WordPress leads the blogging platform pack

WordPress is now used by almost half of the world's most popular blogs, a survey finds

Despite a growing list of alternatives, WordPress continues to be the most popular blogging platform among the world's most popular blogs, a study has found.

WordPress is used by 49 of the world's 100 most popular blogs, according to a survey posted Tuesday by Pingdom, a company that offers a service to test website uptime.

"At 49 [percent], WordPress is clearly the dominating blogging platform as well as of growing importance as a more generic CMS," or Content Management System, the survey concludes. Forty of these sites use the WordPress software in-house, and another nine sites use the service hosted by Automattic.

WordPress' popularity, at least among these highly trafficked sites, has been growing. In 2009, WordPress was used by 32 of the most popular blogs, an earlier Pingdom survey found.

In contrast, some of WordPress' competitors have lost their hold among the top blog spots over the past three years. Movable Type, the next most popular platform on the 2012 list, is used by only seven of the blogs in 2012, down from 12 when last surveyed. Another once-popular blogging platform, TypePad, has dropped even more dramatically in usage, from 16 sites to two, between 2009 and 2012.

WordPress' newer competitors are making inroads, though they aren't as pervasive yet. Two of the top sites now use Drupal, which was introduced in 2001 but has only gained momentum in the past few years. One site on the list uses Tumblr, a blogging service introduced in 2007.

Pingdom made no claims as to how accurately this list reflects the wider usage of WordPress, but its survey seems to align with others. Online survey firm W3Techs found that, of those websites using a blogging platform of some sort, almost 54 percent used WordPress.

In order to compile the list, Pingdom used common tools to interrogate the servers for each site for information on which blogging platform was being used. For those sites that did not divulge the necessary information, Pingdom surveyors then contacted the sites' administrators. The administrators for eight sites declined to divulge the information.

To determine which sites to survey, Pingdom borrowed a daily compilation ranking the world's 100 most popular blogs from online news site Technorati. Technorati rates the sites using a set of metrics that estimate the blogs' influence in their respective communities.

The Technorati list includes many technology blogs, such as Mashable and TechCrunch. It includes corporate-driven news and entertainment blogs aimed at general readership, such as Huffington Post and The Onion. It also includes smaller but still influential operations, such as Laughing Squid and Boing Boing.

In response to the survey, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg wrote in a blog entry that he expected usage of WordPress to continue to increase, as operations running their own home-built or customized platforms -- which currently account for 22 blogs on the Pingdom list -- move to WordPress. Creating a custom platform "is going to become as niche as writing your own Web server instead of using Apache or Nginx," he wrote.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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