WordPress is the market share leader in website platform technology today, powering roughly 43% of the entire Internet.
Overall, we find it to be a fantastic platform that is reliable for our clients and has exclusively powered our business from the start.
That said, it’s not without its problems and drawbacks, and there may even be some circumstances when it’s simply not the best choice.
As we want you to have the full picture concerning WordPress problems, we’ve taken the time to list them below and provide some additional context for each one so that you can make an informed decision when it’s time to build a new website.
The Top 10 WordPress Problems
- There’s a steep learning curve
- You don’t have a single dashboard
- Troubleshooting plugin conflicts
- There are many security risks
- You often need the help of an expert
- It takes work to optimize for speed and efficiency
- You must choose a reliable host that supports it
- It’s a pain to manage without the right tools
- It can be difficult to find quality help
A quick note: There are actually two forms of WordPress: WordPress.com (a managed and hosted platform) and WordPress.org (a self-hosted content management system). The problems discussed in this article will address WordPress.org only.
1. There’s a steep learning curve
In this post, we discussed some reasons you may want to choose WordPress and even how to get it set up for yourself. We also used a real estate analogy to make sure you understand the building blocks. For reference:
Your house is made up of at least three identifying components:
- The address.
- The land.
- The home itself.
In the digital world, it is similar. You have:
- The domain (the address)
- The land (the host)
- The website (the home)
The reality is, there is a steep learning curve when it comes to not only figuring out how each of those individual pieces work, but also how they work together to accomplish the result.
And the complexity is layered as well, because once you have a website, you’re not done yet. You still have to find a theme (and possibly a page builder, like Divi) as well as plugins that accomplish the functionality you’d like the site to have.
This can be a huge barrier to entry and should be factored into your decision to use WordPress.
The solution(s): Hire a team you feel confident in to set WordPress up for you, or watch some helpful tutorials on YouTube for how to get set up, like this one from Darrel Wilson.
2. You don’t have a single dashboard
If you’re anything like me, you have a (mostly healthy ;]) obsession with dashboards. Dashboards help your business improve because they shed light on the decisions you make.
One of the great things about WordPress is its modularity—no two sites are the same, and they have the power to display lots of information.
However, depending on the tools you need to deploy, you may find that it’s not so easy to aggregate and track data.
You might have one place to log in to check analytics, another place to run your advertising, another platform to manage your emails, etc.
So even though WordPress has the power to bring multiple tools together—one of its definite advantages—it loses the “big picture” visibility often made possible by all-in-one solutions like Squarespace and Wix.
The solution(s): Try to choose tools and plugins that are (1) made to work together and (2) live directly inside of your website. Bonus if they can helpfully display data right inside the WordPress Admin Dashboard for you!
3. Troubleshooting plugin conflicts
A common theme you might be noticing is that the same things which make WordPress so powerful can also cause problems.
For example, we think it’s a huge plus that you get to take advantage of bright people who develop software that can plug right into your website.
But, that creates complexity as well. Oftentimes, the code from different plugins conflicts, and it can break things on the site. Figuring out just what has broken is not so obvious, either.
The solution(s): If possible, create a staging site (a copy of your live site that no one else can see) where you test plugin updates before making them, as updates are usually what break software. Make sure everything is working there, and then update the live site once you feel confident that nothing will break.
(Note, though, that you must perform the updates because failure to do so is a huge security concern.)
4. There are many security risks
Speaking of security, hackers and attackers need surface area.
Think about it: If you want to attack a website with malicious code, are you going to write code for platforms with 5% market share, or 43% market share?
The surface area of WordPress is much higher, leaving it much more vulnerable to attack. And while you might think your website is “too small” for anyone to “care” about attacking you, think again.
In very few cases are such attacks targeted. Many times, they are just out there “in the wild” and can sneak up and attack you like a wild Pokémon in the bushes!
Take my word for it: Every single day, we’re blocking attacks and intrusions on small websites, most of which are for the purpose of harvesting personal data that can be sold online to the highest bidder.
The solution(s): Invest in a security plugin that will stay up to date and block malicious code attacks, intrusion attempts, etc. Plus, make sure you keep WordPress, your plugins, and your themes up to date. Those best practices will dramatically lower the risk of a security event.
