Today we bring down the hammer like Thor on 10 of the most prevalent myths about our favorite CMS, good ol’ WordPress. Having experienced this benevolent piece of software firsthand, I can vouch that you can achieve quite the impossible with WordPress. Have doubts? Just check out these big brands using WordPress to do power their sites.
Which is why it irks me when I find people throwing around misconstrued “fun facts” a.k.a lies about my beloved WordPress. Hookay, I will step back a little. I meant our beloved WordPress.
Here today, we destroy 10 biggest WordPress myths, some of which might have kept you from diving in and experiencing a platform like no other, just so you can see WordPress in its utter and sheer glory. Alrighty then, let us put this baby into fifth gear already.
WordPress is (Just) a Blogging Platform
I won’t refute the fact that WordPress was born a blogging platform. However, it has evolved and grown into a super-powerful content management system (CMS) over the years, and now powers a whooping 25% of the Internet.
Surely, these websites can’t all be personal diaries/blogs. We most definitely must have different WordPress-based websites out there, especially with all the sweet features the CMS is popular for.
With custom post types, pages, widgets, addons and plugins among other features, you can extend your WordPress installation to power some of the greatest internet hits such as ViralNova, Time, CNN, TechCrunch, Harvard Law School, Mozilla Firefox, eBay, SONY and Microsoft among others. Do these guys run just personal blogs? I bet not; some of these names own top-shelf websites that pull a lot of traffic, which sort of ushers us to the next myth.
WordPress Isn’t Scalable
We don’t know whether that’s because WordPress is “free” or just “a community project” that came out of the blues, but you’ll often see comments questioning the scalability of the platform. How will my site perform when traffic grows? Which features will suffer in case of a traffic spike? Will WordPress come crashing when you become popular?
Perhaps it’s the idea that WordPress was once a blogging platform that evolved into a CMS, but more often than not, you’ll find a client who’s worried WordPress will crumble under increased load. Not true. From small-scale bloggers all the way to big multinational corporations, everybody is pining for a piece of the WordPress pie.
If your site goes down due to traffic spikes, that has everything to do with your web host, not WordPress. Provided you have the adequate server resources, such as the stacks WPEngine offers, WordPress will support your site regardless of the size or amount of traffic you generate.
WordPress is Insecure
But again, which software is 100% foolproof? Hackers will try to exploit the smallest of vulnerabilities in any software, not just WordPress. Now, WordPress is quite the popular platform, and as such, it attracts attack after attack just because of sheer volume, not because it’s prone to security breaches.
Were it not for the core and security updates the platform receives on the regular, the Internet would be a bedlam right this minute. People would lose their sites left, right and center every other day. The losses would be massive, the web would break and WordPress would go the way of the dodo.
But it has been more than ten years since WordPress hit the webs, and it’s growing bigger, better and more secure every dawn. Contributions from the enormous WordPress community strengthen our beloved CMS one update at a time.
Each update brings better features and tougher security measures such as the enhanced password security feature that was introduced in WordPress 4.3 “Billie”. Additionally, you can bolster the security of your WordPress site using plugins such as iThemes Security among others.
When all’s said and done, the security of your WordPress site (and more so that of your valuable content) begins with you. You have to keep your WordPress install, themes and plugins updated at all times. Moreover, get in the habit of creating regular and full site backups, should the hackers strike.
WordPress is FREE (Hence Inapt for Commercial Use)
For the guys who love free stuff, and this means every single one of us, WordPress being a free product is indeed great news. But what does free exactly mean where WordPress is concerned?
For starters, WordPress is free in terms of liberty (read usage rights). What that means is you can take WordPress, tear it down, modify it, make copies and/or create your own unique version without seeking permission from any authority.
It’s open-source; software built by a community of contributors, meaning it belongs to no particular company or person. Secondly, you don’t pay to use WordPress, the CMS – you just need to download the script from WordPress.org, install it wherever and you’re good to go.
A service such as WordPress.com will let you use WordPress on their platform for free. They give you a free subdomain e.g. yourname.wordpress.com and free hosting. Other similar services, known as managed WordPress hosts essentially let you use WordPress on their platforms for a fee (as opposed to standard web hosting, where you have a choice among various easy-install options).
The difference? The free flavor of WordPress served at WordPress.com is severely limited in terms of features and flexibility. You will also pay a stiff premium price to afford personalized hosting complete with your own domain name. The cost can quickly rack up to as much as $3000 per month.
Managed WordPress hosts, on the other hand, will let you experience WordPress in its full glory at a fraction of the cost. Additionally, traditional web hosts such as Dreamhost and Bluehost will also let you enjoy WordPress in its full splendor even though you get lesser power than if you were to go with a managed WordPress host.
Moving on, most business enterprises will shun the free, open-source, off-the-shelf solution in favor of a bespoke CMS tailor-made for their specific needs.
Perhaps it’s the bureaucracy, big budgets or someone trying to cut corners, but somebody gotta tell these guys (and their gray suits) that they are obviously missing out on an opportunity to save big money and get a platform that’s extremely versatile, or “as formless as water” as my ex used to describe herself. TMI? Get over it, WordPress is free and just right for commercial websites.
