WordPress as CMS - a good choice?
Last updated on 14.07.2023
What is WordPress?
WordPress is one of the most widely used content management systems to create and manage blogs and websites. What makes WordPress so popular: In the building block principle, websites can be designed and customized with the help of themes and page builders without in-depth expertise. WordPress originated as a blog system, but has since evolved into an omnipresent content management platform.
"We need a WordPress website!"
Often in project requests we find WordPress as a set system or at least as a desired option for a CMS. When we ask for the reasons, we always find that there is not so much behind it. You yourself or acquaintances have already worked with it. Or at least one has heard that it is used a lot. But does that mean that WordPress is also always a good choice?
Is WordPress a good choice?
Its beginner-friendliness makes WordPress an attractive solution for many web designers without deep programming knowledge or for agencies without a large development department. For customers, it can be an advantage that the initial implementation of their website can be done quickly and inexpensively with WordPress.
The original blog system has appropriate, very usable functionalities on board at its core. WordPress also brings quite a few, flexible options for expansion. Building on the core functionalities, you can get almost any desired function on board with countless themes and plug-ins. From portfolio to user management to store system, everything is just a plug-in installation away.
This advantage is for us at the same time one of the biggest disadvantages of WordPress, because so you configure possibly a fragile system with many unknowns. With each third-party plug-in, the risk of incompatibilities increases, which can affect both the security and stability of the system and increase maintenance efforts. Corresponding parts of the source code are also generally out of one's control due to the plug-in architecture.
The usability of WordPress is also not bad at its core. However, the more plug-ins are used, the more confusing the admin interface can become. Since the individual configuration options are often not coordinated with each other, they may be found in a wide variety of places in the system and it is difficult to keep track. There are numerous alternatives that provide a more consistent and very intuitive backend. For example, we like to use the headless CMS Strapi and have good experience with very little training for our customers.
Popular does not automatically mean good
WordPress is used as a solution for websites more often than any other CMS. But even that is not always a positive argument. Its popularity makes it one of the most popular targets for malicious attacks from the Internet.
This vulnerability to attacks means that a lot of time has to be invested in regular maintenance to avoid security breaches as much as possible. With custom applications based on well-established frameworks and security standards, this problem arises much less frequently.
The flexibility is limitless and there is a plug-in for (almost) everything. But if there are very special wishes or requirements to be fulfilled, you will reach limits with every plug-in at some point - and lose the initial advantage. You had quickly brought a basic functionality on board, but the adaptation according to special customer wishes turns out to be a lengthy and very time-consuming challenge in the end. In the worst case, one must admit that a certain desire with the initial plug-in choice is not economically feasible.
Software Development and Developer Experience
Even more complex web applications can be implemented with WordPress, partly WordPress is also considered and used as a software framework. While this is possible, it does not make much sense from a technical point of view from our point of view. For the development of web-based software solutions there are numerous, very powerful frameworks that can do this job much better. For example, we rely on the PHP framework Laravel for the development of software solutions.
For us as software developers, WordPress has mainly disadvantages in the developer experience. Already the actual core of WordPress meets in many respects neither our nor general demands on a modern programming environment. Although there are now solutions from the community, which allow the use of package and version management or routing and templating engines in a WordPress setup, these represent a disproportionate additional effort to achieve a developer experience that modern frameworks bring from the outset.
Alle Wetter & WordPress
WordPress is not a perse bad option. However, we recommend its use only in a limited context as a blogging platform. This is where the system has its origins and strengths. With good maintenance and a targeted selection of high-quality plug-ins, good results can be achieved that also run stably in the long term.
For all other use cases, we find, for example, with the headless CMS Strapi or with frameworks such as Laravel, Vue.js and Nuxt.js better solutions for customized, high-performance and secure web applications with a stable and well-maintainable codebase.