EP383 – WordPress – How did we get to 40%

February 12, 2021

How did WordPress get to 40%?
Jason Tucker @jasontucker https://twitter.com/jasontucker
Steve Zehngut @zengy https://twitter.com/zengy
Jason Cosper @boogah https://twitter.com/boogah
Sé Reed @sereedmedia https://twitter.com/sereedmedia
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Episode Transcription

Jason Tucker 0:10
This is episode number 383 of WPwatercooler. WordPress How did we get to 40%?

brought to you by ServerPress, makers of DesktopServer. They make local WordPress development easy. Check them out at ServerPress.com dot com. support us on Patreon go to patreon.com slash wp WPwatercooler.

I’m Jason Tucker, you can find me at Jason Tucker on Twitter.

Steve Zehngut 0:46
I’m saying I’m the founder of Zeek interactive and I run the OC WordPress meetup.

Sé Reed 0:54
On the internet at secure media.

Jason Cosper 1:03
Hi, I’m Jason Cosper.

Jason Tucker 1:08
Door to go over to Apple podcasts and subscribe to us over there hit the little five star button on the bottom there. Give us a rating. We’d love to have that happen. Hey,

Sé Reed 1:19

Jason Tucker 1:20
Yeah, 4.3 that’s pretty good. Out of how many? What’s better than a five?

Steve Zehngut 1:26
Okay. I was gonna say without a 10 and then that’s not so good. Yeah,

Sé Reed 1:31
not bad. Thanks. Thanks, y’all. Thanks.

Jason Tucker 1:36
I thought just mix it up. You know, why not?

Sé Reed 1:38
That was a fun. That was a fun intro. Sorry. I like literally one line, I can’t remember.

Jason Tucker 1:43
Well, but that and your, your speakers are also playing too. So we end up hearing the music as an echo, which is always fun.

Sé Reed 1:55
I keep saying I’m gonna get my act together.

Unknown Speaker 1:58

Sé Reed 2:00
I said I was gonna install my or set up my phone that I’ve had since June. And I finally did it. So I also get like, I come through just real slow.

Jason Tucker 2:13
You know, you could get text messages on your Mac, you know, like,

Steve Zehngut 2:18
a cordless phone with an answering machine. What is this?

Sé Reed 2:21
I knew to get text messages. connected properly, because I have a lot going on in my life.

Jason Cosper 2:30

Jason Tucker 2:32
sounds like that would make it easier to make things go. But

Sé Reed 2:36
Alright. Okay. Not the topic of today.

Steve Zehngut 2:41
I think we just switched

Sé Reed 2:44
the show. But now the real topic of the show is, wait, hold on 40% 40%. But then I was like, maybe it doesn’t matter if it’s just like, you know, how major releases and minor releases don’t matter anymore. Like maybe 40%. It’s like, whatever. It’s the same as like,

Steve Zehngut 3:02
Wait 40% at a How many?

Jason Tucker 3:07
120%? Okay,

Steve Zehngut 3:10
like, 40%? If you just change the top number, like, you know, if it’s not out of 100% then, you know,

Jason Tucker 3:17
just like you asked me just a minute ago, you know, yeah, to five, right? No.

Sé Reed 3:22
We do know, it’s the W three stats. The classic. All right. We’ve all been watching this ticket, but I I’ve been doing a talk every year about WordPress to at a conference for the last I don’t know, like seven years. And every year might like one of my first slides is what’s it at now. And it’s just slowly ticking up. And so it’ll feel good to like, get out of like, three nine points.

Steve Zehngut 3:53
So, so 40% of what like that’s let’s start there. What’s fun, I get it. I’m not saying it’s I know it’s 40 out of 100 I get that part right. But 40% of what like what what what what is this? What is

Sé Reed 4:08
the sites on the internet?

Steve Zehngut 4:11
So out of all the

Sé Reed 4:12
content, actually. Yeah, this is the actually this is the content management systems in total, so not the okay. This is 40% of contact manager. That’s what

Steve Zehngut 4:23
I wanted to be clear, right? We’re not talking not talking 40% of the entire internet being run on WordPress, we’re talking about 40% of sites that have a content management system are using WordPress as their content management system is that

Jason Cosper 4:37
how, however that does not stop companies from saying 40% of internet runs on WordPress?

