WordPress revolutionised the use of content management systems (CMS) in website development
and WordPress has continued to dominate ever since.

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A Detailed look At Wordpress Stats

If you’re looking right now at a website that really delivers, the chances are it’s one of the millions of WordPress websites in existence today.

The World Wide Web is a crowded space which according to the Netcraft August 2020 survey consists of more than 1.23 billion websites on over 261 million unique domains.

This is a competitive market to say the least but at its launch in 2003, the original WordPress installation from wordpress.org revolutionised the use of content management systems (CMS) in website development, and WordPress has continued to dominate ever since.

At around the same time Myspace popularised web 2.0 platforms, which enabled users to login, self publish and social network without the need for their own website. The business social space LinkedIn was also founded in 2003, with Facebook following close behind in 2004.

In 2005 the WordPress team were quick to follow suit and give users the same content and social freedoms via their WordPress websites from wordpress.com.

Rivals have emerged over time but the might of WordPress keeps topping them all. Shopify, Drupal, Joomla!, Magento and more than 700 other content management systems scrabble for their slice of the pie but WordPress now holds a staggering 64.7% share of the total CMS market.

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The WordPress phenomenon

As if the remarkable WordPress statistic above isn’t enough, the wordpress.com website is currently ranked as the 94th most visited website in the world, with over 455 million visits a month. Its self-hosting sister worpress.org has a global rank of 2,303 and comfortably receives over 27 million monthly visits.

Holding such a key position against the tide of new content management systems is impressive work but why exactly is WordPress so popular? What is it about this particular system that continues to attract everyone from individual first-timers to corporate high-end developers?

We take a look at some vital WordPress statistics and WordPress facts to find out.

  • WordPress usage - The technology profiler BuiltWith.com database contains over 673 million websites and tracks key metrics such as visitor numbers and platform usage for over 250 million websites. If you look at the top 10-thousand live websites, 35.19% use WordPress. Even when the search is expanded to the top 100-thousand sites, the WordPress share is still 33.22%.
  • A global employer - Wordpress.com continues to grow its global influence. In 2016 it boasted a workforce of 449 but currently employs 1,255 people in 72 countries. That’s nearly 3 times as many employees in just a few years.
  • The WordPress Foundation - At the heart of the WordPress ethos are the public accessibility, sharing and modification opportunities offered by its open source approach to development. These freedoms encourage a wealth of coding talent, and need to be protected. In order to ensure this protection, Matt Mullenweg, one of WP’s founders, established the not-for-profit WordPress Foundation.
  • An international player - - Buying and selling is global business and it’s vital that ecommerce websites have the capability to accommodate a range of language and translation requirements. Although 71% of blogs on WordPress.com are written in English, UK, US, and other variations, visitor demographics highlight the importance of language responsiveness.

    According to Alexa.com these demographics differ between the wordpress.com and wordpress.org platforms. For example, at 18.9%, the United States is the number one visitor demographic for wordpress.com whereas India takes the top spot for wordpress.org at 24%. Incidentally the numbers are switched around for 2nd place, with the United States audience making up 15.6% for wordpress.org and India on 12.8% for wordpress.com.

WordPress Popularity

One way to judge the popularity of a platform is to look at the numbers of search results listed in the most widely used search engine, (Google) and the number of keyword searches users are typing in to get related search results. Google US and UK search results for the keyword ‘WordPress’ stand at over 1.9 billion listings in the main and supplemental index.

According to Ahrefs, the current number of searches per month by users in the US for the keyword term 'wordpress' stands at 749 thousand while the UK figure is 264 thousand searches per month. These figures provide some insight into the popularity of Wordpress but only represent 2 out of 72 countries using the content management system.

Another interesting way to measure platform popularity is to consider WordPress’ statistics as represented by Google Trends. The interest in ‘WordPress’ has continued to outperform the nearest rivals by 50% or greater, with Shopify coming in at number two. Over the past 5 years Worpress has also continually had 6+ times more interest than Magento.

WordPress versions

The WordPress development team are a hard working bunch. They have released 42 core versions of WordPress. Each core version is quirkily named after the developer’s favourite jazz musician. The latest, version 5.7, was released on the 9th March 2021 and named “Esperanza”, after the American jazz bassist, singer, song writer Esperanza Spalding.

From the core updates there have been 341 update releases ranging from two to ten updates per version since 2003.

It’s interesting to note website owners are sometimes a little slow to access WordPress version updates. In fact, there are current live Wordpress websites running on 27 different core versions going all the way back to core release 3.1.

