In this WordPress review, I’m going to analyze this popular Content Management System, its ease of use and features – to help you decide if this platform is still worth your attention.
Over a third of the internet runs on WordPress.org, which makes it the most popular website builder and Content Management System (CMS) in the world.
Although, is it the right platform if you’re a beginner?
Well, yes and no.
While hosting a website yourself and having the freedom to choose from all kinds of hosts can be a budget-friendly option – it doesn’t change the fact WordPress.org has quite a steep learning curve.
To explain this in more detail, I have decided to write this WordPress review, in which I will analyze the pricing, ease of use, themes, features, and performance of this platform.
After all, WordPress.org isn’t like most other website builders. It’s open-source, self-hosted, and completely free, offering impressive design flexibility and complete customization.
However, it is a little complicated to use and requires at least basic coding and development skills if you want to harness its full potential.
So, let’s dive deeper into this review to find out the extent of WordPress possibilities as well as decide is it worth for you to use this platform for your future website.
WordPress.org is an extremely powerful content management system and website builder. Offering huge flexibility and solutions for websites of all sizes, it’s the favored choice among web developers throughout the world.
However, it’s still a useful option for people with limited skills who are willing to put a bit of time into learning the platform’s ways.
Before I go any further, it’s important to differentiate between WordPress.org, the open-source CMS software, and WordPress.com, the website builder that runs on WordPress.org. This review focuses on the former, and you need to make sure that you’re aware of the difference.
Ultimately, I love WordPress because of the design flexibility and customization potential that it offers. It’s completely open-source, which means that you have the freedom to edit all your website’s code.
If you use WordPress, you will automatically be using an SEO friendly website builder. Most WordPress themes – and there are thousands of them – are fully mobile responsive and 100% customizable.
Similarly, WordPress also simplifies media and content management. It comes with a great media library that is accessible from your dashboard. In my opinion, this is one of the things which makes it the CMS of choice for large websites.
Of course, that’s not the only reason why many choose WordPress for multi-faceted, large websites. After all, you wouldn’t imagine a proper WordPress review if the plugin library wasn’t mentioned.
Even if the CMS is completely open-source and allows any sort of code access and technical tweaks – that doesn’t mean that you should write scripts yourself from scratch.
WordPress has thousands of plugins available (free and premium) in its plugin library and you can find several thousand more from all kinds of third-party sources.
Most of these are professionally developed and regularly updated, and you will find a huge suite of tools to make your life easier.
Although WordPress isn’t the simplest website builder around, the pure power it gives to its users is incredible. The scaling potential is nearly limitless as long as you pick the right hosting provider and upgrade when needed.
After all, WordPress websites are self-hosted. The platform itself doesn’t actually offer any hosting services at all, which means that you have to use an external web hosting service.
If you wanted to, you could host your website, but that would be a difficult option. The vast majority of WordPress users go with one of several industry-leading hosting providers, such as Hostinger, DreamHost, or Bluehost.
I personally prefer Hostinger since it offers amazing value for money with its plans and the starting points are affordable.
It even has a WordPress-oriented hosting plan which I’m going to use for this WordPress review.
Although WordPress itself as a platform is free to use, however, such spendings as a hosting provider, a premium theme, or a premium third-party integration can always add up.
The amount of money you spend can vary under many circumstances. Thinking of this, let’s try to evaluate the average budget for a WordPress website.
At first glance, it appears like WordPress.org is completely free. Actually, the WordPress software is free, but it’s quite hard to use it without spending at least a bit of cash on hosting and other development tools.
For most small website owners, buying a hosting service to run your site is going to be the main expense of using WordPress. But this doesn’t have to cost any more than a couple of dollars per month.
There are even free options out there – have a look at 000WebHost if your budget is really that tight.
Personally, I use Hostinger WordPress hosting for my website. It offers a range of different hosting plans, and it’s important to realize that the right one for you and your needs will depend on your website and how big you expect it to be.
If your planning on building a small, personal website without a lot of content or visitors, Hostinger’s WordPress Starter plan, which comes in at just $2.15/month, should be more than enough. However, as your website grows, you will need to upgrade your hosting to include more server resources and tools.
Along with hosting, you might have to pay for a domain. Most hosting plans – including all of Hostinger’s – come with a free domain for the first year. However, some don’t.
Expect to pay around $10/year for a simple domain, but prices can vary depending on the preferred extension.
Now that the hosting essentials are out of the picture – I’d also recommend considering purchasing a premium WordPress theme. Premium themes are usually modern-looking, come with a range of useful features, and, often, great support services.
Personally, I use the ColorMag theme for my website, but there’s plenty of choices out there – a few moments in WordPress theme library and you already can have a few favorites.
If you don’t want to invest a lot of time into building your site, you might also choose to pay for premium plugins or the services of a professional development team. The costs for this can range to thousands of dollars for larger websites.
My advice is to preplan what functionalities are essential for your website so you can know your budget beforehand.
All things considered, the cost of starting a new website with WordPress.org can range from absolutely nothing to thousands of dollars, depending on the size of your site, your budget, and the amount of time and effort you’re willing to invest.
