Cons of using WordPress for an online business

WordPress is still, to this day, the most used content management system in the world, which bloggers and online entrepreneurs use to run their blogs and websites. However, using WordPress might not be the best solution for most use cases, such as running a blog, and it, more often than not, can even hurt your online business.

WordPress is way ahead of other systems when looking at the market shares of the most popular content management systems in the world. WordPress is built to be very beginner-friendly, and it is a great solution to create a new website or blog quickly without much technical knowledge about building sites.

It is excellent that there are services and solutions out there, such as WordPress, which allow you to build and create blogs and websites fast without much technical knowledge. However, WordPress might fall behind regarding security, speed and performance, and even SEO of your website.

The biggest downside of using WordPress to run your website is relying on storing your data in a database and running your website on a web server. These two components are the leading causes that can harm your long-term online business because of their natural complexity and maintainability. Also, the ecosystem around WordPress is heavily weighted towards easy-to-add plugins and themes that often end up bloating your website, making it grow on byte size and thus making it load slower and perform poorer.

WordPress can be an excellent choice to start when building your online business. Still, in the long run, it would be advised to look into alternative solutions, such as static websites, if you want to make your online business more sustainable and grow it in the right direction.

Example screenshot of a lighthouse score from a bloated WordPress website.

Cons of using WordPress

The biggest cons of using WordPress are security vulnerabilities, maintenance overhead, and its plugin ecosystem that often causes a lot of code bloat to your website.

Security vulnerabilities

When it comes to WordPress websites, there are many security vulnerabilities that you have to be aware of if you are using WordPress to build your blog or a website. WordPress as software keeps adding incremental updates and patches to fix detected security vulnerabilities and improve overall quality. However, all these cumulative updates and patches must be installed manually by the site owner. If you do not update or install your WordPress website regularly as new major and minor releases come by, you risk running a vulnerable website.

Security vulnerabilities are not only an issue with the leading software of WordPress but also a matter for every single theme and plugin you install. As every theme and plugin modifies the underlying WordPress software, they all have an equally important role in maintaining their codebase, not introducing new vulnerabilities to all their customers using their software. When theme and plugin creators fix the software you as a site owner are using, they also need to release new versions, be it a major, minor, or a patch you need to install manually.

As you can see, WordPress as an ecosystem brings much overhead to you as a site owner to keep all your core system, themes, and plugins up-to-date and require you to trust many third-party providers that your website is secure and safe. All this overhead is really not necessary, especially if you are only using WordPress for blogging purposes. All the time you spend keeping your website up-to-date with the core, theme, and plugin updates takes away from the main work you want to focus on, which in most cases means writing good content.

Maintenance overhead

Keeping your WordPress website up-to-date by regularly checking that the core, theme, and plugins are running the latest version is already quite a bit of work, but there is also a lot more maintenance overhead on top of all these actions.

Because WordPress relies on a PHP coding language belonging to a LAMP stack, which stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP/Perl/Python, many complex pieces of software are running a WordPress website.

Most of the time, you as a WordPress user do not have to think about any of these technologies because they usually work, and you expect your hosting provider to keep all these systems up and running. These are all quite heavy and powerful software, which are not required to be running a simple blog.

The LAMP stack software also requires regular maintenance, just like the WordPress core. Therefore they also need to stay up-to-date by manually installing new releases, be it major, minor, or patch versions.

WordPress plugin ecosystem

WordPress core and the LAMP stack can already bring much overhead to running a simple website, but being introduced to the landscape of WordPress plugins and themes can take your website in a completely wrong direction.

It might seem like a wonderful gift to be able to simply install a plugin to your website to introduce a new feature to your visitors. Still, there is a considerable price you have to pay for all this simplicity, which is the overall user experience as well as the speed and performance of your website.

There is rarely a theme or a plugin that would 100% of the time fulfill all your needs for a feature you might need or the user interface you want to achieve. A theme or a plugin usually does things just well enough for you to reason to install it to your WordPress website.

Not only do most themes and plugins introduce a lot of maintenance overhead and security vulnerabilities, but they also end up bloating your website. If you are running a blog with some text and images, there is no reason for your website to be weighing more than, let’s say, 1 megabyte. When your website is bloated, it means that much unnecessary code is being run when a visitor loads your website.

Screenshot of the network tab request size of a WordPress website.

If you look around the size and weight of the WordPress websites today, it doesn’t come as a surprise to have to load somewhere around 10 megabytes of resources just to read a simple article.

How to improve your WordPress website?

The best way to improve your WordPress website in terms of security and maintainability is to get rid of all unnecessary themes and plugins and ensure all your essential themes and plugins are up-to-date.

It would be best if you tried to lean towards a mindset where you don’t try to fix all your website problems by installing a new plugin. You should also keep the number of plugins installed as low as possible.

The better alternative for bloggers using WordPress

For bloggers primarily using WordPress to publish new articles and nothing else, the best long-term approach would be a static website. Static websites are way more secure and require much less maintenance than a typical WordPress website. A static website doesn’t need a web server, database, or a virtual machine to run.

Static websites are very lightweight and really SEO friendly. Static websites load fast and therefore improve your overall user experience. Because static websites are just documents served over the internet, they can be cached easily by many hosting providers, making their load time even smaller.

Most hosting providers even offer free hosting for static websites because of the lack of resources needed to run them.

If you want to learn more about static websites, head to the article; Everything you need to know about static websites.

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