Whitehouse.gov, the official website of the White House and topics on the United States’ economy, national security, budget, immigration, and healthcare has migrated to a new Content Management System.

White House

Cezary p via Wikipedia

Whitehouse.gov moving their CMS to WordPress is a big move.  Having previously been on Drupal, Whitehouse.gov has new opportunities for scalability with WordPress.  While Drupal powers just a hair over 2% of the world’s websites, WordPress, powering nearly 30% of all websites in the world, is a seamless backend that can be managed by multiple users and can provision users’ access across its content.

Like a wolf pack mentality, because WordPress is so widely used, this affords Whitehouse.gov improved security since so many other sites are vested in WordPress’s stability. The White House will no doubt have their own security measures implemented, but being part of the bigger WordPress community provides the opportunity for security gaps on their site to be discovered by other smaller sites first, the White House keeps a pulse on WordPress security reports and fixes the issue before it gets exposed.

Some of the White House’s security moves can already be seen.  A normal WordPress installation can have its administrative panel accessed by going to domain/wp-admin/, in this case it would be www.whitehouse.gov/wp-admin/.  However, accessing that url returns a 403 error code.

Whitehouse.gov Switches Website CMS to WordPress

A 403 code means “forbidden.”  This likely implies that accessing that WordPress login url is restricted to approved IP’s only.  If that url does work for approved IP’s, there is likely another layer of security in the form of a unique login variable key, suck as whitehouse.gov/wp-admin/?login=secure&key=abc123.

In addition to security, WordPress offers better indexability and discoverability for search engines. With an improved site structure, Whitehouse.gov can get their message out faster and more efficiently to the masses via search engines.

A review of the site’s source code reveals added plugins to enhance WordPress. Burton identified plugins to improve flexibility such as Yoast and W3 Total Cache.

  • Yoast is a plugin that intends to improve a websites crawlability for search engines.
  • W3 Total Cache aims to improve page speed.

The theme’s style sheet reveals it is version 45 of their WordPress theme. Whether the version count is accurate is debatable.

Whitehouse.gov theme version

With greater scalability, improved flexibility, and enhanced security options, Whitehouse.gov moving to WordPress will likely be an improvement supporting long-term stability for the site.