A few days ago on Twitter, I noticed an interesting tweet by Themelab inquiring about the W.org domain.
Since when did @WordPress get the http://t.co/t8ZkKybZ0w domain? Just noticed it.
— ThemeLab (@themelab) January 28, 2014
Matt Mullenweg has a history of acquiring great domains. In 2009 he announced he had obtained the only two letter .me domain in the world which is used as a URL shortener. The domain for his personal site is ma.tt. Single letter domains are rare, highly valued, and expensive.
Project94.org is the allocation of 94 1-2 character .ORG domain names that have never been released for registration. Through GoDaddy and eNom, these names are made available to registrants who not only reflect the core attributes of the .ORG domain but also reinforce the trust and value of the .ORG brand. Their about page has more information but the allocation of 1-2 character domains have been reserved since 1985 when .ORG was created.
The Purpose Of W.org
I confirmed with a source inside of GoDaddy that they are the ones who provided Matt the domain. Details concerning the transaction are private and the WHOIS information shows no affiliation with Matt.
W.org currently redirects to WordPress.org but is also used to host images and other static assets. I got in touch with Otto to see what the domain and sub-domains are being used for.
- s.w.org is where we’re serving static resources for the main website from. Things like images and CSS files and other such things that don’t go through PHP processes. If you examine the source of most any page on WordPress.org, you’ll see it uses s.w.org for a lot (not all, yet) of the static files displayed.
- ps.w.org is for the plugin repository. We can use it for screenshots and the header banners and other images from the plugin system.
- ts.w.org is for the theme repository. Same deal, for theme screenshots and the like.
By using a CDN or Content Distribution Network, serving images and other static assets is much faster. This also reduces the load on the various servers that make up WordPress.org. The sub-domains are part of an ongoing effort to make the entire WordPress.org website capable of running over HTTPS. According to Otto, the new CDN supports HTTPS while the previous one did not.
While Matt owns a lot of coveted domains, he has yet to obtain WP.org which is currently just a parked domain.