Sé Reed 4:45
No eight. So look, here’s the actual verbiage, okay, from w

Steve Zehngut 4:50
w three. Would you like me to read it to the audience?

Sé Reed 4:53
I mean, you are pretty good at reading the

Steve Zehngut 4:56
word WordPress is used by 40% of all the websites is a content management system market share? 64.3%?

Sé Reed 5:07
So 40% of all the websites and 64.3% of us content.

Steve Zehngut 5:15
Alright, so So 33 is true that if we say 40% of the internet is run on WordPress, that’s a true statement. Yes. of the entire internet.

Sé Reed 5:24

Jason Tucker 5:25
I mean, Dreamweaver still doing pretty good at 0.2%. I mean, they’re, they’re killing it. I wouldn’t

Steve Zehngut 5:31
expect it to be that high, frankly. And web

Unknown Speaker 5:33

Unknown Speaker 5:35
sad that doesn’t exist.

Steve Zehngut 5:40
Yes, I’m right there. So. So we’re gonna

Jason Tucker 5:44
make it bigger. But this is this whole websites built with tables. And so the table span isn’t working correctly.

Steve Zehngut 5:50
Apparently, this word this website is not built on WordPress. So so. So you got you got we it’s one of the 60%. But this what’s interesting about this table that you’re showing is WordPress is 40%. The next one down is Shopify at 3.3%. Right, so that’s a 36.7% gap between WordPress press and the next one down, right. And then everything else is is 2%. below. I’m surprised that Joomla is at 2.1%, frankly,

Sé Reed 6:20
yeah, I think what’s really interesting about this, and this is something I talked about at that conference is how the perception of especially here in the US of Shopify and Squarespace Incidentally, which used to both be in the smaller digits. I like Shopify used to be in the ones in the twos also, it’s really getting a push. But the perception is that they’re equal. Like they’re running the same amount of content like that they’re about the same or that even because of Shopify is marketing budget. And Squarespace says podcast sponsorship, that they are everywhere and dominant or equal to roughly WordPress his level of of share, which is pointedly not true. So that this just emphasizes me How, how important perception is in in contrast effects,

Jason Cosper 7:11
Squarespace, Squarespace,

Steve Zehngut 7:16
Squarespace and Wix together are 3.1%, which is less than 10% of what WordPress is doing. Right. And that that’s

Jason Tucker 7:24
together. That’s the WordPress rounding error.

Steve Zehngut 7:27
Yeah, so. So that I think is a very interesting chart. I want to know what typo three is.

Sé Reed 7:38
Interesting, that blogger is still on there? Because isn’t that yeah. So those are like legacy sites, that the data we need from this, however, what this doesn’t say, and I can speak just from my own personal single use person is how many websites, how many empty half, half, set up WordPress websites there are that I know of that are my fault. And my problem out there on the internet being counted as part of that 40% like, and this also includes wordpress.com. So all of the free spun up sites that anyone was like, oh, late at night, on a weekend, and that is that. You gotta go spin up a website. Wow. like crazy.

Jason Tucker 8:24
Well, what this doesn’t tell us is how many of these are wordpress.com sites versus WordPress hosted site? Yeah, this

Steve Zehngut 8:31
is our, this is talking about the software, right?

Jason Tucker 8:34
Yeah. But it’s not like it’s not like cars, where you can make like a bootleg Ford, like, you can’t make a bootleg Ford in and get it counted. Like a Ford car or something like that. Like, you know, you can’t have like a bootleg version of this. You know, it’s like WordPress, you have wordpress.com and then you have wordpress.org is downloaded, installed and hosted elsewhere solutions.

Steve Zehngut 8:55
But they’re all running the same software essentially. Right? I know that there are modifications@wordpress.com but they’re essentially running the same piece of software which is what this this tries showing us right? Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 9:08
Okay, but

Steve Zehngut 9:12
me Never Never, you’re gonna be waiting a long time.

