New figures just released from W3Techs show that WordPress now powers a massive 25 percent of all websites on the web.
WordPress started quietly. In 2003, Matt Mullenweg wanted to use a blogging system called b2 for his own personal use, but found that the original author had stopped updating it. So Mullenweg and others took it upon themselves to move the project forward, resulting in the WordPress open source project.
WordPress has grown steadily ever since, overtaking the competition and possibly on its way to overtaking the world. In a recent interview in WIRED, Mullenweg states that his next plan is for WordPress to power 75 percent of the Internet.
Three-quarters of all global websites. Is this overly ambitious?
What do users think?
UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup ran a survey to find out what some of its 600,000 users thought on the issue. The results showed a clear split.
- Forty-three percent believed that the WordPress market share would remain at 25 percent.
- Fourteen percent thought WordPress would get 50 percent of Internet users in the future.
- The remaining 43 percent shared the founder’s optimism that it would come to dominate at least 75 percent of the Internet.
Perhaps some of this success, and possibility, derives from the fact that WordPress.org gives away the open source software. It gives people control and power over their identity online.
The free software is open, transparent and malleable; anyone can do practically anything with it. It’s built, run and managed by the community. In short, it feels like we have ownership over it.
WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com
WordPress.com (a commercial-based cloud) and WordPress.org (open source) are related, but different. The two share some of their DNA, and although they’re distinctive, their differences can be rather baffling to the uninitiated.
Anyone wanting something basic might choose to opt for WordPress.com. It’s one-size-fits-all and off-the-peg, and best-suited for those who aren’t fussed about a customised domain or theme. Although users don’t have to worry about maintenance, security and hosting, WordPress.com has numerous restrictions.
On the other hand, the open source software from WordPress.org is the obvious choice for serious site owners. Because it’s self-hosted, it has no adverts and no restrictions and limitations, it allows users total control and the capacity to build a fully-featured, fully-customised website with its own domain name. Plugins can’t be installed on WordPress.com, but they can be installed on the self-hosted version — and plugins are what gives WordPress a great deal of its power.
With its flexibility and power, WordPress.org also comes with greater responsibilities.
For WordPress.org users, choosing a decent web host and backup provider is critical: investing in a website without investing in its protection makes no sense.
WordPress hosting & security
For hosting, it’s vital to opt for a WordPress host with a good reputation, strong security features and a clean track-record. More popular and well-known hosts (like GoDaddy Managed WordPress) should be trusted over lesser-known ones.
Backup providers should likewise be well-established and highly rated. There are two ways to do backups: via a subscription-based service (i.e. SaaS) that is under the control of the subscription provider (and uses their storage), or via a plugin that can use with your own accounts (i.e. your own Dropbox).
Of the former type, there are a number of external backup services, though they often come at a considerable price tag, especially if you have multiple sites. Other backup solutions, such as UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup, provide a wide range of storage options (and other capabilities).
What’s next for WordPress?
Looking beyond simple market share, it seems that the growth in WordPress may be accelerating as well. WPTavern, a WordPress industry news site, notes that “the [W3Techs] survey also shows that WordPress is still the fastest growing CMS [Content Management System].”
That said, there is a cautionary note from industry expert Chris Lema, who feels that WordPress still has a way to go and has “the need to create solutions (features, if you will) that are attractive to enterprise organizations.” Lema feels that features such as a more extensive content creation workflow, imaging and document management, personalization and compliance-related features will make WordPress more interesting to enterprise IT departments, in addition to small businesses.
With all of these changes and with all of its growth, WordPress is improving all the time, constantly acquiring new features and capacities. Its growth is benefiting us all, giving us a creative scope that’s limited only by our collective imagination.