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18 amazing facts about WordPress as it turns 18

As WordPress turns 18, we’re looking back at the incredible journey of the platform that now powers over one-third of the Internet. Let that sink in. A third of all the websites out there use it — a remarkable feat for any single CMS to achieve. 

We’re marking this epic achievement with a huge ‘coming of age’ sale celebrating WordPress entering adulthood. As part of our sale, we’re sponsoring a competition that will begin on May 4 where 18 lucky winners will get $30 of Namecheap credit.

To get the ball rolling, check out 18 amazing facts about WordPress that you probably never knew. 

How it all started

Eighteen years ago, WordPress landed on the Internet. The first version was a simple, and somewhat limited, blogging tool. Fast-forward to today, we’re looking at a different platform entirely. 

Now, it’s transformed into the go-to choice for millions of online creators — and not just bloggers, but e-commerce stores, and — well, you name the type of website, there will be a WordPress example. So how did it happen? What did they do right?

We’ve distilled two decades of hard work and development, by thousands of contributors, into 18 interesting stats and facts about WordPress. So sit back, as we paint a picture of how immensely influential this open-source CMS has become, and celebrate the hard work behind millions of personal sites, websites, and thriving businesses. 

family celebrating the WordPress 18th birthday by hanging decorations

The ultimate WordPress factsheet

There is so much to celebrate around the WordPress 18th birthday. Let’s take a look at some cool WordPress facts.

1. WordPress powers 40.9% of the entire Internet

We teased it just now, but yes — marvel at it again. Over 75 million people choose WordPress to power their homes on the web. That’s approximately the same number of people who lived in the Americas in 1492. Although it’s at almost 41% now according to W3Techs, the way things are going, we think it will cross that magic 50% mark in the next few years. If you’re interested in our prophecy, read Why WordPress Will Soon Power 50% of all Websites.

2. The term “WordPress” is searched for over 3 million times each month 

According to SEMrush, the keyword “WordPress” is googled around 3.1 million times per month. That’s a lot more than “Squarespace” at 1.1 million searches, and “Weebly” with just 563,000 searches per month. 

Man sitting in a pie graph swimming pool celebrating WordPress success

While there are many options in the CMS marketplace, the majority of people developing websites choose WordPress. With just over 64% market share, WordPress dwarfs the closest runner-up in Shopify, which accounts for 5.4% of all CMS users. What’s more, over 500 websites are built each day using WordPress, while in contrast, just between 60 and 80 are made per day on platforms like Shopify and Squarespace.

4. All major releases are named after jazz musicians

Each major WordPress release is named after a jazz musician. According to the official documentation, “the WordPress core developers share a love for jazz music.” They’ve even set up a radio station over at Last.FM station where you can listen to all the musicians they named a release after.

5. Millions have downloaded the latest WordPress version

At the time of writing, the latest WordPress version, Version 5.7, had been downloaded more than 33 million times. Head over to the official site and watch the download counter to see how ridiculously fast the number of downloads increases.

6. WordPress powers 14.7% of the world’s top websites

Not only is WordPress the world’s most popular CMS, but many of the most successful enterprises are also built with it. We’re talking everyone from Fortune 500 companies like the Walt Disney Company to the home of Beyoncé, Sony, and Microsoft News. 

7. WordPress took a joint effort of 382 person-years to build

According to Open Hub’s Project Cost Calculator, WordPress would have taken over 382 person-years, and over a million lines of code, to launch the version we are using today. Furthermore, the estimated cost of a project of this size is over six million dollars. Fortunately, WordPress had had a vast network of developers volunteering their time and contributing their hard work to keep the platform in such great shape from the very beginning.

Woman working on WordPress website sitting on a $0 sign

8. WordPress costs $0

WordPress is released under an open-source license, the GNU Public License (GPL). With the GPL, anyone in the world can download and use a piece of software, and the source code is freely available for anyone to study, use, modify, and build upon. WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg intended to not only offer the freedoms offered by open source but to protect them. That’s how the WordPress Foundation came to being. 

The WordPress Foundation is a non-profit organization tasked with democratizing publishing through open source GPL software. They achieve this by keeping access to WordPress free for all.

9. WordPress has 0 CEOs, and no one owns it

Since WordPress.org is an open-source project not owned by any company, it does not have a CEO. WordPress.org is entirely run by volunteer developers from all over the world. As unusual as it may sound, WordPress owes its entire success to its active and loyal community, not just a single visionary CEO. It’s truly amazing what WordPress has been able to achieve.

10. 1,080 WordCamp events in 371 cities, in 65 countries 

WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. The first WordCamp was organized in San Francisco, CA, on August 5th, 2006 by Matt Mullenweg, and there have since been over a thousand more of them. 