65.5% of Wordpress users have not switched to the latest core version, 52.4% are two core versions behind or more, and 21.8% are still using Wordpress version 5.4 and 5.5

Content Management Systems

Once your website has been created, a content management systems or CMS allows you and your team to update it without extensive technical knowledge. This level of functionality is now the industry expected norm and a far cry from the days of complicated HTML and frustrating copying errors. The onset of user-friendly CMS in the early 2000s turned the world of web design upside down, and WordPress has long been a field leader.

CMS Market Usage

By studying the usage data of 778 different content management systems it can be observed that 56 have gained noticeable popularity over the past 10 years with at least 0.1% market share or higher. WordPress was in at the beginning and has outperformed them all.

Over the period from 2011 to present date, Wordpress has been the number 1 content management system used worldwide, and has grown at an astonishing rate

According to w3techs.com which uses the top 10 million most popular websites tracked by Alexa, Wordpress is now the choice for 41.1% of website owners compared to 13.1% back in 2011.

WordPress’ nearest rival when it comes to content management usage is Shopify with a much smaller share of 3.5% while Joomla, Squarespace and Wix take 3rd, 4th, and 5th spot.

CMS Market Share Growth

Based on w3techs.com's survey of content management systems which draws data from Alexa's top 10 million most popular websites in the world:

  • Wordpress has increased cms market share from 58.8% to 64.7% in the last 5 years
  • The popular CMS has maintained a market share of over 50% for more than 10 years
  • Shopify is the nearest rival in a distant 2nd place with 5.4% market share

WordPress and ecommerce

Although WordPress is well known as a blogging platform, its primary business use is in the field of ecommerce. Ecommerce retail sales are fast outpacing traditional sales, with over 95% of all purchases predicted to be online by 2040.

With ecommerce sales predicted to reach $5.4 trillion in 2022, business success is now inherently and inextricably linked to website efficacy. In other words your business needs a website that can not only handle complicated ecommerce requirements over multiple devices but will also maximise success when it comes to optimising content for SEO.

The good news is that the big players, including Shopify and Magento can all be added to your site via WordPress plugins. Such is the power of WordPress that the ecommerce race leader, WooCommerce, was developed specifically to operate through a WordPress sites.

This potential combination of powers offers an immensely efficient solution and is one of the reasons for the massive success of WordPress sites. For example, 29% of the top one million ecommerce websites currently use the WooCommerce plugin for WordPress.

This tight level of integration has been an industry winner from the start, and continues to gain market share with a 7% increase since 2019. At the time of writing, 2,238,392 WooCommerce downloads have occurred in the last 7 days. This impressive WordPress stat is set to continue to be a hard one to beat.

If the above hasn’t persuaded you to the might of the WordPress machine, take a look at the additional WordPress stats below.

Mcommerce (mobile commerce) refers to online purchases made through handheld devices such as tablets and smartphones. Mobile enabled sales are growing at such a rate that mcommerce is expected to form 72.9% of the global ecommerce market this year. Most WordPress themes and many plugins are highly mobile responsive.

WordPress Plugins

As the life of your website extends it’s likely you’ll need to increase its functionality. On a WordPress site this is attained by the inclusion of downloadable pieces of compatible and tested code called plugins. As with most things related to WordPress, plugins are available as free or premium paid downloads. As you might expect, there are plenty of plugins out there. The current count is 58,428 but new Wordpress plugins are being developed all the time.

The popularity of plugins is huge and keeps growing. The total number of plugin downloads stood at more than 1.6+ billion in 2020 compared to 1.2+ billion in 2016. Plugins do a variety of jobs including more aesthetic and fun tasks but the all time top ten downloads deliver the type of key functionality you would expect to see on most websites.

  • Yoast (SEO) – 319,942,750 downloads
  • Jetpack (stats and other features) – 223,012,156 downloads
  • Akismet (spam filtering) – 195,643,892 downloads
  • Wordfence (security) – 192,218,598 downloads
  • Contact Form 7 (contact management) – 177,556,678 downloads
  • WooCommerce (ecommerce) – 133,038,102 downloads
  • Elementor (frontend design) – 101,979,955 downloads
  • Google Analytics for WordPress by Monster Insights – 92,933,686 downloads
  • All in One SEO Pack – 76,936,982 downloads
  • WPForms (contact management) – 66,567,091 downloads

Some of the most popular WordPress plugins have their own impressive statistics. For example, to date, Akismet has blocked over 515 billion pieces of spam. Its download rate of over 195 million in 16 years is particularly staggering when you consider it's now automatically included on newly installed themes.

