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Surprising Tech Trends in WordPress and Beyond – WP Tavern

As you likely know, WordPress software powers 46% of all websites on the Internet.  I thought it would be fun to dive a bit deeper and note some trends that affect the WP community.

A pie chart showing WordPress has a 46% cms usage on the internet, Wix has 11%, Squarespace has 4%, and "other" has 38%
WordPress powers 46% of all websites on the Internet

WordPress usage remains dominant and steady

Since its founding in 2003, WordPress usage has risen steadily and consistently

A line graph showing WordPress usage is up in a linear fashion from 0 to 30 million sites since 2003
WordPress usage is consistently up over the years.

WP consultants who are old enough will recall that Drupal and Joomla commanded a large share of the market early on – not anymore.

Both are down considerably since their peaks around 2015:

A line graph showing Joomla's market share down considerably since 2015. It shows there are currently around 1.5 million Joomla websites.
Joomla usage down considerably since 2015
A line graph showing Drupal's market share down considerably since 2015. It shows there are currently around 550,000 Drupal websites.
Drupal usage down considerably since 2015

Getting people to update software and run security patches is difficult on any platform. WP and related tech seems to be no exception to that rule.

Antiquated WordPress Core Installs

Almost 20% of all WP sites are running a very old version of WP, the good news is that old versions of WP are still patched for security vulnerabilities.

Antiquated PHP

As we’ll see below, 3-out-of-every-4 WP installs are potentially insecure due to antiquated versions of PHP running on the server.

A chart showing that versions of PHP prior to 8.1 have reached "end of life"
PHP 8.1 and above is currently supported. Previous versions have reached “end of life”
A pie chart showing that 43.3% of WP sites are using PHP 7.4
PHP 7.4 powers 43% of WP sites even though it has reached “end of life” and might not receive security patches.

jQuery is still riding high! 

What’s not to love about jQuery?!  You can quickly write code that does all sorts of fancy animations and other things without knowing a whole lot about javascript.  

It’s not clear how much of this high jQuery usage is due to tech debt vs new code, but what is clear is that jQuery is one of the most-used languages in WordPress:

A line graph showing jQuery usage has levelled out at a high point since around 2014
jQuery has consistently-high numbers

React usage is up for the top 1 million sites.

React seems to be gaining popularity in more than WP:

A line graph showing React usage has consistently gone up in the top million websites since 2013
React usage has mostly been going up since 2013

WordPress’ competitors are rocking!

Perhaps you’ve heard of two of WP’s main competitors: Squarespace and Wix.  Well, they are both doing quite well:

A line graph showing Wix usage has gone up over the years and remains consistently-high since around 2021
Wix is up and shows no sign of decline!

Squarespace is up (mostly):

A line graph showing Squarespace usage has gone mostly up over the years
Squarespace is mostly up since 2004 with a little dip in the last year or so

Hubspot webpage builder usage has gone down a bit recently but still maintains a notable market share:

A line graph showing Hubspot usage has gone up over the years but experienced a decline in late 2021
Hubspot is down over the last year or so

What about e-commerce?

WooCommerce and Shopify are in a head-to-head battle for the #1 e-commerce platform.  

According to BuiltWith.com, there are around 2.75 million websites using a WooCommerce checkout page (there are, apparently, also many Woo sites not using the standard checkout and/or any checkout at all).

Similarly, there are around 2.75 million Shopify sites.

Shopify usage remains high but has been decreasing since 2022:

A line graph showing Shopify usage has gone up over the years and experienced a dip since around 2022
Shopify dipped around 2022

WooCommerce e-commerce is trending similar to Shopify:

A line graph showing WooCommerce usage has gone up over the years and remains consistently-high since around 2021, when it dipped slightly
WooCommerce usage went down a bit in 2021

Mailchimp is down; Zoho Mail and Google Business are up.

Mailchimp’s usage downfall seems to coincide with its acquisition by Intuit in 2021:

A line graph showing Mailchimp usage has gone up over the years but dipped around 2021
Mailchimp usage dipped in 2021 or so

Zoho Mail, meanwhile, seems to be consistently surprising users with its low-cost/high-feature business model (think of Zoho as the “affordable shared hosting” version of Google Business).

Zoho Mail usage is up quite a bit since 2020, but usage dipped a little in 2022:

A line graph showing Zoho usage has gone up over the years but dipped on 2022
Zoho usage dipped in 2022

Meanwhile, the old guard isn’t sleeping.  Google Apps for Business is up up up:

A line graph showing Google Apps for Business usage has gone up over the years and remains consistently-high since around 2020
Google Apps for Business keeps going up

How is our old friend, PHP, doing?

PHP usage has been down considerably for 6 years but still powers around 35 million websites, most of which are, presumably, WP sites:

A line graph showing PHP usage has dropped considerably since around 2017.
PHP usage is down considerably since around 2017

About the Data

I pulled this data from reliable Internet sources and linked those sources above.  However, as with all data sets, it’s possible these sources are either incorrect or that the data doesn’t tell the whole story. 

If you notice anything in my data sets above that needs to be corrected, let me know in the comments. 

Similarly, if you find alternate data sources that tell additional stories, please let us know in the comments.

What do you think?

Similar to last week’s Tavern post about WP.org theme usage, data found on this page is likely best used as a fun conversation starter rather than a place to draw firm conclusions about anything. What is your reaction to this data? Did anything surprise you? Let me know in the comments below.

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