Analysis of 39 WordPress plugins with over a million active installations

Are you looking to start an online store, create an online course, or build a blog – but get overwhelmed by the plugins available?

WordPress dominates the CMS market with an impressive 63.2% market share, meaning that a whopping 43.1% of all websites rely on this powerful platform. Just think about the vast number of potential website owners you could target if your expertise lies in WordPress!

Now, you might be tempted to believe that the rise of No Code Tools would lure website owners away from WordPress. However, the reality is quite different in the current landscape.

While these tools are suitable for simple, one-page websites, they fall short when it comes to building robust sites with advanced functionalities and seamless integrations. That’s where a reliable CMS like WordPress still reigns supreme.

If you’re looking for a lucrative venture within the WordPress ecosystem, developing and selling WordPress plugins is an incredibly accessible and profitable option. Intrigued by this prospect, I delved into an analysis of the vast WordPress Plugin Repository, home to a staggering 60,595 plugins.

However, I specifically focused on the cream of the crop—the successful plugins boasting over 1 million active installs and offering a paid version as an upgrade.

What did I discover? Well, let me share the findings of my analysis with you.

But before we proceed, remember to take this information with a grain of salt—it’s merely a helpful resource for those considering embarking on the exciting journey of WordPress plugin development.

Plugin Selected for Analysis

  1. Hosted on Wordpress plugin repository
  2. Has a freemium version
  3. Has more than 1 million active installs

WordPress Plugin repository has 60,595 plugins hosted but only 39 plugins have more than 1 million installs and offers a paid version as an upgrade.

Amidst the sea of options available, these plugins have managed to capture the attention and loyalty of a massive audience.

They have proven their worth and appeal by delivering exceptional functionality and captivating features that users are willing to pay for. It’s a testament to their quality and value in the dynamic WordPress ecosystem.

Now, let’s dive deeper into the enchanting world of these 39 remarkable plugins and uncover the secrets behind their success.

PluginActive Install
Contact Form by WPForms – Drag & Drop Form Builder for WordPress5,000,000
Elementor Website Builder – More than Just a Page Builder5,000,000
Jetpack – WP Security, Backup, Speed, & Growth5,000,000
Akismet Spam Protection5,000,000
All-in-One WP Migration5,000,000
Really Simple SSL5,000,000
Yoast SEO5,000,000
Wordfence Security – Firewall, Malware Scan, and Login Security4,000,000
All in One SEO3,000,000
Google Analytics Dashboard Plugin for WordPress by MonsterInsights3,000,000
WP Mail SMTP by WPForms3,000,000
UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin3,000,000
Duplicate Page3,000,000
MC4WP: Mailchimp for WordPress2,000,000
Limit Login Attempts Reloaded2,000,000
Advanced Custom Fields (ACF)2,000,000
Rank Math SEO – Best SEO Plugin for WordPress2,000,000
Website Builder by SeedProd1,000,000
Popup Builder by OptinMonster1,000,000
CookieYes | GDPR Cookie Consent & Compliance Notice (CCPA Ready)1,000,000
Smush – Lazy Load Images, Optimize & Compress Images1,000,000
All-In-One Security (AIOS) – Security and Firewall1,000,000
Duplicator – WordPress Migration & Backup Plugin1,000,000
WP-Optimize – Clean, Compress, Cache.1,000,000
Smash Balloon Social Photo Feed1,000,000
Essential Addons for Elementor1,000,000
ElementsKit Elementor addons1,000,000
Better Search Replace1,000,000
EWWW Image Optimizer1,000,000
Custom Post Type UI1,000,000
WP Fastest Cache1,000,000
ManageWP Worker1,000,000
Loco Translate1,000,000
W3 Total Cache1,000,000
File Manager1,000,000

Plugin Name: Length Matters!

When it comes to WordPress plugins, the length of their titles can make all the difference in capturing attention. On average WordPress plugins title is 38 characters and uses 5 words. 

But brace yourself for a surprising revelation! When we sort the plugin titles by character count, the top 7 spots are overwhelmingly claimed by Awesome Motive. They truly have a knack for crafting verbose yet captivating plugin names.

Let’s delve deeper into the intriguing realm of plugin title lengths:

Title Character Count

  1. Average  – 38 characters
  2. Highest – 101 characters
  3. Lowest – 9 characters

Title Word Count

  1. Average  – 5 words
  2. Highest – 15 words
  3. Lowest – 1 word

These statistics emphasize the importance of finding the perfect balance between brevity and expression when it comes to naming WordPress plugins. A well-crafted title can pique curiosity, ignite interest, and entice users to explore the wonders that lie within.

So, don’t underestimate the power of a captivating plugin name—because in the vast ocean of possibilities, a few well-chosen words can make all the difference!

Key Insight: Use more characters in plugin titles. It will help with SEO and plugin repository search.

Plugin Price

  1. Average – $68.21 per year
  2. Highest – $300 per year (WooExpress)
  3. Lowest – $12 per year

These statistics emphasize the importance of finding the perfect balance between brevity and expression when it comes to naming WordPress plugins. A well-crafted title can pique curiosity, ignite interest, and entice users to explore the wonders that lie within.

