It’s critical to consider the technologies and tools available to build a website before starting. To make a choice, you will need to research various factors, such as the website’s attributes or functionalities. The best choice is frequently to use a content manager or CMS, like WordPress. Other times, it might be best to use PHP for custom development.
I will then go over each case’s benefits and drawbacks so you can decide what is best for you.
What is Custom Web Development in PHP?
Open source PHP is a programming language that can be used to create dynamic websites and applications. It is a server-side language, meaning that code processing takes place on the server before being sent to the client’s web browser.
The creation, management, and maintenance of a website or web page constitute web development. We would be discussing web development based on this programming language and beginning from scratch in the case of custom PHP development (without using any CMS).
Starting from scratch doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the code must be written by hand. There are PHP development frameworks that make this task simpler when programming. They are collections of programs and code libraries that speed up the creation of websites and frequently include features that are used frequently. There are many frameworks available for PHP, including Codeigniter, CakePHP, Symfony, and Laravel.
Knowing this, you’ve probably already guessed that custom web development will require a bigger time commitment. When thinking about the development of any website, it is crucial to keep this in mind.
In fact, one of the first questions you need to decide when a client orders a web page from you is whether you’re going to use a CMS or do custom development. Most likely, the client is unsure of which option is best, so you will need to research the type of web page you require, its functional requirements, the project’s scalability, the client’s desired investment of time and money, etc. You will need to decide based on the answers to these questions.
This article focuses on the comparison between custom web development and WordPress development, since it is the most widely used CMS today. Today and according to data from https://w3techs.com/, 43% of all websites use WordPress, making it the most used CMS in the world.
Also, WordPress is based on PHP. Both the WordPress core and its themes and plugins make use of this programming language.
As I said, there are various factors to consider before choosing between a WordPress development and a custom development. You must consider the benefits and drawbacks of each option and what they can offer you. I will outline the benefits and drawbacks of WordPress development and custom development separately to aid you in this process.
Advantages of Development in PHP
Now that you know what custom development in PHP consists of, you can get an idea of its advantages. I am going to tell you the ones that I consider most important.
1. Full Flexibility
You have complete control over every aspect of custom development. You will be able to implement any functionality you can imagine, and since the visual aspect will be completely up to you, you can create any kind of design you like.
Naturally, your knowledge will be the only restriction, but in theory, custom web development implies complete customization.
Since a CMS like WordPress is a well-known tool, hackers will have researched the potential security gaps when you use it to build your website.
However, when you do custom web development this is not the case, so the vulnerabilities are less. Of course, you must do a good job and exercise extreme caution when programming your website to ensure that no security gaps are left.
Your website will be developed specifically for you, making it unique and exclusive. When using a CMS, it’s possible that you’ll use the same template or plugins as other websites, which could result in some visual similarities between your website and others’.
When you build every component of your website from the ground up, you can be certain that you’re doing something special for your client and their brand. Something that sets it apart from the competition, which is always a plus.
Custom web development will undoubtedly be more optimized than WordPress development. You will only use the code that you require for the features and layout of your website if you write it yourself.
There are always features in WordPress developments that you might not need. Additionally, generated code is never going to be as optimized as custom web development (although this depends on the template and plugins you use).
Disadvantages of Development in PHP
After some advantages, let’s talk about some disadvantages that you will face in PHP.
1. It takes much more time
The time that CMS saves you is one of their many benefits. In a custom development, the project takes much longer to complete and frequently necessitates the participation of a larger team.
This is an important consideration for your clients to keep in mind because a customized development may or may not be a good choice depending on the deadlines it manages.
2. It is more expensive
It goes without saying that the cost will increase if it takes longer. The cost of development time is paid for, and a custom website will undoubtedly cost more in the end. Remember that installing and configuring a plugin is not the same as creating a feature from scratch.
Similar to the previous point, this will be a key factor in helping your clients decide on the kind of development they want.
3. Requires Advanced Knowledge
Advantages of WordPress Development
WordPress is a very versatile CMS with which you can make practically any type of website you can think of. Still, there are cases where it might not be your first choice. To make it clearer when to use and when not to use WordPress development, we are going to review its main advantages and disadvantages.
1. WordPress is a consolidated tool
You aren’t just jumping into the pool without knowing if it’s a good choice when you decide to use WordPress. WordPress is a content management system (CMS) with more than 18 years of history and a large user base. Because it receives regular updates to enhance its security and functionality, WordPress is unquestionably among the best choices for a CMS.
2. Good support
As I mentioned, thousands of people use WordPress as a tool. It powers 43% of all active websites, making it the most popular CMS in the world. As a result, there are numerous user communities where you can post queries or share knowledge.
