View Full Version : WordPress Powers Half The Top 10,000 Sites Online

08-31-2011, 12:29 AM
I thought these charts, which I found via WPTavern (http://www.wptavern.com/wordpress-powering-practically-half-of-the-top-10000-websites) on CMS distribution among the most visited sites (http://trends.builtwith.com/cms) online interesting.

Top 10,000
WordPress: 47.87%
Drupal: 23.33%
vBulletin: 9.35%

When expanded to the top 100,000 and top 1,000,000, WordPress usage goes up to 56.95% and 69.82%

These stats are collected every week I think so the numbers will probably be different next week, though I wouldn't expect them to change significantly week over week.

Mouse over the pies in the chart to see the %. Also if you're not sure what CMS to use, the chart will point you to a number of popular ones.

08-31-2011, 03:09 AM
What puzzles me is the fact that Movable Type has such an insignificant usage lower than 2 percent, because I thought the idea of compiling a site to speed up performance would appeal to a lager number of top sites.

08-31-2011, 10:45 AM
Movable Type dropped the ball years ago when WordPress was first coming on the scene. At the same time WordPress was being offered for free Movable Type was raising prices and restricting its license. They had been the overwhelming market leader at the time for anyone wanting a blog. I think today few people know they exist.

It looks like they've changed their business model since then and now have something similar to WordPress with a free platform on the .org side and a commercial offering on the .com side. It may be too little, too late though. It's going to take a lot of effort at this point to unseat WordPress.

08-31-2011, 11:27 AM
Well I feel quite uninformed here, but what is WordPress? I looked it up on Wikipedia and did not understand a word of what they said. Is this a tool for building web sites or for blogs only? Or is it more of a place where blogs are stored? If it is a tool for building web sites, why would it be superior to straight html? Sorry, if this is an elementary question.

08-31-2011, 11:55 AM
WordPress is a content management system (CMS). Originally it was mostly focused on blogging only, but over the years it has become a full content management system. You can create a complete website with it and not just a blog.

The main advantages of any CMS over html is ease of use and maintainability. If you develop a website for a client and your client wants to update some content on the page they likely have to call you to make the change, since they probably won't feel comfortable editing html files. With a content management system the client just logs in to their site and edits the page much as they would a Word document.

A CMS is more maintainable because the content (and some other things) are stored in a database instead of being embedded directly in files. Imagine you have a site that has 150 pages. Not a huge site, but not a small one either. Now imagine the client wants it redesigned. If it's coded in html you're going to be copying and pasting a lot of content to the new files and that's going to take time, effort, and be prone to errors.

You can reduce the work and errors by building the site where the presentation (css) is separate from the structure (html). You can further reduce both by using a server side scripting language like php so code that repeats across the site (maybe a consistent header on every page) is moved to a single file and then included on each page with a single line of code. The next step up is turning a php/css/html site into a CMS. Each step abstracts a little more how the site is built. That abstraction makes the site more flexible and easier to maintain.

Probably more of an answer than you were looking for, but hopefully something in there helps. The best way to understand WordPress (or any CMS), is to get a copy and install it and start using it.

08-31-2011, 01:09 PM
Wow, TypePad isn't on there at all, or is that Moveable Type? I still see a few blogs using Typepad, but not that many.

08-31-2011, 01:29 PM
TypePad is different than MovableType, though it's based on Movable Type. Both are from the same company.

I think what these charts are showing is how quickly WordPress has grown into the dominant platform for building websites. I think Matt Mullenweg recently said WordPress is now behind 16% of all sites online. That means that for ever 6.something sites online 1 of them is running on WordPress. That's a lot of WordPress sites. And when you look over the charts I linked to above, you see that the more visited a site is, the more likely it's running WordPress.

None of that is to say your site should be running WordPress of course. There are plenty of platforms you can use and many of them are very good. Still it's a credit to what WordPress has been able to achieve in about 8 years.

08-31-2011, 01:45 PM
Are the "top 10,000 sites" based off traffic numbers? Or amount of content?

