The Internet abounds with myth and innuendo. WordPress doesn't escape this process. There are many people who believe, and even build their websites and business based on these myths. Doing so can mean you are getting less value than you might. Relying on myths and other bad advice can also lead to disaster. The worst part is it is often difficult to tell which is myth and which is the truth. It is often impossible to tell where WordPress myths come from, too. WordPress myths often include just enough truth to make them seem believable. I find the need to be the WordPress myth buster. Read this post as I bust several of the key WordPress myths -- ten in fact -- and share a little truth; indeed a lot of truth!
In this post I am going to examine ten of the most common WordPress myths. Then I will quickly debunk each of them. WordPress myths are often built on a lack of knowledge or understanding. They spread through gossip. They may be started by someone with an axe to grind over WordPress. Sometimes it's just because someone likes causing trouble. WordPress myths then tend to take on a life of their own. It doesn't take long for them to be compounded and expanded. These WordPress myths continue to grow and spread. This is especially true as they are shared among those without the technical knowledge or experience to fully understand how ridiculous WordPress myths actually sound to those in the know.
Don't find yourself left in the dark. Take a few minutes. Read this post and get to know these ten WordPress myths and the real truth behind them. This will better prepare you for recognizing and handling other myths in the future. Be a WordPress myth buster yourself. You will also get to know the best, most popular, blogging platform and content management system in general use today. Let's get together and bust all those WordPress myths!
First WordPress Myth Buster
Myth: WordPress is just for blogging.
Truth: Sure WordPress is for blogging. It is one of the original blogging platforms and helped make blogging the huge online success it has become. Today WordPress is the most popular, most prolific, and probably the easiest, blogging platform in use. Perhaps because of this, one of the biggest WordPress myths around needs to be busted right here. WordPress isn't just for blogging. Even in its earliest days there were geeks figuring out ways to add static pages and other website elements to it. The free ready-hosted WordPress at WordPress Dot Com platform now provides both blogging and personal website support. Today's self-hosted WordPress software, available through WordPress Dot Org, and the big brother of the two, is a fully developed, professional grade, content management system (CMS), which just happens to have an integrated blog support system.
Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, and one of my favorite resources, tells us, "WordPress is a free and open source blogging tool and a content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL."[italics mine]. Wikipedia goes on to say, among other good things, "WordPress was used by more than 22.0% of the top 10 million websites as of August 2013 [and is] the most popular blogging system in use on the Web, at more than 60 million websites." That's a bunch!
Second WordPress Myth Buster
Myth: WordPress is a non-professional choice.
Truth: This is one of those WordPress myths I have heard over and over again. Nothing could be farther from the truth. WordPress is not only a top-level professional software choice, even if it is free, it is the choice of many significant players that you would be unlikely to consider as unprofessional. Among the notable players who have selected WordPress as their website software of choice are Coco-cola, CNN, UPS, eBay, Forbes, GM, The New York Times, Maclean's, Sony, Samsung, Best Buy, Jay-Z, Izod, StyleWatch, TechCrunch, IBMjobs, The GOP, CBS New York, Harvard Business Review Blogs, just for starters. Know any of those? Which one of them would you call non-professional? Right. Need I list more...
Third WordPress Myth Buster
Myth: WordPress websites are low quality.
Truth: This is one of the biggest WordPress myths circulating on the Internet. But it just doesn't hold water. First, you have to ask yourself if the IT departments of the companies listed above would all be irresponsible and choose a sub-standard website product? Coco-cola spends something like two and a half billion dollars a year on advertising alone. Don't you think they could find the funds to have a custom-coded site built if they thought it would be better. Consider the volume of traffic the CNN website gets. Or the need for reliability on a site for Number 10 Downing Street, another WordPress website, by the way. WordPress delivers the functional quality; top quality. It is up to you to pick the design and create the content. There's no myth here.
Fourth WordPress Myth Buster
Myth: WordPress isn't scalable.
Truth: Scalable is about a website being able to grow as your needs expand. And this is perhaps the easiest of the WordPress myths to debunk. From small personal websites, free on WordPress Dot Com, and just minimal hosting fees with WordPress Dot Org, getting started with WordPress is both easy and free (or almost free). That's good, but what happens when you need to grow? There is no need to have a new website built. You just add more pages; a few more pages, or hundreds more pages. And if you need some additional functionality, well, there are plugins for that. Plural. You almost always have choice.
For those on the free WordPress Dot Com site you may have to switch to the self-hosted solution in order to have the freedom and flexibility necessary but that's easy to do. You have a wide choice of hosting package to support your needs. Need more features, more functions, more stuff? It is as easy as dropping in the necessary plugins and you're good to go. Need a better look? A bigger sence of bigger? Switch themes. Need specialized features not available in existing themes or plugins? Hire it done. There are more WordPress developers available than for any other platform. Anything you can do, or deliver, with a custom hand-coded website you can do, at any size, with WordPress.
Fifth WordPress Myth Buster
Myth: Too many plugins slow down the performance of your website.
Truth: Wrong! Despite being the most common of the WordPress myths in circulation, this one just won't fly. Okay, maybe at some level, something like a hundred, or maybe a hundred and fifty, plugins this could be an issue, simply based on numbers. But I have never heard of a site needing that many plugins. And if it was a problem it would not be because of WordPress. It would have to do with limits on processing power on shared hosting services. If your website needs lots of plugins (or the same hand coded features but on a non-WordPress site) you need to get better, more powerful, hosting that can handle the speed. That's just the nature of the beast.
