There’s no denying that WordPress has become one of the most, if not the most popular content management system. What started off as a personal project is now an integral part of the Internet’s architecture, powering millions of websites.
While you probably know your way around the CMS in your sleep, there might be some things about WordPress that you are not aware of. The following statistics on WordPress usage will shine a light on just how popular the platform is and maybe even give hardened WordPress veterans reason to pause and say “Really?”
Prepare to be baffled.
(Where possible I tried using current statistics. If not stated otherwise, all numbers are from 2014.)
1. WordPress sites around the globe publish 17 posts every second
You read that right. In 2014, blogs that are part of the WordPress network (meaning blogs hosted either on WordPress.com or externally-hosted WordPress sites that have the Jetpack plugin installed) published on average 17 blog posts per second. That comes down to 1,023 blog post per minute, 61,391 in an hour and just below 1.5 million per day. And that’s not counting those sites for which WordPress cannot collect any statistics.
To get a better impression of what this looks like, WordPress.com offers a map that lets you see updates around the world in real-time. You can find it here.
2. The combined traffic is 14.7 billion monthly pageviews
It appears that all of the activity is paying off, resulting in massive traffic. For this year alone, blogs in the WordPress network have garnered a combined average of 14.7 billion pageviews per month. That’s twice as many people as there are on the planet! Let that sink in for a minute.
3. WordPress blogs receive 5.5 million comments per month.
And man are those visitors a talkative bunch. Each month of this year combined produced on average 5.5 million comments. Looks like there are some fierce discussions going on out there. Plus, these are legitimate comments, which made it through the spam protection, mind you.
If the akismet stats are any indication, the number of spam comments generated at the same time is about 24 times higher. That means besides the legitimate comments WordPress blogs receive every month, they get bombarded by 132 million spammers at the same time. Jeez!
4. There are 37 million global monthly searches for WordPress.
Seeing the amount of data WordPress.com alone can handle, it is no surprise that WordPress is so popular and continues to garner attention. The platform’s growing esteem is also reflected in its Google searches.
In the United States alone, “WordPress” as a keyword receives roughly 450,000 search requests every month. That’s not even taking into account people looking for “WordPress templates,” “WordPress plugins,” and other WordPress-centric information. Overall, WordPress-related terms receive more than 37 million global searches every month.
As for how the platform stacks up agains its competitors: Google Trends sees WordPress twice as popular as Blogger, 3.5 times more popular than Joomla, and almost five times more in demand than Drupal.
5. The company behind WordPress.com only has 283 employees.
It may sound crazy for all the hubbub going on around it, but Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, is really not all that big. At the time of this writing, the team behind the popular blogging platform (and its many side projects) is just 283 people strong.
To put that into perspective, Amazon.com employs 132,600 people albeit “only” accumulating 60% of WordPress.com’s traffic. That is probably one of the reasons why Automattic is always looking for new people to join their team.
6. WordPress 4.0 has been downloaded 14.1 million times.
However, thanks to the large community and the work of a multitude of volunteer contributors, that number is sufficient even for the development of WordPress’ self-hosted variety. The latest iteration alone, WordPress 4.0 “Benny”, has been downloaded 14.1 million times and counting. To get an impression of just how quickly this number grows, watch the handy download counter. And it doesn’t stop here: WordPress’ next (minor) release is scheduled for December 10, 2014.
7. Only 22% of WordPress sites are up to date
However, not everything is going well. In the past, WordPress has often made headlines due to hacked sites and security concerns, something which its makers try hard to address quickly with new and improved versions.
However, not all WordPress users share this approach. While download numbers for the latest version are impressive, overall there are a lot of outdated sites running with WordPress out there. W3tech states that only a little more than a third (33.9%) have updated to version 4.0.
The picture which WordPress.org paints is even bleaker. According to their data, the percentage of WordPress users running their site on the latest version is just 11.4%. Even if we stick with the median of 22.25%, that’s pretty abysmal. Learn why and how to update your WordPress site.
8. There are 51 translations of WordPress
Alright, this might be by far the smallest number on the list, but its significance should not be understimated. The number of languages which WordPress is available in is steadily growing. From Albanian, Dutch and Japanese all the way to Icelandic, Persian and even Scottish Gaelic, you can set your WordPress dashboard to (almost) anything you like
As Matt Mullenweg also stated in his “State of the Word” speech, in 2014 non-English downloads surpassed English downloads for the first time ever. That means in the future we an expect for plugins and features to first appear in another language and be translated into English instead of the other way around.
This focus on multi-language support opens up opportunities for WordPress users worldwide. Plus, don’t worry if your preferred language is not available yet (though what more than Scottish Gaelic can you want?), WordPress contributors are constantly working on expanding the list of WordPress translations.
9. 34,000+ WordPress plugins and no end in sight
One of the main reasons WordPress is ahead of many other platforms is its extendability. Plugins are available for all means and purposes. Whatever feature you would like on your website, in most cases you will find a plugin which can do just that.
WordPress.org’s database for plugins recently surpassed 34,000. While this is a far cry from the online stores of Apple and Google, overall downloads of more than 766,000,000 is still reason to celebrate.
10. Akismet is the #1 plugin
It’s not easy to come out as the winner in a field of 34,000 contenders. Yet with more than 24 million downloads, Akismet, the popular spam protection plugin, has done just that. However, the fact that it is pre-installed in every newer WordPress build might be a factor.
On second place we currently find Contact Form 7 (21 million downloads) and third goes to Michael Torbert’s All in One SEO Pack (20 million downloads), two other WordPress household names. These three plugins alone almost make up for 1% of total plugin downloads from the WordPrestory.
11. WordPress has been downloaded more than 46 million times
By July 2013 the free version of WordPress had been downloaded 46 million times, which means that since 2003 it averaged one hundred downloads per day. Of course, blogging has become immensely more popular in recent years, hence the daily download numbers are significantly higher in 2014 than in its humble beginnings.
12. 25% of WordPress users make a full-time living off of it
Another interesting tidbit from the “State of the Word” 2014 was that a full quarter of the people who answered the WordPress survey make a full time living off of the CMS. That’s quite impressive! If you combine this information with a 2012 survey which found that the median hourly rate of WordPress projects is $50, you don’t have to worry too much that WordPress developers are starving by the roadside.
13. WordPress is most popular with businesses, least popular with news sites
Among the top one million websites in the world, the lion’s share of those powered by WordPress are related to business. They greatly outnumber news sites, where the usage of WordPress is least popular.
Given the fact that the online marketing world raves about WordPress, this is not all that surprising. The content management system is among the topics marketers most love to blog about. Keywords related to WordPress also tend to have very high competition in search engine advertising.
WordPress is taking the online world by storm. The importance of the platform is increasing with every year as more and more people use it as their go-to solution for building websites. Currently there is no end in sight and no reason why this development shouldn’t continue. If you ever asked yourself whether investing in your WordPress skills is a waste of time, you can put these doubts safely to rest.
Did any of these statistics surprise you?
Nick Schäferhoff is an entrepreneur and writer/blogger from Germany. He learned WordPress when he needed a website for his first business venture and instantly fell in love. He is passionate about health, productivity, and continuous learning, which he writes about on his lifestyle blog. When not building websites, he likes to travel the world, experience other cultures, and learn new languages.