15 January 2022

Why I did not choose WordPress for my blog?

Why I did not choose WordPress for my blog

As we know, WordPress is a blogging platform used to create content and publish thoughts online. Currently in 2022, WordPress powers more than 43% of the websites. This is a huge number for a platform and it is a great success to capture such a huge market share. I would agree with the WordPress fanboys out there that the platform is simple, easy to build, and one-stop shop for all the internet entrepreneurs. I was a fan of WordPress and I used it for all my previous blogs. I loved the way it helped me in many different things like installing a template, posting content, creating categories and the way we can manage the media inside my website. WordPress has been the primary driver of my websites and it saved a huge amount of time. Still giant blogs and magazines run their websites on WordPress. I was a YES to WordPress back then, but now I have some reasons to move on.

Since few years, WordPress has evolved from a blogging platform into a full fledged content management system. This focus shift has led to many criticisms from the blogging community. As many parts of the platform were changed to focus on building and designing websites rather than keeping it simple to write and publish content. Users have adopted WordPress to build corporate websites to e-commerce stores online. WordPress has grown so big it has now become a primary prospect for many freelance web developers, and plugin developers. People have started selling WordPress themes and plugins which is now a hot cake in the internet web space.

So why did you stop using WordPress? - The short answer is - It is too complex now!.

Yes, I feel WordPress has evolved so big now it is very complex and difficult to manage. Specially when the blogs or sites are run by individuals like me, this has become an extra burden in maintaining a healthy WordPress blog. So what do I mean by healthy blog? It is more of the technical burden which I am talking about. The overload is so big, I have felt to shutdown multiple WordPress blogs just because I cant keep up with the issues and maintenance.

WordPress Maintenance

The WordPress core itself has its own problems like high resource utilisation. When we talk about resource hungry software, its not WordPress alone. Any content management system (CMS) which is built on a resource hungry language like PHP is tend to suck more resources out of your server. WordPress is no different, it does have a PHP and MySQL backend. The number of queries WordPress does to the database would shock you if you look at the queries chart in your phpMyAdmin portal. Each query to the database will impact the database performance and if the queries are huge and repetitive it is going to create some noise on your server.

I will not complain WordPress for this issue, it is how the product has evolved over the years and the lack of using newer technologies is costing the platform too much. WordPress is almost 18 years old now, still the underlying technology has not changed. Only the architecture and bit of the latest PHP compatibility have been improved. PHP and MySQL has been there for many years and it has reached its time to handover the baton. There are now other technologies which are much efficient, faster and lighter on compute resources.

This should be the same scenario of other CMS platforms like Drupal and Joomla. Atleast they would not be used for building heavy content blogs. For me as an individual blogger time is an intricate factor. I would like to save time while creating content as well as maintaining them. WordPress does make my job easy for content creation however its lets me down on the other end of maintaining them. One of my previous blogs were built from scratch and I had started publishing heavy content. The blog had not yet started receiving even 100 visitors per day. Everything was going fine until one day when I found my MySQL database size was growing bigger and bigger even without heavy content being published. I was sceptical how this could happen and what really is bloating my database.

Later to my surprise I found one of the module in WordPress which did autosave for my posts in WordPress editor was adding rows and some metadata each time autosave happens. That would be around 100 times if I am writing a lengthy article like this. It added 100 records for every 100 autosaves. This is insane! My WordPress adds bloat to my database making its size bigger and bigger. Now, this could be a bug and would be fixed in the next update of WordPress. But what will happen to my database? Who will be held responsible? Who will take the effort in cleaning the bloat? Should I simply delete the tables/rows and import the backup? How many of you would do that until the issue is fixed? I do not want to do that because now it may be the WordPress core adding the bloat. What happens tomorrow if the same happens because of a third-party plugin which I installed? I know definitely I would be blamed for installing the plugin.

Now, that makes me talk about the major caveat atleast in the recent times. The Plugins. Third party plugins has been the major advantage of the WordPress and the major caveat as well. We all like additional functionality. What if that can be enabled in few clicks? Sounds great right. That's where the plugins help us. Its simple, easy to use modules which can be turned ON, configured and disabled in a click. But why is it so problematic? It is the because of the lack of access control of these plugins by the WordPress platform. The permissions requested by these plugins are not controlled by the platform. We have heard some rumours that WordPress is working on permission control like how we have on our phones. That could solve some issues, but the current problem is the lack of visibility of WordPress into the plugins. This has a major security risk on the entire platform. We have heard multiple hacking news on WordPress sites just because of a weak plugin. This raises eyebrows and how a platform could allow such plugins to integrate with them so freely without any authorization. The security risks are so huge, that it makes me feel so insecure. I would rather stop using WordPress or not install any plugins at all.

When talking about security there are many things to cover which I will discuss in length on another post. So the major two concerns which I have on WordPress is the complexity of maintaining the platform and the security aspects. To transfer the maintenance burden I could use the managed platform like WordPress.com, but still it does not offer the visibility or control over the complete code like how self hosted blog would give. Geeks and bloggers would know how it is to publish content on a platform not owned by us. Hey, I am not a freedom of speech advocate 🙂

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