What started with just 500 brave attendees and took just one day has grown into a global phenomenon! WordPress meetups are smaller events organized by local communities under the umbrella of the WordPress Foundation. According to the WordPress Meetup, there are 24,370 members across 29 groups worldwide.

11. 58,367 plugins and growing daily

Plugins are like apps on your phone, but for your WordPress site. There are currently almost 60,000 free WordPress plugins available for download in the Plugin directory. From creating an online store to adding a gallery or a bookings system for your taxi firm, there’s a plugin for that. They are so intrinsic to WordPress success, Plugins downloads passed one billion back in 2016 and have shown no signs of slowing down. 

12. Over 123 million people downloaded WooCommerce 

According to the latest data, WooCommerce is used by 12.5% of all the websites whose content management system can be identified. This is 7.9% of all websites using a free plugin to power their online stores. Fun fact: WooCommerce recorded a peak of 746,601 downloads on November 25, 2020.

13. Avada Theme has earned over 40 million dollars in sales

Avada is the most popular theme on premium marketplace Themeforest. At the time of writing, it had been purchased 670,321 times at a cost of $59. Discount days and general offers aside, Avada has generated roughly forty million dollars in sales and counting.

A man leaning against a coin

14. $63,375 is the average salary of a WordPress developer in the US

According to data from the job board site Talent, a career as a WordPress developer is not only lucrative but highly sought after. That’s not surprising. The ever-expanding WordPress ecosystem has created thousands of opportunities. Everyone from content writers to developers, web designers, and entrepreneurs earn a living from this CMS. 

Furthermore, WordPress is responsible for a multi-billion-dollar economy, where companies and professionals sell products, solutions, and services like EasyWP, all based on WordPress products.

15. 49% of hacked WordPress websites ran an outdated version

Knowing that almost half of the hacked WordPress sites aren’t up to date, it might come as a surprise that fewer than one-third of all WordPress installations have upgraded to the latest version. WordPress encourages all users to run the newest version, yet, just 23% of users have done so. 

According to W3Techs, over 27% of all sites still use version 5.2, and 12% use Version 4! When you delay upgrading your website, you jeopardize your site security, and you risk your user’s personal information. If this sounds like you, you might want to read our WordPress Security guide.

16. 84.2% of WordPress websites use Google Analytics

Google Analytics is used by 84.2% of all the websites whose traffic analysis tool we know. That’s an astonishing amount, but hardly surprising. With Google Analytics, you get a complete overview of how users interact with your content, for example, which is viewed the most, and the most shared pieces. 

With this data, you can adapt your content to appeal to your viewer’s likes and dislikes. For a comprehensive walk-through getting started with Google Analytics, check out this article: The Google Analytics Starter Guide.

17. WordPress core software is GDPR compliant 

As you may know, the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, is a set of legal guidelines for websites that collect information from internet visitors located within the European Union. Released in May of 2018, these rules initially sent web admins worldwide into a virtual tailspin trying to comply. Fortunately, dedicated developers went into action, and now the WordPress core software is GDPR compliant.

Namecheap has a long history of advocating for privacy, so WordPress updating its underlying software to be GDPR compliant with the 4.9.6 version was very much celebrated around here. 

a person testing the speed of WordPress installs with a giant stopwatch

18. Takes less than 60 seconds to install

If we cast our minds back to 2003, installing WordPress was a headache that involved setting up servers and jumping through all sorts of technical hoops. These days, most web hosts automatically install the software for you and it takes about five minutes. That was until EasyWP landed on the Managed WordPress hosting scene and got the WordPress installation down to under a minute.

The final word on WordPress stats

If you ever needed convincing, or to convince someone else that WordPress is the best place to build a website, these phenomenal stats should do the trick. The achievements covered on this page are a testament to the impact WordPress has had on the Internet at large. It’s taken an extraordinary effort to deliver the perks that 40% of websites running WordPress have come to expect. 

The WordPress community is thriving, thanks to an open-source ecosystem involving thousands of volunteers tirelessly working since 2003 to make WordPress more advanced and simultaneously more accessible to all users. Thanks to user-friendly advancements to the core software, installing was the only tricky part for newbies. A complex backup, upgrading, and optimization process turned off a lot of beginners. That was until Managed WordPress hosting became widely available. 

Don’t forget to pick up some fantastic deals in our WordPress birthday celebration. Get a free month of EasyWP to try WordPress out for yourself, plus epic savings across our entire product range. You can also enter our competition, where 18 people will win $30 for writing a birthday message to WordPress.

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning some new stats about WordPress at the dawn of its 18th birthday. Do you know any other impressive stats we didn’t pick up on? Let us know in the comments.

WordPress facts infographic
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Isobel Weston avatar

Isobel Weston

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