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Do startups use WordPress after 20 years?

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    Hide Shidara

WordPress turned 20 years old recently. I interviewed for Automattic, the company behind WordPress years ago. It was quite a unique experience, an entirely all Slack conversation between me and the manager.

That got me wondering, does anyone still use WordPress? No really, for the last 2 decades new incumbents like Ghost, Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, Medium, etc. an almost infinite number if we’re boing honest have dug into their market share. Remember when influencers were linking their WordPress blogs to their bios? Even Linktree came in and took that market segment.

A Little Internet History

WP initially launched in 2003 by American blogger Matt Mullenweg and British blogger Mike Little. I went to the Wayback Machine and looked at the MVP landing page.

WordPress V1

WordPress Wayback Machine

WP cast a huge shadow over the internet. Hacker News favorites like WPEngine and bootstrappers have built multi-million dollar companies on top of the blogging platform. Even today there are over 60k plugins on WordPress.

Also take a look at their revenue. Still growing at an impressive rate.

2021$1.3 billion
2020$1 billion
2019$780 million
2018$155 million
2017$132 million

BuiltWith WordPress Usage Chart

Looking at their growth chart however, it does seem like that a lot of the top sites (by Alexa rank) seem to have migrated over to somewhere else. WordPress’ seems to appeal to sites that are below the top 100k sites online.

But Do Startups use Wordpress?

I wanted to see if anyone cool used WordPress. Cool here meaning, new shiny YC startups. I went to the new Launch YC website and scraped the data. You can fork the script here.

I looked into all the YC companies that launched in the past few years and it turns out, yes they do. The startups most likely to use WP in their tech stack is B2B SaaS, followed by Analytics and Data Engineering startups.

YC Companies That Use WP

The most used plugins are the main WordPress CMS, Elementor, and Yoast SEO.

Plugins Used


Out of a sample set of 600+ pre-seed to seed stage startups we’ve found that 29 startups still use WordPress and various plugins. At this point marketing site architecture is outsourced to no-code tools like WP and Webflow, so I expect that 100% of these startups are just using WP as a blog, hiring board, or a landing page builder. Still, pretty impressive market penetration in a world that now has reliable generative AI and serverless Lambda functions with 2 min deploys like Vercel and Netlify.

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