Path into a Forest

We start this New Year 2019 talking about the growth and usage statistics of WordPress. Knowing this information can help you to decide on which system to built your website or even convince a customer or your designer the time has come to renew your website. 

Total Number of Domains, and Websites in The World

Do you have any idea how many domains and websites there are on the Internet? Difficult, isn’t it? But before talking about these numbers, it is better to clarify the differences between the concepts of domain name, URL, and website.

A domain name is the online address that your customers type when they want to find your business. It is the of the URL you see written in the address bar of this page.

Domain names were created as substitutes for the Internet Protocol of a website, or IP address, which is simply a unique set of numbers that identify the specific computer server where the website is hosted. It is much easier to remember a name than a string of random numbers. As a curiosity, the figures that have been paid for the 25 most expensive domain names range from $5 million to $25 million. ?

A URL is what you find in the address bar of any web page. It is the universal locator of any page. In the case of this page it is As you can see, it includes the domain name.

URL diagram.
URL diagram.

Finally, when we refer to a website we mean to one or a set of related web pages that include multimedia content. A website can be publicly accessible over the internet or privately on a local network.

Now let’s go back to the figures that interest us about the number of websites, URLs, or domains that exist… unfortunately, there is no single official record that gives us this information.

The information that’s probably closer to reality is provided by Netcraft and Internet Live Stats. According to these, there are more than 1.9 billion websites in the world. And according to Verisign, who is dedicated to reviewing the state of the domain name industry through various statistical and analytical research, we ended 2018 with more than 350 million domain registrations of all top-level domains (TLDs).

And why is there such an abysmal difference between these two figures? For the simple reason that there are many domains that are divided into subdomains that correspond to different websites. For example, from the domain we have a lot of webs, such as,, etc.

WordPress Websites

Now that we have an estimate of the total number of websites in the world as a point of reference, let’s see how many of them use a CMS (Content Management System). In case you are not familiar with what it is, a CMS is a system that is installed on a server (usually that of a hosting company) and generates web pages when any Internet user requests them, and can even generate dynamic content depending on the user. It has a public part that all Internet users see and a private section or control panel. It is through the control panel where the owner of the website can change the content without having programming knowledge.

According to W3Techs, 54.5% of websites use a CMS versus 45.5%, which uses none at all. As you can see, more than half of the websites use some kind of content manager.

Usage of CMS for Websites
Usage of CMS for Websites (source: data extracted from W3Techs ).

But of the 54.5% of websites that do use some kind of CMS, 59.5% use WordPress, which is equivalent to 32.5% of all websites.

Image from W3Tech about the WordPress usage.
Image from  W3Tech about the WordPress usage.

In other words, of all the websites, 32.5% are WordPress.

WordPress usage.
WordPress usage (source: datta extracted from W3Techs)

So, assuming that, as we’ve already found out, 1.9 billion sites of which 32.5% are WordPress, we deduct that there are 617.5 million WordPress sites in the world. And in fact these figures are not so far from those given by in which they have analyzed 1 million of the best websites that use a CMS, of which 53% are WordPress (below 59.5% of W3Tech).

CMS usage Distribution in the Top 1 million sites.
Which CMS uses the one million best websites with any CMS? (Image from

About WordPress

Seeing the relevance of the use of WordPress in the market, let’s now look at relevant information about it and the activity around WordPress.

WordPress is a free open source software with GPL license that incorporates the programming languages PHP, MySQL, JavaScript, HTML and CSS. No one officially owns the WordPress software but the WordPress brand and the domain are owned by the WordPress foundation, a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to ensure that WordPress is freely available, maintained, and developed.

There are several companies in the sector giving support to the foundation,  including Automattic, the company of Matt Mullenweg (founder of WordPress) and owner of There are thousands of people watching over the development of the WordPress core. But there is some recurring discussion about who exactly makes the decisions about what WordPress should look like. And if not, you’ll see that in the last WordCamp US in 2018, one of the questions Matt Mullenweg is precisely asked is whether he can clarify exactly who he refers to when he talks about “we” and who makes the decisions (minute 1:16:35 of the video WCUS 2018 State of the Word):

WCUS 2018 State of the Word

But let’s get on with interesting figures. As WordPress is a community in which we all contribute to its development and maintenance, promote its use, and sponsor events where we talk about it, this has allowed Matt Mullenweg to own one of the most profitable technology company. 

