WordPress pros & cons
WordPress is undoubtedly one of the most widespread and reliable content management systems (CMS).
However, when building a website, is the use of WordPress always the best solution, and is the use of a CMS always required?
On this page, we will try to answer these questions.
What is WordPress?
As we already wrote above, WordPress is one of the most widespread and reliable content management systems (CMS).
Hundreds of thousands of sites have been built on the basis of WordPress, and a large number of them have been working reliably and without problems for years. Nowadays about 60% of all websites are built with WordPress.
The roots of the system can be found as far back as the year 2001, and since then WordPress has not stopped developing and refining. Today, it has become a mature and reliable product that can be relied upon to build almost any type of website.
And on top of that – WordPress is free.
Yes, you can use this valuable and powerful creation of web-based software completely free of charge, along with a huge number of modules (plugins), most of which are also free, enriching the core capabilities of WordPress with many valuable functionalities.
However, if you now think that all this is too good to be true, you would be right.
Like everything in the world, WordPress has more than just positive sides.
Therefore, let’s look at the other side of the coin.
First of all – do you really need WordPress?
WordPress is a large, powerful, but also quite heavy system. The volume of the minimum basic installation alone is over 50 megabytes in size, consisting of over 1900 files located in 204 folders on your server!
You’re probably going to say “So what? What does this have to do with me?”
Unfortunately, it affects you in at least two ways:
First of all, all this relatively bulky software is constantly harnessed to “serve” your website. Of course, this is fully justified when it comes to a large site with many tens, hundreds, or even thousands of pages of information.
However, is it justified when all this at least 50 (or more) megabyte software “serves” a site of a couple of pages of a few kilobytes each? Let’s repeat again – software over fifty million bytes in size serves a couple of hundreds of bytes of information.
Unfortunately, there are many colleagues who, when building even the smallest site, immediately sit down and “slap” a WordPress installation. That’s because it’s easy, and because it’s fast … But is it good for you?
You’re probably now thinking, “Well, it’s software. Its job is to work and it will work for me, right?” And again, you’d be right, but only to a certain extent.
The problem is, that all this WordPress software needs time and resources to operate, and time is the last thing you have when it comes to getting loyal visitors.
As we pointed out in our article on the difference between static and dynamic sites, the difference in loading speed of a page from a dynamic site (such as a site built with WordPress), compared to the same page from a static site, is orders of magnitude … That is, a page from a site built with WordPress loads many times slower than a static page with the same content!
And believe me, it matters to your visitors whether your site will load in two or in ten seconds! Many of them simply won’t wait those ten seconds and move away. Do you really want this to happen?
But there’s also something else we’ll cover in the next point…
WordPress and its inevitable vulnerability
Let’s first say that WordPress is the work of a community of hundreds, if not thousands, of programmers scattered around the world. Most of them are volunteers who selflessly invest their work for the common good and for the development of this undisputed leading CMS.
Much the same applies to the authors of the modules (plugins) to the main installation of WordPress. These modules are extremely important because they provide the true wealth of capabilities that the system provides.
The bad news here, however, is that as with any software, it’s not uncommon for WordPress core and modules to have bugs and security holes.
The other bad news, in this case, is that both the core of the system and the modules are distributed as “open source” software, which means that all the program code is readily available to anyone, including malicious hackers. They can patiently study the program code of the system and find an opportunity to “hack” it.
This fact, unfortunately, is often the source of many problems for owners of sites built with WordPress.
And while the inevitable bugs and vulnerabilities in the code are usually fixed relatively quickly, this is often not fast enough to prevent problems, especially in cases where site owners do not update their WordPress modules regularly.
Does WordPress have an alternative?
There are always alternatives!
However, the purpose of this article is not to do an in-depth analysis of all possible website building techniques and all possible CMS systems, so we will limit ourselves to only the most important accents.
The first and obvious alternative is to build your site as static. The downside here is that only your web designers will be able to make changes to it, but if you only need to do this a few times a year, there is probably no better solution than a static site.
There is also a considerable set of much simpler and lighter CMS systems, most of them providing only basic capabilities that are far from those of the powerful WordPress. However, if your site is relatively small (10 – 20 pages) and does not need particularly complex functionalities (which are at least 80% of the sites on the Internet), these simplified CMS systems are a real and viable alternative.
Unfortunately, in our opinion, direct competitors of WordPress, such as Joomla, Drupal, Magento, and others, do not provide more functionality, nor are they lighter or more intuitive than WordPress, to be real alternatives to give you more than WordPress.
In conclusion …
Let’s emphasize again that WordPress is a modern, powerful, and very reliable content management system (CMS). The last thing we want with this article is to somehow discredit WordPress. Quite the opposite – we work with this system and highly value its qualities.
With everything written here, we only want to draw your attention to some features of content management systems, and in particular, WordPress, to help you when deciding how to build your site.
Because maybe it’s cool to have a powerful, heavy-duty truck, but if you’re primarily looking to transport yourself and your family with it, you’re probably better off going with a regular, light sedan car.
Most importantly, though, if you decide you really need a powerful, heavy-duty truck, it’s important to devote the necessary time and resources to taking care of it and maintaining it.