People often ask us, “Can ExpressionEngine handle my HUGE TRAFFIC requirements? Because I’m planning to get [one gazzillion hits or something like that] and I heard Drupal or Wordpress is better for big sites.”
The answer is: Yes, EE can handle your traffic, if you know how to set it up properly and if your hosting provider is reliable and robust. Here at Hop Studios, we have been building large ExpressionEngine-powered sites for years. Nevertheless, until we first researched this list, it was hard to find concrete examples of enormous sites to back up our assertion that EE could handle large traffic.
So we made this list. And because we like to share, below is the current definitive list of the 20 largest ExpressionEngine Web sites. Why 20? Because 21 seems gratuitous.
But wait… What exactly defines “largest”?
That’s a tough question, because some sites that have a huge amount of visitors might still be just one page in scope. Or a site that serves a niche audience and has a low global Alexa ranking might have crazy active forums. We consulted with many other EE professionals to come up with the following important factors, which seemed to be the consensus about what determines “largeness.”
- number of unique visitors and pages / month
- number of entries and comments
- number of members and forum posts
- awards and buzz
Combining all these data points from an initial list of more than 150 candidate sites, we came up with the ranking you see here, which was based on all the data we gathered plus a little bit of what we like to call “magic ordering sauce.” You might argue with the specifics of the order, however, we guarantee that you’ll be impressed, and surprised, by this list.
The 20 Largest ExpressionEngine Web sites, as of February 2015
- Garmin: many of their mapping sites
- Barack Obama: You’ve heard of him, yes? This is his campaign site*
- Periodicos Zocalo: newspaper in Mexico
- Trend Hunter: trends and gossip
- iLounge: everything about the iPod and iPhone
- Totally NSFW: adult content (porn)
- Penny Arcade: comic strip
- Pizza Hut: Get a pizza RIGHT NOW
- CBC.ca: Many of their show’s sites
- Vertical Response: Email marketing tool
- Playbill: Theater business news
- Fodor’s: the travel guides
- Gear Live: gadget news
- My Newsletter Builder: Really? Two email marketing tools? Yep.
- VKMag.com: online magazine
- A List Apart: resource for CSS and design
- Getty Images: The story behind the photos
- Alternative Press Magazine: that’s what it is
- The Gospel Coalition: Religious ministry
- Truthdig: progressive news site
(Items in green are new since last year; other sites may be new to the top 20, but were on the list last year.)
* Change.gov used to be the top site on this list; I’ve retired it because it hasn’t been active since 2009, though it would still easily rank in the top 5.
The largest confirmed traffic we know of is Garmin at 23,000,000 pages per month. The largest number of entries we know of is Periodicos Zocalo: 1,200,000. ZOMG.
If you’re looking for the names of big companies that use EE, the list includes Stanford, U of Miami, MIT, Mailchimp, Cisco, Boobieathon, Sony, Apple, Disney, Nokia, WB, Ford, BBC, Nike, Adobe, Toys R Us, Vodafone, GOP.com and Democrats.org. However, the sites (or sub-sites) of these big companies do not deal with the large amounts of traffic that the ones listed above do, and this isn’t about name dropping, this is about BIG SITES.
Much of the raw data we gathered is available for you to use, so long as you credit us. Take a look:
Also note, the spreadsheet is a living document, so it may in the future show a different ranking than the list in this article does. That’s because we’ve learned more and updated it. The list is still the list, but the spreadsheet reflects live data.
Special thanks to the folks on Twitter who chipped in with suggestions, and to some folks who couldn’t help us on the record.
Please let us know of any missing sites, either in the comments or by contacting us directly. Thanks!