Difference between WordPress and other companies.
It’s impressive to see the ratio of revenue per number of Automattic employees, isn’t it? (Source: Automattic).

Some other figures: about 409 million people see more than 21.2 billion pages each month. And there are more than 69.3 million new posts and more than 72 million comments every month.

You can also take a look at some of the most prominent WordPress users.

Notable WordPress Users.
Notable WordPress Users (source:

And if you want to browse other examples of WordPress websites, you will find them in the showcase of

If we take a look at the WordPress versions that are installed on websites, in the middle of the last month of 2018 the most installed version was 4.9 with 59% of websites, and 5.0, recently launched, already had 9.8% of installations.

WordPress versions installed.
WordPress versions installed (source: WordPress Statistics).

And if we look at the different languages in which WordPress is installed:

WordPress locales
Languages of WordPress installations (source: WordPress Statistics).

We can see that English (from Australia, Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States) is installed in 52.1% of WordPress websites, followed by Japanese with 6% and then German and Spanish (from Chile, Mexico and Spain), both with 5.4%.

I would like to take this opportunity to comment that on the subject of languages, has 180 teams of volunteers in 45 locations who are dedicated to the translation of the core WordPress, themes and plugins. If anything is key in WordPress, it’s its community.

The WordPress Community

WordPress couldn’t be what it is today if you don’t consider its community. You’ve already seen the ratio of revenue versus the number of Automattic employees. And the quick question that comes to mind is why are so many people volunteering to contribute to the WordPress project? Of course, there may be an altruistic reason, but it’s not the only one. Those of us who contribute to WordPress usually work for companies that sell WordPress products or services (plugins, themes, web development, consulting, training, etc.). In other words, we earn our living thanks to WordPress and we are interested in the WordPress project growing to have more business opportunities.

Let’s look at some interesting figures related to the community:    

WordCamp Events 2018.
Number of WordCamps 2018.
WordCamps 2018 (source: WordCamp Central). 

Please note that in all WordCamps, both the organizers and the speakers are volunteers who do not charge anything for the work done.

And here you have to add the events related to WordPress that are for some niche market like Publishers, WooConf, LoopConf, WP Campus, and A Day of REST, as well as all the set of WordPress meetups that are organized locally to create local WordPress communities.

To give you an idea of the contribution that companies can make to the WordPress community, in 2018 the entire Nelio team was involved in the organization of WordCamp Barcelona 2018.

WordCamp Barcelona 2018 attendees.
WordCamp Barcelona 2018 attendees.

But not only that, we also participated in WordCamp Europe 2018, WordCamp Madrid 2018, and currently David and Toni are part of the organizing team of WordCamp Europe 2019. As you can see, it’s still a lot of hours dedicated to the community and the project.

WordPress Plugins and Themes

In the WordPress Directory you have free GPL licensed themes and plugins that can then have premium versions with paid functionalities or support services. The average price of a WordPress theme is less than $59 and prices can range from $10 to $200.

Screenshot of average WordPress Theme pricing (source: CodeinWP).
Average WordPress Theme pricing (source: CodeinWP).

And what are the most popular WordPress themes?

WordPress theme usage
WordPress theme usage (source:

According to BuiltWith, of the one million websites analyzed, the most popular WordPress theme is WooComerce’s own (25%), followed by Genesis and Divi (5%) each and Avada (4%).

And about plugins? Currently, you’ll find more than 55,000 plugins in the WordPress Directory. Some of them with more than 5 million active installations.

Popular WordPress plugins.
Popular WordPress plugins (source: WordPress Directory).

With this incredible figure, the complex thing is sometimes to find the plugin you’re looking for. As long as you know that the two plugins, compatible with Gutenberg, that will help you promote your content and optimize the conversion of your website are Nelio Content and Nelio A/B Testing, respectively… you’re doing well… ?

And precisely about plugins, Matt Mullenweg commented at WCUS 2018 that, with the aim of promoting Gutenberg, at this moment the plugins that were going to stand out the most in the directory are all those that offer blocks for the new block editor.

Surely as a WordPress user you don’t need to know all this information for your everyday, but they will help you understand and explain better that WordPress is not just a template or a little program to create a website; it’s something more, don’t you think?

Featured image by Evgeni Tcherkasski on Unsplash.

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