WordPress has quite a steep learning curve, it’s not easy to use, however, the learning process is worth uncovering the platform’s full potential. Since WordPress isn’t your average website builder, getting started takes a little bit more time than it would if you used other popular website builders.
First, you have to find a hosting provider, set up an account, and add a domain. You need to install WordPress onto your server, after that, to choose a theme before you can even start customizing your website. Here, I’m going to run you through the entire process.
Choosing a hosting provider can be difficult, mainly because of the sheer number available. Personally, I use Hostinger because it’s affordable, reliable, and comes with some great features, such as a free domain and one-click WordPress installation.
Once I signed up with Hostinger, I could either import a custom domain, purchase a new domain, or choose a simple free domain as part of my hosting plan.
At the time of writing this WordPress review, Hostinger was offering great discounts on a range of domains, with prices starting from $0.60/year for .xyz TLDs.
The next step after you’ve added a domain to your hosting account is to install WordPress. Most industry-leading hosting providers now offer one-click WordPress installations, which streamline the process and make it easy for people with even the most limited tech skills.
Hostinger’s one-click installer is no different. Using it, I linked my domain to WordPress’s CMS within a few minutes. Now, let’s look at WordPress itself.
The first time I logged into my WordPress dashboard I was impressed with how well it was designed. It has a very intuitive layout, with important information shown on the homepage, editing and management options available from the sidebar on the left, and quick links at the top of the page.
Now, the first thing you need to do when you start using WordPress is to choose an attractive theme. There are literally thousands of themes in the WordPress theme library and thousands more available via third-party websites.
Although it might seem overwhelming at first, I’d recommend starting with a basic theme so you can get a feel for WordPress and the way it works. You can always change your theme later, so don’t worry too much about picking the right one from the start.
I should also note that WordPress lets you upload custom themes. If you’re a developer or have access to a development team, you might choose to build a personalized theme from scratch.
Once you’ve chosen a theme, it’s time to start editing. Access the theme editor via the Customize tab, found under the Appearance menu on the left of your dashboard. You can also add and manage widgets, edit your menus and header, and change your site’s background at the click of a button.
Now, it’s important to note that if you want to personalize things on a deeper level, you will have to access and edit your site’s code files. Luckily WordPress makes this easy, but you will need at least basic coding skills.
Although WordPress offers great design flexibility, that greatness itself is accessed using one of the two options:
Third-party integrations like Elementor, for example, include a drag-and-drop interface – so even beginners can tweak the website’s design easily.
Despite struggling a little in design customization front, WordPress streamlines the process of managing your content. It’s super easy to add visual and written content to your website.
Adding a new blog post or page takes all of a few seconds while uploading both images and videos is very straightforward.
Similarly, the WordPress content editor is very powerful. It lets you write in a standard text editor, with a wide range of tools to help you optimize the user experience.
Once again, the exact format of the content editor will depend on the theme you choose, but most are quite simple and intuitive. Although this doesn’t compare with more advanced website builders, it still lets me do everything I want to without having to write any code.
I could spend all day discussing WordPress’s features, but I think you should be getting the idea by now.
Although WordPress isn’t as easy to use or as basic as many other website builders, the powerful CMS and complete design flexibility are worth dealing with any issue that you may encounter later.
There are literally thousands of templates available for WordPress users to base their websites on. Many of these can be accessed directly through the WordPress theme library, however, you will find even more on third-party websites across the internet. You can even upload custom theme files if you want to.
One of the things that I love about WordPress’s website templates is that they are all 100% customizable. If you have the skill, you can even edit your theme’s code files, personalizing it, and effectively adding or removing anything you want.
It’s also worth noting that, although there are thousands of free WordPress themes out there, it can actually be a good idea to pay for a premium theme.
Premium themes usually come with regular updates, very modern designs, and great support. I use a premium theme for my personal website, simply because of the extra tools that it gives me access to.
Even the most basic WordPress reviews across the internet focus on the huge range of design templates available – and for good reason. There are literally thousands of templates to choose from and you can customize any theme using code. This is what makes WordPress an industry leader considering the number of themes available.
Along with its brilliant design templates, WordPress is also well known for its huge plugin library. With almost 55,000 plugins available in the WordPress, and even more on third-party sites across the web, the features you can add to your site are almost endless.
Personally, I prefer not to use too many plugins. Mostly because using too much of them slows down a website and the maintenance is time-consuming.
Although, the ones that I do use make my life so much easier. I love Search Engine Optimization plugins like Yoast SEO, security plugins like Jetpack, and eCommerce plugins like WooCommerce.
Although you could add the same features to your website by writing custom code, plugins just make things easier. It is worth noting that not all WordPress plugins are free.
Some plugins, for example, like WooCommerce, are super expensive and require additional thought when planning your budget.
Also, you should be aware of the fact that you can both upload custom plugin files and edit your existing plugins if you want to. This is yet another attractive part of WordPress’s open-source nature.
