Since its initial release more than a decade ago, WordPress has grown to become the most popular CMS (content management system) and blogging platform around. Customizable and easy to use, WordPress has many fans, ranging from stay-at-home moms running their blogs, to major companies such as Reader’s Digest and National Geographic.
Despite its wide range of use, WordPress is not for everyone. Read on to learn the biggest pros and cons of using the CMS for your website.
Open-source – WordPress’s open-source design means its many themes and plugins are available for free (no licensing fees) and that you are also free to modify them as you wish with few restrictions. The resulting low cost of using WordPress is probably its main advantage.
Easy to use – WordPress is extremely easy to install and operate. It is designed for the mass market, which allows new webmasters to set up their blog or website and maintain their web presence without having to spend a lot of time learning how to use the system. The administration control panel helps facilitate WordPress’s ease of use.
Lots of plugins and themes – While you can develop your own plugins and themes for WordPress, most users are able to save time by using existing codes which are freely available online. WordPress users can currently choose from more than 34,000 free plugins and 2,700 free themes from WordPress.org.
Huge online community – Thanks to the vast number of WordPress users, it’s easy to find an answer to virtually any problem you encounter with the CMS. For those doing more complex custom development, this huge community is especially beneficial.
Security vulnerabilities – A downside to WordPress’s open-source architecture is that hackers can find and exploit security holes in your code. It was found in June 2013 that some of the 50 most downloaded plugins for WordPress were vulnerable to SQL injection, XSS, and other common attacks. WordPress regularly releases fixes to address its security flaws, but unless you update frequently, your site will be easy to hack.
Instability issues – Many WordPress plugins are made by unknown developers, which means they might not always work as you’d hope. So in addition to posing security risks, use of plugins also poses the threat of website instability.
Difficult to distinguish your site from others – Because many WP users use the same plugins, WordPress sites tend to all look pretty similar to each other. This is not a great thing if you are trying to visually distinguish your brand from others.
Site slowdown problems – In order to extensively customize your WordPress site, you need to use many plugins. However, loading all these plugins takes time. As a result, your perfectly customized website might end up being quite imperfectly slow to load.
Depending on your needs, WordPress could be a great choice for you – or it could be a real stinker. For most small businesses and bloggers who simply want to launch a fairly basic, easy-to-maintain website and do not have an incredibly specific vision for their site, WordPress will be more than sufficient. However, larger entities with lots of capital may want to invest the resources to set up a custom-built website.