WordPress doesn’t stop evolving and inspiring, thanks to its amazing community. So, why not collect some facts about this content management system (CMS)? First appeared as a blogging platform, now this CMS turned out to be the most popular worldwide.
Table of Contents
- What is WordPress
- WordPress History Milestones
- Some Statistics and Interesting Facts
What Is WordPress?
WordPress is a free CMS working under the GNU GPL (GNU General Public License). In simple words, it’s about the four core freedoms proclaimed on the WordPress Mission page:
WordPress is powered by PHP (programming language) and MySQL (database management system), both open-source.
There are two types of WordPress, so to say:
- WordPress.org is an organization of WordPress developers and contributors. There you can download it for free, find full documentation, read about the product updates and the development process, join the team of creators yourself, as well as get themes and plugins. Everything there is free.
But WordPress.org doesn’t provide hosting or services for your particular website’s development (only forums about the themes and plugins).
- WordPress.com is a service and a blogging platform. It’s a commercial company that belongs to Automattic, founded by WordPress CMS creators and still contributing to WordPress.org (the community) a lot, doing that for free. However, this company provides hosting and manages your websites (SaaS model). Depending on the pricing plan, there can be different levels of how their developers are involved in your website’s support. They have costly plans for companies like Variety with high traffic and security requirements.
But also, they have a free plan which gives you a very limited version of WordPress (you can’t add plugins, have little choice of themes, etc.), yet you can run the site without buying a hosting or domain name. It’s kind of an excellent opportunity for the very beginners to get acquainted with website building.
We’ve already talked about their differences in detail earlier.
WordPress History Milestones
- b2/cafelog blogging tool was very popular, but the developer discontinued its support. An 18-year-old Matt Mullenweg wasn’t happy about it and joined forces with Mike Little to develop the idea of the blogging platform.
- In 2003, WordPress 0.7 was released.
- In 2004, with the 1.4 version, plugins were introduced. So developers could write their own plugins and share and exchange them. And users unfamiliar with coding could simply use them and achieve what they want from the website.
- 2005 brought the 1.5 version and the new Themes feature, as well as Dashboard and static pages. Later this year, Akismet started to protect us from spam, and Matt Mullenweg founded Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com and a powerful WordPress.org contributor.
- In 2007, they released the Widget feature, improved comments, introduced Gravatar, and added spell check, tags, and “pending review.”
- 2008 was the year when the Post Revisions feature and Theme Directory first appeared. Around this time, the WordPress dashboard began to look like we know it today.
- Since 2010, WordPress doesn’t belong to Automattic, but the WordPress foundation has all its rights. That year, a custom post types feature was introduced, which actually made it a full-fledged CMS and not a blogging platform anymore.
- 2011 saw WordPress getting faster and much more user-friendly: the admin bar and the visual file uploader were added. But most important, WooCommerce arrived.
- 2012 brought the new media manager, captions, and theme previewing.
- Who would believe that automatic updates were introduced only in 2013? Along with the beautiful Twenty-Fourteen theme representing the new minimalistic website design.
- Mobile-first approach became an essential thing in 2014. And yes, we are already on Version 4.0. I wonder, do many of us remember that version?
- 2015 was about REST API integration, responsive images, better customizer, menus, and WooCommerce acquired by Automattic.
- 2018 was the year of Gutenberg with Version 5.0.
Thousands of big and small improvements came after that year: better speed, compatibility with PHP 7.4 and later with PHP 8.0, auto-updates, site health checker, visual builders, lazy loading, and loads of other things. And here we are, in 2022, with Site Editor and many exciting features. Good job, isn’t it?
Interesting WordPress Statistics and Facts
- From the beginning, each version is named after a jazz legend. Also, the Hello Dolly plugin is included in each new installation as a tribute to Louis Armstrong.
- There are almost 48,5 million downloads of WordPress 6.1.
- You can choose from over 60,000 plugins in the plugin directory.
- There are 10,270 free themes only in the official themes directory.
- In the spring of 2022, the Creative Commons Search Engine became part of the WordPress ecosystem, and now it’s called Openverse. And now, at the end of the year, you can browse over 600 million creative works, including images, stock photos, and audio. All of them are free, of course.
