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Array / 12 min read

Is WordPress still relevant? Find out if it’s worth it in 2024

man using wordpress on a laptop

WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system (CMS), powering 65% of websites with a known CMS and 43% of worldwide websites. However, new CMSs pop up yearly, making some wonder whether WordPress is still relevant in 2024 or whether you should opt for a different solution.

This article explores whether WordPress is still relevant in 2024, its benefits to web developers, its potential disadvantages, and some alternatives you may want to consider. 

What is WordPress, and how popular is it?

WordPress.org is a free, self-hosted, open-source CMS released in 2003. Web developers use it as a very robust starter kit that can help them build any website.

Starting as a blogging platform, WordPress matured over time to become the CMS of choice for many professional freelancers and development agencies. Its high degree of customization and flexibility, SEO tools, and diverse plugin supply make it an excellent choice for building a website. It strikes a perfect balance between being user-friendly enough that anyone with computer skills can use it while also being deep enough that experienced developers can mold it to their client’s needs.

In terms of popularity, the numbers speak for themselves. With a 65% share in the CMS market, it’s the most popular in the world. While many of those sites belong to small or medium-sized businesses and personal blogs, WordPress dominates among large, high-traffic sites. It has a 27% share among the top 1 million, 100k, and 10k most popular websites in the world.

It’s enjoyed steady growth, too, increasing its market share by at least 1% from 2011 to 2019.

To give you an idea of just how popular WordPress is, its closest competitor is Shopify, with a 6.6% CMS market share, around ten times lower than WordPress’.

WordPress has become the undisputed leader of the CMS market by being user-friendly and fostering a massive community of developers who’ve made a career out of the platform.

11 Benefits of WordPress that keep it relevant in 2024

Now that we’ve explored the basics of WordPress, let’s find out what benefits you can look forward to if you decide to use WordPress to build your site.

#1 It’s beginner-friendly

man removing a post-it note from a laptop

WordPress is widely recognized as one of the most user-friendly and beginner-oriented CMSs. It’s designed so that people with basic computer skills can easily create a website using the platform’s built-in tools. However, the only way to fully harness its features is by becoming a WordPress developer who knows PHP, JavaScript, CSS, and HTML, or hiring one.

The following are some of the elements that make WordPress friendly and easy to learn:

  • Friendly UI. WordPress is easy to use and navigate, with a clean interface that doesn’t require coding by default.
  • It’s easy to install. Depending on your host, you can install WordPress in a few clicks. 
  • A large community. WordPress’s largest CMS-specific developer community provides beginners with many learning resources. You’ll find endless free tutorials, guides, forums, and support groups to help you understand how WordPress works.

#2 Thousands of plugins and themes

WordPress currently has nearly 60,000 plugins and over 11,000 themes.

Plugins are software addons that modify or extend your WordPress website’s functions. There are plugins to optimize images, plugins to add social media sharing buttons, plugins to enhance security, and much more. Knowing which plugins to use improves your site and helps you reach your development goals without building everything from scratch.

Themes are pre-designed templates or style sheets that modify your site’s layout and appearance. You can use WordPress’ default themes, download free or premium ones, or even create your own themes.

#3 It’s free and open source

WordPress is a cost-effective platform, primarily because it’s free to use. To clarify, the WordPress software is free to download and use, but since it’s a self-hosted platform, you must pay for your site’s hosting

While high-traffic websites with various paid plugins and specialized server needs can cost thousands per year, you can still easily operate your small or personal website for less than $100 per year if you pay only for web hosting and domain name maintenance.

The advantages of WordPress being open-source include enhanced security through regular updates, the absence of licensing fees, and abundant support resources from its extensive developer community, making it an affordable choice for individuals, small businesses, and nonprofits.

#4 It has drag-and-drop builders for no-code developers

While WordPress ultimately comes down to PHP, JavaScript, HTML, and CSS code, that doesn’t mean everyone who uses it knows how to code. In fact, some developers never code and instead rely on drag-and-drop builders like Beaver Builder, Thrive Architect, and SeedProd.

Drag-and-drop builders make web development more accessible as a no-code alternative for people without software engineering knowledge. These builders allow you to design and create a website without writing a single line of code because they use graphical interfaces where you can drag premade components into your design.