Another remarkable player in the plugin field is the SEO plugin Yoast, which has grown dramatically in popularity over the past seven years. This gem has added millions of downloads to each yearly total, and shows no sign of slowing down. To date, BuiltWith.com show more than 7.9 million live websites using the Yoast WordPress Plugin to enhance their SEO.

WordPress Themes

We all know the function of a website is of paramount importance but its form can also make a huge difference to user experience and ultimately the number of conversions obtained. This is where WordPress themes step in.

They are available in free and paid versions and control important elements such as overall design, page layout and aesthetic features. There are currently 8,248 different themes in the WordPress theme directory but plenty more are available from other designers, through directories such as Envato Market (ThemeForest).

WordPress themes are big business, and can pay real dividends for designers. ThemeForest’s best selling WordPress theme, Avada has sold a staggering 679,554 copies which total more than $40 million in sales.

WordPress Security

As the value of data has increased, ensuring website security has become more technical and demanding. Protection from malware and information theft is of prime importance and constantly under review by developers. In May 2020, security specialists Wordfence recorded 20 million SQL injection attacks against nearly 1 million websites.

If you’re concerned about whether your website has enough security, and how you can protect it, you can check out this article written by WPBeginner. It includes a step-by-step guide to securing your website. 98% of WordPress security vulnerabilities are related to plugins. You can help avoid these by ensuring all your plugins are kept up to date.

The most popular vulnerability types in WordPress plugins are cross-site scripting (database or system attack) and SQL injection (insertions of malicious code).

The WordPress community

  • WordPress developers - With open source at its beating heart, it’s no surprise the WordPress community of developers is thriving. This is due in no small part to support from WordPress itself. With conferences, local community meetups, and 1,082 WordCamps in 372 cities, across 65 countries and on six continents, there is no shortage of opportunities for those who want to invest their time and skills in this platform.
  • WordPress account users - WordPress account users are a busy bunch too. The popular Jetpack statistics plugin shows they publish around 70 million posts each month and leave over 77 million comments. If you find this tricky to visualise, it might help to consider that this equates to 2,359,550 published posts per day or 27 posts per second.

    These numbers by the way are rising; there were only 24 posts per second in 2016, and none of this includes the millions of websites that aren’t using the Jetpack plugin. Another way of putting the figures above in perspective is to note there are an estimated 4.66 billion internet users in the world today, and that Jetpack shows 409 million internet users searching more than 20 billion pages each month. Phenomenal numbers, and every one of them goes to show just how important your website is.
  • Popular and powerful websites - WordPress is a global phenomenon powering thousands of well-known celebrity and entertainment websites, as well as top sites for news media, universities, social media, business and government all over the world. Even the White House has a WordPress website.

Wordpress.org holds a record of over 390 top-notch websites in their showcase archives. You will probably recognise and be familiar with some of the most well known:

  • Vogue
  • Time Magazine (US news)
  • Sony Music (entertainment)
  • Katy Perry (celebrity)
  • BBC America (media)
  • The New York Times (newspaper)
  • Forbes (global media)
  • Flickr (photo sharing)
  • Boing Boing (online sales)
  • TED Blog (idea spreading)
  • Reuters Blogs (news articles)
  • Zoom (video communications)
  • Wordpress.com
  • Udemy (online learning)
  • Etsy (craft marketplace)
  • Freepik (vector graphics)
  • Zillow (real estate)
  • Globo (Brazilian media)
  • Uol (Brazilian service provider)
  • Shutterstock (stock images)
  • Grammarly (Grammar checking)
  • jQuery (JavaScript library)
  • Plesk (web hosting)
  • National Archives (UK history)
  • Quantcast (artificial intelligence)
  • NGINX (web server technology)
  • Tucows (internet services)
  • Toyota (vehicle technology)
  • Playstation Blog (entertainment)

From those early days as a blogging platform to today’s global phenomenon, there can be no doubt that WordPress has earned its place in internet history. WordPress statistics continue to impress as the platform attains further domination and following.

Just as with any other building project, a successful website requires a balanced combination of solid foundations, enhancing features and careful management. Put together this trinity has the potential to unleash countless financial rewards, and put your business right at the centre of profitable ecommerce.

All of this requires skills and experience. At Flycast Media we know we have these in abundance. Contact us today on 0800 110 5923 to see how we can manage your website more effectively.

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