All things considered, WordPress’s huge plugin library is one of its most powerful features. Plugins make it easy for people to add certain functionalities to their website, and I’d definitely recommend getting familiar with at least a few popular yet reliable ones.
Since WordPress is an open-source CMS, the features that you can add to it are virtually limitless. This means that it has huge potential for businesses that want to expand their reach and grow their online presence.
When it comes to simple business tools like eCommerce, email marketing, social media integration, and SEO, WordPress is second to none. This is largely due to the huge number of plugins available, which let you add pretty much anything you want to your website.
For example, people who want to add an online store to their WordPress site often use the WooCommerce plugin. It comes with features that rival eCommerce giants like Shopify and BigCommerce, but the base version is completely free.
Similarly, email marketing is made easy with plugins like MailPoet, while there are literally thousands of choices when it comes to social media integration and marketing.
Finally, I love WordPress’s SEO capabilities – it’s no coincidence that some of the largest and most successful websites in the world run on it. Since WordPress is open-source, you can edit your code files to your heart’s content. You will find that most files already quite SEO-friendly, but it’s easy to make minor tweaks if you need to.
Similarly, WordPress offers a huge range of SEO plugins, including the famous Yoast SEO. I personally use Yoast, and I’d recommend it for pretty much everyone, especially for people running blog, who want to optimize their content.
WordPress is nearly the best CMS for starting a business due to its limitless scaling possibilities. Any feature you need yet can't find within WordPress? Grab a plugin. Small tweaks required for your SEO? Slap some code in. Basically, endless resources limited only by your imagination and sometimes - your budget.
Since WordPress websites are self-hosted, the performance will mainly depend on the hosting provider that you use. The theme you use and the complexity of your code files will also play a small role.
To show this, I ran tests on two WordPress websites that I’ve built – one hosted with Hostinger, and the other with DreamHost.
First, I compared the load speeds of both sites using a quick GTmetrix page load test. The site hosted with Hostinger had great PageSpeed and YSlow scores of 99% and 86% respectively, suggesting that it’s pretty well optimized.
My Hostinger site shaped up pretty similarly on this front, with a PageSpeed score of 95% and a YSlow score of 85%.
However, the full load time was 2.9 seconds – significantly slower than my Hostinger site’s load time. This is probably due to the different themes used since my DreamHost site was a lot larger.
After the GTmetrix test, I ran a LoadImpact server performance test. My Hostinger hosted site excelled here, with consistent low response times (blue line in the image below), even under high virtual user loads (green line).
On the other hand, my DreamHost site performed absolutely terribly. Base server response times varied between 500ms and one second, but there were numerous spikes where the servers took up to 50 seconds to respond.
This tells me that the cheapest DreamHost hosting plan doesn’t allocate me enough server resources – which is something that I actually knew.
Ultimately, the performance of your WordPress website will mainly depend on the hosting provider that you choose. As you can see from the comparison here, different hosting providers and plans yield significantly different results.
This WordPress review has shown that, as I expected, WordPress is the most powerful CMS available. It isn’t as beginner-friendly as other website builders, but it provides incredible customization and scaling potential and is, therefore, best suited to those who want to build large, personalized sites.
Also, WordPress provides great site design and editing tools. As fully open-source software, WordPress’s abilities are really only limited by your skills and imagination.
Since WordPress is self-hosted, you will have full control over your whole site and all of its content. It can be a cheap option if you choose budget hosting, but custom designs and premium plugins can get expensive.
On the other hand, the sheer range of design templates and plugins that WordPress gives you access to is incredible, and I loved using them. Adding and managing content is quite straightforward, and you can easily edit your site’s code files if you have the skills and experience to do so.
out of 10
All things considered, I’d recommend WordPress.org for pretty much anyone who’s willing to spend a bit of time getting familiar with it. Fully mastering this CMS lets you build and design super large websites that can only be limited by your imagination.
Although WordPress is a great content management system approved and loved by many users worldwide, it might be too much for you. Maybe you just need a simpler solution for a basic website or don’t want to bother with self-hosted platforms.
Whatever the reason of not choosing this provider, don’t get worried as there are many alternatives to WordPress. My favorite ones – Wix, GoDaddy Website Builder, and Shopify.
In my opinion, the only other website builder that comes even close to WordPress in terms of design flexibility is Wix. This drag-and-drop website builder lets you put content elements anywhere on your site and the templates can be tweaked to pixel perfection.
Moreover, it’s a lot more beginner-friendly and it makes it easier to set up a new site using its ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence).
GoDaddy Website Builder is a great alternative for those who want to build an online presence without spending a lot of time or money. It’s an affordable and super easy to use website builder that streamlines the website creation process massively.
However, that beginner-friendliness has its own price. Many features are super limited and customization is very basic, but GoDaddy still ends up being a good pick for simple landing pages and personal websites.
If eCommerce is something that you plan on focusing on, then Shopify is a great choice. It’s an industry-leading online store builder that comes with a huge range of selling features.
When WordPress offers plugins to add any functionality you may think of – Shopify has a massive app store for that. Nearly any feature can be added using an app, however, Shopify that way ends up being a more expensive solution than WordPress.