- According to W3Techs, Elementor is the most popular page builder, and 18.5% of all WordPress websites use it. WPBakery takes second place with 13.7% of all sites.
- WordPress.org is visited by around 18M people monthly.
- The community organizes WordCamps – casual conferences about everything related to WordPress, and the first one took place in 2006. As of the end of 2022, 1128 events took place in 379 cities in 65 countries.
- There are 21 teams working on WordPress development, each responsible for a particular aspect of the CMS’s development: core, themes, documentation, plugins, mobile, marketing, localization, etc.
- The estimated cost of WordPress as a project is almost $13 million, according to Open Hub.
WordPress market share
WordPress powers 43% (around 835 million) of all the websites in the world, and its market share of all websites using CMSs is 64.3%, according to W3Techs. Not bad, right? And it’s not about only blogging anymore. 20% of all WordPress websites use WooCommerce, the eCommerce platform. There are even more sites that sell products (but without using WooCommerce).
The most popular plugins
As of the end of 2022, those plugins are the most popular, and this is the number of their downloads throughout the lifetime:
- Yoast SEO – 491M;
- Jetpack – 303M;
- Akismet – 270M;
- Contact Form 7 – 245M;
- Elementor – 219M;
- WooCommerce – 219M;
- All-in-One WP Migration – 90M.
The most popular themes
According to BuiltWith, those themes are the most popular:
- Divi with 14 thousand websites, or 1.4%.
- Astra with 11,5 thousand, or 1.16%.
- Hello Elementor powers 9,3 thousand, or almost 1%.
- GeneratePress got almost 8 thousand fans and runs 0.79% of websites.
- Newspaper theme is useful for 7,8 thousand, or 0.79%.
- Avada has been sold 6,3 thousand times, and 0.63% of sites use it.
9 popular websites powered by WordPress
Many world-renowned companies use WordPress. Of course, thousands of such websites are for more or less niche usage. But I want to talk about those having a lot of visitors.
Microsoft News Website
Does Microsoft need an introduction? I guess not. And they chose WordPress for the website about their news and stories.
This website is one of the most reputable sources of news about the Web and companies that decide the fate of the Internet, and WordPress powers it.
The legendary magazine about music also uses WordPress. Because why not?
This company has significantly impacted our childhood dreams and how we use imagination as adults. And it said “yes” to WordPress, too.
Well, when we are young, we watch cartoons, and they fill our imagination with ideas and pictures. Later on, fashion can fill that void. So, Vogue has also chosen to have this powerful CMS, even if the publisher, Conde Nast, has a lot of money for any other one. Good job!
Since 1905, Variety has been one of the most reputable and popular magazines writing about the entertainment industry. Guess what? WordPress also runs this website.
The White House
The American government, the White House in particular, definitely would not try to save some money on website development. But, instead of the custom CMS, they chose WordPress. A wise decision, isn’t it?
Finland and introducing the country
If you want to go to Finland, this website will be the first you will check. By the way, there are much more websites like this powered by WordPress.
The New York Times
One of the best advertisements of any CMS is a huge, reputable, and popular media like the New York Times that uses it to deliver news and features and interact with thousands of visitors every day and every hour.
The list can go on and on, and then again on and on. But my idea was to show you that WordPress is powerful and flexible, so any type of project, even the most popular in the world, can count on this CMS. But, of course, with the proper and smart approach to building the website and using the right tools for that.
WordPress is not only about coding and bright ideas – it’s about the community. And about the dream is that if people contribute even a bit of their time and effort but try to make the world or the Internet a better place, it will work out. It can improve the lives of thousands or even millions of people, make it easier to spread important information, education and ideas by building websites that are easy to create and maintain, and it will cost almost nothing – because there’s no need to hire a developer.
And professional developers, in turn, coming up with new solutions for specific projects and problems can earn money selling their products for not a high price but to many people or on a freemium basis. Thus, it’s a win-win game.
In the world of tech and the Internet, in particular, open-source products are almost always limitless sources of inspiration. They prove that humans can archive so much if they unite around a great idea. And luckily, WordPress is one of those examples.