WordPress Doesn’t Come With Support
Now that you just said WordPress is a free platform made possible through the valued contributions of the community, where will I turn to should I run into problems? Good question.
A typical software company works as follows. You have a need. You seek out a reputable company, who in turn offer you software that you pay for. If you experience problems using their software, you contact their support team and you’re sorted out.
When it comes to WordPress, no single company or person owns the platform, nobody pays to use it and when you’re stuck…well…you’re stuck. Wrong.
WordPress has a great community of developers, designers, translators, bloggers, support reps etc who have gone to great lengths to build the WordPress Codex; a state-of-the-art documentation the like of which you’ve never seen. That’s not all, WordPress boasts of a very active support forum frequented by members of the community.
With these resources and a slew of independent service companies, WordPress maintenance service providers, and tons of ready & available freelancers you’ll be shocked how fast it is to get answers to your woes.
WordPress is Inadequate for Ecommerce
Do I have to keep dropping “CMS” everywhere to get your attention to the versatility of WordPress? In the early days of WordPress, it was hard to imagine you could use WordPress to build an ecommerce store.
Not anymore; the WordPress community has seen the influx of countless frameworks and WordPress ecommerce plugins that make building an e-store as easy as pie. Nowadays, you can create a fully functional WordPress-based ecommerce site using plugins such as Woocommerce, WP ecommerce and Easy Digital Downloads among others.
The fun part is WordPress is easy to setup and use as an online store. In fact, most the bespoke CMS built specifically for ecommerce can’t compete with WordPress as it stands. WordPress the ecommerce site builder? Who would have guessed?
WordPress Sites Are Slow
Gone are the days when websites were just a series of HTML pages, graphics and CSS stringed together. With the birth of new technologies, websites have grown in size and functionality.The idea of installing software to start building websites might force you to believe WordPress can slow down your server. False.
WordPress uses the best web standards and semantic XHTML ensuring it’s uber-fast to setup and use. The best coding practices also ensure that WordPress is SEO-friendly from the word go.
Slow site speeds are usually associated with cheap hosting providers and/or poorly-coded plugins. Cheap hosting providers will usually host your site and a million and one other sites on the same server, which just invites poor performance among other issues.
Poorly-coded plugins add “junk code” into vital files such as the header.php, slowing your speeds as unnecessary objects load before your content. Buggy plugins will also pose a threat to the security of your WordPress site.
Just choose the best WordPress hosting and reputable plugins and you are good to rock the party.
WordPress Plugins are Dodgy
And so are you if you install shady plugins from wherever and then cry foul when shit hits the fan. No matter the amount of faith you have in humanity, you simply can’t assume all plugins – free or premium – are flawless. It would be a disservice to yourself, now wouldn’t it be?
Which is precisely why you should steer clear of plugins from vendors you cannot trust. To avoid plugins that ship with bugs, outdated and inefficient code, security issues and poor support, always go for a high number of downloads, great ratings and reviews as well as excellent support.
As a side note, plugins extend the functionality of your WordPress site in ways unimaginable allowing you to tap into so much potential, which would be very hard or expensive to achieve without said plugins.
Just don’t add plugins blindly, because that’s how you court trouble in terms of poor performance and heightened security risks. Do your due diligence my friend. Due diligence.
Managing WordPress Sites is Difficult
Managing just about any site, not just WordPress sites, can sound daunting to the beginner. Installing your WordPress site(s) is one thing, managing the site(s) is something else.
You have to keep tabs on so many things including approving comments, monitoring security, tracking traffic, and updating themes, plugins as well as the WordPress core. When you have a couple of WordPress sites all over the place, it can get pretty messy fast.
But that would only happen if you don’t plan beforehand, which would let you know, for instance, that there’s a nifty plugin known as ManageWP that helps you to keep track of all of your WordPress installations from a single central dashboard.
With ManageWP in place, your site maintenance duties are reduced to clicking a few buttons and your work is done. Looking to learn more about how to manage WordPress sites? We have your back covered.
WordPress Isn’t Responsive (or even Future Proof)
Worried your WordPress install won’t play well with advanced web functionality? Future technologies? Well, guess what, you needn’t worry one bit if WordPress is future proof because…well…it is! With regular updates and the best web standards, WordPress is always primed for the future.
How about responsiveness? How will your WordPress site fit in various screen widths? Well, provided your WordPress theme is responsive, your site will be responsive automatically. It’s so easy to find responsive WordPress themes on WordPress.org and theme shops/marketplaces such as Themeforest, Elegant Themes, aThemes and My Theme Shop just to mention a few. To save you time, please consider checking out our very own Total responsive multi-purpose theme.
If your WordPress theme isn’t responsive for reasons only known to you, you can always use create a mobile-friendly version of your site.
WordPress takes on technology after technology as they come, meaning you have a powerful CMS that will drive your site for days, months and years to come. You can have fun with the likes of jQuery, backbone.js, Flash, CSS3, various APIs and other technologies letting you turn your WordPress site whichever way you desire.
Simply put, WordPress is exactly the CMS you’ve been looking for. But if you do need more persuasion let us know any myths you’ve come across. We’ll be happy to debunk them! What do you love the most about WordPress? Quite the power questions to keep you pondering until next time. In the meantime though, please share your thoughts in the comment section below. Adios!