To help you determine if WordPress is the right tool to use as you set up your online presence, our review focuses on five key questions:
What Is WordPress?
As one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) available, WordPress currently supports approximately 38 percent of the world’s existing websites. More bloggers, small businesses, and Fortune 500 companies use the WordPress CMS than all of the other website builders combined.
In essence, WordPress is a computer system that handles the creation and management of digital content. It’s a free, flexible platform that enables both individuals and businesses to build functional, attractive, and useful sites with their text-based and visual content. Anyone can download and install it easily.
Because it’s self-hosted, WordPress gives users ultimate control over what they design and display on their websites. Read our guide on the Types of Web Hosting to learn more about the hosting options you should consider.
How Much Does It Cost?
While WordPress is technically free, there are some indirect costs associated with building a website with this tool. But, estimating the total cost can prove challenging because it will depend on your specific needs and preferences.
Some associated costs you should plan for include custom domain name registration, web hosting, a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate, necessary plug-ins, and a premium (paid) theme. But, you’ll also find free themes and plug-ins you may choose to use.
For reference, web hosting costs approximately $4 per month. This can vary, though, depending on your web hosting provider and plan. WP Engine’s hosting plans, for example, start at $25 per month whereas Bluehost plans start at $2.95 per month.
WordPress themes range from $25 to $299, but this is a one-time fee. WordPress plug-ins typically cost between $15 and $70.
Who Does WordPress Suit Best?
Just about anyone can use WordPress because it’s so adaptable. If you want a simple, easy-to-use website builder, then WordPress makes a great choice. It also works equally well for those seeking a platform capable of creating a more sophisticated site.
If the below conditions apply to you, then you’ll likely benefit from using WordPress:
- You need a professional, business website that doesn’t cost a lot to build and maintain.
- You’re willing to use tutorials to learn how to create a good website.
- You want to expand your website in your own special way.
- You want to use your online presence to make money.
But, you may want to consider other platforms if the following applies to you:
- You only want a relatively small website or blog.
- You don’t need an ecommerce website and/or you don’t plan to work with third parties.
- You don’t need extensive features or functionality. (With other platforms, you never have to take responsibility for writing code, performing site backups, or dealing with necessary updates.)
What Are the Advantages of Using WordPress?
WordPress offers its users many benefits, but here are the most important ones:
- It’s easy to use, yet highly customizable.
- It offers a wide variety of themes.
- Its large range of plug-ins can extend site functionality.
- Its big, online community can help address questions and issues.
- Its strong security and constant updates safeguard your data.
Ease of Use Plus Customization
You can customize just about everything on a website built using WordPress — without web development experience — because WordPress enables users to easily apply and adapt any of its premade themes and designs.
While WordPress can support almost any type of website, the most popular uses include blogs, online stores, and small business websites.
Instead of having to deal with all the individual aspects of creating a website, you can simply choose a WordPress theme from the wide variety of free and premium options. Most WordPress themes purchased from Envato’s ThemeForest include four key benefits:
- Guaranteed Quality: Envato — a well-known, online community focused on the use of smart design concepts — conducts a quality check on all of its WordPress themes.
- Continuous Updates: WordPress and its approved theme developers provide regular updates to themes in order to ensure they maintain the latest security standards, remain bug-free, provide the latest features, and offer improved compatibility.
- Discounted Hosting: Depending on your web hosting provider, many WordPress themes come with special or discounted pricing and packages.
- Six Months of Support: This can come from different web hosting providers, which users may extend for an additional cost.
Plug-ins have the potential to rapidly increase your website’s functionality, enhance its aesthetic features, and improve its performance. Given the extensive WordPress community, users can choose from thousands of plug-ins to address their specific needs.
Plug-ins play an especially important role if you plan to develop an online store or need to reach people across many geographical locations and languages. To learn more, read our review of the Best Plug-Ins for a WordPress Site.
Large Online Community
With millions of WordPress users worldwide, you can find answers to most questions by consulting this community of experienced users and web developers.
Someone else likely already encountered similar issues and many WordPress users readily offer their help. This provides a great support system — especially for those new to building and managing a website.
Afraid of hackers? You don’t need to worry about security with WordPress because it offers continuous platform updates to protect its users’ websites from cyberattacks. This is particularly important for sites that collect and store private user data and/or work with third parties.
What Are the Disadvantages of Using WordPress?
While many people consider WordPress as one of the best tools for starting a website, it does have three minor disadvantages:
- Users must manage their sites themselves. You will have complete control of a website you create using WordPress. While full control definitely offers many benefits, it also comes with greater responsibility. You must take charge of performing site backups and updates as well as installation of your site’s SSL certificate. But, you can automate these tasks or simply use a WordPress hosting company.
- There’s no built-in, drag-and-drop website builder. It can take beginners some time to learn the basics of building a website with WordPress. Or, users can opt to use one of the many well-known, drag-and-drop website builder plug-ins for WordPress.
- Users need a basic understanding of coding. While you don’t need extensive coding experience to use WordPress, a basic understanding of hypertext markup language (HTML) and cascading style sheets (CSS) will make the whole process much smoother. Luckily, you can gain these skills as you use the WordPress CMS.
Overall Rating – 4.5/5
Value – 5/5
While you’ll encounter separate costs when using WordPress, it’s well worth the price. Because WordPress gives you complete control, it’s up to you how much you spend on creating your ideal website.
Ease of Use – 4/5
Well-known for its flexibility, WordPress does require some technical knowledge or a willingness to learn. While WordPress doesn't have a drag-and-drop page builder, it does provide a visual editor you can use to write content. You’ll also need to purchase your site’s web hosting and domain name registration yourself.
Customer Service – 4.5/5
WordPress has numerous resources to help you make the most of your WordPress site. For example, its how-to guides will walk you through every step of setting up your website. Its support articles answer common questions and can even help you troubleshoot an issue.
Because so many people already use WordPress, it also has exceptional, community-based support forums.
WordPress is well worth the money to help you create your ideal website. The platform’s high degree of flexibility enables you to spend what you can and then choose from a wide variety of customization options.
With thousands of WordPress themes and plug-ins available, you'll likely find one to suit your website’s content and goals. The large WordPress community also provides an exceptional support system, making it very unlikely you’ll encounter an issue another user can’t help you address.
Ready to build your website using WordPress? Check out our How to Build a WordPress Website guide for step-by-step instructions on creating a striking site that’ll attract visitors and promote your brand.