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As of 2013, WordPress will be 10 years old. Over those 10 years, the platform has grown to become the single most popular blogging platform across the world. It is an open source project, completely free of charge, and has become a standard feature on web hosts. Most of the people who buy a domain name and set it up will only have to go through a few simple steps to install this popular content management system on their server.
As of 2011, WordPress already hosted 20 million blogs. It is also the platform of choice for some of the largest websites in the world, including Ford Motor Company, NASA and many others. At the end of 2011, analysts were expecting there to be over 70 million blogs running the WordPress platform.
According to numbers from Pingdom.com, WordPress accounted for 48% of the blogging platforms or content management systems among the Technorati top 100 blogs.
Analysis by the site showed that WordPress had moved from 32 of the top 100 blogs to 48 of the top 100 blogs. WordPress is very well known for being one of the easiest to manage content management systems, which likely does contribute to its popularity. Any platform that does enjoy this level of domination, however, will have its competition and some of the most significant competition has come from the Tumblr blogging platform. In fact, that competition has become so heated that there are several different WordPress themes on the market that allow users to blog in the Tumblr format, referred to as Tumblogging.
Tumblr has grown impressively over the past few years. In 2010, according to Tumblr and Automatic numbers, Tumblr had 11 million blogs versus WordPress.com’s 16 million blogs. By May 2011, the same data sources demonstrate that WordPress had 19.9 million blogs and Tumblr had grown to 18.4 million blogs. In that time, Tumblr managed not only to increase its numbers but managed to close the gap between it and WordPress considerably. In fact, Tumblr almost doubled the growth exhibited by WordPress over the same period.
Growing with Demand
Whenever a website shows impressive growth, there is always a technological aspect involved. To maintain the growth and to improve upon it still, the owner of the site has to add resources to accommodate the new visitors.
By 2009, according to Pingdom, WordPress already had an enormous data center dedicated to hosting its over 5.5 million blogs at that time. The server hardware consisted of 1440 CPU cores and as much as 1.4 TB of RAM. This might sound impressive, until you realize that these numbers only apply to one of the three data centers that host WordPress’s vast collection of blogs.
It’s important to point out that these numbers do apply to WordPress.com. WordPress.com does not host every blog built on the WordPress platform, of course, so the total number of CPUs and the total amount of RAM that goes into hosting sites built on the WordPress platform is most certainly much higher than those already impressive numbers.
The popularity of WordPress is easy to understand given two pieces of information. One, the platform makes it very easy to install themes, which allows everyday users to take advantage of very advanced capabilities built right into their content management system. This means that even very advanced features can be added without the expense or the assistance of a developer.
The second major factor in why WordPress is likely so popular is quite simply the fact that most web hosts have it available on their servers. On most web hosts, setting up a WordPress blog only requires selecting to install the content management system on the server, which is generally an automated process that is no more difficult than clicking a few checkboxes and setting up an administrator password.
Tumblr has grown considerably, as well, and that growth may be attributable to the fact that Tumblr removes a great deal of the responsibility of optimizing and publicizing a site from the site owner. Tumblr functions as a sort of social networking site, making it easy for users to connect with one another, share content and so forth. Linking together WordPress blogs can be a little bit more difficult than this, given that many of them are hosted on their own domains and aren’t necessarily a part of any organized social networking structure. If you’re using premium WordPress themes , they may have additional documentation that provides you with instructions as to how to use their specialized features.
Despite the competition, however, WordPress has definitely asserted itself as quite possibly the most important content management system on the Internet. Projected weekly page views by Pingdom predict that, by 2015, 6.5 billion page views will be made every month on sites using the WordPress platform.
This growth rate has been rather steady, lending the numbers some credibility. Despite its dominance, however, WordPress definitely does have competition on the horizon in the form of Tumblr.