Jason Tucker 9:17
I guess the thing is, is how would you find that? How would you find that stat? Like how would you find the stat of how many like do you think we’re, you know, we’re WordPress, whichever whichever entity of WordPress, you want to think about here, automatic WordPress, whatever. Do they know how many sites are hosted? WordPress wordpress.org sites vs. wordpress.com sites.

Sé Reed 9:42
versions, but I don’t think they have the.com versus the the.org. But what they do have is another interesting thing, which is how many percentage of sites are running WooCommerce go back

Steve Zehngut 9:58
to that proposal. That’s right. Again, Jason, click on WordPress.

Sé Reed 10:05
That’s the link I just posted in the chat.

Steve Zehngut 10:06
I know, I know. I’m just wondering, let’s discuss it. Let’s look at it.

Jason Tucker 10:12
I’m bringing it up.

Steve Zehngut 10:16
Right. So yeah, click on WordPress. Let’s look at the top. The top thing first is the versions of WordPress that I think this is very interesting, right? Is version five is the top version of WordPress, which is at 86%. But still, version four has a significant number. And some people still running version one, right? It still shows up on the chart. It’s less than point one.

Sé Reed 10:38
I mean, 1% that sites out there, there’s not like,

Steve Zehngut 10:42
I get it. But here’s what’s interesting. If you combine 3212 and three, it’s less than 1% of all the WordPress versions are there. So that’s good.

Sé Reed 10:52
Now you can also click on version one, and you can see

Unknown Speaker 11:00
it gets worse. Yeah,

Jason Tucker 11:04
yeah, I see it like that. 1.1 or 1.0.

Steve Zehngut 11:09
But here’s go back one more page. here’s the here’s the, here’s what’s a shame on this chart. Go back. One more is that WP bakery is being run on 16%.

Unknown Speaker 11:24
Visual Composer will never die. That’s a shame.

Steve Zehngut 11:29
Find a way to reduce that number. We need that we need to reduce that number as much as possible.

Sé Reed 11:34
Eventually, people are running old visual composer.

Steve Zehngut 11:37
I see it right at least at least they’ve updated the WP bakery. That’s still bad.

Jason Tucker 11:43
But did they though? Did they update? Or did they just download another theme from themeforest I had a pre built and installed

Steve Zehngut 11:49
either way it updated for them.

Jason Tucker 11:52
Now many of them are still using demo content from from from you know themeforest

Steve Zehngut 12:00

Sé Reed 12:04
foul add gallery

Steve Zehngut 12:07
invite envira wer,

Sé Reed 12:09

Unknown Speaker 12:11
What is a gallery?

Unknown Speaker 12:15

Jason Tucker 12:16
I’ll let you do a Google search for that green flag

Steve Zehngut 12:18
gallery. back up to the top of the chart. I think the other thing is interesting here is 20% of the WordPress sites are running nearly 20% of running WooCommerce. Right. So that that’s actually pretty significant. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 12:33
That matters.

Jason Cosper 12:34
Yeah, cuz Does anyone want to do the math on 20%? of 40%?

Steve Zehngut 12:40
Sure, it’s 8%.

Jason Cosper 12:43
There you go.

Sé Reed 12:43
Oh, it’s so cool. And people get in their heads. I’m always so impressed. Like, hold

Unknown Speaker 12:49
on, that means

Steve Zehngut 12:51
8% of all the sites on the internet are running WooCommerce.

Sé Reed 12:54
Wow. That’s a lot. Yes. And clunky.

