A few days ago, the official website of WordPress.org featured new plugin popularity metrics and updated statistics on the versions of WordPress, PHP, and MySQL used.
The WordPress.org plugins directory has a new active installs metric:
It is now easier to determine how popular a particular plugin is, especially for those that are updated very often since each update counts as a separate download. There are also a large number of plugins that were previously super-popular, but today there is no such interest in them, for example, due to new functionality in the WordPress core.
Plugin activity metrics are collected anonymously from each WordPress site during an update check. This means that the numbers do not take into account local sites, intranets (which are often disconnected from the Internet), and individual sites in the Multisite network, where the update check is performed only once for the main site.
It’s interesting to note that for plugins with over 1 million active installs, the WordPress.org page only says “over 1 million”, but fortunately Brian Krogsgard, the author of Post Status, was able to come up with more accurate numbers while testing this change. On his website, he published a list of the most popular WordPress plugins, which is slightly different from what we see on the official WordPress.org website.
WordPress core, PHP, and MySQL versions
The update also affected general statistics on the versions of the WordPress core, PHP interpreter, and MySQL database.
The updated statistics page now shows that the latest core version (4.1/4.1.1 at the time of writing) is used by 36.3% of WordPress sites. The most popular branch of PHP turned out to be 5.3, with a small margin over 5.4. And the most popular version of MySQL among WordPress sites turned out to be 5.5, although version 5.1 still occupies a significant share.
Andrew Neisin, one of the lead WordPress core developers, has posted a detailed rationale for these changes on the make/meta website. He also noted that the new data does not yet change plans to support PHP version 5.2.