Opinion: WordPress is Still Pretty Darn Great
A lot of folks talk trash about WordPress, and I just don't get it. There's so much to love. Here are my thoughts on why it's great.
I started my career building WordPress
sites for clients, and at the time, it was one of the best things I
could have been working on. That was eight years ago and a lot has
changed including my preferred tech stack.
Express.js, Node, PostgreSQL). Sexy, new technology is fun to work with
and makes me feel smart. However, I see a lot of folks in the dev
community speak poorly about WordPress, and I just don’t get it.
Why I Continue to Use WordPress
incredibly quick and easy to build and re-build a website. I redesigned
this site in 2 days. The available drag-and-drop page builders are
great and allowed me to completely change everything without touching a
single line of code.
It just works. I don’t need to jump through
hoops for the installation process, or pore over archaic documentation
sites. Plugins and themes need upgrades, but it’s not like managing a
giant list of NPM dependencies, trying to get the right versions so the
project will run. There is so much value that comes from things just
working as advertised.
It solves so many problems that could
otherwise be a bit of a pain: user accounts, content management, forms
submissions, media hosting and management, SEO, form submissions,
integrating payments, eCommerce. It’s all either built in, or easily
solved with a plugin.
The ecosystem is amazing. Every day, there are tens of thousands of developers working to make my WordPress website even better without me needing to do anything.
are WordPress developers everywhere which is good if you have questions
or need help. It also adds to the competition if you are a WordPress
It makes owning a website super affordable.
The software itself is free, and most sites can get by just fine with a
$5/month hosting account as long as you don’t use a million poorly
Building a site with WordPress means I can hand
it over to non-technical team members and they can take it from there. I
don’t have to be bothered to make every little typo fix. It saves me a
ton of time to do dev work for things I actually want to work on.
single best thing that WordPress has done for me is free up my time to
focus on the main purpose of my website which is to write. I don’t get
distracted with tech stack decisions or little bug fixes, it just works.
Things I Don’t Love About WordPress
With WordPress, you have to keep updated versions of the core software,
the theme, and any plugins you have installed (which can be many).
It’s definitely not sexy development. You often have to do things the “WordPress way”. I got really good at writing HTML and CSS with WordPress, but there were a lot of other things I had to learn that did not transfer to non-WordPress work.
is free, but you still need to host it somewhere. When compared that to
many of the alternative static site builders and hosts, you could be
looking at WordPress costing money, and a static site being free. I’ve
thought about switching for these reasons, but I never do because
WordPress hosting can cost as little as $3 a month, and I really am not
interested in the amount of work and upkeep I would need to make for a
static site. That work is a bigger cost for me than my hosting bill.
folks complain about performance. This may or may not be true. If you
use a lot of bad plugins or themes, then your WordPress site will likely
be slow. It will probably also be slower than a static website, but
that doesn’t make it slow. My site runs on WordPress and is plenty fast
for my needs.
Tips for using WordPress
Before you get
started working on your WordPress site, make sure you have access to the
hosting account, the server files (FTP), and the database. That way, if
something goes wrong, you will be able to fix it.
Never make changes using the built in theme editor. Never!
should always have scheduled backups running on your site in case
something goes wrong. Most hosting providers offer some sort of backup
service. Take the time at the beginning to make sure it’s running.
Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Here’s a list with a lot of some of my favorite WordPress tools.
- Theme: Blocksy
- Page builder: Elementor
- Forms: Forminator
- Performance: WP Cloudflare Super Page Cache
- Performance: WP-Optimize – Clean, Compress, Cache
- Performance: EWWW Image Optimizer
- SEO: Rank Math SEO
- Analytics: GAinWP Google Analytics Integration for WordPress
- Security: All In One WP Security & Firewall
- Backups: WPvivid Backup Plugin
- Antispam: Antispam Bee
- Developer tool: Advanced Custom Fields
- Developer tool: Custom Post Types and Custom Fields creator
- Developer tool: Query Monitor
- Misc: Code Snippets
- Misc: Safe SVG
- Misc: Really Simple SSL
- Migration: All-in-One WP Migration
- Migration: Better Search Replace
- Local development: Local
You can view all of my favorites on my WordPress profile page.
is great for folks that just want to build a basic website that’s easy
to make changes to. If you’re good with design and don’t want to muck
about with too much coding, the drag and drop page builder is a
If you are a developer there might be other cooler, more
modern technology stacks to work with, but that doesn’t mean you should
hate WordPress. It has allowed a lot of folks to leave their full time
jobs to pursue their own clients. If that’s something you might fancy,
it’s worth giving it a go.
Finally, for the folks that like to
hate on WordPress because that’s the ‘cool’ thing to do, just stop. It
may not be the best tool for every single thing, but it does what it
does really well. There is a reason it powers 1 in every 3 websites,
including the White House website.
Thank you so much for reading. If you liked this article, please share it, and if you want to know when I publish more articles, sign up for my newsletter or follow me on Twitter. Cheers!
Originally published on austingil.com.
Over the last ten years, I’ve built projects for award-winning agencies, innovative tech start-ups, and government organizations. Today, I create cool stuff for the web and share what I learn through writing, open-source, YouTube and Twitch, The Function Call, speaking and workshops.