Editor’s note: This post was written by Anna, a freelance writer and researcher from the Olympia, WA area who loves to obsess about weird topics and then write about them. When she isn’t writing, she is outside on her bike and contemplating her eventual trip to graduate school.
The fast answer is no: WordPress is very much still alive and kicking.
However, just like any great leader, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and there are plenty of options giving WP a run for their money. For example, anyone who’s watched CNBC’s Restaurant Startup has probably noticed a strong push for Wix. Clearly, this competitor is dishing out big bucks to be touted on TV as the easiest free way to create a website.
However, don’t fret, hardcore WP lovers. While it’s still arguably the most popular of all blogging platforms, it’s waning. There’s still time for it to recover, but not if the brains behind it don’t tackle some of the biggest drawbacks. Even users who declare their devotion to WP have to admit there are some big bumps on the road to using it.
Here are some of the biggest cons, along with a smattering of favorite pros.
It’s not all glitter and rainbows
As an Open Source platform, that’s usually a great thing. However, with WP you get plenty of freedom that’s not an option with closed source software, but that doesn’t mean it’s all totally free. As a licensed product with GNU General Public License, this means WP has what’s dubbed a “strong copyleft license.” This can be subject to interpretation, and for WP this means all those themes and plugins are derivative and automatically get that GPL license.
In other words, if you create a code for WP, it get GPL licensing. However, this doesn’t require you to give your code to everybody, nor does it mean everything you create for your own purposes requires GPL licensing. Basically, this approach means limitations.
Mother, may I…
When it comes to permissions scoping, WP is limited. Compare it to other CMS like Drupal (which lets you manage who can edit/access the site), and it’s easy to see why this is a challenge. WP doesn’t automatically let you drum up groups or give certain people permissions. You can do it with a plugin, but for something so basic, should that really be a requirement? Some users say that it’s tough to find a good plugin for granular permissions that played nicely with other plugins.
There’s also the issue of security vulnerability, and PHP apps are notorious for their flaws. Of course, WP has upped security recently but hackers can still somewhat easily find ways inside. Check out the WP closed bugs to find out just how gaping these problems have been recently. The good news is that the WP team works diligently to fix them (but what about preventing them in the first place?).
And the list goes on…
With zero native content blocks available, it’s obvious that WP was made to be a blog platform (not an overall website builder). This means there’s no option for natively creating numerous content areas using just a single template. You have to add customize fields and do the dirty work yourself. There are other CMS’s that do this well. This isn’t a huge deal for most bloggers, but it’s a pain for advanced users.
Finally, there’s the issue of lack of consistency. Do you always know if a function will work? Not necessarily, especially considering the internal API struggles. While WP isn’t the best choice for large sites that don’t adhere to basic formatting (even though biggies like National Geographic use it), they’re already using superior hardware, which isn’t an option for startups.
However, there are some great pros such as a massive community, it’s a breeze to install, all the good stuff of open source and it’s pretty cheap even if you spring for indulgences. If WP gets whipped into better shape, it might be able to cling to the title.
More WordPress Guides: