Laravel vs WordPress. Which one should you be using?
What is the main purpose of your project?
Typically WordPress is built for managing websites and blogs, and Laravel is a PHP framework for building applications. This, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t build a blog or website in Laravel or an application in WordPress, but it’s a good idea to use the systems for what they are more specifically built for. Understanding each one to use at the beginning of your project could save you a lot of headaches and time going forward.
The type of skill that is required
Generally speaking, WordPress is seen as a low entry into building websites. This is because of its extensive plugin and theme directory and it’s very possible to get a website up and running with little or no coding skills. It’s also great for more advanced programmers to design and build custom theming with the possibility of integrating APIs, e-commerce (thanks to WooCommerce and other plugins), and payment gateways.
Laravel on the other hand is a PHP framework that is great for building a project from the ground up but most of the work will be written in code by more advanced programmers.
How quickly does the project need to be launched?
Obviously, it completely depends on the type of project and complexity of it but if it’s a case of just getting something up and running quickly to gain an online presence WordPress might be your answer. However, if the project is for a Saas (software as a service) company and the main core of the company will be this particular project then building it in Laravel may be a much better choice in the long run but it will take much more time and attention to detail to get the product off the ground. In some cases, people start off with building their project in WordPress first to get it up and running and then scaling it up to Laravel in the future once it has gained some traction.
If you have a lot of custom functionality and requirements you might be able to stitch them together using dozens of WordPress plugins but this probably isn’t a good idea as they may not work the way you expect and will bloat your website. Say, for example, one of the plugins that you use has a security issue and needs updating, this could lead to two possible scenarios. 1. You update the plugin but the other plugins are no longer compatible making the project broken/no longer able to use the way you wanted it to. 2. You don’t update the plugin and your website has a very real security flaw.
This is where Laravel gains a massive advantage because the application will be written with the specific intention of fulfilling the functionality and requirements of the project, allowing for better flexibility in the future if the project needs additional work. However, this obviously comes at more of a cost in terms of time spent on the project.
The Security Implications
As previously mentioned, WordPress tends to get more of a bad reputation when it comes to security. This is mostly down to its core infrastructure with the ability to bolt on themes and plugins from a massive open-source library. Because of its large open-source community, a lot of the plugins and themes are free which means that hackers are able to view the source code of what might be installed on millions of WordPress websites. This gives them the ability to spot vulnerabilities in popular plugins or plugins that may no longer be maintained by their developers. This is a double edge sword for WordPress because of the huge community and ability to bot on additional functionality it leaves their websites open to these vulnerabilities.
Laravel on the other hand is not disclosed from its own vulnerabilities either, as is anything on the web, but its ecosystem and framework promotes developers to stick to and are encouraged to use the best practices for the framework. Also because Laravel is used for very specific circumstances, numerous projects will use the framework but the way in which they are built will vary which may lead to making it less appealing for hackers to target.
Because Laravel is a framework by design it’s more focused on high-performing web applications and has performance-enhanced features included such as specifically caching routes and database queries. These help it to perform on large databases and users. With a bit of configuration, a good developer, and good plugins WordPress can also achieve good performance with things such as image optimisation, image caching, and page caching for example so it really depends on the type of project as no two are the same.
In summary, generally, WordPress is seen to be used by a novice being able to install themes and plugins to get a website off the ground rather quickly to advanced programmers building custom themes and integrating them with APIs and Payment Gateways for full e-commerce stores, and everything in-between. There is a reason after all why it’s so popular and why it’s used in such a large proportion of websites. Laravel on the other hand is a PHP framework primarily used by experienced programmers for building complex web applications. Laravel offers a more customised and flexible approach, allowing developers to create applications tailored specifically to their needs. Laravel’s focus on performance and security makes it ideal for large-scale, mission-critical projects, such as SaaS platforms.
While it may take more time and effort to develop a project using Laravel, the result is often a more stable, scalable, and secure application. Ultimately, the choice between WordPress and Laravel depends on the specific requirements and goals of the project.
About the Author
Stephen is a web developer who has been building websites and applications for over a decade. He continues to build projects and solutions for clients and enjoys teaching others in his field.