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WordPress vs Custom Website
November 07 2021 • 15 min read

What is WordPress?

WordPress is an open-source platform to develop websites. Technically speaking it is a PHP based content management system that uses MySQL as a database to develop websites easily using drag and drop methods.
WordPress is majorly used in blogging, portfolio websites, and e-commerce websites.

Why do people use WordPress?

There are a few reasons why WordPress is popular. Let’s discuss some of them.

  • Easy to use - WordPress provides pre-built templates to develop and publish websites easily. It gives too many options to highly customize the website in just a click of a button.
  • No need to code - WordPress gives an option to develop any webpage using just drag and drop which makes the development fast. 
  • Website security - No need to worry about the security of the website. WordPress will take care of everything and make the website secure.
  • Plugins availability - There are thousands of plugins available in WordPress for different functionality. Want a particular functionality on your website? Just search for that plugin in the plugins library and install it. There are both free and paid plugins available in WordPress.

What is a custom website?

Custom websites are developed entirely from scratch using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript as frontend. The backend of the website can also be of our own choice depending on the requirements such as Node Js, Java, Python, etc.

Why do we need a custom website?

The custom website provides full control over the entire code which can be changed accordingly. Custom websites are great for small websites as well as very large scale websites that need more customization and features than any template based website builder can provide. Of late, there are a lot of open-source frameworks and libraries available which increases the rate of website development by a large amount.

Here are some reasons why you should go for custom website development.

  • Full control over the code - Since the website is built from scratch. The entire code is accessible to us.
  • Unique designs - The design of the website can be anything one can imagine. The design possibilities are limitless.
  • Better performance - The performance of the website depends a lot on the code optimization and how the data is presented, and in custom websites, we can make sure the performance of the website is high by optimizing the code.

Let’s now compare the two on the basis of a few important points.

WordPress vs Custom Website

Technology 

WordPress is based on PHP. It provides a Content Management System to the user so that the user can develop websites without any coding. It also uses MySQL as the database management system. We cannot modify these technologies and use one of our choices.

A custom website is made from scratch and can be developed using any of the technologies available in the market. The main structure of a website is always HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Since the technology is advancing and a lot of tools are available, website development is a lot easier with these advanced tools. A lot of frameworks and libraries like React, Vue, Angular, etc., are available that make web development fast, secure, and scalable.

Stackoverflow Survey

Source - Stack Overflow Survey 2021

In the above survey image, we can clearly see that JavaScript is the most popular language in 2021 and PHP is very far from the top position. It shows that developers are not considering PHP for web development in the first place.

Code Control

WordPress allows developers to choose from pre-built templates which makes the development process easy. Even though the customization of the templates is very easy you have little or no control over the entire code of the website. This may be a problem for some developers if they want to add a feature of their own.

In custom websites as we are developing from scratch, we have full control over the code.

Cost of New Design

In WordPress, there are a large number of themes and templates available to choose from. Most of the highly modern and advanced feature themes are generally paid ones and some users may not be able to afford them.

In custom websites the design possibilities are limitless. The design can be anything one can imagine. Free premade templates are also available to download with full code control.

Additional functionality

WordPress has a library of 1000s of plugins to choose from. Plugins are used to have extra capabilities on the website. The problem arises when even for basic tasks like SEO, you need to install plugins. And on top of that most plugins which are really good at delivering a feature require separate subscriptions and bring in related low-quality features. Installing separate plugins for each feature significantly increases the cost of the development.

On the other hand, in custom websites, the code is available to us. Most of the features like SEO and other custom functionality can be added to the code itself with HTML and JavaScript. And, there are 1000s of open-source packages already available for every feature imaginable. You can just install them and use them. It really brings down the development cost.

Search Engine Optimization

In WordPress the SEO cannot be done by default, It needs an additional plugin. On-page SEO is also difficult as the whole code is not available.

In custom websites all the meta tags are available and the entire code is available to us, so technical SEO is not an issue. Also, it does not require any external plugin.

Performance

Performance can be an issue in WordPress sites. As the website gets bulky with more and more content added to it, the site may not perform as expected. Also, the plugins installed can be a reason for performance degradation. If a plugin is installed for specific functionality, it may also come with other features which may not be used. However, the code base for the unused feature will still run causing performance issues. This challenge exacerbates with additional plug-ins installed.

In custom websites, the performance can be an issue but it can be improved significantly using faster frontend frameworks and modern web development methods. There are very few plugin issues in custom websites. If there is any, it can be solved at the code level. Performance directly affects the page ranking on search engines.

Advertisements

In the free version of WordPress, ads are shown on the website over which we do not have any control. This may be annoying to many users who visit the website. To remove those ads you have to upgrade to a paid plan.

No such issues in custom websites. Even if we want to display advertisements on the website we can monetize it, which will be a source of income as well.

Dynamic content and Scalability

WordPress websites get bulky with time as the content increases and may suffer performance issues when serving dynamic content. The scalability is also an issue. A website with a few 100 blogs will work fine. As soon as it gets over 500 or 1000, it may get difficult to serve the website with the same performance as before.

Custom websites are excellent for serving dynamic content and are highly scalable in the future. It can also be done using modern fullstack technologies.

Hosting & Branding

WordPress hosting -- without Ads -- is not free even to start up a website. As the company scales it becomes even more expensive. 

While custom websites have a number of options to host the website for free during startup and then convert to paid as the company scales. Platforms like GitHub Pages, Netlify, Firebase are some options to start hosting for free and scale up as required. This also allows for custom branding.

Conclusion

WordPress is still popular to develop websites as it is simple and requires less or no coding. But the availability of newer tools to develop custom websites makes the development a lot easier, fully customizable, and scalable to any extent in future

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