WordPress has become the CMS of choice when it comes to website creation. Actually it is used by 60.4% of all the websites whose content management can be identified. This is 23.7% of all running websites. And there are good reasons it has become so popular. It is Open Source software, distributed for free, it has a huge community, it gets many improvements over time and of course there are tons of free and premium themes and plugins for one to choose.
But is it really a good idea to self-host your WordPress website?
Unless you’re an experienced web developer, this is not the best way to go with your website. There are so many important factors someone has to consider when creating and maintaining a website. Security, performance, backups, updates and many more. I’ll sum up 5 reasons why a non-techie user should prefer another solution to create their website.
1. Can you manage a server?
I’m not going to mention the free or shared hosting option, because it is truly the worst and naming all the problems that come with it is a whole different topic.
Today’s websites require advanced server hardware and software. A Cloud server is the best of all options out there. But managing such a server requires knowledge and experience. You need to set up the environment with Linux, Apache or NginX, PHP and MySQL without a User Interface. And then you need to manually download and install WordPress. Some cloud hosting services offer servers with all the previous pre-installed, but still this only solves a part of the problem.
For the sake of security, the server must always be up to date and backed up, while your .htaccess file ( in case of Apache ), should be configured to secure your WordPress installation. But software and operating system updates on a cloud server can only be applied with remote access through a terminal application.
2. Which WordPress theme should you choose?
There are thousands of free and premium themes out there, whether you’re looking at WordPress’ theme directory or other websites offering premium themes, like ThemeForest or TemplateMonster. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but how can someone be sure about the theme they should pick? Trying out lots of themes is just time consuming and should be done on a test environment. Creating such an environment requires technical knowledge on local servers.
What I don’t like about many themes is the fact that they mess with your content. I’ve seen it so many times, themes adding custom post types, fancy builders and functionality, without which they wouldn’t work properly. So, let’s say you got bored of the look of your website after a couple of years and decide to change your theme. What happens to all the custom content you’ve added? Well, it’s gone!
3. 37,163 Plugins available at WordPress Plugin Directory and counting…
Having so many free tools for adding custom functionality to WordPress is great, or not? You can transform your website into a forum, an e-shop, a portfolio showcase and much more. But you have to be able to identify a quality plugin amongst so many. Of course reading reviews can be helpful before installing anything, but you have to spend time. You can start testing them one by one, but again this has to be done on a test environment, it’s not safe to do it on a running website.
I’ve been working with WordPress professionally since 2011, and I’ve tried dozens of plugins. I’ve realized that some plugin developers do not follow the WordPress way of doing things. That can sometimes lead to security leaks, disappearing content, broken admin interface or website. Sometimes website owners even fear to update WordPress, theme and plugins because the website might stop working. But this is not safe, WordPress’ updates come with bug fixes, improvements, security updates and should be done.
4. Speed and optimizations
Users are not willing to wait long for a website to load, especially when it comes to commerce websites. Many of them are using their mobile devices to browse the web and expect the websites to perform well, behave right on small screens and offer a pleasant experience. Google and Yahoo have been giving performance tips and let you test your website for free. But the tips they’re giving are not manageable by someone who is not experienced in server and code optimization.
5. Free comes with a price after all
WordPress is free software, with free themes, free plugins, you can even find free hosting services out there. For me, being able to work with quality software like WordPress for free, is great. But for someone who just wants to create their website, free can become expensive. Not just money-wise but regarding time as well.
Creating a new WordPress site from scratch requires a lot of time and time is a valuable asset. Starting with the basics, the server, theme and plugins setup and getting to WordPress itself, which has a learning curve. All this will consume time, you should normally spend on creating, publishing and promoting your content.
To a techie person, who just needs a personal website or blog and has the time to learn all those things, I’d say give it a shot and you might find it interesting after all.
Instead, to someone doing business and trying to get customers from their website, I’d say that they should focus on improving and promoting their business. A website that converts users into customers needs professional work, a really good SEO and promotion throughout all the available means.
Is there a solution?
Having taken into consideration all the above mentioned factors, our team Hardpixel, created Pressground. A WordPress based CMS, soon to be available as a managed hosting service. Pressground is designed to offer the missing features of WordPress, in a unique and well tied environment, along with enhanced security and speed, support and automatic updates.
Stay tuned for the next blog post, providing a detailed explanation of Pressground’s numerous advantages regarding WordPress.
Let me know your thoughts and preferences in the comment section below.