Last Updated: January 7, 2021
This is the story of how one blogging tool became а legend in website building.
This is the story of WordPress.
Blogging has been around since the late ’90s, but it wasn’t until the early ’00s that it really took off. Part of this sudden spike in popularity was a highly controversial story about how one blogger lost her job after posts on her weblog page. The other part was WordPress itself.
This web-building tool evolved so fast and grew so big, we cannot help but wonder:
What percentage of websites are WordPress in 2021?
The simple answer would be “over 30%“, but let’s back up a bit first and put things into perspective.
WordPress launched in 2003 as one of many then-present tools for building а blog. The nature and architecture of the app allowed everyone to contribute to its improvement. This propelled WP to quickly outgrow its original purpose to almost unlimited plugins and WordPress specialized hosting providers. While bloggers are still WordPress’s core audience, its immense capabilities lead to major brands like Sony, Walt Disney, MTV, BBC, and New Yorker all relying on their services.
WordPress stats from 2019 are quite remarkable:
- 14.7% of the world’s Top 100 Websites are WP-based
- over 500 new sites are created daily using the free version of WordPress.org
- 17 new blog posts pop-up every second
As unusual as it may sound, WP owes this entire success to its active and loyal community, not just a single visionary CEO. In fact, WordPress.org doesn’t even have a CEO — the project is entirely run by volunteers across the world.
According to the WordCamp site, there are currently over 75 million sites that use WordPress.
Yes, that’s not a typo, the number is 75 with six zeroes.
With such rapid growth, we should expect worldwide usage to hit nine digits in the next few years. And how can it not — the latest stable version of WordPress already amassed over 8 million downloads in less than a month.
We’ve now established that WP is immensely useful and well-liked for a reason. So before we determine just what part of all websites worldwide function with WordPress’s help, let’s first see who wins the popularity contest among web-building solutions.
WordPress is a content management system (or CMS for short). CMS platforms encompass a wide selection of software tools that have one thing in common — they aim to make site building easy and accessible for everyone. In this sense, WP has a few notable competitors — Joomla, Drupal, Magento, and Shopify.
WordPress manages to take the lion’s share of the market. The tool accounts for 59.7% of software-built websites and rightfully earns the title of “most popular CMS” seven years in a row. Their closest rival, Joomla, holds second place with 6.7%.
Judging by the numbers, it doesn’t sound like much of a competition, does it?
WordPress is largely in a league of its own. That is mostly due to WP being the Swiss knife of web builders while competing solutions prefer to focus on a single purpose. The open-source nature and plugin architecture allows developers to take a bare bones installation and turn it into an online shop, a photo gallery, a news website, or anything else you might imagine.
WordPress statistics must be very discouraging for the competition. Take Magento and Shopify for example. Both have been around for quite some time and catered specifically to businesses in need of an online shop.
Then WordPress released WooCommerce…
The eCommerce plugin swept the market and soon topped the online store builder charts with a 22% market share. Something that was developed as an add-on quickly managed to steal the glory from complete solutions that had more than enough time to build up a loyal following.
Even if we steer clear of the CMS field, WordPress usage statistics still look impressive.
- 409 million people view 21.2 billion WP pages each month;
- 313,050 of the top 1 million websites are WP-based;
- Nearly 18 billion words appeared on WordPress websites in 2016.
Google Trends report reveals over 18 million searches taking place for the term “WordPress.” In fact, the web builder is so renown, it attracts similar volumes of traffic as top websites like Amazon and Twitter.
These remarkable statistics bring us closer to the big question:
What percentage of websites are WordPress?
Before we get to that, though, let’s look at the full extent of the platform’s capabilities.
Areas of Popularity
A key reason why developers and visitors find WordPress so attractive is the immense versatility of the CMS. Far outgrowing its strictly blogging-focused past, WP hosts some of the most prominent and best looking online shops, business pages, news journals, and government agencies.
Yeah, even the White House and the country of Sweden are happy to take advantage of the software.
WordPress, among its other achievements, played a significant part in the evolution of online sales. Their WooCommerce plugin powers nearly 30% of ecommerce shops and broke the popularity records with over 50 million downloads, according to internal WordPress stats. The plugin has become so prominent that its name has built a reputation of its own.
A growing number of businesses choose to trust the already popular web builder as well. And how can they not?
