ExpressionEngine vs. WordPress

Posted on April 25, 2021

Caroline Blaker

ExpressionEngine vs. WordPress Image

Edited: 09/14/2021.

As someone who has developed websites in both ExpressionEngine and WordPress, there is no question I hear more often than "Why ExpressionEngine? Why not WordPress ( or SquareSpace , Drupal..)?

If you don't require * just * a blog and pages, or require another, either additional or alternative feature set, then another software may be better than WordPress. What makes one software better than another for a long-term objective like a website? Certainly one that outshines another in security testing, in scaleability, flexibility, and long term support might be considered "better," where WordPress easily takes "ease of getting started" and "ease of feature implementation." Many web developers got their start in WordPress without any concern for how long-term their objective might be. It can be easier to stay in familiar territory than to pursue other options, even when one such as ExpressionEngine is so easily identified.

Solid WordPress Alternatives

In the case where another software fits, we consider either Craft CMS or ExpressionEngine, which is open source. These are softwares designed for security, scaleability, and in ExpressionEngine's case, simplicity - making it a closely-aligned WordPress alternative. In addition, ExpressionEngine is deepening its commitment to all these factors with its long term release software initiative, meaning that ExpressionEngine 6 will be supported outside of additional major software releases, for an entire 5 years.

There are other differences between ExpressionEngine and WordPress besides code history and current marketing objectives. The main difference between the softwares EE (ExpressionEngine, briefly) and WP (similar) is that WP comes pre-configured for a specific purpose (blogs, categories, pages) and while ExpressionEngine can be set up to support these, it doesn't assume you'll need these either. It doesn't assume you'll want one kind of text editor over another or inadvertently invite spam bots through surreptitious publication of XML files that you have to turn off. It doesn't assume you need a store, any particular layout, or even SEO. These things get added to ExpressionEngine by your developer and named according to your website's own conventions. WP as a website publishing platform has forever offered ease of use, conventional naming standards (read: easy googling) and quick standup among its features to new developers. When developers adopt your platform, they bring it with them into sales meetings. This can be compelling for clients. ExpressionEngine, now open-source, used to have a licensing cost of $300 - which was a significant barrier to entry that allowed ExpressionEngine to be outcompeted; those of us who learned it in the early days generally did so through working at website agencies, where costs were covered. With its recent jump to Open Source, the ExpressionEngine community is experiencing a resurgence of enthusiasm and economy.

Choose a web developer who sees your vision for growth
Choose a web developer who sees your vision for growth

ExpressionEngine vs WordPress: Cost Comparison

The additional costs of working with ExpressionEngine are generally comparable with those of working with WordPress, with the exception of the costs related to keeping the website out of the wrong hands. There are more bad actors trying to compromise WordPress than any other system and every release has needed a patch. Costs mount up for installing updates and keeping the site monitored and cached. For ExpressionEngine users, this is substandard. ExpressionEngine needs occasional software updates, not constant, and does not require additional software to keep it safe. Why not build new features instead?

Your web developer makes the difference

Many times, there is overlap as to the features of a website and what softwares can carry it successfully. WordPress is a terrific blogging platform, and it can be stretched to do more than that. Out of respect for the investment being made in me as a service provider, I will carefully consider all of the features you are looking for in your site and recommend software that reflects your websites goals, features, and future growth vectors. Most people aren't approaching Aquarian asking for blogs. We're getting e-commerce, custom features, security, and performance. Part of making this our business is knowing how to get there without repetitive, overwrought solutions - and without software that stands in the way of these goals, like WordPress.

If you're ready to move your site away from WordPress, we'd love the chance to talk.

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