At today’s WP Summit online conference, Curtiss Grymala, web technologist at the University of Mary Washington, discussed how WordPress is used and who uses it, why you would choose WordPress, and dispelled myths about WordPress.
Curtiss shared his slides from his presentation online, as well as in PDF format. He also published a follow-up post to his presentation with recommendations for plugins he’s found helpful in using WordPress as a CMS and suggestions for managing single sign-on.
Here are my notes from his presentation.
Who uses WordPress?
According to W3Techs, WordPress is used by almost 60 percent of all websites using content management systems, which is 22 percent of all websites. A few of the organizations and companies using WordPress include:
- New York Times
- The Next Web
- many more companies
Why Choose WordPress
- WordPress is free. The platforms it runs on are free (Linux, Nginx, Apache). Premium items (themes, plugins) are relatively inexpensive (hundreds of dollars) compared to enterprise systems’ modules (thousands of dollars). Main costs are hardware and network (static costs).
- Openness. WordPress is open-source, written well, provides good documentation, and is transparent an democratic.
- Flexibility. WordPress offers a robust theme and plugin API. It’s capable of doing what we want it to; it’s up to us to come up with those creative ideas. With over 30,000 plugins, you can extend the functionality of WordPress.
Myths about WordPress
- It’s only for blogging. WordPress has advanced over the years, from a blogging system to a fully featured content management system.
- Hard to customize (all WordPress sites look the same). WordPress designers and developers need to expand their creativity. All you need to know to create a theme is HTML, CSS, and a little PHP.
- Security issues. WordPress can’t “fix” their users. Users need to keep login credentials secure and use strong passwords. WordPress is an easy target for black hackers because it has a huge installation base. Keep sites secure by updating WordPress, ensuring users use secure credentials, and keeping plugins updated.
- Not scalable. WordPress.com runs millions of sites. It can scale; it depends on configuration.
- Slow performance. The main bottleneck for performance is PHP and MySQL, and to a lesser extent, Apache. You can improve WordPress performance by setting up caching, configuring your host differently.