So, don’t underestimate the power of a captivating plugin name—because in the vast ocean of possibilities, a few well-chosen words can make all the difference!

On average, WordPress plugins will set you back around $68.21 per year. Now, bear in mind, this figure only includes paid plugins. Freebies aren’t factored into the equation here.

Prices drastically vary per category. eCommerce and Security are clear winners — they are the most expensive categories. Highest paid plugin is WooExpress, which is a SaaS like option where you will get all plugins hosted on WooCommerce marketplace.

And Second highest is Akismet Spam Protection, which is also a plugin from Automattic family.

Which organization reigns supreme in the Millions Club of WordPress plugins? 

Look no further than Awesome Motive, boasting a staggering 9 out of 39 plugins that proudly wear the prestigious club badge. That’s an impressive 23% share!

But they’re not the only contenders in this race. Automattic and Updraft WP Software Ltd both hold their ground with 3 plugins each, making them worthy opponents.

Not to be outdone, WPENGINE, INC proudly presents 2 plugins, one of which happens to be the immensely popular ACF plugin. It’s worth noting that WPENGINE, INC acquired this gem from Delicious Brains back in June 2022.

When it comes to the plugin count leaderboard, here’s how the organizations stack up:

OrganizationPlugin Count
Awesome Motive9 plugins
Automattic3 plugins
Updraft WP Software Ltd3 plugins
Webdesi9 Inc2 plugins
WPENGINE, INC2 plugins

23% of Millions plugin club is owned by Awesome Motive.
Key Insight: Cross prompt between your existing plugin. And look for partnership opportunities.

Millions? Which Category?

Let’s explore the fascinating realm where security and optimization plugins emerge as clear victors. It’s no surprise that countless website owners seek to fortify their online presence with reliable, paid services. After all, having a safety net and access to support in case of any unforeseen events is a comforting thought.

But why do people willingly invest in these safeguards? It all ties back to the remarkable theory put forth by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky known as Prospect Theory.

According to their groundbreaking research, humans tend to fear losses more intensely than they value gains. Fear becomes the ultimate driving force, the decisive factor that prompts individuals to break the bank for that extra layer of protection. It’s an intriguing phenomenon that shapes decision making in countless domains, including plugin choices.

Now, let’s shift our focus to the realm of eCommerce, where a singular ruler claims the throne without a challenger in sight. Yes, you guessed it—WooCommerce reigns supreme with an air of loneliness at the top. It’s truly astonishing that no genuine competitor has emerged to challenge WooCommerce’s dominance.

From my personal experience I can say WooCommerce and Elementor are the only categories where if your plugin is okay you can generate some revenue even if it is not a world beater. In simple terms, It’s an accessible category, ripe for new entrants looking to make their mark.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the plugin landscape across various categories:

CategoryPlugin Count
Migration & Backup3
Post Type/Fields2
Page Builder1
Contact Form1

Payment Model

Among 39 WordPress plugins only 4 plugins don’t have a yearly subscription offer. They offer only a Lifetime plan, which is not that sustainable. Rest 35 plugins offer yearly subscription plans among various price tiers.

Key Insight: Focus on yearly subscription policy. Avoid lifetime licenses if you want to keep your business sustainable. If you have to then put a site limit, so it can’t be abused.

Recently, the insightful Maarten Belmans, the creative genius behind Studio Wombat, took to Twitter to shed light on the dangers of an Unlimited license without any restrictions. His tweet unraveled a fascinating tale of how even the most seemingly advantageous offerings can be exploited. 

Platform Used for Selling Plugins

Most plugin developers use WooCommerce or EDD to sell WordPress plugins. Others use a custom coded checkout page with Stripe & PayPal as a payment processor.  In my personal experience, I’ve discovered a true gem among the options: Freemius.

This remarkable platform, crafted by the brilliant Vova Feldman, surpasses expectations by providing unparalleled flexibility for payment processing, subscription management, and licensing. 

PlatformUsed By
Custom Built10

No Marketplace?

Among 39 plugins almost no one uses a marketplace like Codecanyon to sell their plugin. This begs the question: has the plugin community collectively shifted away from marketplaces, or is it simply not a wise approach to managing a successful business?

Which Country has the most popular WordPress plugins

23 Plugins whose country of origin is the USA. Among these 23, 9 WordPress plugins are from Awesome Motive. UK has 5 plugins and among those 5, 3 are from Updraft WP Software Ltd. Canada has 2 plugins and both are from Webdesi9 Inc. 

Venturing further east, we find ourselves in the bustling realm of Bangladesh. Surprisingly, this vibrant country has also left its indelible mark on the WordPress plugin domain.

Bangladesh boasts 2 remarkable plugins, both of which serve as brilliant extensions to the beloved Elementor page builder. 

CountryPlugin Count

To Wrap Up

Overall, this analysis serves as a helpful resource for those interested in WordPress plugin development, providing valuable insights into the successful plugins, pricing trends, organizations, payment models, and countries associated with these plugins.

I hope you found this data useful in some way. If there’s any data that I didn’t include that you think would be helpful in assessing the market and coming up with ideas, let me know!

If you enjoyed this post, you should read our analysis of WooCommerce plugins with 50000 or more active installs.

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