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Unveiling WordPress Trends: What’s Hot, What’s Not (and How It Affects You)

WordPress continues to reign supreme as the content management system of choice, powering a whopping 46% of all websites. But beneath the surface, intriguing trends are shaping the future of the WP community. Let’s dive in and explore what these trends mean for you.

WordPress: Here to Stay

Since its inception in 2003, WordPress usage has enjoyed a steady and impressive climb.

  WordPress usage has been consistently up over the years.

While competitors like Drupal and Joomla enjoyed a brief spotlight in 2015, their market share has significantly declined, solidifying WordPress’ dominance.

   Joomla usage down considerably since 2015

 Drupal usage has down considerably since 2015

WordPress’ dominance can be attributed to several factors:

  • Ease of Use: WordPress’s intuitive interface and focus on user-friendliness make it accessible for beginners and experienced users alike.
  • Flexibility: A vast library of themes and plugins allows users to customize their website for virtually any purpose. From simple blogs to complex e-commerce stores, WordPress can handle it all.
  • Open Source: Being open-source means the core software is free to use and modify, fostering a vibrant developer community that continually adds new features and functionality.

Security Concerns- Outdated Versions Hold You Back

Nearly 18% of WordPress sites (5% on the 4.x branch, released in 2017, and 13% on the 5.x branch, last updated in January 2022) haven’t upgraded to the current 6.x branch. While these older versions may still receive security patches, staying current offers significant benefits.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • Limited Functionality: Older versions may lack features and functionalities available in newer ones.
  • Security Vulnerabilities: Outdated software is more susceptible to hacking attempts. Hackers exploit known vulnerabilities in older versions to gain access to websites.
  • Compatibility Issues: Plugins and themes might not function correctly with outdated WordPress versions.

Pro Tip: If you own a WordPress website and are having issues with any of the above issues that may impact your website security, reach out to the WordPress experts at 42Works.

The Looming Threat of Unsupported PHP

The statistics unveil another potential security concern – outdated versions of PHP.  Here’s why it matters:

  • 75% of sites utilize unsupported PHP versions (anything before 8.1). These versions may not receive security patches, leaving websites vulnerable.

    PHP 8.1 and above is currently supported. Previous versions have reached “end of life”

  • 43% of sites Still rely on PHP 7.4, which has reached “end of life” status.

Along with protecting your website, newer PHP versions offer performance improvements, meaning your website will load faster.

jQuery is still widely used! 

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 technical debt versus new code, but what is clear is that jQuery is one of the most-used languages in WordPress.

React Reigns Supreme for Major Sites, But is it Losing Steam Overall?

  • React usage is up for the top 1 million sites, but way down overall. 

As you likely know, React is used to build most Gutenberg blocks, so it is now widely used in the WordPress community. However, the story is more nuanced when looking at sites worldwide. 

React seems to be gaining popularity in the top 1 million websites, with usage mostly going up since 2013.

But when looking at all sites, React was plummeting back to Earth in 2021.

WordPress Alternatives Make Waves!

Meanwhile, WordPress’ competitors, Squarespace and Wix, are thriving. 

  • The line graph shows that Wix usage has consistently increased over the years, with no signs of decline since around 2021.
  • Squarespace’s usage has mostly risen since 2004, albeit with a slight dip in the last year or so, as depicted in the line graph.

Additionally, in our WordPress consulting practice, we’ve noticed that many clients are using Hubspot’s Landing Page Builder in addition to WordPress, usually to host and track downloads of lead generation PDFs and related form leads.

Hubspot Landing Page Builder usage has gone down a bit recently but still maintains a notable market share.

E-commerce Titans: A Battle Royale

WooCommerce and Shopify are locked in a fierce battle for e-commerce dominance:

  • WooCommerce and Shopify: Both boast around 2.75 million websites, with WooCommerce showing a slight downward trend.

    Shopify took a dip around 2022

WooCommerce e-commerce is trending similar to Shopify:

Shifting Tides in Email Marketing

The email marketing landscape is evolving, with Mailchimp experiencing a decline in usage since its acquisition in 2021.  

More and more people are using Zoho Mail these days! It’s been growing in popularity since 2020, although there was a small slowdown in 2022.

At the same time, established players are also innovating. Google Workspace, previously known as Google Apps for Business, is seeing continued growth.

The Everlasting PHP: A Legacy Endures

Despite a significant decline over the past six years, PHP still powers around 35 million websites, a considerable portion likely being WordPress sites. While its usage is decreasing, it serves as a reminder of this technology’s lasting impact.

Keeping Your WordPress Site Secure at 42Works

At 42Works, we understand the importance of keeping your WordPress website up-to-date and secure. Our team of WordPress experts can help you:

  • Upgrade your WordPress core, themes, and plugins to the latest versions.
  • Implement security best practices to protect your website from hackers.
  • Monitor your website for vulnerabilities and take corrective action if needed.

Don’t let outdated software put your website at risk. Contact 42Works today for a consultation!


Anmol Rajdev

Founder and CEO of 42Works

Anmol Rajdev

Anmol Rajdev

Founder and CEO of 42Works

About the Author

Anmol Rajdev, Founder & CEO of 42works, leads a team of 80+ experts in web and mobile development. Anmol is a technical architect powerhouse with 500+ successful projects under his belt, spanning industries from finance to fitness.

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