WordPress Maintenance: A costly venture

When it comes to content management system (CMS) frameworks, it's clear to see that WordPress is the most popular. Over 60% of all websites on the internet are built with WordPress, and a lot of this comes from its popular user interface, ease of setup, brand recognition and low short-term cost when compared to the competition. However, what you might not know is that WordPress typically ends up becoming much more expensive than most major CMS frameworks in the long run - and it's time that you knew why.

Two Upgrades Forward, Two Downgrades Back

Any and every website is going to need updating at some point. Whether it's for improved security, functionality or theme design, updates are important to keep a website running as smoothly as possible. In the case of WordPress however, it's a bit more complicated than that. First, WordPress is constantly receiving updates, whether it's for the framework itself, website themes or plugins. With so many elements receiving updates at any time, it can make your site feel like it's in a constant "partially under construction" phase that it can't get out of.

But the main issue here is that these updates are likely to cause some areas of your site to slow down, or even stop functioning properly altogether. This is due to WordPress' many issues with incompatibility. With so many developers working on different WordPress themes and plugins, the coding in one element might not work very well with another.

Plugins, theme and WordPress itself are the main "pillars" that hold up WordPress websites. But if just one of these things receives an update - raising the respective pillar, so to speak - it can throw the rest of the site off balance. It might still be operational, but it will be heavily impacted in terms of speed and security, or the entire website could stop functioning correctly. When this happens, it means a lot of time needs to be dedicated to reconfiguring the website to restore stability, but this means more development time - and more costs.

Compatibility issues due to upgrades are significantly less likely to happen on other CMS frameworks, since updates are both less frequent and much more stable.

WordPress' Website Bloatware

WordPress likes to pride itself on having a very expansive range of plugins available for users to integrate into their websites, providing a wide variety of functions to assist with things such as eCommerce and booking systems. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily a good thing, as many plugins have a lot of extra functions that aren't necessary for your site and just leave you with excess code that browsers have to load each time the website is accessed.

With each plugin you install on a WordPress site more and more of this excess code is added, and it creates a lot of bloating that can cause serious performance problems such as website slowdowns. The only real way to attempt to remedy this is to install a plugin dedicated to optimisation, but this can end up causing more incompatibility issues like I mentioned earlier. It's can sometimes feel like an endless cycle and leads to more and more costs dedicated to optimising your website.

Other CMS frameworks don't suffer from this issue anywhere nearly as heavily due to being less dependent on their plugins to run their websites.

Buggy debugging

Errors can happen in really any area of a website - regardless of whether it's in the code of a plugin, theme or the CMS itself. When errors occur, it's critical that developers are able to find the incorrect code by performing debugging on the site. This allows the code that is causing the error to be found, isolated, and corrected or adjusted.

Making this process as simple as possible goes a long way to reducing dev time and costs, but neither of these things happen when it comes to WordPress. Errors aren't given a very well-defined location within the code, meaning developers have to sift through potentially hundreds of thousands of lines of said code to find an error. On top of this, the cause of the error is hard to determine due to WordPress' coding structure being all over the place.

With other CMS frameworks, coding structure is well set out and detailed thanks to being developed by programmers with much more experience. Debugging in these frameworks therefore is much simpler, which keeps costs down when compared to the much more expensive debugging required for WordPress websites.

Hopefully the information provided here can showcase the many limitations WordPress has when it comes to development and maintenance. With too heavy of a reliance on its plugins, excessive bloatware and poor coding structure, WordPress can be a costly headache for both developers and businesses. Other CMS frameworks - such as October CMS, Bigcommerce or Shopify - are much better suited to handle these types of web maintenance, which means you'll be saving more money in the long-term for work on other projects for your website.