Jason Cosper 12:59
I don’t know. It’s hard to compare that to on the first page where we’re going over all the CMS is and Shopify was on that list and where we see that

Steve Zehngut 13:10
3.3%. So that means that Shopify is less than half of the WooCommerce sites,

Sé Reed 13:16
more maps, I like it. Yeah. Well, so the thing is, is that this has been, you know, this is the I I’ve been watching this number, I don’t know that you guys don’t come here and probably every year and get as excited about this, but I like data and statistics. So I come here every year in and pull this pull this data out. So it’s been fun to watch it. I know of course. Monsieur Mullenweg obviously looks at this because it is I don’t know why I did that. He obviously has been watching this because this is like one of those unspoken doctrines of WordPress, right 50% of the web has met the goal 50% 55 05

Jason Cosper 14:03
I believe there’s a project in automatic that is called area 51. For them to get to 51%. They want

Steve Zehngut 14:12
at that point, they actually own the internet. Like if you if you’re at 50 51% of you, you control that company. So

Sé Reed 14:20
oh my gosh, this is that. And the 40% number and the idea of 51% of the internet is precisely why Morten Rand Hendrickson is always going off on how the lack of voice and governance that is present in the WordPress community to the outer internet and to the rest of the internet is so disturbing like 40% is a huge chunk of the internet and there is not even anywhere close to representation of 40% of WordPress is voice in the not even really in the open source world. conversation that’s happening, let alone the greater internet, because this number is not about like, Oh, you know, all open source sites or anything like that this is everything, you know. So that that disparity is, I think a huge part of the problem. And I know recently automatic has been going into some conversations with some of the other big companies. I don’t have any articles offhand. But I can put them in the show notes, to talk about web standards and things like that. And but the interesting thing is that it is being done by automatic, and that that entity and not WordPress, which is the 40%. So it really would be interesting to get the data of how much of that 40% is wordpress.com? And how much of that 40% is the rest of the WordPress community? So if anyone has, either, I don’t know how we would get that. I don’t know how they get this. Like what? They Who? Wow, that’s a lot of spiders.

Jason Tucker 16:06
Yeah, so you get this.

Jason Cosper 16:09
And and say you brought up a good point with with Morton, I remember when, when he, when the news was announced that we hit 40%, that WordPress at 40%. He was very quick to jump in and say the higher this number grows, the more we get close to like a moto culture on the web. And I mean, we’re already at that in a way with Google Chrome. Like everything is I mean, it Microsoft, they develop a browser, but it’s basically just rescanned Chrome, like at this point, like Chrome has won the internet. And we’re we’re looking at what that means for web browsers right now. So when WordPress wins the internet, what what are we looking at for CMS says?

Sé Reed 17:10
I stopped listening. I’m sorry. I just I don’t call on me. Because it wasn’t interesting.

Steve Zehngut 17:22
Listening, I was listening, because I have respect for Cosper. But I don’t know that I have an answer to your question.

Jason Cosper 17:31
It’s okay. The second the second, I started talking about mono cultures.

Sé Reed 17:38
No, I got distracted by a statistic. This is how a person with ADHD brains work. Okay. You said something and I was like, oh, browser statistics. Let’s think you know what? I put a link in the in the chat. Look at the browser.

Jason Tucker 17:55
But let’s, let’s take a stab at answering this question. So yeah.

Unknown Speaker 18:04
What was it?

Jason Cosper 18:07
First, my intro and now this say today? I are really on one today.

Sé Reed 18:17
It’s been a rough month. Okay. It’s been a time give me Sure. Right here, right here.

Jason Cosper 18:27
Right here. Now. So the question was is like now that we’re hitting kind of a, we already have a monoculture in like browsers, and we’re seeing what that’s doing to the web. What happens for CMS is when we hit the the when, when WordPress does become I mean, we’re we kind of are at this point, very dominant. But like even more dominant when it moves to a WordPress monoculture.

Sé Reed 18:56
Now even more dominant.

Unknown Speaker 18:59

Sé Reed 19:02
The interesting thing is, like the monoculture conversation is a is a is a whole other conversation because WordPress is so different everywhere, like everyone’s running. It’s not the same as Chrome, where it’s one set of standards. I mean, that’s one of its problems, but also its strengths. Right? Like everyone’s got a different set of different plugins. You’re saying that,

Jason Cosper 19:26
now that we have now that we have the block editor, now that we have Gutenberg? I mean, you know, Elementor just raise its prices because I’m sure that they see the market kind of dropping out a little bit as people use Gutenberg as a page builder. They’ve got to keep their their revenue up. So raise the price. I’m not sure that’s entirely what their decision was based on but it had to have played a factor

Sé Reed 19:54
possible plausible theory.

