What is WordPress? A developer’s take

What is WordPress?


WordPress is a template-based content management system (CMS). It is a great developer tool because it has so many built-in tools and systems.

It has a user-management system that handles account creation, password management, and user access.

The blog system can be extended with custom taxonomies or even branched into custom post types. This is my favorite feature.

It’s highly extensible through themes, plugins, and hooks.

It’s easy to consume data from REST API endpoints or to create your own.

While the shortcode system was abused, it’s still a great tool for giving non-technical user the ability to add bells and whistles to their content.

And that’s just the 1st 5 items that came to mind. There’s more… like WordPress’s extensive library of data hygiene functions.

Why is WordPress so popular?

It’s popular for 6 reasons:

Ease of use

It can be installed and operated by someone with little to no technical know-how.


Self-hosted WordPress is free (other than domain and hosting). WordPress.com is completely free to start but you lack the freedom and flexibility of self-hosted WordPress.


There are thousands upon thousands of free themes and plugins available for WordPress. Many of the themes are incredibly customizable. And then there’s premium themes and plugins. The ecosystem is huge.


And if you know how to code, WordPress can be the starting point for any number of projects. Creating themes and plugins from scratch is a breeze. And WordPress was built so that you can inject your functions into its code without editing the core WordPress files.


Whether you’re talking about the WordPress forum or Reddit or somewhere else, WordPress has a large and active community of developers, designers, and users to answer your questions. And its popularity means there are a ton of professionals available to help you as well.


WordPress was designed with SEO in mind. It isn’t magic. But it won’t be an obstacle. You’ll want an SEO plugin or 3, but you can get started with free plugins.

What you can build with WordPress

WordPress is a versatile platform that allows developers to create a wide range of websites. Some of the types of websites you can build with WordPress include:

1. Blogs: WordPress initially gained popularity as a blogging platform and is still widely used for creating and managing blogs of all sizes.

2. Business websites: WordPress provides numerous themes and plugins specifically designed for creating professional and responsive business websites.

3. E-commerce stores: With the help of plugins like WooCommerce, developers can build fully functional e-commerce websites with WordPress, complete with shopping carts, product pages, and secure payment gateways.

4. Portfolio websites: Creative professionals can showcase their work and achievements through visually appealing and customizable portfolio websites built on WordPress.

5. Forums and social networks: WordPress can be used to create interactive online communities, discussion forums, and even social networking platforms using plugins like BuddyPress.

6. Membership sites: Developers can build subscription-based membership websites on WordPress, offering exclusive content and services to paid subscribers.

Overall, WordPress is a flexible and powerful platform that can be used to create a diverse range of websites catering to various needs and industries.

Advantages of Using WordPress as a Developer

I already went through a bunch of benefits. I doubt you want to read them all again. So I’m going to focus on 1 idea.

WordPress is a great place to start a project.

Every single WordPress function is designed to be extended, modified, replaced, or removed. Keep what you want, change what you need, and scrap the rest. As a developer, I find this flexibility and adaptability hard to beat.

Disadvantages of WordPress for a developer

While WordPress is a tool you should have in your toolbelt, it isn’t perfect.

WordPress has a specific way of doing things. Some people don’t like “the WordPress way”. Even if you do like it, there are 2 other issues. First, there’s a learning curve. Second, much of the WordPress way is focused on being part of the ecosystem. They’re rules that make sense if you were going to distribute the plugin or theme. They don’t always make sense if you’re building a plugin that will never be shared.

Some common development practices are less than ideal. Certain files and tables can get overloaded when your code should have a separate file or plugin and your data should have a separate table.

Plugins are so easy to add. And it’s so easy for a site owner to add tons of low-quality plugins (or even tons of high-quality plugins).

Plugins that work great together today might have a conflict tomorrow.

Old advice is often wrong. WordPress is 20 years old. There’s a lot of outdated info (and themes and plugins) on the ‘net.


WordPress isn’t perfect. But it does so much out of the box. I can’t imagine starting a project without it.


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