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Is PHP dead? Usage statistics and market share for 2023.

Benjamin Crozat
Modified on Dec 22, 2023 0 comments Edit on GitHub
Is PHP dead? Usage statistics and market share for 2023.

Introduction

Numbers for 2024 are coming, and there’s a more up to date article here: Is PHP dead? Usage statistics and market share for 2024.

We are now in a new era of computing thanks to artificial intelligence and still, the rise of PHP, a 28-year-old scripting language, cannot be stopped.

Stable ecosystems without constant drama and forks each time there’s a disagreement are needed now more than ever to build the next generation of successful products.

Let me review the numbers from December 2023 together and see if PHP is dead or not.

PHP is dead. Or is it?

In 2023, PHP is the most used and popular server-side scripting language, with a 77.4% market share overall. 🚀

Language Usage in December 2023
PHP 76.7%
ASP.NET 6.6%
Ruby 5.6%
Java 4.7%
JavaScript 3.1%
Scala 3.0%
Static files 1.8%
Python 1.4%
ColdFusion 0.3%
Perl 0.1%
Erlang 0.1%

Source: W3Tech.

So yeah, people forecasting PHP’s declining popularity and even death sound like broken records. Maybe they will get lucky if they keep repeating “PHP is dead! PHP is dead! PHP is dead!” for ten more years. 🤷‍♂️

The demand for PHP developers didn’t die yet

Gathering meaningful data for PHP jobs is nearly impossible, unfortunately. But I’ll try anyway, even if it’s not much and clearly not representative of the global market.

At the time I’m writing these lines, IT Jobs Watch, a website dedicated to IT job offers in the UK, shows clear evidence of higher demand for PHP developers.

Here’s a table showing the changes in ranking over a span of one year for keywords related to PHP:

Description Change
PHP -16
OO PHP +297
PHP Developer +59
PHP Web Developer +289
Laravel PHP Framework +71
LAMP Stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL/MariaDB, PHP/Perl/Python) +145
PHP Laravel Developer +329
Senior PHP Developer +270
Full Stack PHP Developer +287
PHP Software Engineer +322
LAPP Stack (Linux, Apache, PostgreSQL, PHP/Perl/Python) +328
Lead PHP Developer +313
LEMP Stack (Linux, Nginx, MySQL/MariaDB, PHP/Perl/Python) +289
Junior PHP Developer +337
PHP WordPress Developer +339
Cake Software Foundation CakePHP (PHP Framework) +333
PHP Symfony Developer +347
Mid-Level PHP Developer +348
PHP Joomla! Developer +351
PHPUnit +296
PhD -70

Many of these keywords rank higher compared to a year ago. Not bad for a dead language!

Source: IT Jobs Watch

PHP versions market share in 2023

The PHP version having the most market share in 2023 is PHP 7 (7.4 above others).

WordPress requires at least PHP 7.4 to be installed. And since it’s the most used CMS, we can safely predict how the use of PHP 8 will skyrocket whenever it stops supporting version 7.

I find it funny to see some antique websites still up and running thanks to PHP 4 et 5. 😅 But you know what we say, right? “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! 🤙”

PHP Version Usage in December 2023
7 60.1%
8 21.9%
5 17.7%
4 0.2%

(I’m pretty sure that PHP 4 is more alive than some of the other languages listed above.)

Source: W3Tech.

A programming language is only considered a good option if it can be run at scale by big teams.

What’s better than a list of ultra-popular websites meeting these requirements?

  • Digicert.com
  • Facebook. They started with PHP 5 but later created their own version called “Hack,” which better suits their needs.
  • Mozilla.org
  • OpenAI
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Vimeo
  • Vk.com
  • Whatsapp
  • Wikipedia
  • WordPress.com
  • WordPress.org
  • Zoom.us

Someone should tell them that PHP is dead!

Source: W3Tech.

CMS (Content Management System) market share in 2023

The CMS having the most market share in 2023 is WordPress, which is supposed to be based on a dead language. 😅

Demand for content management systems (CMS) is exploding. Businesses always need to reach new customers through SEO, and a good CMS that allows you to write all the content you need for an effective SEO campaign is mandatory. This trend will likely never fade.

