Posted on: 06/04/2017
The history of WordPress
In 2003 a UK website developer named Mike Little, and American Matt Mullenweg built a platform that would go on to power over 70 million websites worldwide.
Originally it was used primarily as a blogging platform and became increasingly popular because of it’s incredibly easy installation and quick setup time.
During the first few years there was a flurry of updates and improvements to the content management system including; SEO friendly permalinks, plugin support and a templating system. These updates made the platform increasingly tempting for the everyday website developer to use on custom builds.
In 2010 custom post types were added meaning that it was possible to easily build a website that contained different content types, for example services and news posts.
Matt Mullenweg has stated that the future of WordPress will be focused around social, mobile and as an application platform.
What are the benefits of using WordPress?
To get the most out of your website you need to ensure that it is performing at it’s best. This can be based on metrics such as page loading times, page size, website caching.
The WordPress plugin which I use on all websites I build to ensure it is running as well as possible is WP Fastest Cache, this plugin enables CSS and JS file minification and combination so that file sizes are as low as possible and a minimal amount of requests are sent to the server. It enables browser caching too meaning that the website will load far quicker.
WordPress has a bad reputation for security because of developers being very lax in the setup and installation. However this is far from the case and if the correct steps are taken to harden the security then it is infact a very secure and reliable platform.
For myself, these steps include changing the database table prefix from the default “wp_” which prevents hackers from assuming the database table name. I also add a plugin called WordFence which has a bundle of security enhancements such as a maximum amount of password attempts to avoid hacking attempts. It also goes without saying that I will also use secure usernames and passwords, something that a scarily large amount of people still do not do! WordPress security is explained further in this post by WP Shrug.
Easy to use and maintain
Right from the very start WordPress has been known for its great usability, it has a logical admin dashboard which is easy to navigate between pages, posts and settings.
I always get good feedback when showing clients how to edit their websites, and it is often compared to simply editing a word document. This makes my life easier as a developer too as it means maintaining websites is streamlined and efficient.
Quick for development
There are many other content managements systems available such as Drupal, Joomla and Magento. The reason I believe WordPress has become so popular however is because it is very developer friendly. With its super quick installation, simple to use templating system and the huge library of plugins, themes and documentation it makes website development a far less time consuming task when compared with its competitors.
What are the drawbacks of WordPress?
My main dislike associated with WordPress are pre-built themes, websites like ThemeForest offer themes that are ready to buy and install that offer a wealth of functionality and design options. This sounds like a great deal at first glance, “a website for £40? Wow!” Realistically this is not the case, because of the huge range of options it means that it makes the admin pages extremely cluttered and can be a real nightmare to update and maintain as there will be hundreds of fields in the admin area, many of which are not even used! In comparison I build sites fully bespoke so only the fields you see in the admin area will be displayed on the website which leads to a far quicker website and lots of minutes saved every time you update it.