“Eighty percent of the people in the world are fools and the rest of us are in danger of contamination.”
~Horace Vandergelder, Hello Dolly
The history of the Hello Dolly WordPress plugin
Hello Dolly was one of the very first WordPress plugins created. Written by Matt Mullenweg, co-founder of WordPress, Hello Dolly was among five plugins pre-installed in the early 1.2 (2004) version when the plugin architecture for WordPress was introduced. Since then, Hello Dolly has shipped with every version of WordPress.
What is the purpose of Hello Dolly in WordPress?
According to Matt, Hello Dolly symbolizes the hope and enthusiasm of an entire generation, but honestly, Hello Dolly has no practical purpose. There have been debates in the community for years, calling for it to be unpackaged from core install. However after 11 years it is still part of all default installs.
The current primary argument for it’s continued inclusion is that it can serve as a template for beginning developers to get started writing plugins. In reality, it’s not a great example of modern WordPress plugin development. There are better resources like those in the plugins handbook.
So, apart from the sentimental values, (and darn good Hello Dolly quotes) it’s inclusion as a default plugin is mainly due to tradition. For early adopters of WordPress, Hello Dolly is a reminder of the good old days and how far WordPress has come.
Should I delete the Hello Dolly WordPress plugin?
Yes, do. You can delete Hello Dolly without any impact on your site.
Many website admins leave it installed and deactivated, but hackers have been known to hide malicious code in old default WordPress themes and plugins. While the default themes and plugins are not what causes your website to be hacked, it’s one of the many spots that hackers usually hide their malicious backdoor code.
While you’re deleting Hello Dolly, I recommend that you delete ALL plugins that you’re not using on your site. Your site will be more secure even if it’s a bit “enthusiastic.”