to giving it a shot...which led to massive experimentation to the different things it could do. The heavy and growing demand for assistance led to offering such, bringing us to today. Tom Ford has contributed to various other development agencies including TC Websites, and WPML. (as well as solving countless technical issues and working through many full website builds).

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        • NOV 20, 2014

          WP Engine is launching its high availability enterprise hosting platform today. The new product is called Mercury and it’s built to provide HHVM (with PHP-FPM failover) to customers who require better PHP performance.

          WP Engine is one of the first WordPress managed hosts to offer HHVM (HipHop Virtual Machine), a PHP execution engine originally created by Facebook to help make its infrastructure more efficient. Since HHVM is still new and isn’t 100% stable in production environments, WP Engine has opted to provide automatic fallback to its default PHP stack. This failover protection is invisible to visitors and is only in use 0.1% of the time while HHVM restarts.

          WP Engine partnered with 10up, a WordPress development agency, to design and create a system to bring HHVM to customers. Benchmarks reported by 10up indicate staggering performance improvements of up to 600%.

          On a generic WordPress + bbPress installation with no page caching, HHVM delivers on average a 5.6 faster response time over multiple tests:

          WPE Charts

          When testing bbPress with 250 concurrent logged-in users, HHVM consistently delivers a 3.6x faster response time. A regular WordPress site with a custom theme and plugins resulted in approximately 3.9 times faster response time with HHVM as compared to PHP-FPM. At the moment, HHVM doesn’t play well with BuddyPress but WP Engine plans to discuss this with John James Jacoby in the near future to see what can be done.

          10up founder Jake Goldman believes that HHVM will perform even better over time and become more affordable:

          Mirroring the history of air travel, Mercury will invariably become smoother, more affordable, and more accessible with time. We’re already excited by the early results: bbPress response times up to 5.6x faster, 3.6x faster at just 740ms with 250 concurrent visitors.

          10up volunteered its site as the first test case and is currently running on the new Mercury platform.

          Other developers have also been experimenting with WordPress on HHVM since earlier this year, achieving similar results in terms of performance improvement:

          The Future of HHVM and WordPress Hosting

          How long will it be before HHVM is the most common PHP engine for all WordPress managed hosts? Given how new and unstable it currently is, most hosts are not rushing to provide HHVM. However, the advances made by the collaboration between 10up and WP Engine should help to move other hosts along.

          “I think it is important to note that the Facebook HHVM open source team is really responsive to issues, thoughts, and feedback,” WP Engine representative Tomas Puig told the Tavern. “So it bodes super well for the future of us moving more WordPress systems to the technology.”

          Puig is optimistic that WP Engine and 10up’s work with HHVM will help to provide valuable feedback for WordPress core. “I deeply believe in Matt’s recent statements on WordPress as an application framework and the API work the core team is doing,” Puig said. “I think that HHVM enables us to build more rich experiences with WordPress in a more performant manner and that’s exciting. So really we want to elevate the community as a whole to getting our code ready for it.”

          Mercury customers will be given a Vagrant configuration to use for local development, and Puig said that the company is wiling to provide the configuration to anyone who requests it.

          One challenge for developers using HHVM is knowing what plugins are compatible with it. “Something I’d love to see is an option to mark plugins and themes in the official repository as HHVM tested,” Puig said. WP Engine is starting to conduct a large round of basic testing to find out which popular plugins are compatible with HHVM. “We’ll be releasing that list to the community as a whole so people know where to look and are also working with plugin developers and theme shops to get their code ready,” he said.

          On the HHVM side, WP Engine has been instrumental in paving the way for other open source project to take advantage of it. Paul Tarjan, Facebook’s head of Open Source for HHVM, highlighted the importance of this partnership in the Mercury announcement:

          The WP Engine Labs team has done an impressive job in democratizing HHVM for the open-source community. We are excited to work alongside the Labs team to fine-tune the stack to reach HHVM’s full potential and drastically speed up PHP execution. PHP is the bedrock of Facebook, as well as much of the Internet, and this announcement should come as a major fillip for the entire developer community.

          The launch of Mercury means that many more WordPress users will have the opportunity to have their sites running on HHVM. As WordPress-specific issues are ironed out through WP Engine’s collaboration with the HHVM developers, it should become more stable over time.

          NOV 20, 2014

          WordPress core contributors released a security update today. All users who have not yet received the automatic update are encouraged to update as soon as possible. WordPress 4.0.1 is a critical security release that provides a fix for a critical cross-site scripting vulnerability, originally reported by Jouko Pynnonen on September 26th.

          Sites running WordPress versions 3.9.2 and earlier are affected by the vulnerability. Although installs running 4.0 are not specifically affected, this security update also includes fixes for 23 bugs and eight security issues.

          According to the official WordPress version usage stats, only 14.4% of sites are currently running 4.0. This means that the vast majority of WordPress sites and in need of this critical update. A large number of those sites are also running versions that pre-date the automatic background updates that were introduced in WordPress 3.7.


          If you want to keep your site on the cutting edge of security updates, it’s critical to have automatic background updates enabled. If you haven’t manually turned them off, WordPress 3.7+ has automatic updates enabled for minor releases by default. This includes maintenance, security, and translation file updates.

          Thousands of WordPress sites around the web are being updated to 4.0.1 right now and older releases will be updated to 3.9.3, 3.8.5, or 3.7.5, as outlined in Andrew Nacin’s security release announcement. If you don’t want to wait for the automatic update, you can always go to Dashboard → Updates in the admin and update immediately.