Also, are these "top sites" just sites that run off of the listed CMS's? Because I imagine the very large top sites like Google, Facebook, etc. run off of their own software.

08-31-2011, 01:58 PM
It's based on traffic. I'm sure it's not 100% accurate, but I would think it's pretty good. The data is coming from Quantcast (http://www.quantcast.com/top-sites). The link should take you to their top million sites list.

I'd agree that Google and Facebook use their own software, but remember that's only 2 sites. I'm sure the top 100 or even 500 sites are not going to show a lot of WordPress usage, but as you move toward the back end of the top 10,000 I think you'll find more and more WordPress sites.

08-31-2011, 02:41 PM
But then, what is the secret behind WordPress' success?

When I became aware of MovableType I thought is was a clever idea to build the whole website (a blog) in static HTML in advance as opposed to the way WordPress does handle the page creation (pulling all data from a (slow) database) because obviously static HTML is much faster than database driven content that has to be assembled via a scripting language like PHP. Although all content is actually stored in a database, there is a process called "publishing" in which every page is been assembled and stored in plain HTML. This must be an advantage for those sites in particular who have to cope with a large amount of traffic.

If on the other hand WordPress has become the quasi standard, what is the secret of it's success (beyond being more than a blog platform)?

08-31-2011, 03:46 PM
There's no single answer to the question of why WordPress has been successful. It's not a they have feature x that other platforms don't. Earlier this year someone who worked at Six Apart (the company behind Movable Type) offered some thoughts to the question How did WordPress win? (http://www.majordojo.com/2011/02/how-did-wordpress-win.php)

The comments on the post also offer some interesting thoughts to the question.

Right around the same time described in the article I was looking for a platform to run a blog and I can honestly say many of the reasons in the post are the same reasons for why I chose WordPress back then.

08-31-2011, 10:44 PM
Well I feel quite uninformed here, but what is WordPress? I looked it up on Wikipedia and did not understand a word of what they said. Is this a tool for building web sites or for blogs only? Or is it more of a place where blogs are stored? If it is a tool for building web sites, why would it be superior to straight html? Sorry, if this is an elementary question.

Wordpress outputs html to your web browser (Outlook, Firefox, Opera etc.) so its not a direct comparison.

A couple of definitions:

Web Browser - (software on your pc such as Internet Explorer, Opera, FireFox and many more)
Webhost - a computer somewhere attached to the internet that holds web site files.
Server Side / Client side - This refers to what is done by your web browser on your computer and what is done by the web host computer. Your computer is client side and your web host's computer is server side.
Server Side Programs - These are programs on the web server that do stuff. Instead of being just html, they may make calculations. 1+1 =2. html can't do math or other functions like calculate dates. Server side languages such as php can.
DataBase - Think of a database like a bunch of excel sheets that take information from each other. Excel can actually do this and output the data to one master Excel sheet.Addresses may be in one sheet, phone numbers in another, names in another. There are reasons to organize data this way that I'm not going to go into here.
CMS - a series of programs and database(s) that output html that a browser can read.

Lets take a small web site. it consists of some html pages which are really just text files. A dental office site might be a good example of this. Most dental sites need info about the doctor, a map and contact information and not much else. A web browser just reads html.and JavaScript. For the purpose of this explanation I won't discuss JavaScript. I don't think much else. The html files are say 100 kb in total for a 5 page dental sitel. The web host just takes those files and sends them to the browser on your computer. Extremely fast because the webhost computer isn't doing much.Just sending some text and a picture or two.

Now lets take a shopping cart with 50 products. You could just write 50 html pages. They would display all of your products. But what happens when you have a price increase? You have to change each of the 50 pages.Tedious. How about if you have thousands of products?

What happens when someone places an order on your shopping cart? The order needs to be saved, prices calculated for all the different items ordered etc. This is where programming becomes involved and it happens server side.

What does the server side programs do with the information? It stores it in a database.

A shopping cart program is a CMS optimized for showing products, placing orders etc.

