WordPress has become the easiest way for businesses to create websites. We’ve known that for a very long time. The platform has come a very long way from its humble beginnings as a blogging website and is now the “go-to” place for almost anybody who needs a site for their e-commerce business. You’re probably aware of at least a few companies that make millions of dollars each year from their WordPress site, but what’s the total value of all the money that changes hands through WordPress-built websites?

That figure is difficult to identify because not every site that uses WordPress publishes figures. Nevertheless, WP Engine has tried to get to the bottom of the matter. As the largest individual WordPress hosting provider, WP Engine has a unique insight into how busy its sites are and how much money they’re handing. They call this “the WordPress Ecosystem,” and they’ve been trying to work out its total economic value for the past few years. Now, for the first time, they’ve published their findings. Astonishingly, they believe that the so-called “WordPress Economy” will be worth more than half a trillion dollars by the end of 2021.

Depending on your reading of the figures, you could even say that WordPress has reached that incredible benchmark already. WP Engine believes that the value of the market was $596bn by the end of 2020 but is more certain of its figures for the first half of 2021 than it is about its figures for the previous twelve months. They’re now projecting that the figure will rise to $635bn before the end of this calendar year. If it does, it will come very close to matching the revenue of Apple’s world-conquering App Store, which is said to be worth $643bn each year to Apple. Given the fact that a court in California might be about to make a game-changing ruling about the way Apple raises money through its App Store, the WordPress market could overtake it in 2022 if current trends continue.

While it’s tempting to look at the headline figure and get carried away, we should remember that some websites make more money through WordPress than others. Almost nobody makes more money than online slots websites, and we see more of them appear on WordPress-hosted platforms every day. Nobody knows how many online slots websites there are in the world, but it’s probably safe to assume that there are thousands. The busiest and biggest of them – sites like Rose Slots Canada –  host hundreds of slots and, therefore, thousands of players with money to spend. The global revenue of the online slots industry is worth more than fifty billion dollars each year. Not all of that goes through WordPress-hosted sites, but a significant proportion does, and so the industry makes a huge contribution to the estimate that WP Engine has compiled.

If you were to look at all the revenue made by WordPress sites as if it were a single business, it would be the tenth biggest company in the world. Staggeringly, it would make more money than Tesla. That’s a remarkable achievement for a company that didn’t even exist twenty years ago and isn’t generally thought of as a capitalist enterprise. Slowly but surely, WordPress has been taking a greater percentage of market share with every passing year. Now it’s so far ahead of the rest that it’s difficult to imagine any other company catching or overtaking them. In fact, there isn’t another company in existence at the moment that appears capable of even coming close.

Crunching numbers and looking at the bigger picture is something that WP Engine has been doing a lot of recently. In February this year, the company adopted a new growth model as part of an overhaul of its standard business practices. It’s looking to capitalise on its market-leading status. According to a press release, WP Engine has more than 150,000 customers worldwide, with a combined total of more than 1.2 million web pages hosted. WP Engine claims to provide the fastest WordPress hosting experience on both mobiles and desktops and has more of the top ten million WordPress sites than any other provider. Like WordPress itself, WP Engine’s rise to the top has been fast and impressive. Going forward from February, the company has created three different units to deal with small, medium, and international business customers to further optimise their experiences and tailor them to their needs.

WordPress isn’t traditionally thought of as a “big brand.” It isn’t a household name. Indeed, its name might not be known at all to someone who doesn’t have an interest in web development. Despite that, no one can use the internet without ever coming across a WordPress site. Within the next five years, it’s expected that WordPress sites will account for more than half of all the websites in the world. That makes WordPress a world-leading brand and a hugely important company, but it’s still seen as “a blogging site” by people who haven’t checked in on it in the past few years. Arguably, the company should be doing more to “blow its own trumpet” and make the wider world aware of its impressive achievements.

When you take all of the above into account, it’s easy to see why we still believe WordPress to be the best content management system for website builders of all kinds. The business is profitable, stable, and universally popular. It isn’t perfect – nothing ever will be – and there are still more plugin-related issues than we’d ideally like there to be, but it’s still ranked number one. When you use WordPress, you can be confident that your site will stay online and appear in a format that the majority of browsers will be familiar with. It’s safe, it’s reliable, and so long as it’s used correctly, it’s still far faster than a site built using almost any other management tool. WordPress will never be glamorous, and nor will it ever be the most sophisticated system. It is, however, ubiquitous and successful – and that’s probably far more important than anything else. One day, it may well become a trillion-dollar-per-year business.