How Many Websites Use Drupal? Let's Estimate A Number [Part One]

We work with WordPress and Drupal. According to wordpress.com, there are 25.2 million WordPress sites as of July 2010. How many Drupal sites are there?

Very short answer:

Nobody knows for sure. But we think at least 7.19 million websites use Drupal as of July 2010, including hundreds of the world's most prestigious sites. Whatever the exact number is, it's growing exponentially.

Very long answer:

Since there are no exact numbers and no perfect ways to find exact numbers (in fact, the community lost count pretty much right away), we have to attack this from a few angles.

Angle 1: Compare Drupal's Market Share To WordPress' Market Share

Here's how the software used by the 10,000 most popular websites breaks down, according to Backend Battles, which is a website technology monitor and not a dance contest:

141 of the 10,000 most popular websites run on WordPress. 39 are based on Drupal (making them the web's two most popular content management systems). So Drupal has 27.6% of WordPress' presence on the Backend Battles list.

BuiltWith Technology Trends is similar to Backend Battles, but uses a larger sample size of 100,000 sites. According to BuiltWith as of July 2010, WordPress is used by 3.09% of websites, and Drupal is used by 1.67%. BuiltWith suggests Drupal has 54% of WordPress' user base. (Grain of salt: BuiltWith has been known to think everything's Drupal, like it's a kid in Sunday school answering every question by saying, "Um, the Bible?", but they claim they've fixed that by now.)

If we extrapolated Backend Battles' 27.6% and BuiltWith's 54% to the entire web, we could suggest that there are either 7 million or 13.6 million Drupal sites on the entire web. An average of the two would be 10.3 million. But that's likely too high. More on that in a second.

We'd arrive at these numbers by applying the Backend Battles and BuiltWith percentages (27.6% and 54%) to the number of total WordPress sites among the entire web (25.2 million as of July 2010), not just among the most popular 10,000. Because if Drupal has X% as many sites as WordPress among a sample size of 10,000 sites, it's reasonable to think the percentage would stay similar even among a set of all sites.

10.3 million: too high or too low?

On the one hand, the total number of WordPress sites includes both self-hosted sites that use WordPress software and blogs hosted on wordpress.com. The sites measured by Backend Battles and BuiltWith are the web's most heavily trafficked sites -- almost all of them are self-hosted. Most blogs hosted on wordpress.com are going to be less popular than the web's 10,000 or even 100,000 most popular sites. The density of total WordPress sites is only going to swell the deeper we go past the most popular sites. Anyone can start a wordpress.com blog in seconds, and then never touch it again. Surely that's boosted WordPress' numbers quite a bit.

Drupal, however, doesn't have any widely adopted instant-website solution. If you want a Drupal website, you've got to really want a Drupal website -- committing to downloading, installing, and setting up Drupal is a bigger barrier to entry than WordPress usage faces. (Drupal's trying out Gardens as a quick-and-easy, WordPressy, hosted-for-you deal, but it's not likely to catch on because the freaking URL is drupalgardens.com.

Imagine telling someone in a loud bar, "You should check out my blog. It's at partyface.drupalgardens.com."
Their reaction would be: "Partyface what gardens dot com?"
You: "D-R-U-P-A-L. I think it means rain in Norweigan; it's got modules."
Them: "Partyface dot D-R-U-P-A-L dot gardens dot com?"
You: "Close, but no. Let's walk through this one more time."

Digressing.)

On the other hand, as this Joomla chart suggests, open-source CMS usage tends to be more prevalent once you venture past the top 100,000 sites, though perhaps none more so than wordpress.com-hosted blogs.

Brain hurts. Here's what's happening: cutting that Drupal average by 20%, a totally arbitrary number, to account for the wordpress.com thing.

Angle 1 result: 8.24 million Drupal sites.

