1. Advantages of WordPress
WordPress.org has emerged as one of the best site building platforms starting from small individual site owners to large-scale enterprises. Many people started their sites with other platforms migrated to the powerful WordPress world. In this article we explore various reasons why to choose WordPress for building your site.
1.1. WordPress is Free!!!
The basic WordPress software is free for lifetime including regular updates and security patches. Though free is not good, WordPress is not freely offered by an individual or a company. It is open source software created by thousands of developers around the world and distributed as free under GPLv2 (or later). This helps the entire improvement cycle runs much faster than other platforms offered by companies.
Most importantly, almost all web hosting companies offer one click installation service for instantly installing WordPress along with free and automatic updates. After registering with the hosting company, you hardly need 10 minutes to install WordPress and generate an access URL for your installation.
WordPress does not need any special software to be installed on your computer; all you need is a browser and a hosting account for a nominal fee.
1.2. WordPress is a Web Based Application
WordPress offers a wonderful admin dashboard where you can manage everything with a single user interface from a PC or Mac. Installing a theme, deleting a plugin or modifying core files – everything can be done from the front end.
Though FTP is the most used word in WordPress community, you need not to be an expert to use FTP. Even most hosting companies offer “File Manager” option in which you can manage files through web browser instead of using additional FTP client applications.
1.3. Content Management System
Initially WordPress became famous for its blogging capabilities but later the package was enhanced with features to build all type of sites. You can build a blog, ecommerce site, forum, static content site or a combination of any with WordPress. Currently WordPress is one of most popular CMS in the world and powers more than 20% of the sites on the net.
1.4. Unlimited Themes
WordPress has the largest repository of themes offered for free which can be installed instantly though admin dashboard. Free themes are white labeled and can be used without footer message or any kind of advertisements. Most of the themes are responsive and align properly in mobile devices without the need of additional setup.
You can also buy themes from other developer’s sites and upload in your WordPress installation.
1.5. Unlimited Plugins
Literally any type of feature you need will be available as a ready-made plugin, which can be installed from admin dashboard. Plugins are one of the major reason people choose WordPress since they can’t get that feature outside even they are ready to pay for it. There are some advanced plugins for the features like caching, SEO, database cleanup, etc. to keep you WordPress site loads faster and appear top in the search results.
1.6. Free Documentation
Since WordPress is managed by open source community, there are many ways to get help from others. Each plugin and theme has its own review and support thread to get more details. WordPress also has the codex documentation for every functional and technical topic for reference. Unlike other platforms where getting help is not so easy, WordPress has vast user base to help you when you got struck up with something.
Just a Google search will throw you millions of results for almost every WordPress topic and issue. We do have more than 300 free WordPress tutorial articles in this site.
1.7. Multi-site Multi-editor Environment
WordPress offers multi-site environment where you can share resources like theme and plugins among multiple subdomains and manage it as a network. This is one of the reason WordPress becomes famous with corporate companies and news sites that maintain multiple subdomains under single umbrella. It is also easy to handle multiple authors in WordPress and combined with multi-site environment boosts the usage with large-scale companies.
1.8. Strong and Easy to Use Architecture
WordPress has technically simple and strong architecture, is written in PHP and runs with a MySQL database. This provides easy ways to backup your site and use it on emergency. Also it is very easy to migrate your entire WordPress site to other equivalent platforms without hassle.
There are applications available to install WordPress on a local PC or Mac. You can build your site locally and test with various themes and plugins before moving the entire site to live environment.
2. Disadvantages of WordPress
If you are looking for migrating to self-hosted WordPress site then this disadvantages section is for you. It may be surprising you to see the quantum of businesses running around the WordPress package compared to the platform you are using currently. Also for a new blogger, WordPress powering more than 35% of the websites on the net is definitely a promising option for long run. With all goody things in mind, the realty will be much different when you pitch into the WordPress world.
Unlike free hosting platforms like Weebly, Wix, etc. WordPress is open source software and has a continual upgrade cycle to improve security and vulnerabilities. The theme and plugins used on WordPress site also have their own upgrades based on the development cycle of developers. Besides this fact all themes and plugins on the repository and third party offerings should get upgraded in line with WordPress version. This will add huge task to site owners and make the maintenance impossible at certain cases.
