Craft CMS vs WordPress

Why do we prefer Craft CMS instead of WordPress?

The five reasons why we prefer Craft CMS to WordPress

1. Speed

WordPress has become an entangled mess of open source code, and the amount of trash that is created with WordPress has exponentially increased over the years. Junk plugins, junk themes, junky hacked websites, junky apps that don’t work anymore because they fell out of versioning like so many do.

Craft CMS is much, much faster to load than WordPress - both the front-end (i.e. the site that your visitors see), and the back-end (the control panel).  WordPress has a LOT of code overhead. The core code base has been worked on for years without any major updates. Most of the enhancements are to do with a seemingly never-ending series of security patches.

In order to combat slow load speeds, Craft CMS adopted the cutting-edge MVC design pattern for their code. You might be thinking: “What the heck does MVC stand for?” Well, it stands for Model-View-Controller, and this design pattern for code is incredibly intelligent. This enables Craft to be selective and use only the specific resources it needs for each job, whereas WordPress has to run through every option before it can choose the right one.  That makes WordPress inherently slower than Craft.

2. Usability

As a default, Wordpress CMS comes with many pre-set components. The problem with this off-the-shelf approach is that often, a high number of these are unwanted and unnecessary for most businesses, only complicating the interface view.

Craft CMS on the other hand, is considered a highly user friendly CMS platform. The interface is a simple, more stripped back version of Wordpress, built and tailored to the needs and requirements of the business. This simple view makes updating and adding content a much more seamless experience.

Craft CMS also has a great ‘Live Preview’ tool that allows your screen to split into two views: the CMS panel on the left and the page preview on the right. As you make changes to your copy and images, the changes show up in real-time on the right side of the screen. You don’t need to have loads of tabs open, you can add content in less time whilst previewing changes on the same page.

3. Standing out from the crowd

When it comes to the choice of off-the-shelf templates and plugin options available, WordPress CMS takes the lead, especially since it has a larger development community. This makes the platform a reasonably flexible option for providing businesses with all the required functionality they need, in order to achieve their basic goals. But the downside is that many WordPress sites end up looking very alike, meaning businesses lose out on the opportunity to stand out from the crowd!

There’s also the issue of quantity over quality. Despite the vast choice of plugins available on WordPress, a frustratingly high volume of these are actually extremely buggy and unusable, creating a potential minefield of issues.

In comparison, Craft CMS takes a much more content-first approach, with sites built completely bespoke and customised to the business needs rather than using pre-defined templates.

The way in which Craft is built also allows users to have much more flexibility when it comes to adding new elements or rearranging existing elements on a web page - something which is often lacking from the WordPress experience.

4. Security & Stability

We have yet to get a call from a confused customer asking us how ads for Russian glamour models ended up on the homepage of their Craft website. But WordPress is infamous for security vulnerabilities, and most of the updates they release are security patches.

In 2019, it’s estimated that Wordpress powers over 35% of all websites on the internet.  From a security point of view, this enormous WordPress user base means the platform is much more heavily targeted by hackers, with every plugin added posing an entry point and therefore security risk to its site.

There are a lot of self taught developers out there who create WordPress websites. Someone might even call themselves a developer, but really all they are doing is installing WordPress on a server (with the touch of a button through the hosting company), and perhaps configuring a pre-built (free or purchased) ‘theme’ for their customer. At times, they might even hack away at the theme so much that they make it unstable and it breaks at the next update (and there are many junk WordPress themes out there that aren’t being properly supported, and there are thousands of un-regulated plugins out there that can also cause big problems for your site).

But in the Craft development ecosystem, you can’t be a theme installer, you actually need to know what you’re doing! Whilst they are a newer CMS platform compared with Wordpress, Craft is well known for having a higher-skilled developer community.

Both security and stability is taken extremely serious by Craft, with bugs updated quickly and efficiently using their rapid update cycle set up.  Third party plugins are centrally managed by Craft themselves, both for security and stability - this is a vast improvement on how WordPress deals with both plugins & ‘themes’.

5. No such thing as a free lunch!

But WordPress is FREE, and a single commercial website license for craft is $299!’ You probably like the sound of ‘FREE’. But purchasing a code base means that there is great expert technical support, and the company holds themselves accountable for a certain level of service because there was an exchange of money for a product.

We get direct developer support from the people that build Craft, if we have a complex technical question we can ask them and get a quick response.  But with WordPress we might need to spend hours trawling internet forums looking for an answer we can trust.

Craft CMS does have a much smaller range of plugins, but they are all audited and approved by Craft, some require an extra investment, but the ones we may recommend add extensive functionality for a modest price. With WordPress, you can search ‘Instagram Plugin’ and a thousand choices will come up for you to look through, and many of them will be free.

But there are a ton of garbage WordPress plugins out there, so sifting through them all and choosing the right one can be daunting.  You also run the risk of your entire website being destroyed as you activate an unsupported plugin that was written 10 years and 120 WordPress versions ago.

Our conclusion?

The future of content management is in Craft CMS. It’s powerful, it’s built in a more intelligent fashion, it loads faster, and it is building a community of really skilled web developers. We look forward to using Craft for years to come, and we hope you decide to utilise it for your next website build.

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