WordPress themes in top 1 million websites

WordPress themes have been extracted from our latest analysis of the worlds top 1 million websites (by alexa rank). Digging into the data shows interesting trends in the WordPress content management space, and can also provide insight into security vulnerabilities. Third party wordpress components that include plugins and themes can introduce exploitable security issues.

Methodology: To determine themes in use by the worlds most popular WordPress based websites a search of the source html from the primary page was analysed for “wp-content/themes/” this is a good indication of a WordPress installation and also reveals the theme in use. As you would expect from a Free open source content management system; of the 160438 sites we found with WordPress themes many are running free themes, but many are also running premium commercial themes.

Top 5 Premium WordPress Theme Providers

To determine the commercial themes in use; the 100 most popular themes have been counted (35930 total wordpress sites). Of the 100 most popular themes 51% were premium or commercial themes. This clearly shows how significant the WordPress “economy” is in the world of web development.

Premium vs Free WordPress Themes in Top 100

Of the commercial themes, Thesis Theme Framework, StudioPress, Woothemes, OptimizePress and Elegant themes were the top 5 providers in the 100 most popular themes.

Premium WordPress Theme Provider Showdown

It is interesting to note the high number for the OptimizePress theme; this is a single purpose theme whereas the others in the Top 5 are all theme frameworks. OptimizePress is very much a sales focused theme using techniques such as “funnels” and “squeeze pages” to push users into a sales pitch. It shows that WordPress is much more than just a blogging platform.

Woothemes has the most popular general purpose commercial theme with its “canvas” theme coming in at number 16.

Free themes are of course very popular with the top 2 themes being themes that are bundled with WordPress default installations (twentyten and twentyeleven).

Summary of the Top 20 WordPress Themes

1. Twentyten
The default WordPress theme for 2010, it just so happens to be the most popular wordpress theme in the top 1 million websites.
Total Sites: 3096
2. Twentyeleven
The default WordPress theme for 2011, and hot on the heels of 2010, this theme is the second most popular.
Total Sites: 2793
3. Thesis 18
This version of the Thesis theme framework comes in as the highest commercial listing. This entry is a theme framework, and not an individual theme.
Total Sites: 1706
4. Optimize Press
This commercial theme is a very popular theme that is dedicated towards driving a visitor towards the sale of a product or sign-up.
Total Sites: 1457
5. Thesis 182
This is a later version of the Thesis theme framework and comes in as the third highest commercial listing. Note this is a theme framework, and not an individual theme.
Total Sites: 1144
6. Default
This was the default theme for WordPress versions 1.5 up until 2.9. When browsing the web sometimes this old timer still pops up and these stats confirm that it is still kicking strong.
Total Sites: 918
7. Mystique
First release was back in 2009, this theme has recently been moved into a Framework like core called Atom.
Total Sites: 916
8. Arras
A clean magazine style theme that comes in multiple color variations. While the Arras theme is a Free download commercial child themes are being developed.
Total Sites: 868
9. Atahualpa
Bytes for All have a handful of Free wordpress themes, Atahualpha being the most popular.
Total Sites: 795
10. Suffusion
A versatile Free theme with a 5 star rating at the WordPress theme directory.
Total Sites: 766
11. Inove
A popular theme that was last updated back in 2009. Are the sites running this getting no updates or do people just love this theme?
Total Sites: 758
12. Thesis 184
This commercial Framework makes another appearance with version 184. Note this is a theme framework, and not an individual theme.
Total Sites: 726
13. Graphene
Another popular free theme, the developer actively offers paid customisation and support.
Total Sites: 654
14. Article Directory
A popular example of a custom purpose theme. This turns your WordPress installation into a feature packed article directory. It is a commercial offering.
Total Sites: 604
15. Lifestyle
A commercial theme from Studio Press. Works with the Genesis Framework.
Total Sites: 581
16. Canvas
A commercial theme from Woothemes. Uses the Wooframework, this theme is designed to be highly customisable.
Total Sites: 562
17. News
Another commercial theme from Studio Press makes an entry into the list. Uses the Genesis Framework.
Total Sites: 500
18. Magazine Basic
A free theme from a now commercial theme house.
Total Sites: 465
19. Arthemia
A commercial theme available from Colorlabs.
Total Sites: 418
20. Headway 2013
A commercial theme available from Headway themes.
Total Sites: 409

Premium vs Free Themes in the Top 20

This shows a very different result to the statistic for the top 100, in the Top 20 only 35% are premium themes, this appears to due to the large number of twentyten and twentyeleven themes in use.
Premium vs Free WordPress themes in the Top 20

WordPress.com Hosting in the Top 1 Million

Over at wordpress.com you can get free hosting for a wordpress installation; they also offer a VIP hosting option for commercial grade hosting. Looking at the theme paths we are able to see that 2.8% (4492) of the 160k wordpress sites are running on wordpress.com (path /wp-content/themes/pub/) and 147 are running on wordpress.com in a paid for capacity (/wp-content/themes/vip/).


Note: No guarantee is made regarding the accuracy of these results or conclusions. All 60956 different themes were not verified.

Want to do your own analysis? Download the full theme count in .csv format.

, , ,

  • Pingback: WordPress Themes: the Top 20 (as Used by the Top Million) - WPMU.org

  • http://www.robertbcairns.com/ Rob Cairns

    How did Ithemes Builder not make this list?

    • http://hackertarget.com/ i_hack_sites

      A quick look at the full list shows Builder with 174 installs and positioned at 61 in the most popular theme list.

  • http://twitter.com/DanielMcclure Daniel McClure

    This is a very interesting study and not what I was expecting to see. Thanks for sharing your data. I’ll definitely be taking a closer look!

  • http://www.mysafetydefense.com/ Raymond Torres

    this is a very interesting study i will have to take a look thanks

  • http://breaktimeforall.com/webmaster/ theSmokingCaptain

    Suffusion has made my life so much easier, using it on multiple site but the best is still in its basic form!

  • gowebbaby

    The Result of the research shows that why we use WordPress for our webdesign. Thanks for providing us this useful data.

  • LendingWanted

    This is great study.! and thanks for this information about the 20 free themes. :)

  • http://twitter.com/turoart Arturo Vargas

    Wow!! there’s sites still using Default
    Interesting study, thanks for the info