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If you are building a blog or a personal website, you may consider a Content Management System (CMS). These could include WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, which are among the most popular. Of these, WordPress is one of the most popular CMS options available. Many developers and website creators can extend its capabilities since it has such extensive documentation available from their codex. Whatever your need is, it is most likely able to be met by using a theme or plugin and is extremely popular among small businesses, individuals, nonprofits, and website owners.
WordPress is an online and open-source website builder that is written in PHP programming language. It was originally designed to make data-driven blogging websites and has since grown to be used by millions of websites across the internet. It's designed to be very user-friendly, allowing even those without any formal website design or development experience to create responsive websites for their needs. Using prebuilt themes that are widely and often freely available across the internet, an aspiring website owner can create a site that looks how they want and even makes it look less like a blog and more like a standard website.
WordPress is universally praised for being very user-friendly, allowing people with very little to no formal training in website development or management to make their own websites without hassle. The user interface is immaculate and descriptive, allowing users to find the settings or options they wish to change quickly. It provides plenty of feedback to allow them to make what changes to their website they desire.
In addition to this, WordPress allows the installation of various Plugins to add any functionality lacking from the base installation. Many of these plugins have been developed over many iterations of WordPress, evolving and becoming more useful, more easily managed, or more resource-friendly. This includes Plugins that can assist with blog posts, contact forms, caching, analytics, or data management.
Two of the most popular WordPress plugins are Yoast SEO and WooCommerce. Yoast SEO is a search engine optimization tool that provides feedback regarding pages and posts made by users on their WordPress site to make their content more search engine friendly. WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin that allows people to start their own online businesses, including setting pricing variables for products, services, shipping, and a multitude of payment options.
So many companies, businesses, and individuals use WordPress that a whole community has grown around WordPress and its user-base. This includes sites like WPBeginner, which provides tutorials and guides on developing and troubleshooting WordPress sites and popular plugins, or WordPress.org, which provides themes, plugins, and support for WordPress. This means that there is no shortage of tutorials to answer any questions regarding WordPress and its plugins and means that there are plenty of people experienced with WordPress who can help your site grow and flourish.
Millions of users and developers use WordPress, but there are some drawbacks. The first is that trying to make any manual changes to website files that the WordPress system or its plugins do not support can be very difficult or, at times, impossible. WordPress has very few customization options outside of installing different themes or plugins. As such, it can be very limiting to those who desire full control over their site layouts or programming. Editing any WordPress core files is highly discouraged unless these can be preserved in future updates to your application. In the same vein, many plugins use different and sometimes conflicting programming. As such, two plugins that would work amazingly on their own may cause severe issues with your website if used simultaneously.
Another major issue with WordPress is the overall speed of WordPress websites. While there are methods to increase website speed, the more plugins there are on a site using WordPress, the longer it will take that website to respond. Since WordPress and its plugins are often designed for many different types of websites, they all have code that is often not used in the visible website but still requires resources from your server to process. A common problem with shared hosting environments is that WordPress websites start hitting the resource limits imposed at a certain point, and the only way to troubleshoot resource issues is by disabling, updating, or outright removing WordPress plugins until the site is responding more efficiently.
One of the biggest problems with WordPress, however, is its open-source nature. While on the one hand, this means that anyone can develop plugins for WordPress to add new features, this also means that anyone can develop plugins for WordPress. As such, there's very little oversight for ensuring plugins are secure and safe from any malicious hackers or malware, or viruses on the internet. If a plugin becomes compromised or has a security breach, bots and malicious programs can search the internet for other WordPress websites with those same compromised plugins and apply the same hacks to them all. What's worse is having a compromised plugin that the developer refuses to update, either because they do not know how or have stopped working on that plugin. In such a case, it means you would have to remove the plugin and any of its features or functions from your site altogether after removing any malware or viruses.
WordPress is widely used globally by organizations such as BBC America, Variety, the Swedish Government, Mercedez-Benz, and even The Walt Disney Company. With its easy-to-learn user interface and a wide variety of plugins and themes, a dedicated and passionate site owner could create a truly amazing website with WordPress that stands out and generates traffic and revenue for their business. However, WordPress is a double-edged sword, and with the amazing variety of plugins comes a strong lack of flexibility and customization options outside of those plugins. And the way the plugins are designed means that you may often run into resource problems that slow down or crash your website if you're not careful with shared hosting services.
Written by Hostwinds Team / March 30, 2018