WordPress offers an easy entry into the digital world, provides a ton of useful additional tools, and involves little to no initial investment.
WP mostly caters to small and medium websites, though it has already proven it can handle enterprise projects as well. Industry giants like Mercedes-Benz, Sony, and Mozilla all attest to the vast web building capabilities and add to the popularity of WordPress.
Businesses face a variety of challenges when operating in an online environment:
- media outlets need a platform that can handle large amounts of traffic.
- social media sites need to wow their users with cool features.
- portfolios need to be visually stunning, employing hi-res images and video.
WordPress has a solution for all those challenges. This elevates it to a “crowd favorite” status.
Reasons for Popularity
The amazing WP architecture is the main reason behind its versatility. Over 50,000 plugins are available for adding extra functionalities and anyone from personal bloggers to famous WordPress sites is taking advantage. Contact forms, shopping carts, SEO analytics, speed optimization — it sure seems like “impossible” is missing from the WP dictionary.
Plugins have already accumulated over 1.6 billion downloads – a strong testament to their popularity.
The 19 most popular plugins have amassed over 1 million downloads each and 11 of them are even beyond the 7 million mark. Who are the top dogs, you ask?
- WooCommerce — 30+ million
- All in One SEO Pack — 13+ million
- Akismet — 12+ million
- Google XML Sitemaps — 9+ million
- Contact Forms 7 — 9+ million
Plugins can transform the way your website looks. It’s no surprise, then, why people wonder what percentage of websites are WordPress — oftentimes it is not immediately obvious what framework a site uses.
A long time ago, one of the WP creators, Matt Mullenweg, cleverly hid an Easter egg within the most downloaded tools — the Hello Dolly add-on. Hello Dolly is among the oldest WordPress plugins and comes preinstalled by default with every fresh WP installation.
Sounds important, but what does it do?
In short — nothing.
Yep, you heard right — nothing.
Well, it’s not entirely useless. In tune with WordPress’ fancy of jazz music, Hello Dolly generates random quotes from the legendary Louis Armstrong piece of the same name. Nothing more, nothing less.
Some people speculate that the add-on is intentionally preinstalled on all websites to teach newbies the A-B-C’s of plugin operation, but only Matt Mullenweg can say for sure.
As cool and sentimental as that is, I strongly recommend deleting it as you will probably never use it and you don’t need any unnecessary security risks.
The way your website looks is just as important as the features it is packed with. WordPress developers have every right to puff their chests. The wealth of breathtaking themes and the advanced customizations they allow are without competition. Possibilities are endless, and you can go anywhere your creative freedom can take you.
Over 6000 free and paid themes are there for the taking, available for everyone who uses WordPress. The complete makeover of your generic website into a dazzling fashion shop or a ravishing portfolio is just a few clicks away.
Avada is the most popular WP theme, accounting for over 450,000 downloads. Together with Divi and Genesis, the three are “responsible” for the visual glamour of 17% of all WordPress sites.
The great thing is that even the premium layouts won’t cost you an arm and a leg. On the contrary – they are quite affordable.
The median price for a WordPress theme is $45. And that’s a one-time fee, not a recurring payment plan.
The Immense WordPress Community
But out of all the cool things about WordPress, for me, a single advantage stands out the most.
The community behind the app is the silent hero behind this massive progress of the CMS. It is an excellent example of “power to the people” and the benefits of this business model.
Loyal fans and enthusiasts were actively involved in translating WordPress to over 68 languages and there are dozens more in the making. In fact, webmasters have used an impressive 120 languages in the process of content creation. This level of reach is yet another reason for the significant size of the WordPress market share.
Back in 2006, thanks to the joint efforts of many WP enthusiasts, the first WordCamp was born. Since then, there have been 932 meetups in 65 countries, spanning across six continents. No wonder the WP market share is so huge.
To sum it up, unless you have been living deep in the jungle — at some point, there probably was a WordCamp event near you.
Ok, so we’ve dissected the software and it clearly deserves its acclaim. Time to answer the key question we started from:
What percentage of websites are WordPress?
The latest statistics reveal that WP accounts for about 32% of the entire Web and 59% of CMS-built websites.
WordPress is scalable, newbie-friendly, and as versatile as you can imagine. The future sure looks bright when so many people are rooting for you.
Hungry for some more stats? Go ahead and check our fact-packed stat articles!