A Quarter of the Top 10 Million Sites Ranked by Alexa Use WordPress

According to Matthias Gelbmann of W3Techs, 25% of the sites it surveys are using WordPress. The milestone comes two years after reaching the 20% mark.

Quarter of the Web
Quarter of the Web

The following image shows WordPress’ rapid growth from 13.1% in January 2011 to 25% today.

WordPress' Growth
WordPress’ Growth

Drupal and Joomla, two other popular open source content management systems combine for 4.9%, slightly less than 1/5th of WordPress.

W3Techs counts both self hosted WordPress and WordPress.com sites, “We only count the hosted sites if they are reachable via their own domain (not only as subdomain of wordpress.com), and they must qualify like all other sites in our surveys by getting enough visitors on that separate domain to make it into the top 10 million Alexa sites,” Gelbmann says.

This means that only those sites on WordPress.com that use domain mapping and have enough traffic to be in the top 10 million Alexa sites are counted leaving millions of WordPress.com sites uncounted. Only 1.25% of WordPress sites in the survey are hosted at WordPress.com.

The Fastest Growing CMS

The survey also shows that WordPress is still the fastest growing CMS, “Every 74 seconds a site within the top 10 million starts using WordPress. Compare this with Shopify, the second-fastest growing CMS, which is gaining a new site every 22 minutes,” Gelbmann says.

When sites are broken down into languages, WordPress is used on 37.3% of English language sites. Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish sites are inbetween 38-40% while Bengali is 51.3% and 54.4% for Bosnian. Only 10.6% of WordPress sites are in Chinese with 6.9% for Korean.

About 94% of sites surveyed use a Unix-like operating system such as Ubuntu. Windows servers host 6.2% of WordPress sites making it the most popular CMS running on Windows servers.

Matt Mullenweg, Co-founder of the WordPress project, says the largest opportunity for growth is in the 57% of sites not using any identifiable CMS. Earlier this year, we learned that Jetpack is going to play a significant role in WordPress gaining 50% or more of market share.

In an interview with Adam Silver on the KitchensinkWP podcast, Mullenweg explains the path to 50% and beyond.

The next goal is the majority of websites. We want to get to 50%+ and there’s a lot of work between now and then. As the percentage increases, it gets harder and harder to grow the market share, and we have to grow the market share by doing things we haven’t done in the past – really thinking about the onboarding process, really thinking about the integration with social networks, and with how WordPress works on touch devices, which is going to be the predominant computing platform of the future. These things are going to be really important.

What got us here isn’t going to get us there. Once we get to 50%, we can decide something new we want to do

Automattic is experimenting with a new side project called Jetpack Onboarding. The project is an attempt to improve WordPress’ new user experience. Hosting companies that choose to implement it can modify, add, or remove steps.

Jetpack Onboarding Screen
Jetpack Onboarding Wizard

Keep in mind that W3Techs’ market share numbers are based on the top 10 million sites in Alexa. Fifty percent market share is 5 million of those 10 million sites. Are these the sites WordPress should be targeting with development efforts? Are they more important than the millions of sites not ranked by Alexa? I don’t think so but only time will tell.

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