Before using WordPress to build your website, you first need to know its advantages and disadvantages. That way, you can make the right decision. In this article, we'll go over the pros and cons of using WordPress.
What Is WordPress?
A content management system (CMS) is software that provides an interface through which you can publish posts to your blog or website, and manage content in general, without being concerned with the underlying software framework.
WordPress is a popular content management system (CMS) and website builder used for setting up blogs, online stores, and other kinds of websites. Once you install WordPress, you're required to sign in to your admin panel, which is where you'll add pages to your site, add posts, install plugins and themes, and so on.
The two ways to use WordPress are through WordPress.com (a private publishing platform) and WordPress.org (for self-hosting WordPress).
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
WordPress.com is basically a publishing platform where you can go to set up a WordPress site without having to start from scratch or worry about hosting it. The platform provides you with everything needed to quickly set up a WordPress site and put it on the internet.
The second version of WordPress is the self-hosted one, which you can find at WordPress.org. At WordPress.org, you can download the free WordPress software and modify it as you please. You are also free to install it on any hosting provider you prefer.
In essence, the only difference between the two is that one of them provides centralized WordPress hosting (WordPress.com) while the other gives you free, modifiable code that you can host anywhere you want to (WordPress.org).
Before using WordPress to build your website, you might first want to know its advantages and disadvantages, especially with regard to what you intend to use it for (blog, online store, etc). That way, you're better equipped to make a sound decision in the end.
In this article, we'll go over the pros and cons of using WordPress.
Advantages of Using WordPress
Pro 1: WordPress Is Easy to Use
WordPress is very easy to use, regardless of whether you're a coding guru or someone with no technical knowledge. It comes with a simple user interface (aka the "admin panel") where users can create pages, add new posts, edit existing posts, add plugins and themes, and do so much more.
Within the WordPress.com platform, there are thousands of high-quality, ready-made templates for different kinds of sites. You can customize one of them and use it for your own website without having to write one line of code.
If you decide to go with the self-hosted WordPress, you won't go through any difficulty hosting it because most hosting companies provide a one-click installation feature for WordPress. Many of them also provide regular backups, depending on the plan you opt for.
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Pro 2: WordPress Sites Are Affordable
Building a website on WordPress tends to be cheaper than building one from scratch. For example, if you want you set up a WordPress site, you can do either of the following:
Install the free software from WordPress.org, modify the code to your taste, and pay a small fee to a site like Hostinger to host it for you.
Sign up to WordPress.com, pay a fee, and use their prebuilt tools and templates to create your own WordPress site, which they will host and manage for you.
Pro 3: WordPress Has a Strong Ecosystem
WordPress is one of the most widely used website builders on the internet. In fact, according to Kinsta, about 43% of websites on the internet are built on top of WordPress. That's almost half of all websites!
Due to this widespread use, WordPress has a very active community of users as well as a huge ecosystem of third-party themes, plugins, and tools. There's also no shortage of WordPress developers out there.
This is also great news if you're learning about WordPress. You'll find an endless number of tutorials and guides on Google and YouTube showing the step-by-step process for performing different tasks in WordPress.
Pro 4: WordPress Is Flexible
WordPress is very robust and flexible. You can use it for anything from simple brochure sites, blogs and landing pages to complex e-commerce sites and online stores.
You can start with a few pages and add more as your website continues to grow. There is no limit to how much content you publish on your WordPress site, provided that the underlying host is capable of handling it and that you maintain your site regularly.
Disadvantages of WordPress
Con 1: WordPress Is Prone to Hacking
In the "WordPress Has a Strong Ecosystem" section under Advantages, I mentioned how WordPress's popularity led to it having a vibrant ecosystem of tools, plugins, and themes, which is a huge advantage of using it.
However, this widespread use also makes WordPress a huge playing field for hackers. In fact, 83% of all hacked CMS-based websites are built on WordPress.
Hackers just love exploiting vulnerabilities in WordPress. They'll look for themes or plugins that have previously been hacked and find the websites still using them. They'll then target these websites using the same hacking techniques as the previous cases.
Once they find a vulnerability in any of the websites, they can then look up the data or even add malicious content to the site, leading to disastrous consequences for you.
You can find lots of information on securing your WordPress site here on Envato Tuts+.
Con 2: WordPress Can Be Difficult to Maintain
WordPress is notoriously known for its incompatibility problems and critical errors. Just one corrupt plugin or theme can bring your entire website down.
Even worse, hackers can exploit loopholes in your website, leading to them stealing sensitive information or adding malicious content to it.
To ensure that your website remains active, responsive, and secure, you're required to upgrade your WordPress plugins, themes, and even PHP, on a frequent basis.
You're required to regularly perform backups and carry out other essential maintenance tasks to keep the site safe and working.
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However, all of that can actually detract from the time you have to actually make content. Therefore, if you do not have the time to keep up with maintenance routines, then WordPress might not be the best option for you.
Con 3: WordPress Doesn't Perform Well
WordPress is 19-year-old software, and let's face it, a lot has changed in the last 19 years.
Since the advent of WordPress, we have witnessed, and continue to witness, the coming of newer, bleeding-edge technologies and tech stacks which allow for the creation of faster, better-performing websites.
It's no secret that faster websites perform better than their slower counterparts. Google has even made it clear that they consider loading speed as an important metric for ranking a site.
On average, most WordPress websites today are slower than websites built with modern tech stacks and frameworks. For example, a website created using a modern CMS tool like Squarespace is likely to outperform the average WordPress site.
However, this is not to say that all WordPress sites are slow. After all, there are many plugins that you can install to optimize your site's speed and performance. But that's the point: you have to install additional plugins; this will eventually lead to the problem of maintainability which I explained in the last section.
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Therefore, if your business depends so much on the website's speed and performance, you might want to consider newer tech stacks which are better optimized for performance.
Con 4: There Is Little Innovation in WordPress
WordPress is not just falling behind in terms of speed and performance, but also in terms of innovation. Compared to the other CMS platforms, WordPress hasn't changed much in the past five to eight years.
The WordPress UI is still more or less the same. The workflow is still the same. There is a lot of bad product design and way too many tutorials. On top of that, WordPress continues to suffer from compatibility and security issues. Many major businesses will think twice about using WordPress for their site in 2022.
Another problem with WordPress is that it's too general-purpose; it lacks a particular use case. On the other hand, most of its competitors are tailored for specific uses. For example, Shopify is tailored for making e-commerce sites.
Despite its flaws, WordPress remains the most popular and widely used CMS today, holding a market share of over 60% in the CMS industry.
In the past couple of years, we've witnessed other CMS tools gaining more traction. Among them are Shopify, Wix, and Squarespace. Unlike WordPress, most of these platforms are tailored for a specific use case (e.g. Shopify is used for e-commerce sites).
Other blogging platforms like Ghost and Medium are also growing in popularity. Regardless, there is no doubt that WordPress will continue to reign in the foreseeable future.