According to the data gathered by W3Tech, WordPress powers a whopping 34% of the websites on the Internet and 14% of the top 100 websites .
A deep dive into the statistics of WordPress versions, plugin installs and themes reveals interesting data, which is helpful when deciding on the technologies for building a new website. It also provides an insight on where the entire WordPress development and design market is, and where it is going.
As a web hosting provider hosting over 55,000 websites, we are in the position to provide first-party statistics, and not to rely on the generic statistics generated from observational reports you can find in other similar articles. All the data you see presented in this article is real-world data, gathered directly from live web servers. In the few paragraphs below, you will find out, what are the most popular themes, the most popular plugins and the most popular WordPress versions. Why are some people choosing to stay on old versions? To gather the data, we relied on the WPScan utility, which is able to extract lots of information about a WordPress installation just through a normal web request.
Number of WordPress Installations
The data below is based on the usage from nearly 60,000 live websites with 18,968 active WordPress installations. This is a respectable sample size, and represents a share of 31.6% out of the number of active sites we are running. The numbers we are getting confirm the observational statistics you can see from W3Tech.com, and other online resources. If we include any live websites in subdomains and directories, this share could easily reach 37% of all the websites hosted on our servers. This confirms that the WordPress market share reports are not exaggerated.
WordPress Version Distribution
Below, you can find a pie chart showing the distribution of WordPress versions among the sites we host:
We are happy to see that over 75% of the WordPress websites are within the last 4 major versions of WordPress. To improve security and make website maintenance easier, WordPress 3.7 introduced an automatic update system which is quite reliable. Minor bugfix and security updates are enabled by default and applied automatically in the background. For example, WordPress 5.2.1 will automatically update to 5.2.2. Our WordPress installer also has the option ‘Automatically upgrade to new major versions’ checked by default. If you disable it, you will have to manually upgrade to a new major version (e.g. 5.1 to 5.2) by clicking on the update button in the WordPress dashboard.
The chart shows that a large number of websites are still running WordPress 4.9. We suspect that some of these customers chose not to upgrade due to the introduction of the Gutenberg editor in WordPress 5.0. At the time of its release there was lots of controversy around it. Some people simply did not like it, while others had issues with incompatible plugins or themes. If you are one of these customers, we urge you to consider updating. Most of the compatibility issues have been fixed already and you also have the option to install the classic editor.
The WordPress update process is quite smooth and customers should not be afraid to update. With the ICDSoft’s WordPress Management Toolkit you can test a new update by creating a staging copy of the website through the WordPress section of the hosting Control Panel. If everything is running smoothly, you can proceed and deploy the staging site. In case something goes wrong, you can easily restore the website from one of the automatic system backups, or you can contact our experienced support team, for help with the upgrade.
Number of Plugins
Our customers are making good use of the huge variety of WordPress plugins as they have installed 16,540 different plugins. As of July 25th 2019, there are 54,933 plugins at https://wordpress.org/plugins/.
On the other hand, our customers are quite reasonable with the number of installed plugins as the majority of them have less than 15 plugins. The chart above shows the number of plugins on the horizontal axis and the number of WordPress websites on the vertical axis.
Top 20 Most Popular Plugins
The list of popular plugins is quite similar to the one at WordPress.org. We will not provide the exact number of installations of each plugin, but each one in this list can be found on more than a 1000 websites.
- Contact Form 7
This is by far the most popular WordPress plugin on our servers. It is installed on more than 30% of the websites we checked. If you need to add a contact form on your website, you should definitely consider this plugin. One of the reasons for its huge popularity seems to be that it is recommended by a lot of theme developers.
- Yoast SEO
Our customers seem to be well aware that good SEO is important for every successful website as this plugin is installed on over 25% of the websites we checked.
This anti-spam plugin comes pre-installed with every WordPress installation but is activated only on about 25% of them. In order to activate the plugin you need an API key. Keys are free for personal websites, but are paid for commercial websites.
- Revslider (Slider Revolution)
One of the oldest slider plugins which is bundled with a lot of themes. Back in 2014 it became infamous due to multiple security vulnerabilities which led to the compromise of hundreds of thousands of WordPress websites. One of the major attacks is known as the SoakSoak malware campaign. At the time, we quickly protected our customers by blocking the malicious requests in our WAF.
A full-featured and regularly updated security plugin that includes a firewall and a malware scanner.
- Classic Editor
If for some reason you need to disable the Gutenberg editor and bring back the old ‘classic’ editor, this is the official plugin that does this.
- WPBakery Page Builder (formerly Visual Composer)
WPBakery Page Builder is one of the oldest page builders for WordPress. It has been the best page builder for years and was bundled with a lot of popular themes, thus we are not surprised to see it in the top 10. However, other page builders are rapidly gaining in popularity and will soon make it to this list. Some of them are Elementor, Avada (uses the Fusion Core plugin and the Fusion Builder plugins), Beaver Builder, and Divi (comes as a theme or a Divi Builder plugin).
