WordPress has been an amazing tool that powers more sites on the Internet than any other content management system, but it's not aging well. The era of PHP and MySQL being the foundational technologies of any web app has long since passed. But what if Matt and his team started WordPress from scratch today? What would it look like?
We think it would be StaticPress - an evolution of the WordPress platform using WebAssembly, SQLite, and static site generation (SSG), designed to natively run on top of modern hosting runtimes, such as CloudFlare Workers, Vercel, Deno, and AWS Lambda.
To understand why SSG is such a compelling approach to WordPress hosting, consider the unnatural complexity of trying to force the 2000s-era model of "pets"-based monolithic web servers (which WordPress was designed for) into the modern serverless model of "cattle"-based scale-out web and database tiers running on some sort of Kubernetes cluster.
- How do you present a single shared filesystem to all the web containers without resorting to expensive legacy protocols like NFS?
- If I want to live edit a line in my "functions.php" file, how does that get deployed?
- How do I get the significant cost, performance, and scalability benefits of SSG, without compromising on the dynamic content capabilities of WordPress?
- If I fork a copy of my WordPress site (files and DB) to make changes on a "branch", how can I safely merge my changes (including files and DB) back in without losing new data added to the main branch since the fork?
- How can I contribute to WordPress without writing PHP?
- Why should my CMS be priced based on visitors per month?
- Why should it cost more than $5 to run a high-traffic WordPress site?
To date, most WordPress-based approaches to Static Site Generation have been limited to plugins or proprietary hosting platforms which deliver the SSG benefits by locking you into their service.
StaticPress will take a fundamentally different approach by rewriting a thin layer of WordPress to work with modern serverless runtime environments. The WordPress core team already demonstrated the viability of this approach with WordPress sandbox, a complete and fully functional build of WordPress that runs entirely client-side in the browser. The PHP was compiled to WebAssembly, and the MySQL calls were translated to SQLite.
The result will be an open CMS that can power the next 20 years of the web.
Who Does This Disrupt?
Current WordPress hosting providers: Automatic, WP Engine, SiteGround, Kinsta