Additionally, this kind of support is provided by more than just user communities; businesses like Raiola Networks also provide their clients with qualified WordPress support.
You can install WordPress plugins, which are compact programs, to give your website extra functionality.
There are roughly 60,000 free plugins available in the official WordPress repository that you can use. For this CMS, there are also websites like Codecanyon that provide premium plugins. With these numbers, it is obvious that using a plugin, you can incorporate almost any functionality you can imagine.
There are plugins for WordPress that enable the creation of online stores (like WooCommerce), online reservations, forms, sliders, and other features.
4. Visual interface
Although it is true that you can design a visual interface for your client to use to manage specific web aspects when you perform custom development, this adds to the development time and costs.
A native control panel is already present in WordPress. Additionally, since it is the most popular CMS, many users are accustomed to its interface. One benefit of this control panel is that only specific sections can be made available to your clients. By doing this, you can prevent people from touching inappropriate areas and prevent multiple scares.
5. No code knowledge required
Although some knowledge of web programming languages, primarily HTML, CSS, and PHP, is recommended, it is not strictly necessary to know them in order to create a WordPress website. Of course, everything depends on the kind of website you require and the features you desire.
You can accomplish almost anything you set out to do with the help of plugins and templates. For instance, there are plugins like Elementor or Oxygen Builder that enable you to layout the pages and sections of your website using the “drag and drop” method without touching any code.
6. Faster Development
In general, WordPress website development takes less time than PHP website development. It only takes a few clicks and a few minutes to install WordPress. similar to how most plugins and themes work.
It makes sense that you would have to spend time customizing these themes and plugins, and occasionally you might even need to use hooks to increase WordPress functionality. Even so, the time required will be shorter than for a custom development.
7. Less expensive
Less time equals less money, same as before. The cost of a WordPress development is typically less expensive than a custom development.
At this point, you must understand that using a free plugin or theme is not always worthwhile when developing in WordPress and that you might instead need to use a paid one. You must keep in mind that many of these paid plugins occasionally have monthly or yearly fees.
8. On-page SEO
You have complete freedom when creating custom websites, as I already mentioned. This has an impact on your ability to fully optimize the code of your website for SEO.
This is also possible in WordPress, though it is undoubtedly more comfortable because you can use specialized plugins. By using Rank Math or Yoast SEO in this manner, you can enhance and optimize the SEO of your website.
Disadvantages of WordPress Development
There are ton of advantages of WordPress, but still at the same time it has disadvantages too.
1. Known vulnerabilities
You are already aware of how well-known WordPress is among web developers. As a result, it is clear that many hackers are looking for security flaws and vulnerabilities. This does not imply that WordPress is an insecure CMS, but based solely on statistics, it might experience more assaults.
Because of this, it’s crucial to maintain your websites properly, updating plugins, templates, and WordPress itself as needed. Avoid using “Nulled” themes and plugins, as well as installing plugins from dubious sources.
2. Minor optimization
Everything will be in your control in a custom development, and you’ll only add the functionalities you require. Additionally, you will create as little code and as much optimization as you can.
One of the drawbacks of WordPress is that there may be built-in features that you do not require. In addition, compared to a custom development, this kind of CMS typically produces a lot of “junk” code. Another thing to keep in mind is that the performance and loading times of the website will degrade as you add more plugins.
However, all of these aspects can be enhanced by using WPO techniques to better optimize your website.
3. It is not so exclusive
WordPress requires the use of templates in order to create websites. You will frequently pick a well-known and contrasted template, but it is also being used on a lot of other websites. Although everything can be customized, there is a greater chance than in a custom development that your website will have elements that are similar to those of your competitors.
It is true that the level of customization is much higher now that tools like Elementor, Oxygen Builder, or Bricks have recently become available. You can completely customize the appearance of your website using this type of visual layout.
Which One is Better PHP or WordPress?
In a nutshell, which type of development—custom or WordPress—is superior? I would say that depends. It depends on the kind of website you or your client needs, how much time and money will be spent on it, and how quickly it can be built.
WordPress is a great choice for websites that are more or less straightforward, have commonplace functionalities, or require little time investment.
Additionally, if you need to manage and maintain a lot of websites at once, having them built in WordPress will make your life easier. To manage all of your installations and make updating plugins and the WordPress core more comfortable, there are tools like InfiniteWP or ManageWP.
On the other hand, choose custom PHP development for very large web projects with very specific functionalities and for which you have the time to complete.
Although the price will be higher, you will receive an exclusive web development for you or your client in which you can fully control all aspects.