Jason Tucker 19:57
It just seems like a lot of those. The Gutenberg type, you know, are all the block editors could get on the bandwagon of, of block editors and just make block editor better, like make that whole system better make it so it’s

Sé Reed 20:14
viable down their road. You know what I mean that like to integrate I mean, Devi, for example has a block that you can put the Divi Builder inside a block inside of a Gutenberg page. So I mean, you can do that, though, that causes a rift in the space time continuum.

Unknown Speaker 20:34

Sé Reed 20:36
there, but I think that the real issue is that it’s, it’s a, they’ve gone in a different direction with their, their UI with their back end with all of that stuff, and then the block, or, you know, doubling down on react and whatever the hell else. They’re different.

Jason Cosper 20:54
See, and this is this is what I’m talking about with the question that Jason raised with a monoculture. Why don’t these page builders just go ahead and move aside and make the make Gutenberg better? Well, they could. But then they’re just slipping further.

Sé Reed 21:08
Mr. Mullenweg money?

Jason Cosper 21:10
Yeah, they’re just slipping further into the monoculture. Yeah.

Sé Reed 21:16
It is a, sorry, it could become,

Jason Tucker 21:19
oh, they could become a, you know, they could become something that could be installed through jetpack, and then everything wins. I think

Sé Reed 21:29
that means that the builders, instead of earning our duration, duration, duration, duration,

Jason Tucker 21:38
we’re gonna go get it now. He’s not gonna work.

Sé Reed 21:43
No more. There we go. They have used to earn our scorn, you know, used to make fun of builders. But now are they holding up a more diverse culture within have a way to create then conforming to the monoculture of Gutenberg started now they doing the work? The

Jason Cosper 22:06
summer they are they the Rebel Alliance to the epic Empire?

Sé Reed 22:11
Right, exactly. I don’t know. Now, you know, I never thought I’d be a champion of the builders.

Jason Cosper 22:18
Whoa. This feels like you’re a champion of most of the builders, because given our visual composer slander earlier, which is rightly earned a suck out loud. But they’re absolutely all the other ones though. Like, Yay. Yay, builders.

Sé Reed 22:45
Oh, my gosh. Well,

Jason Tucker 22:48
I guess you could, you could take this this statistic of 40%. And look at it from the point of view of how many people have installed, either block editors themselves, or block the blocks themselves, like collections of blocks, or they’ve installed the classic editor plugin. As, as one of the you know, I don’t know what how you work out the percentage for that for classic editor. But that might be something to look out to.

Sé Reed 23:13
Can you show that a browser market share? a Patreon? Then they’re gonna pump? Because this is basically the the monarch malelane monoculture that we’re talking about? Right, is we’re talking about in browsers. Look, Chrome’s not even on the page.

Jason Tucker 23:37
It just, there it is. Variations of variations of it.

Sé Reed 23:43
Yeah. So like the difference between a chrome up here in the green and Safari down here in the in the that’d be like Shopify versus WordPress in the future. Right? And that’s, that’s the monoculture. That is the direction that it’s looking like, like, we don’t have a nice chart for the, for the RS, there’s probably one on there. But this is the monoculture. And what happens like so there’s a lot of people who make the argument that that just makes chrome a better product. And Chrome is the best product. So why not use Chrome? Right? Like there’s why what’s wrong inherently with the mono culture is I guess that kind of devil’s advocate I’m questioning even though the devil has plenty of advocates and does not.

Jason Tucker 24:29
Well, what’s weird about this one is that is that you have WebKit, and you have chromium, and you have there’s, you know, they’re they’re essentially variations of of those both WebKit and chromium. So I don’t know this. This one’s a This one’s a tough one because it’s not like the arrow. It’s not like Drupal, forked WordPress.

Jason Cosper 24:50
And made Drupal. They didn’t fork WordPress, but they are haven’t, hasn’t there been a project at Drupal? I don’t keep up on Drupal. So I don’t know

Jason Tucker 25:00
Have you walk editor?

