I’m a huge fan of WordPress. I’ve been using it since 2008 and have contributed my own plugin to the repository. There’s no shortage of articles talking about the advantages of WordPress, and that’s because it’s great software! But I feel there aren’t enough people talking about its limitations. So here are three disadvantages of WordPress that you should consider before signing on.
1. WordPress is a Prime Target for Hackers
When it comes to security, WordPress is a victim of its own success. Just as there are far more viruses for Windows than for MacOS, WordPress is a much juicier target for hackers than other software applications.
By default, WordPress doesn’t hide the installation details from the public. A hacker could easily find information about your website, such as the WordPress version, which allows hackers to target specific vulnerabilities. So if you have an outdated version of WordPress, you’re at exponentially greater risk because there are unpatched vulnerabilities, and hackers will also have no trouble sniffing out your vulnerability.
Outdated Plugins and Themes are Problematic
A shocking number of WordPress installations are outdated, and hundreds of thousands of plugins that site administrators don’t update. Sometimes this is because of poor security hygiene, but often it’s because updates often break critical functionality. It’s possible that you’ve made some customizations to WordPress, and a plugin update spoils things, so you simply don’t update the plugin. And if the update patches a vulnerability, you’re permanently vulnerable as long as an older version exists.
WordPress is Susceptible to Brute Force Attacks
Automattic doesn’t do a good job of “hardening” WordPress. For example, XML-RPC is an easily abused protocol, and I recommend that you disable it as soon as possible. But Automattic keeps it on because that’s how its plugins like JetPack integrate with WordPress.
Another problem is that WordPress uses standardized URLs for login pages, so hackers can easily access your login page as long as they know your website address. Of course, without a username and password, they can’t do much. But they can hit your site with thousands of login attempts, using resources on your server, and potentially crashing your site. By default, WordPress doesn’t lock out users who keep entering incorrect credentials.
2. WordPress Can get Very Slow
A slow site doesn’t just annoy visitors. It also has implications for SEO. Google’s Core Web Vitals metrics are a ranking factor (supposedly), so it’s in your best interests to make WordPress as fast as possible through your own optimizations and plugins. It doesn’t happen automatically.
3. Targeted Applications Might Require Dedicated Software
WordPress is great for general websites, but sometimes your website requires much more specific functionality. A forum is a great example of specific functionality, where you’re better off using a different application rather than just a forum plugin.
While WooCommerce converts any WordPress site into an eCommerce-capable application, sometimes a dedicated store application like Magento might be a better fit. The flexibility of WordPress can sometimes tempt you to waste a lot of time trying to shoehorn a specific functionality into the framework, but at some point, it’s probably better to use a specialized tool instead of WordPress.
If you’re willing to put in the work to secure WordPress by hardening it and speeding it up by optimizing caching and handling CSS/JS files, then WordPress beats out every other CMS on the market. But it might take you time to learn how to do this. And if you have special needs, better tools might be available than WordPress. So keep all this in mind when deciding on your platform!
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!