Server-side programming language statistics


In this article, usage statistics of server-side programming languages are analysed. It focuses on websites which require programming, therefore, Content Managament Systems(CMS) will be removed from the results. W3techs will be used as source data.

First, server-side programming languages usage is analysed.

Second, server-side programming languages growth is analysed.

Third, server-side programming languages and traffic in the site are analysed.

Fourth, conclusions.

Server-side programming language statistics of usage

I was quite interested about which technology is the most used. I went to W3tech which is a great source of data statistics of web technology usage. It uses the top million sites based on Alexa Rank to calculate the statistics.

Usage of server-side programming languages for websites

The server-side programming language most used is PHP. There are plenty of CMS and it would be interesting to remove these data from statistics, mainly, because CMS websites do not require as much programming as websites which use a framework or just a language. Fortunately, W3Tech has statistics of CMS usage.

Percentage of websites using various content mangament systems

The most used CMS are PHP based solutions and, if we add up all the percentages, the result is more than 20%. Therefore, I made this modification to the server-side programming language usage:

Usage of server-side programming languages for websites not using CMS

This is a better graph in case you are interested about server-side language frameworks usage. PHP is still the most used, but the advantage has decreased. ASP.NET and Java following and with a percentage around 1%: ColdFusion, Perl, Ruby  and Python.

Server-side programming languages trends not using CMS

I am not interested in CMS sites so I will remove CMS data usage.

Next diagram shows CMS usage trend in last 3 years.

CMS usage trend
CMS usage trend

It can be seen a growth of 5,10%.

Next diagram shows server-side language growth

Server side programming language growth
Server side programming language growth

After subtracting CMS increase, PHP still has the greatest growth still but a with smaller advantage. ASP.NET usage has decreased the most. It could mean that the best Alexa ranked sites using ASP.NET have decreased while others using CMS, PHP or Java have got a better Alexa Rank. On the other hand, it could mean that high Alexa ranked sites have migrated to these technologies.

Java decreased in 2011 but it has grown a bit in 2013. ColdFusion, Perl and Python have slightly decreased while Ruby keeps stable.

Another interesting thing I have found is Javascript growth:

Usage of javascript for websites, 25Jan 2013,

Usage of CMS presents the best growth. PHP usage growth, even excluding CMS growth, still leads. ASP.NET usage is decreasing and the rest of programming languages keeps close to a stable state.

Technology used by many sites vs technology used by high traffic sites

I have found another interesting graph in W3Tech. In the next matrix it can be seen the position of technology based on number of sites and its traffic.

Server-side Programming languages Market position

ASP.NET is in the middle. While we can see PHP is used in many sites but with low traffic. In the high traffic area, Java, Javascript, Perl, Ruby, ColdFusion and Python are present. High traffic sites leadership is clearly for Java.

Javascript high traffic sites usage surprises me. Python is used by sites like Youtube and having Google in background seems normal to me. Ruby on Rails is said to be an agile web framework but with poor performance, nevertheless, is even above Python in high traffic usage.


According to W3techs data:

  • PHP is the most used server-side programming language and its usage is increasing.
  • PHP is used by many sites but with lower traffic than other server-side languages.
  • Java is server-side programming language leader in high traffic sites.
  • ASP.NET language usage is decreasing.
  • Perl, Python, Javascript, Ruby and ColdFusion are used by a few sites but with high traffic.
  • Content Management Systems usage is increasing.

Thanks for reading. Comments, criticism, sharing and, of course, congratulations will be appreciated.