I have several commercial websites of my own. I manage the websites for nearly 100 clients. Many of those sites use twenty, thirty, or even more plugins. Any slowness I have experienced not directly related to hosting performance has been directly linked to a poorly coded plugin. When switched with a well coded replacement there was no speed impact issue. Get the right equipment for the job and WordPress is a great foundation. It can handle the task at hand and the traffic load.
Check out Dog Lover Store and see what I mean. This ecommerce website has 32 plugins, 75 pages, 17 blog posts (they've had the site for less than a year), more than 4000 e-commerce listings, and over 9600 images. The site is fairly new and still under development. At any time there are trashed pages, posts and comments, hundreds of revisions and drafts, and dozens of other transient items in a database of nearly 800,000 KB. That's a lot of stuff.
The Dog Lover Store site is huge compared to most personal blogs and small business sites (mine included) but it is still small compared to some of the big commercial players using WordPress. The speed is fast because of correct optimization, the right hosting service for the needs of the site, and WordPress. My largest ecommerce client has over 30,000 items listed on their WordPress website. This myth, and a couple of other WordPress myths (see below), gets busted too.
Sixth WordPress Myth Buster
Myth: All those inactive plugins slow a WordPress website.
Truth: Well, first, if it were true the easy solution would be to remove inactive plugins. After all, they aren't being used. The thing is, some inactive plugins may have a purpose. The may only get turned on when that purpose is required. The good news is inactive plugins have no impact on site performance at all. They are safely stored in sub-folders known to WordPress which only accesses those plugins that are actually active. WordPress knows to use only the plugins it needs, and then only when it needs them. Any well designed website package, like WordPress, knows how to do this. With WordPress you don't need to worry about it. Isn't busting WordPress myths fun?
Seventh WordPress Myth Buster
Myth: Inactive themes slow your website.
Truth: Nope. Once again, and in exactly the same way, in exactly the same manner, inactive WordPress themes put no burden on your website performance. Along with plugins, themes do consume hosting space so you may want to consider that fact when determining which to keep on your site. They also add to backup storage space and backup processing time so again you should keep only those you need or are likely to need. On my sites I usually keep the active theme and child theme if any, plus one default theme in case of emergency. I can always upload others if and when I need them. One final consideration for both plugins and themes: keep all of them, even those that are inactive, up to date. Even inactive plugins and themes may present security risks. WordPress myths like this one don't stand a chance!
Eighth WordPress Myth Buster
Myth: Too many page or blog post revisions slow your website.
Truth: WordPress uses an interesting and well designed process of keeping revisions of your pages and blog posts each time you edit them. These revisions allow you to step back through your updates and changes to return to a previous draft should you need or decide to do so. It has often been said that these revisions put a burden on system resources and slow your website to a crawl. This is not so. Stored drafts and revisions put no load what-so-ever on front end website performance and little to no load on database performance.
Consider this: my largest e-commerce clients with twenty to thirty thousand items listed and hundreds of supporting blog posts, have no speed issues due to these factors. CNN has hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of news articles on their site. If you believe your small business or personal blog site is slow because of revisions and drafts, you are looking to the wrong issue. Prove it to yourself and get a copy of the WP Clean Up plugin and remove the extra stuff from your database. It will help by compacting/optimizing the database. But not with this non-existent issue. If your site is slow it is almost certainly conflicting plugins, broken content, or (and this is the most likely one) less than suitable hosting.
Ninth WordPress Myth Buster
Myth: Too much trash (pages, posts, comments, etc.) slows your website.
Truth: For many of the same reasons as above, trash has virtually no impact on your website performance or speed. There are reasons to clean this up, too, using the WP Clean Up plugin but significant speed gain isn't one of them. All of this extra stuff does add to the size of, and time for, backups and cleaning it out is just good database management.
Tenth WordPress Myth Buster
Myth: WordPress is open source which makes it insecure.
Truth: Open source often produces better software that is at least as, and often more, secure than its commercial counterparts. WordPress is no exception. Out of the box it is as secure as any other pre-made website package whether open source or commercial. In fact, WordPress has an exceptional track record with a lower number of major vulnerabilities than most others and a faster repair and upgrade record than almost any other.
Additionally, more is known about the types of hack attempts used against WordPress resulting in more quality security plugins and services being available. Because of the wide distribution of WordPress, and its huge global acceptance, these are available at affordable prices -- far less than it would be to get similar security services for hand coded websites. Sometimes, in keeping with the open source philosophy, they are even free. The top security plugin I use and recommend is available without charge. If WordPress were not open source that plugin would likely be hundreds of dollars per installation, if it existed at all.
My Final Words On WordPress Myths
There are many more WordPress myths out there. Lots of them. In spite of efforts to the contrary these myths continue to spread with a life of their own. This post covers the ten most widely distributed, and most often heard, WordPress myths in circulation today. If you have heard another one, or have any concerns about these issues, feel free to contact me using the information on the Contact page indicated in the main menu link above. I will be pleased to help you learn the truth and to share both the myth and the truth with others.
But what about WordPress? Is it the BEST website choice available? Those of you who know me know that I don't like the word best. While it purports to be an absolute, best is really a very subjective term. What is best for you may not be best for me. And best varies from situation to situation. Your needs a different than someone else's. The beauty of WordPress, though, is it is a solid foundation upon which you can design and construct the right combination of theme, plugins, and content that is best for YOU!