Be Aware of WordPress FUD: WordPress Myths Dispelled

Fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) is a tactic used in sales, marketing, public relations, politics and propaganda. FUD is generally a strategic attempt to influence perception by disseminating negative and dubious or false information.

Fear, uncertainty and doubt — Wikipedia

I read an anti-WordPress blog piece published by a local marketing agency earlier today. Naturally as someone who makes my living consulting on WordPress projects (amongst other things) I winced. However, as expected, the piece was nothing more than FUD: exaggerating risk points to sell bespoke systems created by that company with no evidence for their claims: simply speculation and generalisations. This made me think about the points they were trying to make, and other WordPress myths, which I’ve talked about below for your reading pleasure.

“WordPress is just a blog”

It’s true, WordPress started back in 2003 as a fork of the b2 blog solution, but 2003 was a long time ago. WordPress is older than Google products like gmail, Analytics and Maps, and yet we consider those important — perhaps essential — web tools today. WordPress has come a long way since the days of its blogging roots with massively improved UI, support for user roles, extensive caching, theme and plugin support, content management abilities which extend only to the limits of your imagination through its flexible hooks and filters system.

WordPress is used by noteable brands like Sony, the BBC, ESPN, as well as millions of other users worldwide, to manage content and blogs.

“WordPress is not secure”

How do we define security when it comes to an ever-changing, ever-growing medium like the Internet? There’s no such thing as 100% secure. No human will ever be infallible enough to create something which caters for every eventually, every potential bug, every piece of hardware it runs off… and so we end up with potential weak spots. WordPress has had security bugs. WordPress probably still has security bugs. As a developer, and a personal user of WordPress who relies on its security to keep years of data safe, the important thing for me is how these security issues are dealt with. The developer team behind WordPress deal with security issues swiftly, pushing out patches which — thanks to their relatively new auto-upgrade system — can be rolled straight into the vast majority of sites at lightning speed.

The WordPress security team is made up of 25 experts including lead developers and security researchers — about half are employees of Automattic, and a number work in the web security field. We consult with well-known and trusted security researchers and hosting companies.

Andrew Nacin, WordPress Lead Developer, in a presentation ‘WordPress.org & Optimizing Security for your WordPress sites,’ June 2013.

I don’t know about most, but I would personally rather have an experienced 25-strong team of experts from across the world ensuring the safety of my site over someone working solo at a 9-5, who’s not going to be around at 3am if and when something goes tits up.

“WordPress is not scalable”

Only those who’ve never heard of WordPress.com could even begin to imagine that WordPress isn’t scalable. WordPress.com, the hosted version of the WordPress system, has millions of users with a growth rate of 50,000+ new sites created on the platform every day. Unless you think your company website is going to handle traffic and interactions that best that, I don’t think you need to worry about scalability.

“WordPress requires a lot of maintenance”

Yep! But all sites require maintenance. All sites need upgrades, patches, new content, appearance tweaks. If your plan is to spend a couple of thousand pounds on a new website and never touch it again, you need to rethink your digital marketing strategy. All good website providers will be able to talk you through a maintenance plan that suits your budget, your traffic levels, and the amount of time you expect to be putting into your site yourself.

“I can’t do X with WordPress”

Are you sure? Just because there’s not a plugin in the WordPress plugin repository that allows you to do what you want easily / cheapily, doesn’t mean it can’t be done. I’ve personally made WordPress do things other developers didn’t even realise was possible, the limitation being their imagination and experience rather than an inherant lack of flexibility in WordPress. That doesn’t always mean that WordPress is the solution to a problem, but that’s why you need to be clear with your web developer what your needs are so they can use their experience to guide your choice.

WordPress might not be the solution for you. There might be another content management system that would better suit your needs, or perhaps you really would be better off with a bespoke website built exactly to your specification. But please, from this multi-solution developer: let advice from multiple experts in the field guide your decision, not marketing FUD.