Assuming you are using 15 plugins on a WordPress site with single theme and they are upgraded throughout the year. There are lots of possibilities the upgrade of one plugin breaks the entire site. For an individual site owner this will be a nightmare to revert the site back to proper state and get the bug rectified from the plugin developer. Also it is not feasible task for site owners to test each and every upgrade on the development or staging site before applying on the live site.
2.2. Plugin Issues
Plugins help to achieve any type of feature you imagine and run your WordPress site the way you want. Along with compatibility issues due to upgrades it is also not easy to get support for free plugins. The community or forum will be helpful for most popular plugins but it’s a difficult task to get help for those less popular or third party plugins. Also installing many plugins on a site will reduce the site speed and impact your search engine ranking. Out of 43k plugins available on the free WordPress repository we bet more than 30% of the plugins are not compatible with the latest WordPress version.
Let us checkout an example of searching “CSS” and the first plugin listed shows it was updated more than 4 years back and compatible up to the version 3.4.2 (the current version at the time of this article is 4.4.2).
Though there is a warning message shown on the individual plugin page, it is not the case of the third party downloaded plugins. Any plugins you download from third party websites, free or premium will not have verified information regarding the compatibility. Choosing a single plugin wrongly at any point of life cycle of the site may spoil the whole content unless you have a habit of properly backing up your site.
At the first look the cost of a WordPress site may look similar or even lesser to those free site hosting services. But the fact is most of the hosting packages are offered on discount for first payment and the further renewal will be with the full cost. For example, below is the home page of Bluehost shared hosting indicating the cost around $2.95 per month for the first time and the renewal rate per month is $8.99.
The renewal rate is three times higher than the initial cost and this fact is generally ignored by the new bloggers who start the site from the scratch.
Most of the free plugins and themes offer premium version for much higher price which will add up the running cost. For example, the popular Yoast SEO plugin offers $699 a the lowest price just to get your site reviewed by them. There are also additional costs for CDN, SSL, domain, renewing plugins, themes and for getting premium support. Altogether a nominal site needs a dedicated hosting with premium theme, plugins and support at the end of 5 years span. The need of high resources can happen quickly based on the traffic growth of your site.
This will be huge cost for you unless you are doing good online business or generating revenue through advertisements and affiliate programs.
One of the most important aspects of running a business site is to keep things secure and upgraded to the latest software to avoid vulnerabilities. You can view the status of version wise WordPress usage on the stats page of WordPress.org site.
More than 50% of the WordPress sites are using the outdated versions which are the clear target for hackers. Securing and protecting your WordPress site from hackers will be a big task.
2.5. Time Investment
Besides the cost, WordPress needs lot of time investment which will adversely affect the time spent on productive content creation. Every new feature you want needs more time in analyzing the requirements, cost and comparison. For example, let us take an example that you are trying to increase your site speed with the popular W3 Total Cache (W3TC) plugin. There are plenty of options like browser caching, page caching, minify, object caching, database caching, etc. and there will no single document say clearly what is more suitable for your site. At times, the wrong settings will reduce the page speed instead of increasing and you will never know without appropriate technical knowledge to analyze.
Well, WordPress is a robust package and there is no point of suspecting the capability of WordPress as a package. But the point is to see whether you have time and cost to run a WordPress site for long run compared to free hosting services. Most of the time this has been overlooked by the site owners and that’s the good reason you can still see more than 50% of WordPress sites are using outdated versions with security risks. We can recommend WordPress for those who are:
- Highly organized in regular backups and periodical upgrades.
- Testing on localhost or staging site before updating live site.
- Have sufficient time and money for investments.
- Have a vision to run site for long run.
- Those who have no time can still go with WordPress by hiring skilled developers starting from site building to maintenance.
For all others who wanted to concentrate on content building rather than dirtying the hands WordPress is not an option. Probably one of the free hosting services will satisfy such needs with easy site building experience.