Every once in a while, we hear a potential customer voice concern over our use of WordPress. We’re here to set the record straight on why WordPress is our CMS of choice for security, functionality and ease-of-use.
Why CleverOgre Says, “Yes” to WordPress!
When we build custom, responsive websites for our clients, we use WordPress. If this surprises you, chances are you have an inaccurate or outdated opinion of this wildly popular Content Management System, or CMS.
To be fair, in its fledgling days, WordPress was a little like the Wild West: Outlaw coders produced themes that were as likely as not to contain hidden malware, trojans and viruses. Plugins of dubious character wandered the darker corners of the internet, waiting to cause havoc and bring e-commerce sites to their knees. Charlatans and quacks hawked templates that rarely did what they claimed, hiding their flaws behind snazzy yet useless animations that slowed browsers to a crawl.
The Golden Age of WordPress
Thankfully, that is no longer the case — at least not when WordPress is set up properly and maintained by a skilled team of coders and designers! Today, this venerable conglomeration of open source gold has evolved to be the most-used CMS in the world. As of 2016, over 26% of the sites on the internet use WordPress. Yes, 26% of THE WHOLE ENTIRE INTERNET! That’s over a quarter of a BILLION sites! When you only include websites using a known CMS, that number jumps to 53%. And every indication shows that these numbers are going to keep on growing for the foreseeable future.
So, the big question is, “why?” What has attracted so many website developers, a notoriously finicky bunch, to jump on the WP bandwagon? To put it simply, it’s what we call the WordPress Golden Triangle of Awesomeness*: It’s Open Source, Easy and Widely Used.
WordPress is Open Source!
WordPress is arguably one of the most successful implementations of open source software in history. As the term “open source” implies, the source code at the core is not fiercely guarded by any single company where incremental upgrades are doled out slowly to maximize profits. Instead, it is made available to anyone who wants to download the CMS and start banging out web pages.
This allows developers to keep timelines reasonable by eliminating the need to start from square one with every project. When using the solid, stable foundation of WordPress, designers and developers are free to put their talents into making great-looking sites that are effective and efficient.
WordPress is Easy!
From its inception, WordPress was designed to be easy for the end user to create and share content. Initially conceived as a bare-bones blogging platform, the dashboard and editing features are simple and intuitive. If you can use that ubiquitous word processing software found on most PCs, chances are you’ll quickly figure out what to do when you log in to a WordPress site.
Controls for adding text, pictures and links are familiar and comfortable to almost everyone with a little computer experience. With a quick training session, most of our clients go on to update their own sites without difficulty. Of course, if they DO run into trouble, the CleverOgre team is here to help.
WordPress is Widely Used!
Thanks to the world-wide community of developers and software engineers who are constantly creating, testing and sharing their individual tweaks, changes and upgrades, WordPress is constantly at the top of the CMS game. When an especially useful feature is identified, it becomes part of the core software that is then shared with everybody who installs the latest update.
Likewise, there are many thousands of individuals who are constantly poking and prodding the CMS to identify vulnerabilities. Flaws are uncovered and fixes are created at an amazing speed, often before the website-using world at large is even aware of the issue. This leads to an incredibly robust and resilient piece of evolving software, beholden only to a communal desire to improve. Unlike proprietary software that may sit for years without being analyzed or tested for issues until it is hacked to pieces, WordPress is ruthlessly subjected to the attention of white-hat hackers and security professionals on a daily basis.
So Why Do I Hear So Many Bad Things About WordPress?
Despite all the things we love about WordPress, there are caveats. Most of the bad publicity around this great CMS has its roots in the following causes:
Wide-Spread use of Templates
There are plenty of web companies that simply grab a cheap template from the marketplace and start plopping in their customer’s content. This is not to say that all templates are bad, in fact we’ve seen a very select few that were pretty darned great. However, if you are looking for an original-looking site that sets you apart from the competition, templates are not the way to go. We come across many sites where the (cough, cough) “developers” didn’t even bother to change the default colors, text or other settings (ever seen a “Hello World!” blog post?).
Bad Plugins Are Everywhere
WordPress allows developers to quickly add functionality by using plugins. As you might expect, there are plugins of high quality and plugins of low quality. When a site is built with untested, overly cheap, or outdated plugins (see the next section for more on updating), chances are you’re going to have a bad time. Similarly, we see a lot of very slow websites that are jam-packed with duplicative plugins that add a lot of bloat with little benefit to the end user.
Updates Not Installed
As we mentioned earlier, the WordPress community is fantastic about rooting out issues and identifying vulnerabilities. Fixes and patches for these problems are included in updates to plugins as well as the WordPress core. However, these updates need to actually be installed to take effect. When sites sit for months or even years without getting updated, they become sitting ducks for hackers.
WordPress + CleverOgre = Great Sites
That’s where we come in: CleverOgre uses WordPress responsibly. We provide managed hosting and keep all of our WordPress sites and plugins updated, protecting our clients quickly and quietly behind the scenes. Rather than using templates, we develop all our own themes, each one custom-designed for our individual clients.
We include only the options, features and plugins that are necessary to keep our sites light weight and nimble. Speaking of plugins, we pay for high-end licenses for top-quality plugins that are stable and enjoy cross-browser support. In the rare occasion where the plugins we use become outdated or are abandoned by their creators, we find new ones and make sure they work properly for our client’s sites.
We also include additional security measures on our sites, such as non-common admin login pages and hiding file information. Our websites prevent known hacker IPs from accessing the domain, add CAPTCHAs to contact forms, block suspicious logins and enforce rate limiting to keep the security risk to our clients’ sites to a minimum.
We Love WordPress, and You Will, Too.
So that’s the scoop! We love WordPress, and our clients do, too. Give us a call and see how the winning combination of WordPress + CleverOgre can work for your business!
*Patent Pending But Probably Not Happening.