Jason Cosper 25:01

Jason Tucker 25:03
Yeah. So you do have some spillover and into into that sort of thing.

Sé Reed 25:10
But I’m asking it. So Steve, Jason, Jason, like, what are? What are the negatives there that you see like, what what isn’t it like, and this is kind of the the vision that Matt espouses, if it’s, you know, a good product, and it’s helping everyone get on the internet, then what’s wrong with it being at this percentage?

Steve Zehngut 25:33
You asked that question. We only we only have three minutes left. So,

Unknown Speaker 25:39

Steve Zehngut 25:41
I mean, frankly, from a web serving standpoint, if I’ve built somebody’s site on WordPress, and they want to move, or we need to move for some reason, or we just don’t agree with the philosophy or the culture, you name it, that can be done. Right. There are other alternatives to moving the website, what I’m worried about, with with, you know, having it 40% and having it grow, and not having proper governance, the stuff that that Morton talks about, and all that stuff, is the people that are doing business within the WordPress ecosystem, right, like the page builders that we’re talking about, like people that run premium plugins, because every little decision that’s made could affect somebody’s business and ultimately their livelihood. Right. And and those decisions are now you know, those, those businesses, right, those those theme companies, those premium plugin companies, those those people that are doing business within the WordPress ecosystem, those are becoming big, big, big businesses, right. So the even little decisions can have big effects on on on what’s out

Sé Reed 26:43
there huge businesses like daddy WP Engine, like

Steve Zehngut 26:50
I was talking about the hosting, I was just talking about people who are creating products within within the WordPress platform as a whole, as a whole their business, right. And so the host hosting hosting gets affected by those decisions as well, because one little one little tweak to, you know, some some piece of technology could throw off a completely, you know, could throw off hosting, you know, if you’ve tuned your servers specifically, in a specific way, there’s all kinds of businesses that are affected by these decisions. WooCommerce, right. So think about the people that are actually running their, their their businesses, on WooCommerce. And WordPress, you make a decision that to make a little change, WooCommerce just just got a new major upgrade to version five, you make a little change that could affect somebody’s business.

Sé Reed 27:38
I mean, in theory, right, the chrome situation is that Chrome is making all of those decisions. I mean, Google’s making all those decisions for Chrome like that’s the decision that it’s a private business, no one has any say. So I think I think the argument would be like if you participate or pay attention, or put in your five for the future, or whatever, you can at least know what’s going on and have a say even if you don’t feel like you know if it’s not a big enough, say, but it’s definitely more open, if you will, then chrome development, I will

Jason Cosper 28:09
say part where the the Chrome and I know that I was the one to bring it up. But the Chrome and WordPress monoculture thing falls apart is that nobody really gets paid to make extensions for Chrome. But people build businesses, like Steve said, off of WordPress plugins, there are so like, if chrome makes a change, and it breaks a bunch of free extensions, BFD. They’re free extensions happen all the time. Yeah. But yeah. Right.

Sé Reed 28:47
So many screencapture extensions have gone away.

Jason Cosper 28:51
Right, but what do you but what do you want for free? And right in WordPress case? Like, crap, man, I like I’ve got licenses for themes for plugins for all of this stuff. They make a change capital investments. Yeah.

Sé Reed 29:09
Yeah. And not to not to mention training, which all of the training, not just our clients, but also training our teams and developer training and relearning stuff. Like there’s a lot of costs that factor into these decisions across the board. It’s not just the money everyone’s making, it’s also the money everyone has to spend to retrain people and, and rebuild out their, you know, documentation for their clients and all of that stuff. That has a real cost.

Steve Zehngut 29:41
It does.

Jason Cosper 29:42
Yeah, with that, so so so to close it out. How did we get to 40%? That’s the same way you get to Carnegie Hall practice. Right?

Jason Tucker 30:07
Hit the subscribe button. If you haven’t already, go over to Apple podcasts and hit subscribe. Leave us a little review. Let us know what you thought of us. And if you’re gonna listen to us again, make sure you share it with somebody else. We’d really appreciate it. talk to y’all later. Bye

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