Talk website content management systems (CMSs) with those in the know and WordPress.org will invariably come up. And for good reason, too.
Created by web development company Automattic, WordPress.org is a highly user-friendly website builder used in all industries, and for countless types of websites, across the world. Popular websites that use WordPress.org include news publisher Bloomberg, personal finance website NerdWallet and many more.
WordPress.org is so well known that it overshadows its managed hosting platform cousin, WordPress.com. As a result, any mention of “WordPress” typically refers to WordPress.org instead of WordPress.com. (Likewise, from now on, we’ll be using “WordPress” to refer to “WordPress.org” and not “WordPress.com”.) And needless to say, other CMSs and website builders - whether they’re Squarespace, Drupal, Wix or something else - don’t even come close.
The popularity of WordPress isn’t just anecdotal either, as we’ve got the evidence to prove it. We’ve scoured the BuiltWith and W3Techs web technology survey websites to compile the latest WordPress market share and usage statistics. These figures show, compellingly, that WordPress is the #1 CMS in the world in 2021. Here’s what we found.
Key WordPress market share statistics
52% of all websites in the world are powered by the top CMS technologies
WordPress, Shopify, Joomla, Wix and Squarespace make up the top five CMS and website builder technologies, collectively being used by 52% of all websites on the entire internet.
WordPress usage alone comprises a whopping 43% of this statistic, for a 65.2% CMS technology market share.
60% of CMS technology-powered websites use the top names in the industry.
Of all the websites that use CMS and website builder technologies, approximately 60% of them have either WordPress, Wix, Progress Sitefinity, Squarespace - with WordPress representing 42% of this figure.
About 35% of the top 10,000 and 100,000 websites are powered by the top names in the industry.
Websites ranked in the top 10,000 and top 100,000 in the entire internet tend to be larger, and have more complex needs. As a result, they are more likely to rely on custom-built technology solutions than off-the-shelf versions. This could explain why the top CMSs are used by only 30% of the top 10,000, and 35% of the top 100,000 websites in the world.
However, WordPress still makes up the lion’s share of these percentages, at about 15% for the top 10,000 websites and 23% of the top 100,000 websites. So who says that WordPress is a popular CMS only with small blogs? Clearly, big websites love it too.
3x increase in WordPress usage over the past 10 years
WordPress usage has steadily increased over the last 10 years. WordPress had a mere 13.1% usage on 1 January 2011 - though, admittedly, any other CMS would kill to have that amount of usage. Within a decade, however, WordPress usage subsequently tripled to 39.5% on 1 January 2021.
WordPress market share has also increased from 51.0% on 1st January 2011 to 65.2%, with no other CMS posing a significant threat.
Almost 80% of all open source ecommerce websites run WordPress
While WordPress is commonly used by bloggers, it definitely isn’t just a blogging platform. With the right ecommerce plugins installed, WordPress can be a great ecommerce platform, too - and it’s currently trusted by almost 80% of ecommerce websites that run on open source technology (like WordPress).
Over 70% of websites in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada run WordPress
What makes WordPress such a successful CMS?
From the above stats, it’s obvious that WordPress is the most successful and well-used CMS in the world. Here are four possible reasons why.
1. WordPress is free to use
Undoubtedly, a big part of WordPress’ appeal lies in how it’s free to use. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can set up a WordPress site spending completely nothing. You’d still have to pay for things such as:
- A web hosting plan (such as our Krystal managed WordPress hosting plans)
- A domain name
- Website plugins that extend the functionality of your website
However, the versatility of the WordPress CMS means that you have full control over your website’s appearance and features. Accordingly, you have full control over your costs as well. Other CMSs, such as Squarespace and Wix, are closed - and paid - ecosystems, which means that you’d have to pay their prescribed pricing if you want to use them. (In other words: take it or leave it.)
2. WordPress is open source
WordPress is an open-source platform, meaning that its source code is made freely available for anyone to use and adapt for their needs. As a result, WordPress is highly modifiable and can be customised to fulfill practically any design vision or use case - typically by installing the right website templates and WordPress plugins.
For instance, although WordPress is a popular blogging platform, installing the WooCommerce ecommerce plugin can turn a WordPress site into an online store. On the other hand, installing the MemberPress membership plugin can help website owners charge for access to their content (this is great for selling courses, for example). Whether you’d like to build a business website, media publication or a website for a small business, the 58,900+ plugins in the WordPress plugin ecosystem can help make it a reality.
In contrast, closed-source website builders like Wix, Squarespace and Shopify have more limited functionality, restricting the extent to which website owners can modify their websites to fit their needs.
3. WordPress is well supported and actively updated
Being such a popular CMS, WordPress is supported by a dedicated core team that is committed to making it the best open-source software on the Web. This includes regularly pushing out WordPress feature improvements and promptly patching security vulnerabilities.
WordPress also sports an active user community that readily chips in if someone needs help with their WordPress website. Apart from the official forums, countless tutorials have been published online to assist website owners in making the most of WordPress and its associated plugins. With all this support, and WordPress’ general ease of use, even users completely new to building a website can have a WordPress site up and running in no time at all.
4. WordPress is highly secure
If there’s a downside to WordPress being the world’s most popular CMS, it’s that it can be an attractive target for hackers. However, WordPress comes with strong security features to minimise security incidents. For example, it uses cryptographic tokens called “nonces” to prevent Cross Site Request Forgery attacks, where WordPress users may otherwise be fooled into giving bad actors unauthorised website access. Security issues reported to the WordPress core team are also expeditiously acted upon.
Many WordPress users also choose to further shore up their websites’ defences through choosing a web hosting provider that implements Direct Denial-of-Service (DDoS) protection (Krystal provides over 2 Tbps DDoS protection), and installing security-related WordPress plugins like Wordfence.
Will you be joining Team WordPress?
The numbers don’t lie: WordPress is by far the most popular CMS globally, being used by large and small websites alike. Its usage worldwide has only increased over the years, and its growth shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
With so many things to like about WordPress, it’s not difficult to see why it is so well loved. And if you’ve decided to jump on the WordPress bandwagon, then you’re going to need to host your WordPress website with a reputable web hosting company - which is where we come in.
Our Krystal Onyx managed WordPress hosting plans are best in class, providing generous SSD storage space and LiteSpeed caching to ensure that your WordPress website loads lightning-fast and can effortlessly handle immense traffic volumes.
Couple this with our 99.99% uptime guarantee and round-the-clock malware protection scans, and you can rest assured that your website is in good hands. Sign up for a free 30-day trial of our Onyx managed WordPress hosting plans today.