4 Reasons to Hate WordPress

As a long-time WordPress developer and designer, sometimes I still wonder what would cause WordPress not to be the first choice for a businesses website.

WordPress is not the ultimate CMS sent from heaven to answer the plight of countless businesses. It has its own flaws and if you’re not careful, it can bring down your business in a click — literally!

Here are 4 reasons WordPress may not be the platform for you.

WordPress is a blogging platform to begin with

WordPress began its journey in 2003 as a blogging platform. It evolved as a CMS and has been the most popular of its kind. However, WordPress maintains its status as a provider of free, user-friendly blogging solution. If your business revolves around posting content and articles, then by all means use WordPress. But if you want an out-of-the box, specialized solution that fits your particular need, it may not be best.

You can check this list to find other solutions that fit with your expectations:

1) Branded.me — for your online portfolio or resume

2) Koken — the new kid on the block that works best with artists who want to showcase their portfolio

3) Shopify and Magento — premiere e-commerce solutions with powerful functionalities not found in basic WordPress packages

4) Drupal — WordPress’ closest rival. A powerful solution designed to be a CMS through and through. If your site needs to scale and has a massive content to manage (i.e. Podcasts, videos, polls, community and message boards) then you can never go wrong with this CMS.

5) HubSpot — An inbound marketing solution that enables you to create a comprehensive strategy to nurture your prospects wherever they might be on your sales funnel. In fact, if you’re too busy to handle online marketing, HubSpot can assist you with its hundreds of plugins ready to provide analytics and insights about your market.

Make no mistake, WordPress can offer e-commerce, portfolio and content management services as well. That’s the reason why many sites are running on it. But to make it possible, you have to dress it up with plugins. And this adds a new challenge for you. Not all plugins are of high-quality. Some of them are bloated, poorly coded and amatueurish which leads us to…

WordPress is Power Hungry

You need appliances, furniture and fixtures to have a decent, well-functioning office. Likewise, you’ll need plugins to have a searchable, enticing and marketable website. Appliances eat your operating expense. Plugins spend your server’s resources.

Based on my experience, you’ll need at least some type of plugin to address the following requirements:

  • SEO
  • Site Security
  • Data availability
  • Analytics
  • Lead tracking and management
  • Mobile responsiveness
  • Page customization
  • Social Media management

And that makes WordPress hungry for CPU resources.

Each time you install a plugin, it puts a burden on your web server to churn out more computing power — to the expense of your whole system. A dedicated server or a VPS won’t have a hard time allocating resources when it’s needed. But it get’s tricky if you’re located in a shared hosting environment. That could spell danger once your site reaches the threshold. Your service provider will be forced to shut you down to avoid downtime on other clients.

And there’s another problem associated with plugins. If you’re not careful enough, selecting a poorly coded plugin will open your site to security breaches. And that leads us to …

WordPress is a hacker’s magnet

Because of WordPress’s popularity, it’s no wonder that hackers have made it a habit to shoot down as many websites as they can. Did you know that as of this writing, there are 38,390 plugins published in WordPress? Imagine the number of coders who launched all these plugins without regard to security. If you happen to install one of these pests, you’re in trouble.

Let me explain why.

Plugins are written in code. This code can vary in quality depending on who the author is. Poorly written code leaves holes for hackers to exploit. These exploitations can be in different forms, but the most common reasons are:

  1. To take control of your own site
  2. Steal sensitive information
  3. Bring down your search engine rankings
  4. Disable your services

Make no mistake, there are decent plugins out there. The trick is to find them in a sea of free versions that leave you high and dry.

And it doesn’t stop there.

WordPress uses SQL to manage your files; making them vulnerable to SQL injections wherein a hacker can access your information and take over your site. In fact, this has been an Achilles’ heel with WordPress — and other SQL-enabled websites — from the beginning.

As Zdnet reported in its February 2015 article:

“Over one million websites running the WordPress content management system are potentially at risk of being hijacked due to a critical vulnerability exposed in the WP-Slimstat plugin.
On Tuesday, a security advisory posted by researcher Marc-Alexandre Montpas from security firm Sucuri said the ‘very high risk’ vulnerability found in versions of WP-Slimstat 3.9.5 and lower could lead to cyberattackers being able to break the plugin’s ‘secret’ key, perform an SQL injection and take over a target website.”

WordPress needs constant updates

Lot’s of them.

That’s the price you pay for buying into an open source platform. Every author wants to upgrade, update and up-sell their plugins and you are in the middle of it. What’s worse, your architecture is technically exposed since you’re using open source plugins wherein every update needs to be published for everyone else to see. Put this into perspective for a moment and ask yourself, “Can I be confident knowing that anybody can exploit my site once the plugins I installed are published online?”

Answer: You can’t.

It is a constant cycle of authors publishing new updates, users checking on their plugins and hackers having a field day looking for loopholes in the code.

And in the midst of these crazy chicken-and-egg issue is YOU doing all the dirty work to protect your data through updates, backups and prayers.

The reality is not all updates are safe. In fact, some updates might be even harmful to your website, especially if you’re using an old version of your theme.

Last Words

WordPress has been lording over the Internet for quite a while now. And it will continue its reign until somebody steps-in and offer a better blogging and CMS platform with a big community of die-hard fans to boot.

But if we take-off our blinders for a moment, you’ll see that even the most revered has a smudge on its face. And WordPress’ imperfections are another platform’s source of pride.

In the end, I’d like to give a balanced view on what’s on the other side. These key points will help you plan out how to design your site better. It’s good to know the basic features of what you’re buying into. But it’s better to have a general view of what’s at stake by discovering its imperfections as well.

Your decision shouldn’t hinge on what’s popular. But rather, it has to be about what works best for your business and your market.

Originally published at ashleyidesign.com on July 7, 2015.

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