Pros and Cons of the open Source CMS Is WordPress suitable for website development?
The blog system WordPress has grown into a powerful content management system. However, this also creates technical and administrative overhead. Is WordPress still suitable as a basis for website development?
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WordPress is popular and powerful, but not necessarily suitable for every use case.
Anyone who thinks of website development these days often thinks of WordPress. No wonder: The open-source content management system currently powers millions of websites around the globe. From simple weblogs and private websites to web presences of companies, online projects have been using the blog system for many years.
Unfortunately, WordPress has also gained a lot of overhead, which makes some web developers wonder whether it still makes sense to use WordPress as a basis for web projects – or whether an alternative is better suited.
Pro WordPress: Familiar framework and interfaces
Anyone who has worked a lot with WordPress will probably also know interfaces and APIs that the system uses. Accordingly, the effort required to redevelop a website is small: the basic system is installed quickly, the rest is plug-in and theme development. This saves a lot of work, especially since WordPress is supported by the community and regularly updated officially.
Pro WordPress: Countless plug-ins
One of the most important arguments for the use of WordPress is the fact that there are an enormous number of plug-ins for any application due to its high distribution. Whether SEO, image gallery, webshop or forum: Developers who rely on WordPress can save a lot of work depending on customer requirements by relying on existing and often free-of-charge solutions from the huge WordPress plug-in pool. Many plug-in solutions are also available as whitelabel or even open source licenses and can therefore be easily adapted to your own purposes.
Pro WordPress: Themes for every purpose
What applies to plug-ins also applies to themes: There are a large number of development teams whose entire business model is based on developing and maintaining themes. On websites like Themeforest, there are professional themes for almost every purpose.
Thanks to the partly underlying frameworks, they are also easy to use for beginners and connect seamlessly with the most important of the established plug-ins. This allows web developers to quickly reach their goals – or they can use a professional theme as the basis for their own WordPress templates. There are also a number of free themes available under an open source license. Just like with the plug-ins, forking and further development are no problem.
Contra WordPress: Technical Overhead
Let’s get to the contra arguments: WordPress is now a pretty “fat dog”: With the necessary plug-ins and themes, the load on the server and user side may be very high. Of course, a simple WordPress can also be set up, but its performance is then also limited. Especially at peak loads, a dynamic CMS like WordPress is not necessarily the best choice.
Even on fast server hardware, it can happen that the website comes to its knees. In addition, there are questions about the technical overhead. Although there is a command-line interface with which customer websites can be maintained quite easily. However, this can not be all, which is why web developers who rely on WordPress must always have access to the customer backend at hand. This, in turn, is not always desired.
Contra WordPress: High impact of security vulnerabilities
This puts the language on security: Since WordPress itself is a fairly large system, the risk of security vulnerabilities is relatively high – and multiplies with each plug-in and theme that is used. Due to the high prevalence, security leaks are quickly detected and fixed – but gaps have an enormous impact if attackers want to exploit them. After all, these leaks open directly on a variety of WordPress systems.
Web developers, as long as they maintain the pages of their customers, are therefore always forced to keep an eye on the security bulletins – and, if necessary, to install updates or hotfixes. Especially larger WordPress sites are extremely vulnerable here, because they often receive payment data and user accounts including passwords, which are of course very interesting for attackers.
Contra WordPress: everyone uses it
In addition, the more widespread a system is, the more attractive it becomes for computer criminals – who are just waiting for the next vulnerability. WordPress is very widespread and, accordingly, at risk. And even if there may not be an acute security vulnerability: Anyone who knows WordPress in detail can, for example, use non-security-relevant weaknesses to paralyze a WordPress website.
Of course, this problem, just like the general security topic, increases with the growing complexity of a WordPress installation, which is why WordPress, for all the practical advantages in terms of security and stability, is no longer necessarily the best choice today.
Developers should always consider the alternatives
Fortunately, WordPress is by no means the only CMS on the market: There are a number of alternatives: Solutions such as Typo3, Joomla or Drupal are very similar to WordPress in terms of operation and functionality, but not so widely used. In addition, headless content management systems and static site generators such as Hugo, Jekyll, Middleman or Publii are of course particularly suitable for campaign websites and landing pages with an expected high visitor influx.
With these, developers can easily realize web projects via command line or even GUI (Publii). Their advantage: Since only static HTML websites are located on the server side and the administration takes place on a remote system or even desktop computer, websites created in this way are “rock solid” and can hardly be attacked except with massive DDoS attacks.
Conclusion: WordPress is good, but not always suitable
Overall, WordPress is not the most popular CMS for no reason: it is beginner-friendly, but offers enough reserves for professionals. The learning curve is steep, the availability of additional functions and themes is almost unlimited. On the other hand, WordPress is also relatively easy to attack, also because it is not exactly resource-saving.
In this respect, it always makes sense to take a look at the alternatives. As a good all-rounder, WordPress is basically suitable for every conceivable web project, but in many cases there are alternatives that are better suited and significantly better suited in terms of performance, security and stability.