According to WordPress Stats, in September there were 27.7 million websites running on WordPress.com or using WordPress.org. The September 2010 Netcraft survey cites 227,225,642 hosted websites. So that means that WordPress makes up a little over 12% of all websites. Well, not exactly.
Netcraft also shows that of 227 million hosted sites, only about 96 million are active. Additionally, in March 2008, Matt Mullenweg was widely quoted for saying that about a third of all blogs were splogs, or spam blogs. He was really referring to WordPress blogs. The number came about because they had just “axed” 800,000 of 2.5 million WP.com blogs at the time. In his post he guessed that the actual number of splogs across the web was much higher, perhaps 80% or more.
In addition to splogs, I wonder how many WordPress installs are active? I’d venture to say WordPress has a much more active community than the competition, with a 40% market share (of blogs) and growing according to Technorati’s 2010 State of the Blogosphere. WordPress also has what looks to be about 50 times new blogs versus deletions. Even so, surely a significant percent of WordPress blogs go stale after a short run.
Sidenote: The NY Times did an interesting piece on why people stop blogging, and also quotes the 2008 Technorati State of the Blogosphere that said only 5% of all blogs were updated within the previous 120 days before the study.
If we use the non-scientific number Matt mentioned in his splogs post, we can guess that about a third of WordPress non-splogs are actively updated and visited. If we extrapolate these .com numbers to .org, that gives us a little more than 6 million active WordPress bloggers (27.7 × .66 splogs × .33 active = 6.03). Now let’s take the 6.03 million WordPress bloggers compared to the 96 million active websites according to Netcraft and we get 6.28% of all active websites using WordPress.
It’s important to note that I believe this is quite conservative, given that WordPress is actively searching for splogs, and the “third” of “active” bloggers I used could just as easily be half. So if we said only 15% were splogs and half of WordPress bloggers are active, we get 12.26%. Also, a significant number of Netcraft’s “active” sites could also be spammy.
Okay, I wouldn’t have gone through with all the assumptions if I didn’t have something to compare it against. Builtwith Trends uses the Quantcast top million websites list to calculate the usage distribution of different technologies. According to Builtwith, WordPress was used by 7.4% of the top million websites on September 1st. Additionally, Builtwith shows that 5.91% of the top 100,000 and 4.05% of the top 10,000 websites also use WordPress.
I actually think the numbers are higher, because they show a footnote saying the statistics “are generated based on what can be found on the homepage of a website. Some technologies may be under-represented if they use custom implementations or do not appear on the landing page of a website.” So depending on what percentage of WordPress installations are not on the landing page, it could be significantly higher.
Plenty of stats to consider
After all of that, I think it’s safe to say it’s very hard to tell exactly what market share of the web WordPress holds. But I think we can reasonably assume that it is somewhere between 7.4 and 10 percent of the top million sites, and perhaps more than 12% of all active websites.
So what about looking in the mirror? Do you have any inactive .com blogs or .org installations? I am responsible for five installations, and only three are consistently active.