SO WHATS THE PROBLEM?
Many people think WordPress is a surefire way of keeping costs down but perhaps they don’t realise the extent of costs and what they actually get for their money. If you go for the hosted .com option you could possibly pay for
WordPress Subscription Fee
Theme Payment or Subscription
Costs of additional plugins
Payments to E commerce platform
You’ve finally settled on a theme and now you want to change a few little things. On WordPress.com you need to purchase a Custom Design Upgrade to use customized CSS on your blog. As mentioned, this upgrade starts at $36/year. Aligned-Digital know that it could get quite pricey depending on the number of blogs you want to customize. If your small business gets a WordPress site and pays monthly why not pay a developer or a company like Aligned-Digital to just build a site. If you install it for free onto a server you still pay someone to configure it. If your gonna pay then why pay for restrictions.
THE CONTENT AND COPYWRITE ISSUES
Actually, there is no issue about who “owns” the content on a WordPress.com site. Their TOS states clearly that they have royalty-free access to your data to promote your blog: “By submitting Content to Automattic for inclusion on your Website, you grant Automattic a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your blog. If you delete Content, Automattic will use reasonable efforts to remove it from the Website, but you acknowledge that caching or references to the Content may not be made immediately unavailable.” WordPress.com may also choose to place advertisements on your website. You can have these removed by going premium and paying $36/year. There’s also the question about termination: “Automatic may terminate your access to all or any part of the Website at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, effective immediately.”
Aligned-Digital beleive security is a major problem of WordPress websites. Especially brute force attack (BFA) which is one of the main concerns. We talk about BFA, when someone tries to access the dashboard of your WordPress site or your FTP account by trying out different user names with different password combinations. If you choose a strong password and changed the default admin user name, you can reduce the chance to get hacked, but there is no guarantee that you will always win.
Another big security hole is represented by the third-party themes and plugins which are made by both professional development companies as well by individuals or even hackers. These files are verified, but sometimes the developers can hide fishy code that will not catch the attention of the verifier.
These security problems cannot be resolved just with updates. They need to pay more attention on the themes and plugins that are being updated and verify the users who are doing it.
As there are millions of websites using WordPress they are an obvious target for computer hackers. If a hacker can find a vulnerability in one system it is likely that this exists on many of the others.
Furthermore, as robots (computers that trawl the Internet for a variety of reasons) can determine whether a site is made by WordPress or not; once a vulnerability has been found it can be automatically exploited on every similar website found. Once a website has been hacked it can be exceptionally difficult to fix.
Every website on the Internet is vulnerable to hackers even Aligned-Digital.com to some degree; however, having a custom website would mean that a hacker would need to target your website specifically. The difference with a WordPress based website is that the hacker can target millions of websites at once, without knowing or caring who they belong to.
BAD PROGRAMMING & BULKY SOURCE CODE
While the core WordPress is developed by Automatic Inc, a professional web development company, who pay really close attention to details (just like Aligned-Digital), most third-party plugins and themes can be created by unskilled persons who are not so clean with their coding.Not optimized code can not only slow down your site or cause errors, but can also be the back-door for a hacker to break into your site. Although WordPress is updated frequently there are still parts in the core where old PHP techniques are used for global variables, functions, and classes. The naming of some functions is confusing and becomes frustrating sometimes.
WordPress produces bloated code with its WYSIWYG visual editor and you can easily see this when you write an article in the editor and then toggle to HTML editor where you can see the source code.
Some free themes and plugins have hidden codes and links to suspicious websites. When removing these codes, the theme and the whole website will stop working. In some cases the dashboard can also be affected, disabling you the option to change the theme or modify your site as you.
DEFAULT CONFIGURATION & SEO SETUP
For instance, you will have to activate SEF URLs for better SEO, so search engines such as Google can find your pages and content more easily. The visual editor might also cause problems for newbie users, because by default some important features are hidden, which the user have to figure out.
There are lots of SEO plugins for WordPress, and by picking and choosing the correct ones you can achieve a certain level of optimisation. However, you never have the fine control that you get with a custom website, and therefore full search engine optimisation is not possible.
