Wordpress market share

Did you know that at over half of websites that use content management systems use an open-source one? That’s right! Everyone from small bloggers to huge country-sized corporations use WordPress to manage their content.

The reach of WordPress goes far beyond its affiliated hosting service, WordPress.com.

Since its founding in 2003 WordPress has grown from a blogging tool to a full-on CMS that powers large swaths of the Internet. So exactly how many and which sites are built with WordPress? I’ve sifted through the data and here’s what I’ve found.

Over a third (at least!) of the Web is built on WordPress

At the time of publication, WordPress is the platform for a full 38.2% of the top 10 million most visited websites in the world, according to the data from w3techs.com. It is worth noting that this includes all websites whether they use a CMS or not! Their nearest competitor Shopify is still a distant second powering only 2.8% of the sites sampled.

Among websites that do use a CMS, WordPress holds a full 63.5% of market share. This includes WordPress.com, which is a commercial hosting service running on a modified WordPress architecture.

Most Popular CMS

What’s the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?

It’s easy to confuse the open-source platform of WordPress.org with the hosting service of WordPress.com. WordPress.com is just one of many, many web hosting services that are built on or offer WordPress support.

WordPress.com offers a somewhat simplified website builder to easily create websites more easily, while WordPress.org is a tool that is more customizable as you can access all of its code. You are also able to use any plugin in the WordPress repository and are free to choose any hosting company you like. But all that comes with a steeper learning curve. WordPress.com is owned by the company Automattic Inc. which also contributes to the WordPress open-source project.

Big companies and bloggers alike use WordPress.com

WordPress.com offers many pricing options ranging from a free plan with limited features to small business e-commerce plans to their WordPress VIP service which is a hosting service at an enterprise scale. CNN, Spotify, People, TIME, Microsoft, and The Rolling Stones are some of their most notable clients. In 2010 Microsoft shut down their Windows Live Spaces blogging service and began a partnership with WordPress.com

WordPress.org continues to grow in popularity

In the past five years, WordPress has grown from being used by 23.3% of the top 10 million most visited websites in the world to being used by 38.2, outpacing the growth of all of its competitors. The flexibility of large companies to either self-host a modified WordPress site, or use the enterprise services of WordPress.com make it far and away the largest CMS on the Internet and continues to keep growing.

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

(1 Jan)

2020

(2 Sep)

None 64.8% 61.7% 56.6% 53.3% 51.3% 45.3% 43.1% 39.8%
WordPress 21.0% 23.3% 25.6% 27.3% 29.2% 32.7% 35.4% 38.3%
Shopify 0.1% 0.3% 0.4% 0.6% 0.9% 1.4% 1.9% 2.8%
Joomla 3.3% 3.3% 3.3% 3.4% 3.2% 3.0% 2.6% 2.3%
Drupal 1.9% 2.0% 2.1% 2.2% 2.3% 1.9% 1.7% 1.5%
Wix 0.1% 0.1% 0.2% 0.3% 0.4% 1.0% 1.3% 1.5%
Squarespace 0.1% 0.2% 0.4% 0.5% 0.7% 1.4% 1.5% 1.4%

Peak year for every CMS bolded

This chart shows how open-source competitors Joomla and Drupal are losing market share relative to WordPress. In fact, WordPress is the only open-source system with a significant market share to still grow. Shopify and Wix are also growing, however, they run on proprietary platforms.

If we only take into account the websites that run on a content management system, WordPress seems even more dominant with a market share of 63.5% according to W3techs.

So, who’s bigger, Wix.com or WordPress?

Well, it depends on which WordPress you’re talking about. Wix.com is the largest hosted website builder available. According to builtwith.com, 0.91% of the top 1 million websites are built with Wix.com. WordPress on the other hand is the platform for a whopping 38.2% of those sites. This is not a one-to-one comparison though as these WordPress numbers include all self-hosted sites beyond WordPress.com.

Exact market share numbers are hard to come by but WordPress.com does publish that “Over 409 million people view more than 20 billion pages each month” on WordPress.com, which isn’t really all that helpful. Wix claims that 180 million websites have been created on their platform up until September 2020.

Looking at Ahrefs for a comparison, we can see that, surprisingly, people searched for Wix 6.8M times versus WordPress which was searched 5.8M times. However, you have to take into account that Wix is a publicly traded company and a fair share of the interest in Wix could be from shareholders.

This can give us a glimpse into the interest in these two companies and perhaps a little insight into their comparative sizes.

wix ahrefs global search volume
Google search volumes for Wix

wordpress ahrefs global search volume

Google search volumes for WordPress

Will WordPress continue to be the dominant CMS on the internet?

Signs look good that WordPress will continue to grow. As a nimble, well-supported open-source product, they have been able to quickly address bugs and security issues over the years and that doesn’t look to change. The introduction of WooCommerce (which got acquired by Automattic in 2015) has helped WordPress stay competitive and relevant in the e-commerce area.

Additionally, its affiliated hosting service, WordPress.com is nipping at the heels of Wix.com which should make for an interesting competition in the years to come. Will WordPress.com finally unseat Wix.com as the most popular web host? Time will tell, but it is a good bet that WordPress’s open-source architecture is here to stay!

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