WordPress powers 27% of the internet.
Every year people repeat the claim of WordPress to an increasing share of the internet. The number is so large that other people naturally question it.
So… Does it?
By top sites sample
The 27% number and its previous incarnations come from W3Techs WordPress market share report:
WordPress is used by 58.5% of all the websites whose content management system we know. This is 27.3% of all websites.
There are several notable things about it in relevance to the claim:
- Report surveys top 10 million sites by traffic (provided by Alexa), which they consider representative of the entire web.
- Rather than “powers” it words it as “used by” for which it considers if WordPress is detected on any page of the site.
So the claim seems to hold (if exaggerated — “powered” is a stronger word) and number is consistent.
[added 2017–02–05] Kaspars Dambis had run his own scan of top million Alexa sites, looking for WordPress on front page. His result ended up at 17.24%. Lower number suggests that significant portion of sites just have a WordPress install (likely for blog portion) as opposed it to being used for front/main functionality of the site.
By large sample
Still, 10 million is a rather small subset of the internet. Internet live stats estimate total number of sites to be above one billion in 2016. Alexa 10 million sample makes less than 1% of it. Selected by traffic, not meant to be representative of the web.
Does anyone survey WordPress usage in larger portion of the web? Another often cited source BuiltWith does:
BuiltWith Top Million 230,405 of 942,312 24.5%
Entire Internet 17,788,502 of 365,373,923 4.9%
The share in top sites by traffic sample seems roughly consistent with the claim.
However in largest 365 millions sample (approximately one third of estimated total of web) the share is much lower.
By absolute count
Would it not be easier if WordPress just told how many sites there are, instead of third parties trying to find and count them?
In fact they did in the past. WordPress.com stats page used to publish absolute “WordPress sites in the world” number. It was removed on 2014–04–04, with last number published of 77 686 011.
With estimated size of the 2014 web of 969 million sites, that number put market share at ~7.8%. For comparison W3Techs report claimed 2014 market share of 23.2%.
WordPress market share of about 25% seems to be consistent for relatively small samples of top sites by traffic.
For large samples and previously released numbers market share is measured to be below 10%.