CMS Market share in December 2023
WordPress 63.0%
Shopify 5.9%
Wix 3.7%
Squarespace 3.0%
Joomla 2.6%
Drupal 1.6%
Adobe Systems 1.6%
PrestaShop 1.2%
Google Systems 1.1%
Bitrix 1.0%
Webflow 0.9%
OpenCart 0.8%

Source: W3Tech.

WordPress marketshare in 2023

WordPress has more than 62.9% market share across the all the websites whose CMS we know.

Source: W3Tech.

I’m not surprised that WordPress is so popular. It’s an always-evolving CMS; there are plenty of great WordPress hosts and many excellent themes and plugins to help you reach your goals.

Also, if you ever want to switch away from WordPress, most alternatives offer tools to import every post you already wrote. That means WordPress is a safe choice to begin with.

WordPress versions market share in 2023

The WordPress version having the most market share in 2023 is version 6.

Version 6 of WordPress is a significant update with a new default theme and block-based editor. This new editor significantly changes how WordPress works and allows for more flexibility and creativity when creating new content.

This alone probably drives people to update to the latest major version and, therefore, the latest PHP version.

WordPress Version Usage in December 2023
6 77.2%
5 17.4%
4 5.0%
3 0.4%
2 <0.1%

Source: W3Tech.

The most used WordPress plugins in 2023

The most popular WordPress plugins also deserve to be mentioned there. Some of them can even be considered as mini-CMSes.

Plugin Percentage
Elementor 22.1%
WooCommerce 20.9%
WPBakery 11.8%
Beaver Builder 1.1%
10Web Photo Gallery 0.8%
NextGEN Gallery 0.6%
bbPress 0.4%
Oxygen 0.4%
BuddyPress 0.3%
FooGallery 0.2%
LearnPress 0.2%
Robo Gallery 0.1%
Visual Composer 0.1%
Modula Albums 0.1%
wpForo 0.1%
Supsystic Photo Gallery 0.1%
Envira Gallery 0.1%
PageLayer 0.1%
SeedProd 0.1%
Asgaros Forum 0.1%
eCommerce Product Catalog less than 0.1%
AnsPress less than 0.1%
Grand Flagallery less than 0.1%
WP EasyCart less than 0.1%
WP eCommerce less than 0.1%
Carrot less than 0.1%
Simple:Press less than 0.1%
MarketPress less than 0.1%
Pressbooks less than 0.1%
Other 40.4%

Source: W3Tech.

PHP frameworks market share in 2023

The PHP framework having the most market share in 2023 is Laravel, according to the numbers below. Laravel is by far the favorite on Packagist and GitHub.

Laravel VS. other PHP frameworks on Packagist (CakePHP, CodeIgniter, and Symfony)

The most popular PHP framework on Packagist in 2023 is Laravel. And for good reasons. Laravel is a state-of-the-art framework that makes it easy to create world-class web applications in no time thanks to its rich feature set and extensive ecosystem.

Package Downloads in December 2023
laravel/framework 296,789,784
symfony/symfony 77,979,578
cakephp/cakephp 12,307,368
codeigniter/framework 1,603,007
codeigniter4/framework 1,661,351

Compare the ranking of Laravel and other PHP frameworks on GitHub (CakePHP, CodeIgniter, and Symfony)

The most popular PHP framework on GitHub in 2023 is Laravel.

It’s surprising to watch Laravel’s steady growth over the years and other frameworks stagnate, even Symfony. Of course, a framework’s success is hardly measurable using the amount of stars it gets on GitHub.

Repository Stars in December 2023
laravel/laravel 75,5K
symfony/symfony 28,9K
bcit-ci/codeigniter 18,3K
cakephp/cakephp 8,7K

So, is PHP dead? Obviously not. The popularity of this language is hardly debatable. Its ecosystem is flourishing thanks to WordPress and frameworks like Laravel and Symfony. Also, a new major version is released every year.

Jump on the PHP hype train!

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