Another web software monitoring site we considered, W3Techs, was way out there: Drupal has only 11% of WordPress' presence. On its face, that's not totally unreasonable -- 11% of WordPress' 25.2 million sites would suggest there are about 3 million Drupal sites, which is much lower than the others but not outrageous. However, they're only counting domains, not subdomains, meaning their numbers would only give WordPress credit for its 13.8 self-hosted sites, not its 11.4 wordpress.com-hosted sites. And 11% of 13.8 million is only a million and a half A MILLION AND HALF. As we'll get to in Angle 3, Drupal was downloaded more times than that during the third-biggest year of its shelf life, let alone its other eight and a half years A MILLION AND A HALF.

Angle 2: Look At What People Are Searching For

According to Google Trends as of July 2010, WordPress gets searched 3.2 times more often than Drupal does. Even though WordPress appears to be soaring while Drupal plateaus (we’d prefer the term consistent, even though Drupal clearly was Googled more in 2009 than it was in 2008), the difference is between 2.1 x and 3.5 x for every calendar year so far. Therefore, WordPress has had about 3.2 times the popular interest Drupal has had. Popular interest is relevant here because more searches are going to mean more downloads/signups YES I KNOW not directly, but I can’t imagine how there wouldn’t be some kind of correlation there. (Then again, Joomla was searched more often than WordPress was for three straight years, and there aren’t as many Joomla sites as there are WordPress sites; Joomla has been downloaded 14 million times since 2007 according to joomla.org as of May 2010 in a long string of prepositional phrases without a comma. A fine number if it’s accurate, but not enough to approach 25.2 million. Sometimes all you can do is throw your hands in the air and proceed as planned. Watch me do that in the very next paragraph.)

Assuming X number of searches translates to Y number of new sites, we can again use the 25.2 million total WordPress sites as a base point. Dividing 25.2 million by 3.2 gives us 7.9 million, remarkably close to our 8.24 million estimate from Angle 1. Now let’s dock it by OH GOSH SAY 20%, because of the previously noted wordpress.com-hosted thing.

Angle 2 result: 6.32 million Drupal sites.

Angle 3: Expand On What We Know About Drupal Download Stats

Our first two angles depend pretty much entirely on the data that the WordPress organization has chosen to release to the public. They’re not known exaggerators, but our whole house of cards would be zoning violation’d if their numbers were off. So let’s try and do one independent of WordPress.

From 2006 to 2008, Drupal founder Dries Buytaert posted annual download stats, but hasn’t done so since. That’s fine. As with Joomla and WordPress above, we’ll assume they’re accurate.

Drupal downloads per year:

That’s almost 2.5 million downloads right there. More than two years have passed since the most recent update. If downloads continued at 2008’s pace, that would equal 5.7 million downloads, plus whatever happened between 2001 and 2005 — let’s say ~300,000 total for Drupal’s first four years. That might seem conservative, but it still adds up to 6 million. Of course, there’s reason to believe (based on our sources for Angles 1 and 2, plus other factors*) that demand for Drupal has risen in the past two years, so 6 million is too low.

* BuiltWith finds Drupal to be among the web’s 50 fastest-growing technologies between April and July 2010. DrupalCon attendance continues to double. 20% of Drupal’s total module projects were begun in the past eleven months (4,600 in August 2009 according to Wikipedia, 6,190 on drupal.org as of July 2010). The many high-profile organizations that continue to convert to Drupal (in the past few weeks: the U.S. Department of Commerce, South Africa’s World Cup site, and Christina Aguilera, among others). And so forth.

Sure, a Drupal download doesn’t equal a new Drupal site. There are many reasons why a download wouldn’t end up becoming a full-fledged site — people could download just to try out Drupal or test a module, for example. But let’s say this is balanced by: (A) one download could spawn 1,000 sites if a developer was so inclined — none of which are counted here, (B) there are plenty of other places besides drupal.com from which to download Drupal (if we felt like it, we could host it for download right here), (C) there are dozens of custom Drupal distributions like Acquia, iSite Essentials, Open Publish, and Pressflow that aren’t counted (D) alpha, beta, and release candidate downloads — most of which could yield a fully functioning site — aren’t counted, and so on.

