As the biggest CMS on the planet, WordPress is a platform that needs no introduction.
But just how many websites use WordPress? What are the most popular themes and plugins available on the platform? And what are the biggest security threats facing WordPress websites?
To answer all of these questions and more, we’ve compiled a list of the most important WordPress statistics that you need to know this year.
Whether you’re a professional web developer, digital marketer, blogger, eCommerce store owner, or just someone with an interest in WordPress – you’re sure to find the stats and trends below useful informative. Let’s get started!
Quick foreword: For the majority of this article, we’ll be using the word ‘WordPress’ to refer to the free, open-source CMS platform available for download on WordPress.org – not the managed hosting platform, WordPress.com. However, we have also included a section specifically for stats about WordPress.com at the end.
WordPress usage statistics
WordPress is one of the most well-known platforms for creating your own website. Here are some statistics that evidence just how widely used the platform is.
1. WordPress powers almost 40% of sites on the internet
According to data provided by W3Techs, 39.5% of all websites are being powered by WordPress. This figure has risen by 4.5% since 2020. The free, open-source content management system powers all manner of websites, from hobby blogs to fortune-500 company websites like Microsoft.
Source: Search Engine Journal
CMS stands for content management system. WordPress isn’t the only CMS out there, but it is by far the most dominant. It powers 64.1% of all sites that use a content management system and holds a majority share in the market.
Its closest competitor, Shopify, trails far behind with a measly 3.2% market share. Despite the fact that Shopify is a dedicated eCommerce solution and WordPress is not, WordPress is still the most popular eCommerce CMS on the market.
Other competitors include platforms like Wix, Squarespace, and Joomla but none of them has more than a fraction of WordPress’s market share. It’s worth noting that not all websites use a CMS, though. Around 38% build their website from scratch through custom CMS developments.
Source: Search Engine Journal
3. 30.3% of the top 1000 sites use WordPress
According to a blog published by W3Techs, almost a third of the top 1000 sites on the web are powered by WordPress. The next most popular CMS include Drupal and Adobe Experience Manager.
Interestingly, this figure is lower than WordPress use across all websites (40%), and suggests that WordPress may be less of an appealing CMS solution to high-traffic sites.
While WordPress is still the most popular content management system on the list, the study also found that sites in the top 1000 list favor custom CMS developments over standard ones like WordPress.
4. The latest version of WordPress has been downloaded over 54m times
And counting! That figure is just a fraction of the total number of WordPress downloads across all versions.
5. WordPress was the fastest-growing CMS platform 11 years in a row
WordPress’s popularity is still on the up. Despite already being the most popular CMS on the market, it has also claimed the top spot for fastest-growing CMS since 2012. This suggests WordPress’s competitors in the space are doing little to challenge its market dominance.
6. 43.6% of WordPress sites are running version 5.7
5.7 is the latest version of WordPress, but as this statistic shows, the majority of WordPress site owners have failed to update their site to the new version of the software. Although almost 90% of sites run on Version 5.0 and above, almost half of them are still yet to upgrade to the latest version.
This is problematic from a security standpoint. Using an outdated version of WordPress puts your site at greater risk of security threats. If you’re one of the 56.4% of WordPress site owners who haven’t yet updated to 5.7, now’s the time to do so!
WordPress plugin statistics
Plugins are one of the things that makes WordPress such a popular CMS amongst developers and website owners. Here are some facts and figures relating to WordPress plugin usage.
7. There are currently 58,644 plugins listed in the WordPress directory
One of the main advantages of WordPress over other CMS is how extensible it is, and that’s largely due to the huge number of third-party plugins available. As this stat shows, there are thousands of different plugins to choose from that can help you to customize your WordPress site to your specific needs.
8. Akismet is the most downloaded plugin of all time
The Akismet plugin has over 196m downloads to date. The plugin helps users to detect malicious content and spam via contact forms or comment sections. It makes sense that this plugin would claim the top spot as spam protection is something that pretty much every website needs.
9. The top 8 most popular plugins each has over 5 million active installations
Some of the most popular plugins to meet this milestone include Yoast SEO; an SEO plugin that helps you to optimize your website content, Contact Form 7; a free contact form creation and management plugin, and Elementor; a drag-and-drop page builder plugin that lets you design beautiful website pages on the front-end.
10. WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce plugin
According to figures quoted on the WordPress marketplace, WooCommerce has been installed on over 5 million eCommerce websites.
This makes it not only the most popular eCommerce plugin on WordPress but also the overall most popular eCommerce solution on the market. Amongst websites that use eCommerce technologies, 30% use WooCommerce while only 18% use Shopify; the second most popular eCommerce solution.
WordPress theme statistics
WordPress themes are files that provide all the front-end styling information for your website and determine its overall appearance. Here are some WordPress theme statistics that shed some light on the most popular themes on the market.
