While WordPress remains one of the most common content management systems (CMS) available, it may not always be the best option for your website. Starting out as a basic blog platform, WordPress was championed as one of the best free open-source content management systems. Recent data suggests that WordPress is now the CMS of choice for over 25% of all sites online today. Despite its widespread acceptance, there are some clear disadvantages inherent within WordPress. Today, we dive into five of those disadvantages and what they might mean when choosing a CMS.
Open Source & Widespread Adoption Leads to Security Flaws
On one hand, having a comprehensive platform like WordPress available as an open source platform is a pretty tremendous asset. WordPress allows users to create a basic site with relative ease, and a What You See is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor. However, with such a high rate of adoption and code that can by definition be modified by anyone, WordPress can often present big security risks that range from annoying spam to potentially devastating security flaws.
WordPress uses open source coding, meaning that any developer can upload a theme or even a plugin with a custom function, directly to the WordPress community for free use by all website builders. Unfortunately, this commitment to open source development introduces WordPress’s biggest flaw.
“Every theme or plugin you use on your WordPress site is written by a different person; since there’s no particular organization/body that monitors WordPress themes or plugins, this means there could be a bug in the plugin you use on your site,” said Inspiration Feed. It’s a valid point; WordPress themes and plugins can often be problematic — and in some cases, plugins may not be compatible with certain themes, causing certain functions to become unresponsive and potentially opening up vulnerabilities in the site through third-party libraries or open source code.
Maintenance & Security
In addition to security vulnerabilities, the open source nature of the site leads to inconsistent updates. Individual developers may update bug fixes at different times throughout the year. As a result, different themes, plugins, widgets, and more constantly need to be updated and maintained in order to minimize security risks.
“Maintenance in WordPress is a whole issue on its own; you can’t use WordPress without constantly updating it and you have to be ready to make changes to your template or plugins when you update,” continues Inspiration Feed. In fact, sometimes updates to one plugin can cause another to conflict, which can not only limit your site’s functionality, but can prevent it from working altogether.
“That means if any of the [plugins] aren’t compatible with the latest WordPress rollout, you could end up shutting your entire website down,” said Instant Shift.
The WordPress database uses a beautiful and intuitive WYSIWYG editor, but it’s built on somewhat archaic technology. One Extra Pixel points out that WordPress “can only use MySQL as a database backend that can be easily hacked without proper protection. Until the 3.9 version release, WordPress was using the older MySQL driver.” While WordPress had to deal with the security flaws inherent in using older databases, it has since updated its technology. WordPress now “uses MySQLi. AJAX calls fire up an entire WordPress environment to serve requests, which can be over-killed due to simple database access.”
In addition to the way databases can be overloaded with simple requests and functionality, WordPress is far from agile in its performance. Complaints of page load times and general speed issues with WordPress are nothing new and are often attributed to the host of plugins required to successfully customize a site. However, the page speed and site performance can also have big impacts on the way Google crawls your site, effectively hurting your ability to perform well in search.
“The page load speeds of WordPress sites are notorious for getting bogged down with extra processes running because of heavy plugins, crowded databases, and the highly unintuitive codebase,” said Instant Shift. “But beyond all that, WordPress really requires a ton of baseline CPU power as well as data storage. So it will definitely take a lot of extra work on your part to make sure your WordPress site is running at optimum capacity.”
Designed with A Myriad of Different Audiences
While WordPress is used by over 25 percent of the sites on the Internet, many of its issues lay in how it was conceived. Originally conceived to be a blog, WordPress, especially out-of-the-box, contains features and default settings that aren’t good for your site’s performance.
- Permalinks are numeric until you activate a more SEO-friendly URL structure.
- Comments and Discussions are often confusing and overlap to different parts of the site design.
- Default pages, comments, and settings often need to be modified and removed.
- The platform’s blog-based engine still sits in the background.
- Real customization requires in-depth knowledge of MySQL, PHP, and more to develop things like custom functionality or custom post types.
In addition to this myriad of different languages and competencies that come into play when dealing with WordPress, the greater WordPress community develops plugins and software that appears to be aimed at the amateur rather than the professional. “Most plugins appear to be aimed at amateur bloggers and not the professional developer,” said One Extra Pixel. As a result, this leaves users often sifting through tons of open source plugins to find something that’s useful and compatible with their site.
“Often these plugins are built for bloggers with little to no experience working with even a smidgeon of code,” said Instant Shift.
If you’re looking to build a website, WordPress may be an easy option, but isn’t always the best place to get started. Contact us today to learn more about using a site that has greater functionality and security features, with all the support you need to develop a beautiful, unforgettable web design.