Bumping that 6 million up by 1 million to account for Drupal’s increase in popularity since 2008 is very reasonable. Downloads almost tripled between 2007 and 2008, and we’re certainly estimating a much less aggressive rate of increase than that. Yep, that puts us right within range of our previous two estimates, which might seem like we’re forcing the numbers to fit. But, using 6 million as our base number, how many do you suggest we add to account for Drupal’s mini-surge of 2009 and, to a lesser extent, 2010?

Angle 3 result: At least 7 million Drupal sites.

Crappy, Discarded Angle: Search For How Many Sites Still Have The “Powered By Drupal” Badge

Every stock Drupal install includes a little footer badge with the Drupal logo and some alt text that reads, “Powered by Drupal, an open source content management system.” Most people take it down; some people leave it be. You’d think searching for this would be useful — no, not really. Depending on the search engine (and, seemingly, the time of day, ozone levels over Nepal, and LeBron James’ number of Twitter followers) it returns anywhere from 60 million results to 40,000. There are nowhere near 60 million Drupal sites that haven’t removed their showroom stickers yet, and there are a whole lot more than 40,000.

Even using Yahoo! Site Explorer and filtering to only include sites that link back to drupal.org, as the badge does, isn’t helpful. I tried several different variations of the same kind of search, all of which wound up under 100,000.

This angle is like 89 degrees — it ain’t right. (And yes, this means there weren’t 40 million freaking Joomla sites two years after it was created.)

Angle 4: Fly Everything Up The Flagpole And See Who Salutes

Averaging the results from all three previous reasonable angles — because why not? — gives us 7.19 million. And until somebody comes up with a better idea, that’s our answer. Please come up with a better idea.

We estimate there are about 7.19 million Drupal sites, and we’re not as un-confident about that as you might think we should be. Your turn?

(7.19 million, and we just want to build you one.)

Comments

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[…] How Many Websites Use Drupal? Let’s Estimate A Number [Part One] » The ENGINE Blog » ENGINE Indust… engineindustries.com/blog/jason/how-many-websites-use-drupal-lets-estimate-number-part-one – view page – cached We work with WordPress and Drupal. According to wordpress.com, there are 25.2 million WordPress sites as of July 2010. How many Drupal sites are there? Tweets about this link […]

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Reply to comment » ENGINE Industries: Atlanta, Georgia Web

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Commerce constitutes the exchange of products and services between businesses, groups and individuals and can be seen as one of the essential activities of any business.Thanks.

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Great post, anyway, but I’m wondering if this info is still up to date? Thanks!

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http://bestseoguy.com
Email: larry@ (above website)

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Drupal Gardens URL

Hi Jason,
Thanks for mentioning Drupal Gardens. A URL that includes drupalgardens.com is long - agreed. But you can use your own domain if you want and drop drupalgardens our of your URL (partyface.com)

Linea Rowe
Drupal Gardens Product Manager

That's certainly a fine option,

And I’m sure many people will take advantage of it.

My point is that most people who just want a very simple hosted-by-someone-else blog are much, much more likely to use wordpress.com than drupalgardens.com, and I do think that gangly URL is going to baffle many more people than it impresses.

Certainly Gardens offers features that WordPress doesn’t, and it’s great to have competition, and Drupal will likely gain many converts in the process.

Most importantly, that part

Most importantly, that part of your article made me laugh out loud. :-)

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And yoursite.drupal.com?

There are many thousands of yoursite.wordpress.com. So, instead of yoursite.drupalgardens.com, how about yoursite.drupal.com?

After my previous comment,

After my previous comment, I’ve just found Buzzr, co-founded by Lullabot, a hosted Drupal service similar to Acquia’s Drupal Gardens. So, there are also Drupal URLs of the type yoursite.buzzr.com.

Doesn’t yoursite.drupal.com

Doesn’t yoursite.drupal.com already exist?

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You can have any custom domain on Drupal Gardens

Nice article.
However 1 correction. Sites are not restricted to sitename.drupalgardens.com on Drupal Gardens. You can easily have a custom domain like did. In fact custom domain mapping is free in 2010 and will only be about $11 a year afterwards.