5. You often need the help of an expert
Because of the complexity of WordPress, many people do find that they need to hire an expert to help them complete setup.
I say this because we live the example. Every day in the WordPress community, there are thousands of people attempting the “DIY” route using YouTube videos and blog articles.
And a number of those people end up reaching out for expert help because they get overwhelmed trying to learn how to use the tools.
In fact, a hefty percentage of our current client base fits this description. They tried for a while to do it themselves, became quickly overwhelmed, and decided to reach out for help.
The solution(s): If you feel overwhelmed, begin the search for a quality service provider who can help you get WordPress set up. If you feel we might be a good fit, you could always request a quote. However, we have some fantastic colleagues that also do wonderful work like InTransit Studios, Althatech (we collaborate on projects often), Three Shadows Media, and others.
6. It takes work to optimize for speed and efficiency
The data is clear that websites must be fast and efficient for users to stay.
And not only that, Google has reported that they will penalize your website rankings if it is slow. This is because Google’s goal is to provide the best experience for users, and a slow website contributes to a negative experience.
It is absolutely possible to get a WordPress website running quickly, efficiently, and in tip-top shape—but it doesn’t happen automatically. And every new plugin you add to the mix contributes to the site’s slowness and inefficiency.
Striking the balance between the tools you need and the performance you need is both art and science— so much so that there are people in the WordPress community who focus exclusively on that.
The solution(s): In order for a website to run well, it needs to take advantage of caching technology. You can find many plugins to help with that. Evaluate your site using https://gtmetrix.com and read the recommendations for speeding up your site. You could also watch this fantastic tutorial from a colleague named Amr on how to get and keep your site running well.
7. You must choose a reliable host that supports it
As mentioned above, your website host is like the “land” your site lives on. And there are a number of different options.
Because of WordPress’ requirements, if you have a hosting platform that is not built or suited for those requirements, you will wind up with degraded performance, security issues, and lots of frustration.
Just as you would not build a home on land that was unsuitable for it, you will not want to place your WordPress website on a host that is unsuitable for it.
The solution(s): You will want to look for hosting that has been “WordPress Optimized” if you’re going it alone. Look for the term “Managed WordPress Hosting” as well.
8. It’s a pain to manage without the right tools
This problem applies mostly to people with multiple WordPress websites, but there are elements that apply to single-site owners as well.
For example, I mentioned earlier you need to keep plugins and themes updated.
It sounds simple enough, but depending on how many your website is using, there’s a potential for a need to log in and update every day!
If you have multiple sites (even just two), imagine trying to keep up with updates across both sites on a regular basis! It becomes unruly, and is probably not the sort of work entrepreneurs should be doing.
The solution(s): There are tools that make this easier, such as ManageWP. Once you sign up for an account, the tools will make it easier for you to update everything at once. However, don’t forget there’s still the issue of updating your staging websites before doing it live, to make sure nothing breaks before updating your production site.
9. It can be difficult to find quality help
When it comes to needing help with WordPress, finding help is not a problem. There are many people skilled on WordPress, many of them you can find on platforms such as Fiverr and Upwork.
But—and this is a big but—finding quality, reliable, and communicative help is a different story. Even many agencies are known for ghosting their clients—a problem so big we devoted an entire article to it.
Most web agencies stake their reputation on the quality of work. But can I be honest with you? Most web designers do great work. The reality is that the tools themselves make it possible for a technically-minded person to be successful, and if you pair them with the right designer, they can make a beautiful website for you.
The “real” skill, in our estimation, comes down to communication. We’ve staked our entire reputation on it and think it’s the biggest reason you should choose to business with us.
That said, the companies we mentioned above are also GREAT communicators. The point here is not necessarily “hire us” but rather to make sure you feel confident and vet any service provider on their communication skills b before moving forward.
The solution(s): When seeking out a company to help you, focus primarily on (1) the promises they make and (2) if people enthusiastically recommend them based on the keeping of those promises. Ask what their commitment is to communication if any, and ask for assurances that you will be able to reach them if needed in the future.
We hope you found this post on WordPress problems useful!
To reiterate, we love WordPress and believe that, even in the face of these drawbacks, it is still the very solution to host your website today.