So what does this have to do with WordPress?

Wordpress is just a bunch of programs that do "stuff" and save it in a database. Take Amazon.com. Its a big custom CMS. Its not wordpress, but it is a CMS. Wordpress just happens to be the most popular CMS out there right now. That doesn't necessarily make it the best, but it is a quality product. Because it is so big, there is more free stuff, and web designers that know how to use it.

So lets take a blog. A blog is really just a long one page website in its most simplistic form. Say its a blog of your travel through Europe for a year. Each day you write an entry with your experiences of the day. But wait, you want to organize your visits through France differently than Germany!. Furthermore you want people to be able to look at your food reviews from best to worst. How do you do that?

A CMS will typically store an entry in a different field. Its just like storing a piece of data in an excel sheet. But it interrelates them. This allows a program to display both restaurants from good to bad as well as favorate places in France from good to bad. It does this by going into the database and selecting the related material (food or location) and output it to the browser in html. This is exactly like going onto Amazon and searching for blenders. You don't get weed wacker results because you requested blender results from a database and it is sent to your browser in html form which your browser understands.

There are downsides to a CMS. For one it is running programs ie go get all listings of blenders. This is done server side. There is also a downside to using a program such as Wordpress. It needs to be everything to everybody. It understands a bunch of languages. You probably only need English. That's overhead you don't need. When you do a search for blenders the programs take time to look for all the blenders. That takes time so the CMS will be slower.

But, it allows you to search for blenders. You couldn't do that in a simple html site.

Additionally, WordPress has been designed to work as a web site format, blog, and accepts a mountain of "plugins" which are simply user written programs that do something.

CMS's are fast and they can do something that raw html files cant. In fact this foruim is technically a CMS. Each post is an entry into a database.

Wordpress has also done some things to allow the "average joe" to write a site. You don't really need to know programming or html. This makes it very attractive as a website platform. When you want to make a post to your European travel blog, you just fill in a form and click submit. Like many things, if you know programming or other things you can improve your site, but with a day of playing and reading you can have your site up and running. BTW if I didn't mention it above, its not just blogs. You can configure it as a very sophisticated web style site as well.

09-01-2011, 12:35 AM
Good explanation Bill. I think the end of your post might have gotten cut off though. It ends in mid sentence. Was there more?

09-01-2011, 08:39 AM
Dunno :) I just made it into a complete sentence though.

02-01-2012, 05:39 PM
I love WordPress, it is easy to use, fast to install, loads of free and paid for plugins and templates that can do pretty much anything you want. I think that having so much choice and versatility is what makes it such a success, as well as the great community support.

02-02-2012, 01:17 AM
You're in good company. Most every site I develop ends up on WordPress now. Not all, but most. There are a few other WordPress people here as well. I'd add to your list how WordPress upgrades fairly often and they've been adding more useful features recently. They started with the ease of use and are now looking to make WP more useful as a full CMS.

02-02-2012, 10:46 AM
Being a WP expert VG, what are the requirements that drive you to develop a non WP site?

02-02-2012, 05:27 PM
Mostly because the client wants something else. It's not always my decision. Sometimes they might have an existing site I'm redesigning or developing. Some clients only want a 3 or 4 page brochure style site that's going to cost less than developing it into a WordPress theme.

I haven't found anything WordPress can't do. I know it's not perfect and there are other CMSs that can accomplish the same things. At the same time I have more experience working with WordPress so for me it's easier and quicker to develop on. And I really haven't come across anything I couldn't make it do. Minor things here and there that weren't worth the cost.

02-01-2013, 09:58 AM
If on the other hand WordPress has become the quasi standard, what is the secret of it's success (beyond being more than a blog platform)?

I would say that the secret to WordPress's success is the fact that it has a great support community.

02-05-2013, 01:43 AM
That's definitely one reason, though there were a few of them. Did you see the article I linked to in the first post above? It's a good story about the early days of WordPress and how it beat out Movable Type, which at the time was the blogging platform.