Custom domains covered in

Custom domains covered in this comment. Marking as duplicate - JK :)

Seriously, though. We get the custom domain thing, but Jason’s point was that the word “Drupal” is hard enough to convey, without having to add another word after it (along with whatever the subdomain ends up being).

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I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Pingback

[…] This estimate says 7.18 million websites use Drupal, not bad. And Dries Buytaert’s personal list of Drupal sites. For those who don’t know, he’s the guy behind Drupal […]

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[…] Read the original post: How Many Websites Use Drupal? Let's Estimate A Number [Part One … […]

If there are 7.19 million

If there are 7.19 million Drupal sites, and d.o usage stats (http://drupal.org/project/usage/drupal) record 316,000 sites, that means only 4.39% of Drupal sites use the Update Status module.

Hmm.

If that’s the case, I guess I should be happy that 114,000 sites are using my modules instead of the 5,000 that drupal.org tells me.

[p.s. oh man I hate how Mollom flags every post with a link in it]

Drupal

I have tried Drupal! I think it’s user friendly…
Web Design

Pingback

[…] Which Open-Source CMS Has the Most Active Development Community? [Part Two] Posted by Jason on Mon, 07/12/2010 - 7:03pm In Part One we estimated the number of websites that use Drupal as of July 2010. You can read that. […]

good post

good post

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If you are into online sales business, you might certainly need the sales and marketing strategies. www.fanbullet.com does the same. They market your products to the most relevant audience and increase the chances of your product sales. All you need to do is buy facebook likes from www.fanbullet.com.

In comparison

The methods you’ve used to find your estimates are remarkably similar to the ones I’ve used earlier this year to estimate the amount of websites using Joomla. Therefor, the results should be quite comparable as well. Seeing that you reached an estimate of around 7.19 million for Drupal, and my estimate was only 1.75 million for Joomla, this would mean that there are over 4 times more Drupal websites than there are Joomla websites.

A possible problem might lay in the base estimate on which you build your further analysis on. The ‘Stats’ page of Wordpress.com reports that “11.4 million blogs hosted on WordPress.com plus 13.8 million active installations of the WordPress.org software.”. Which means that for the purpose of this study, the number of 13.8 million should be used, right? The reason for this is (as your reported) that there isn’t a sizable platform offering hosted solutions for Drupal, and we don’t want to be comparing apples and pears by looking at the aggregated number of users for Wordpress, and only the non-hosted for Drupal. Using this number would create a base estimate of about 5.630.400 Drupal websites. Whilst still over 2.5 times more than the amount of Joomla website I’ve found, atleast it seems reasonable.

What are your thoughts on the feedback above? :)

PS: your math problem field does not allow me to enter ‘10’, whilst X - 10 = 0 does seem to give X = 10 ;)

Pingback

[…] more than  7 million websites were using Drupal in July 2010 (including many large, high-traffic and high-profile websites in commercial, governmental, and […]

Pingback

[…] more than  7 million websites were using Drupal in July 2010 (including many large, high-traffic and high-profile websites in commercial, governmental, and […]

Pingback

[…] one knows exactly how many websites currently use Drupal, but it was estimated to be about 7.2 million as of July 2010. This entry was posted in drupal and tagged drupal use. […]

If there are 7

If there are 7.19 million Drupal sites, and d.o usage stats (http://drupal.org/project/usage/drupal) record 316,000 sites, that means only 4.39% of Drupal sites use the Update Status module.

Drupal is nice

Thanks for this blog.

Drupal has a lot of functionalities(modules) and themes that makes it very flexible and easy to use.Check this Drupal site www.jcnconsult.com

looking for node

Looking for “domain.tld/node/” in the URL would help more than looking for Powered by Drupal. I do not know any other CMS using this word for their URL architecture and, even if they exist, they must be negligible.

Pingback

[…] según wordpress.com, y 7,2 millones son sitios con Drupal instalado, según un cálculo de engineindustries.com, ambos a fecha de Diciembre de 2010 (otras opciones elegidas mayoritariamente por desarrolladores […]

I Love You Drupal!

Wow, I’m going to try it using my exterior painting contractor business blog. Thank you!

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