Drag-and-drop builders make using WordPress easier and can be excellent for developers used to Wix, Squarespace, and other CMSs focused on drag-and-drop interfaces.

#5 It’s SEO-optimized

WordPress is built with SEO in mind, enjoying features like:

  • Fast loading speeds.
  • Responsiveness.
  • Settings for editing search engine visibility.
  • Customizable permalinks to make them more meaningful and search engine-friendly.
  • Google Analytics integration.
  • Image optimization and lazy loading.
  • Many SEO-focused plugins like Yoast SEO.

Of course, it’s up to developers to express this SEO-friendliness, but they have all the necessary tools to make it happen.

#6 WordPress is eCommerce-ready

woman buying something online

While WordPress wasn’t created for eCommerce, it’s flexible enough to provide the tools developers need to build a digital marketplace. Some of the benefits of WordPress as an eCommerce platform include:

  • Multiple eCommerce plugins. There are various alternatives for WordPress eCommerce development, with WooCommerce being the most popular and best-regarded one. These plugins are designed to be easy to use and very SEO-friendly.
  • No commissions to WordPress. Unlike dedicated eCommerce platforms like Shopify, the WordPress organization charges no commission per sale when you use it to build your eCommerce site. Transactions may still be subject to commission from payment processors like Stripe or PayPal.
  • All the flexibility and customizability of WordPress. Dedicated eCommerce platforms are more limited in scope since they only need to worry about eCommerce functionality. But as we know, WordPress has no such limitations and provides ample room for customization and flexibility.

Despite not being a dedicated eCommerce solution, WordPress also has a massive market share in the industry. WooCommerce, in particular, is so popular that it powers 22% of the world’s top 1 million eCommerce sites. 

#7 Customization and flexibility

WordPress is exceptionally flexible and customizable. For example, you can extend or modify the core code to create custom plugins, themes, and functionalities that cater to specific needs. Of course, you can also install one of the 60,000 existing plugins if it saves you time and covers your needs.

The WordPress ecosystem provides many options for developing high-performing and feature-rich websites by modifying the platform’s structures to fit your needs, leading to tailored solutions limited only by skills and imagination.

#8 It has a large developer and development agency community

You will always have options if you decide to build a WordPress website for your business. From freelance developers to agencies with dozens of seasoned developers at their disposal, the WordPress developer community has everything you need to create a website that fits your business needs, whether simple or complex.

#9 The WordPress core is very secure

The WordPress core files (those that constitute WordPress software itself) have a strong security record, and the core is generally considered very safe. The WordPress core files are developed by a team led by its co-creator, Matt Mullenweg. Five other lead developers and more than a dozen core developers have permanent commit access. There are also dozens of additional contributors.

Everyone in the WordPress core development team earned their place by commanding respect through their past work. They’re some of the most qualified security professionals in the world, releasing frequent security patches to keep the community safe.

WordPress security statistics confirm the core’s near-bulletproof nature. In 2022, only 1.29% of security vulnerabilities originated in WordPress core files, according to iThemes Security.

#10 It has multisite support

The WordPress multisite feature allows you to create a network of multiple websites, all running on a single WordPress installation. It has several benefits, such as:

  • Cost-effectiveness. You don’t have to pay for individual hosting plans. All sites in the network are associated with the same plan.
  • Centralized management. You can manage all websites in the network from the same dashboard, including plugins, themes, and user accounts. No need to manage multiple installations. 
  • Consistent branding. You can maintain consistent branding across the network using the same themes and plugins.
  • Simultaneous updates. You can update all your websites at once.
  • Shared content. You can share content like blog posts to multiple sites at once. It is great if you have a shared calendar of events or frequently need to publish network-wide alerts and notices.
  • Shared licenses. All premium plugins and themes you acquire can be used on all sites in the network under the same license.

#11 It supports headless development

developer working on a laptop

Headless web development is a trend that’s gained traction over the last decade. It involves using a CMS such as WordPress as the backend content hub and a frontend framework like Next and Angular for the user-facing part of the site.

This separation of backend and frontend means that developers can bypass some of the limitations of traditional, monolithic CMSs like WordPress while enjoying its benefits. Some of the advantages of headless WordPress development include:

  • Managing content for multiple channels, like mobile apps and websites, instead of a single one. In this case, the one channel would be your WordPress site.
  • More flexibility for developers in their frontend tool choices.
  • Headless CMSs are designed with scalability in mind.

