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How Many Websites are There? How Many Websites Use WordPress?

November 23, 2020

I started wondering to myself this morning about just how popular how many websites are there in the world anyway? What percentage of them use WordPress as their content management system? And why is it so popular? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that WordPress is popular, you run across WordPress websites everyday, including top-notch themes. I know why I use WordPress, but what is it about WordPress that makes it so popular? Is there anything that we can glean from these numbers to learn more about this content management system and what its future might hold? Those are some of the questions that I asked myself before writing this post and hopefully, I have done a good enough job of explaining all of the answers.

But before he gets all of that, let’s take a step backward and think about just how many websites there are in the world and how we got to this point so quickly. Geologically speaking anyway. The internet moves pretty fast, I guess 30 years or so is quite a long time to build up to the Staggering number of websites that are currently are on the web.

We’ve come a long, long way since the very first website was launched on the world wide web.  The year was 1991, late summer specifically, when info.cern.ch was launched.  Pretty crazy, right?  For the first couple of years, nothing much happened.  Then, the British physicist Tim Berners-Lee made the WWW technology available as a public domain code, which is a lot of why the web began to flourish in the early to mid 90s.

Before that, the same Mr. Berners-Lee had created the World Wide Web in March of 1989.  He also created the first web server, the first browser and the first code editor for the web.  Berners-Lee created hypertext markup language, HTML and Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or HTTP.  That’s quite a bit of stuff and all of it laid the groundwork for what would become the modern internet.

So, that’s a little bit of a background. Now then, have you ever taken a moment to think about just…

How Many Websites are There in the World?

According to Internet Live Stats, there are just over 1.7 billion sites in total, as of July, 2019 at least.  The numbers are pretty fluid though.  That number keeps ticking up though, so by the time you read this, it’s probably a lot more.  Check out the live count here.

How Many Websites Are There in the World

That sure is a lot of websites.  Can you imagine how much work has gone into creating nearly 2 billion sites?

Here’s a fun note, the total number of websites reached the magic milestone of 1 billion sites way back in 2016, but it’s really taken off since then, adding the around 700 million new sites in just three years or so.

Here’s another interesting little tidbit.  This graph shows the rapid rise in the total number of sites over the last few years.

Total number of Websites - Internet Live Stats

You can see, it’s not always a straight line upward, there are some years in there where the number actually went down for a while, including 2018, where it dropped to around 1.6 billion.  But, you can’t keep the web down, it’s up over 100 million this year alone.


What’s the Total Number of Active Sites in 2019?

That’s sort of the catch.  This count is really just registered domains.  The actual number of websites that are actively being used at any given time is significantly lower than 1.7 billion.

So these websites all have an IP address and they use a server, each of them has a unique domain name and TLD, they can even be accessed using any browser and sometimes, found via a search on the web.

But none of that means that the site is actually being used. In fact, nearly 90% of all websites are currently inactive. Many of them are parked, redirected to a different domain or completely static and I’m used.

That means that only about 10% of all the websites in the world are being actively used for some sort of function. That lowers the number two about 170 million active websites. That’s still a heck of a lot.

According to Netcraft, the official number as of April, 2019, there were over 185 million active sites online. Back to our other question…

How Popular is WordPress?

You should keep in mind, we are not talking about wordpress.com websites. WordPress.com is a Blog platform, one of the three biggest out there. Currently, it’s second behind Blogspot, Google’s blogging platform. What we were talking about is wordpress.com, the content management system that is used exclusively for self-hosted websites, whether it’s a blog or an e-commerce site, a business site or something else entirely.

WordPress.org makes up about 60% of the world share of content management systems. That means that all of the other CMS’s, Drupal, Joomla, Magento, Shopify and all of the other content management systems that you’ve never heard of, they make up less than half of the global share. WordPress is the most popular content management system for the seventh year in a row.


And while WordPress continues to grow in popularity, many of these other content Management systems are losing market share, slowly becoming less relevant over time. One thing that’s very important about that, you don’t want to get stuck with the content management system that isn’t being updated to keep it cutting edge, getting your new features and working out old bugs. That’s one great thing about WordPress, so many people are working on the project that it is as fresh as ever. Everyday is better than the last.

What’s more, WordPress is also the fastest-growing CMS. There are over 500 new WordPress sites being built every day. This is just for websites that are in the top 10 million. Compare that to Squarespace or Shopify which add about 60 to 80 per day.

That is quite a difference.

WordPress is Googled about 2.8 million times every month. That makes it among the most popular keywords ever.  There are 17 posts published every second on WordPress sites around the world, that is a really crazy number. 22% of the top 100,000 websites use WordPress. Around 30% of the top 1 million websites use WordPress.