11. There are 3,972 themes in the WordPress theme directory at present
This figure accounts for all the General Public License themes that can be installed through the WordPress theme directory, but it doesn’t include all the themes out there. There are hundreds of more WordPress themes that aren’t listed in this directory.
12. The most popular GPL themes in the WP directory have over 1m+ active installations each
Amongst those themes to breach the one-million mark are Astra, Twenty Twenty, and Twenty Seventeen. Astra is a lightweight, page-builder-friendly theme and one of the fastest-growing themes available.
Twenty Twenty and Twenty Seventeen are both default WordPress themes. Each year, a default WordPress theme is released and named after its year of release.
Other popular themes that got close to the one-million milestone are OceanWP, Neve, and Hello Elementor. What do these popular themes all have in common? They’re lightweight, page-builder friendly, and use responsive designs.
13. 93% of themes sold on Envato Market are responsive themes
Responsive WordPress themes are themes that adjust their layout and design to fit different screen sizes and resolutions so that the content can be read clearly on both desktop screens smaller screens.
This statistic should come as no surprise, given that responsive, mobile-friendly websites are essential. Especially given the fact that Google takes a mobile-first approach to crawling websites.
14. The median cost of a theme is $59
Around 23% of themes on WordPress cost $59. According to Codeinwp’s theme cost analysis, this is thought to be the golden price point for WordPress themes.
15. The average cost of a WordPress theme club subscription is $145
If you’re a developer or web design company working on dozens of websites each year, you won’t want to pay for individual themes for every website you work on. That’s why theme club subscriptions are so popular. These subscription sites charge a set monthly or yearly fee for (usually) unlimited access to different themes.
Theme club subscription prices can vary a lot, but $145 seems to be around average. You can pay anywhere from $48 for a subscription to Elma Studio to $399 for a subscription to WooThemes.
WordPress security statistics
Security is an important factor to consider when choosing a CMS. Here are some statistics related to WordPress security.
16. Around three-quarters of malware-infected websites in one study were built on WordPress
WordPress is regarded as one of the most secure CMS options. However, like any website, it’s still at risk of data breaches. And as this statistic shows, a large majority of malware infections target WordPress websites.
The reason that such a high proportion of malware-infected websites are built on WordPress is likely largely due to the platform’s popularity and widespread usage.
17. There were more than 4.3 billion Vulnerability Exploit Attempts Targeting WordPress in 2020
According to cybersecurity firm Wordfence, there were over 4 billion attempts to exploit WordPress vulnerabilities blocked by their software in 2020, and that doesn’t include successful attempts. The company also blocked more than 90 billion malicious login attempts.
18. 39.3% of hacked WordPress websites are running an outdated version
According to statistics published by Sucuri, failing to update your WordPress version puts you at a higher risk of hacking and malicious activity. Over half of hacked websites are running on an outdated version.
19. 8% of WordPress websites are hacked due to weak passwords
Weak passwords are not as much of a threat to WordPress users as plugin and theme hacks, but this statistic shows that it’s still well worth choosing a password that is strong enough to defend against hackers.
Source: WP Hacked
20. Plugins are the biggest source of WordPress security vulnerabilities
52% of 4,000 known vulnerabilities are from WordPress plugins according to a WPScan Report, compared to 37% from core WordPress and 11% from themes. One of the issues is that outdated plugins are a weak point that hackers can exploit.
Source: Key CDN
21. Revslider, Gravity Forms, and TimThumb were the three most-hacked WordPress plugins in 2016
Although security measures for 3rd party plugins are always improving, this statistic shows that even the most popular and well-made plugins are still susceptible to hacking.
WordPress.com is a managed hosting service for WordPress websites. Here are some facts and figures relating to WordPress.com sites.
22. 409 million internet users visit WordPress.com pages every month
According to WordPress.com activity statistics, 409 million users read over 20 billion pages powered by WordPress every month.
23. WordPress.com users publish around 70 million posts each month
Sites powered by WordPress.com are ever-expanding, and 70 million new posts and pages are published every month by site owners.
24. … and 77 million new comments
WordPress.com sites are also hubs for user interaction. According to WordPress, almost 80 million new comments are posted on WordPress.com sites every month.
25. 71% of WordPress.com blogs are written in English.
Unsurprisingly, English is the most common language for WordPress blogs. The next most common language is Spanish (4.7%), followed by Indonesian (2.4%), Portuguese (2.3%), and French (1.5%).
There you have it – the top WordPress statistics that shed some light on the current state of this powerful software tool.
As you can see, WordPress is going from strength to strength and looks set to continue to dominate the CMS market for many years to come.
Finally, if you found this article useful, be sure to check out our article on blogging statistics.
Note: Want our latest content delivered to your inbox? Click here to subscribe to the free Blogging Wizard newsletter.