While WordPress wasn’t created with headless development in mind, this is another example of the platform’s flexibility and capacity to meet developers’ complex and evolving needs.

Disadvantages of WordPress

It’s a common target for hackers

One of the disadvantages of the self-hosted model is that site owners and admins need to handle security for themselves rather than relying on WordPress for updates. You can mitigate this by installing security plugins and using managed hosting, but the responsibility for your site’s security is ultimately yours.

Additionally, WordPress’ popularity means there are millions of websites for hackers to break into. This is particularly true when you consider that many WordPress sites have outdated software components (core files, PHP versions, plugins, or themes). The most common methods hackers use to crack WordPress sites include cross-site request forgery (CSRF, pronounced “sea-surf), SQL injections, and cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks.

Keep your site safe with security best practices.

Maintenance costs can be high

Theoretically, those are the only two mandatory expenses for maintaining WordPress, which sometimes amount to as cheap as under $100 per year.

However, the more complex your site becomes, the more costs start to rack up in the form of specialized managed hosting services, premium themes and plugins, SSL certificates, and hourly development costs if you hire a freelancer or a WordPress agency.

Keep in mind that maintenance costs would scale in any website that is complex enough to require significant investments, regardless of the CMS.

Plugin and theme incompatibility

WordPress has a massive software addon directory with thousands of plugins and themes available. However, this diversity has the potential to lead to compatibility issues that can break your website, due to factors like outdated software and conflicting code.

Because of this, you need to test plugins and themes before implementing them into your live site and always keep all software components up to date. If you decide to become a WordPress developer, testing changes in a local environment is an essential skill you must master.

WordPress faces some eCommerce challenges

If you’re getting into WordPress for its eCommerce capabilities, you probably already know the platform offers everything you need. However, you should also be aware of some of the challenges, including:

  • It has a steeper learning curve than eCommerce-focused CMSs. Using WordPress for eCommerce means knowing WordPress first and then learning to integrate eCommerce into the platform. That takes more time than using an eCommerce-focused platform like Shopify, which is much more streamlined. Advanced eCommerce features in WordPress require technical expertise that takes time to learn or may require significant investment if you contract developers.
  • Maintenance. While eCommerce CMSs like Shopify handle security and updates for you, in WordPress, you’re entirely responsible for your site’s maintenance. This includes regular updates to the core files and all plugins and themes you use. Updating may be time-consuming or require professional assistance for people without much tech skills.
  • Lack of customer support. WordPress has a large and active community but lacks central, dedicated customer service. That said, if you’re paying to develop your WordPress ecommerce site, your team should be able to provide all the support you need.

Alternatives to WordPress

There are many alternatives to WordPress you may want to explore if you’re considering which platform to build your site on. The following are some of the most popular CMSs in the market.

Shopify

Shopify is a CMS designed specifically as a user-friendly platform for eCommerce businesses, making it a good choice for small online stores. It’s currently the most popular platform of its kind, powering over 6 million businesses worldwide.

Wix

Wix is a no-code website builder used to develop websites without technical knowledge. Anyone with basic computer skills can use its beginner-friendly drag-and-drop interface to create their website.

Squarespace

Squarespace is another no-code, drag-and-drop website builder designed to be user and beginner-friendly.

Webflow

Webflow is yet another no-code CMS focused on building responsive websites without programming knowledge through a visual interface.

Joomla

Joomla is more like WordPress than Shopify, Wix, and other low or no-code alternatives. It’s an open-source platform that allows users to create web applications, much like WordPress, but with a fraction of the CMS market share.

Drupal

Drupal is similar to WordPress and Joomla, requiring more technical knowledge than drag-and-drop page builders like Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, etc. Many consider Drupal less user-friendly than WordPress and use it only for large, complex websites. That said, many large corporate sites are built with WordPress, so Drupal doesn’t have a monopoly on complex sites.

WordPress is still very relevant in 2024

WordPress is very much still relevant in 2024. In fact, its market share suggests it’s the most relevant modern CMS. Whether you’re looking for freelancers or WordPress agencies to develop your site or want to become a web developer, WordPress provides the perfect environment to achieve your objectives.

If you found this post useful, read our blog for more WordPress insights.