In addition, just about 20 million websites on the web use WordPress.

So, you can see by the way these numbers just how popular WordPress it is.

Here’s the total market share graph, from Kinsta.

Kinsta, Market Share of Content Management Systems

And according to Kinsta again, the total percent of websites using WordPress is a staggering 34% overall.  So, more than one in three websites is using WordPress to build their site.

And as of July of 2019, that number is closing at all on 35% market share.

What Percent of Websites use WordPress

That trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down either.

While other content Management Systems seem to be falling by the wayside, their market share is dropping rapidly. WordPress continues to grow. For example, over the last year, Joomla has decreased from 3.1% to 3% total. Drupal has dropped 3% to 1.9%. That means that Joomla shrank by about 3% overall Andrew Powell Buy almost 15%. Meanwhile, WordPress continues to grow.

How about some of the new are tools that people or experimenting with? I’m talking about site building services like Wix or Squarespace, or blog sites like Medium. (Find out more about how to switch over from medium.com to WordPress in this handy article).  These tools or not really pretty good popular overall, despite how much they are advertised on TV and on the web. They comprise just a tiny percentage of the total number of websites out there.

That said, they are increasing in popularity. Squarespace and Wix of both cracked 1% total market share over the last year. Their growth is up over 100% each, which is strong. That means that while WordPress is still the king of the hill so far, some of these website builder services are growing at an even faster rate.

But, it’s going to take a long time to catch WordPress.

Why is WordPress so Popular?

Well, it’s the most popular content management system on the web for good reason. It doesn’t get any more popular than that, right? But why?

I think the reasons why WordPress is so popular are pretty clear. For one thing, WordPress is probably the most flexible content management system out there. With WordPress, you can set up any type of sight, not just a traditional blog. There are thousands of great looking WordPress themes on the market to help you get your site up and running quickly and give your website the look that you need.  There are awesome minimalist WordPress themes that can help you create a slick, engaging blog or portfolio.  You’ve got WooCommerce WordPress themes for building an online shop.  There are plenty of WordPress magazine themes that let you speak your mind and reach a really wide audience.  The list goes on and on.

Also, you can’t overlook the price. WordPress is free and open source, all you need to do is get yourself a hosting account and purchase a well-designed WordPress theme and you can be up and running quickly, on a budget.  Want to know more about how expensive it is to start a WordPress website?

Being open source certainly has its advantages as well. The WordPress Community is huge and it’s growing every day. It’s more than just WordPress themes that are being developed, there are plugins and add-ons that can really extend the functionality of your website. No matter what you want to do, adding portfolios or creating an e-commerce site, blogging or generating leads for your business, there’s probably a plugin available that can help you get the job done.

WordPress has plugins for handling SEO, for making your website more secure, for getting in touch with customers and clients, plugins for building an online community or social network, the list goes on and on.

And, it’s not just for blogging anymore. With free tools like WooCommerce, WordPress is starting to take over the e-commerce industry as well. It does have a ways to go to catch Shopify, Shopify still powers about 18% of eCommerce sites. WooCommerce is a close second at 7%.

But among the top 1 million sites on the web, WooCommerce actually outperforms Shopify Buy 4%. So, larger sites still seem to be drawn to WooCommerce over Shopify. And it’s not just WooCommerce, Easy Digital downloads is another Rising superstar that is only available for WordPress.

No matter whether you have a small personal blog or a massive website like the New Yorker or BBC. WordPress works great either way. WordPress is a publishing platform that allows everyone to create content easily. Even if you’re a beginner, you can get started really quickly and have a great looking site up and running in about an hour. If you want to get a little bit more in-depth, WordPress can handle it. As a Content management system, it’s easily the most adaptable that I have used.

Widgets, plugins, themes. It’s all there. It allows even one person operations to compete with the big boys, no one will know it’s just you if you have a professional-looking website all the features that much larger sites offer. And it’s all possible with WordPress.

Beyond that, there’s another reason I think that WordPress is so popular. It’s a little bit more of a squishy thing that’s hard to Define, but having your own website I content management system like WordPress is really satisfying. Of course, you can use a managed page builder like Wix or Squarespace, but you are not going to have the flexibility or control over the website like you can with WordPress. There’s something really satisfying about building a side from the ground up using content management system like WordPress and I think that that is no small part and why it has become so popular over the last decade or so.

So, That Just About Does it for this little bit of information. Hopefully we have giving you the information that you wanted, if you were trying to find out just how popular WordPress is and why it has become so popular, that’s the answer. Will be back soon with more awesome content for WordPress so bookmark us and check back often. Thanks for reading.


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