Why use WordPress?


This is one question I get asked quite often. After all, I am (supposedly) an experienced software developer; shouldn’t I just be able to code my own site? Well, yes, of course I could… but why would I reinvent the wheel? The time it would take to develop a dynamic blogging system from scratch vs. a few clicks on amazon is what developers strive for simplicity. WordPress has come a very long way from it’s original inception, and a staggering 18.9% of the internets’ publicly indexed sites are running on the platform. It’s extensibility and content management system is second to none and has consistently allowed me to deliver stunning looking designs in much less time. Many services are attempting to mimic WordPress’ success (Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, and

There are some feasible counter-arguments to not using WordPress which should also be known: Speed. Spam. Plugins. Format.

The speed of a WordPress site is never going to be equally fast as a static HTML page. WordPress content is backed entirely through a standardized MySQL database and consequently has to use PHP to query the database and return results for every page visit. The trade-off for speed is the ability to easily manage the content on the site, and in some scenarios WordPress might actually be a bad fit speed wise. WordPress is growing increasingly fast; this is due to it’s community driven marketplace of extensible software plugins. But these come with the downfall of creating a wider surface area for problems to occur.

Spam can occur quite frequently in wordpress contact forms and comments, due to the overwhelming amount of bots trying to push penis pills or weight loss drugs. Trust me, if you set up a vanilla WordPress site you will see spam comments within moments of being indexed. Fortunately there are ways to address this with plugins and filtering.

Plugins are a super great way to shortcut extending core WordPress functionality in order to achieve a goal. However the market is open and anyone could be the author of the code you are about to inject in your site. This could lead to any number of things happening, the least of which is site slowdown. Malicious code and/or improper security procedures could bring your sites (and your lawyer) to their knees.

Formatting can be a pain to do, even with pre-made templates. Since the aforementioned plugins dictate what the site will look like, sometimes the feel or design of a site may look generic. Customization can be done at finite levels with custom code but learning wordpress’s code layout can take some learning.

So why have I made this site using wordpress? Time, recoverability, and updates.

WordPress can significantly decrease the time that is spent in the development phase of a project. As you can see in the WordPress Setup article I wrote the run up to having a working site could literally be an hour or so. Pre-made templates and a community that has documented most of the pain points makes setup and maintenance a much easier task than attempting to maintain a custom code base.

Being able to have easy recoverability to you website should be paramount. After all, you just sunk some amount of your life (and possibly your soul) into this cloud based piece of yourself; don’t you want to be able to restore it to a working version with relative ease if everything goes to shit? Thankfully wordpress is backed by a database which stores all media, posts, pages, configuration settings, etc. used by the wordpress engine. In order to perform a full restore of your wordpress site would simply be to restore this database.

Something that does not come easy for custom code: Updates. Not only does the wordpress platform keep itself up to date, but the community surrounding it has many features and plugins that are constantly being added to and fixed for known bugs. It’s kind of like your own little workforce doing your coding work for you!

WordPress isn’t for everyone, and like tech stack make sure to weigh the pros and cons for your specific needs before implementing! Hope some of this information helps someone.

Dylan Stout

Machine Learning Software Engineer at Microsoft & volunteer VR/AI researcher University of Utah

Previous Story

Encryption, Ethics, & Privacy

Next Story

Basic D3.js for Data-Driven User Experiences

Latest from Opinion