- WordPress Importer
This plugin imports content such posts and pages from a WordPress export file. However, this plugin cannot migrate an entire WordPress installation including its plugins and themes. For instructions how to do this, you could check our blog post ‘Moving WordPress – A Comprehensive Guide’. We can also migrate your website from another provider for free.
- Duplicate Post
A simple plugin that allows you to duplicate (clone) a post or page.
- Gravity Forms
Another contact form plugin. As opposed to Contact Form 7, this plugin does not seem to have a free version. However, it can still be found on over 10% of the WordPress websites.
The most popular plugin for building an online store. It is a separate platform in itself with a huge number of plugins that extend its functionality. Its high usage stats show that even our shared hosting plans (which most hosting providers limit, in order to upsell their customers) are more than enough for running a full-blown online store.
- Really Simple SSL
Configures your website to work over HTTPS. You really don’t need this plugin if you are our customer, as you can easily update your site to be fully SSL enabled via the WordPress section of our hosting Control Panel (online manual).
Jetpack is a plugin created by Automattic, the company behind WordPress. Depending on your subscription, it offers a ton of features to improve the security and performance of your website. For the plugin to work, it needs access to the XML-RPC file of WordPress. You can easily enable access to it through the WordPress section of the hosting Control Panel.
The most popular backup plugin among our customers. At ICDSoft, we are very proud of the backup system we have built, and you can read all about it at: ICDSoft’s Backup system. We make daily backups of all data and store them on a separate backup server. Nevertheless, this plugin can be used to complement our backup system as it can upload backups to your own remote backup storage.
- TinyMCE Advanced
A plugin that expands the WordPress editor with the capabilities of the popular open-source TinyMCE editor. You can use it as a replacement of Gutenberg or inside a Gutenberg block.
- Google XML Sitemaps
A plugin that generates an XML sitemap which will help search engines to better index your website.
- All in One SEO Pack
Before the rise of Yoast SEO, it was the most popular SEO plugin. If you are looking for a plugin to help you with SEO, you should definitely check out both of them.
- Layer Slider
The name says it all – you can use this plugin to create image sliders and slideshows. This plugin comes bundled with a lot of premium themes.
- Google Analytics Dashboard Plugin for WordPress by MonsterInsight
There are a lot of plugins for adding Google Analytics to your website but this is the most popular one both among our customers and at WordPress.org.
- WP Super Cache
An easy-to-use plugin that can drastically speed up your website. Its most useful feature is that it generates static html files from your dynamic pages. These files load much faster as they are not processed by the PHP scripts of WordPress. For some tips on how to optimize your WordPress website, you could check our blog post Make WordPress 3x Faster in Under 5 Minutes.
Top 15 Most Popular Themes
We managed to get reliable information about the themes of 16839 websites. Тhese 16839 websites have 7436 different active themes. We suppose that a lot of customers, especially web agencies and professional developers, use a custom name even if they are using some popular off-the-shelf theme. The only theme with over 10% share is Divi. The themes closest to it with about 8% share are Avada, Genesis and Enfold. The list contains a lot of paid themes which are not listed in the theme directory of WordPress.org. Most of them have visual builders that allow you to design a website without writing any code.
This theme and page builder is marketed as the ‘Most Popular WordPress Theme In The World’ and is indeed the most popular on our servers with about 10% share.
- Genesis Framework
This theme framework is on the second place because we found it as parent of a lot of child themes. There is a huge number of different themes that are based on this framework, including free ones.
This multipurpose theme has almost the same number of installations as Divi and Genesis. It is bundled with the Fusion Core and Fusion Builder plugins.
Another popular multipurpose theme. It is the parent of a lot of child themes.
- Twenty Seventeen
Included with WordPress 4.7, it seems a lot of customers have opted to customize it instead of installing another theme.
- Twenty Nineteen
The default theme of WordPress 5.0. Fully compatible with Gutenberg.
We have not heard a lot about this theme, but it has made it to the top 10 of the list.
According to their website, they offer over 450 ready to use website designs.
- Beaver Builder Framework Theme
The base theme you can use when building a website with Beaver Builder.
Compatible with WP Bakery Page Builder.
- Twenty Sixteen
Released with WordPress 4.4.
This theme also includes WP Bakery Page Builder.
- Twenty Fourteen
Released with WordPress 3.8. Still receives regular updates.
Unlike the previous multipurpose themes in this list, this theme can be downloaded and used for free. There are also a lot of free plugins for it.
This theme is also available for free. It is recommended by the developers of Elementor Builder.
At ICDSoft, we understand the importance WordPress has on the entire web industry, so we have introduced a lot of features to make managing WordPress even easier. Through the WordPress section of our hosting Control Panel, you can easily install WordPress, create backups and staging websites, easily enable SSL, change your website URL, check your website for issues and much more. The WordPress command line interface is available on all servers. Our customer support is also very knowledgeable in dealing with WordPress related issues. Start working on your new WordPress site in a few minutes or have your existing site transferred for free by our team of experts.
WordPress comes preinstalled with all hosting accounts purchased at: https://www.icdsoft.com/en/hosting/wordpress and to request a free migration, just post us a ticket through the convenient support area in your Account Panel.