UPDATES & SUPPORT
Whilst it’s true that WordPress regularly release updates to fix all the security holes, the trouble is with an average of more than one patch a month it can be time consuming to keep your web site secure. The updates will need to be done by someone technical, which means clients inevitably end up paying for this extra work in the long run. The other major downside to updates is that there is always a risk they will break your site, especially if you used a customised theme. Add to that continually evolving nature of the admin area to add to the confusion.
This leads nicely to support; as WordPress is open source it is free and developed by the ‘community’. This is a good idea and allows such software as WordPress and many UNIX based systems to remain free. However it does cause an issue with support. As there is no official development team, and as the client has never paid anyone for the software, there is no phone number to call and no guaranteed way of getting a response. Therefore if a client’s website breaks, perhaps after an update, any errors can be hard to diagnose.
The usual process is to use Google to search various support forums, and if no one else has had the same issue, post a ticket to a forum, and hope that someone can help you fix your issue. Even then a client, or web developer, is only likely to receive a pointer in the right direction, and will need to do a fair bit of work themselves. This can be difficult for a professional web developer or company like Aligned-Digital, and can prove almost impossible for many Website Designers who only know how to install and use WordPress.
SPEED & SERVER RESOURCES
At Aligned-Digital we know how important site speed is. The speed of a website affects the SEO as well as the general user experience. As WordPress caters for many different styles of websites and has lots of features that are often unused, the code is very ‘bloated’. This means you’re server is processing a lot more code than it needs to which means each page is slower and you will reach the limits of your server much quicker. Because the core WordPress and third-party extensions includes a high number of PHP functions and SQL queries, websites built with this CSM will require greater server resources.
There are problems regarding CPU usage and nobody seems to know the solution or even to identify the source of the problem. If you buy managed WordPress hosting, some plugins that are heavy resource consumer are banned. So you will not be able to install the necessary plugins to your site, because your hosting provider will not allow that.
Migrating Servers - All websites are hosted on third party servers, or web hosts. From time to time at Aligned-Digital, for various reasons, it is required to move a website from one web host to another. Although a little work is always required, the complexity of WordPress sites means that this is can be harder than as for custom websites. Where a custom website could be moved in minutes, and equivalent WordPress website could take far longer.
MOBILE OPTIMISATION & COMPATIBILITY
At Aligned-Digital we beleive mobile is the most important platform to be considered. Errors in websites need not be critical; have you ever seen a website that looks different in Internet Explorer to Firefox, or looks obscured on a mobile phone? Well this is common across many websites, in particular ones created using software such as WordPress.
The advantage with custom built websites over WordPress is that, as they are simple and built step-by-step, is that if required they can be made compatible with all versions or all browsers, work on all mobile phones and validate to current standards. Although this is possible with WordPress it is typically much harder to achieve. If a website is truly compatible, it will open itself up to a much wider audience.
PLUGINS & THEMES
WordPress has a set of default designs, also known as themes. This is an advantage as clients can choose from a library of themes that get installed easily.The down side is that a lot of the WordPress themes seem to look similar, so that means a client’s website is often unlikely to look original. If a theme isn’t exactly what a client wants it will need to be customised by a company like Aligned-Digital anyway.
The advantage with something like an Aligned-Digital custom built website is that it can be designed exactly how the client wants. The designer does not need to fit the client’s requirements into pre-built boxes, but can start literally with a blank canvas to produce a truly original design.
The thousands of plugins available can do a variety of different tasks, but the time will come when the plugins will not do either what a client wants, or in the way that they want it done. When this happens you’ve reached the end of WordPress’ capabilities. Unfortunately as there are so many plugins, written by so many people, many have their own security vulnerabilities and issues. Many plugins are written by hobbyists to do something for their own site, they release the code for free and then forget about it.
It’s possible that two plugins will both work brilliantly independently, yet when both installed can conflict and cause issues. Plugins can also break. A plugin can be working perfectly, and then after a client updates their core system, the plugin can often break, and will remain broken until the plugin’s developer is able to update it. As plugins can often be the basis of essential features of a client’s website, and as we’ve already established that the core system needs to be updated regularly you’ll be faced with a dilemma, choosing between a working site or a secure one.