Should you switch from WordPress to ExpressionEngine?

Posted on September 14, 2021

Caroline Blaker

Should you switch from WordPress to ExpressionEngine? Image

ExpressionEngine is designed for security, which puts to rest many concerns with WordPress.

Yes! Well, mostly.

Are you trying to downscale your website into a smaller-scale footprint and want to use a visual-type editor to place content and images? Are you done with self-hosted software and prefer an app that stays up in the cloud 24/7?

Don't switch to ExpressionEngine in this situation. Switch to something like Wix or Squarespace. You can maintain your blog there a few clicks at a time. You're locked into a design and can't screw it up (but you have 2 or 3 options with everything, it seems.) This move will relieve you of all software updates and plugin incompatibilities. You may also get credit for designing it yourself!

Most of all: If WordPress is working out for you, don't switch.

Otherwise, why switch from WordPress at all?

I mean, you can set up a website in an instant and just let it go - add features as you go - seems pretty good! Why switch?

You may be experiencing a slower website.

You've been hearing about small performance breaks - intermittent reports of slow pages that can't be replicated. Probably just something random - that is, one of your products goes viral or has a sale, which makes your website so popular that nobody can buy anything. Oh no! The first priority becomes getting the website back up while keeping the shopping cart live and ride it out. Hopefully sales loss will be minimal.

As an apparent victim of your own success, it may be time to re-assess your web software (the things that make up your website from server to software) and the supportive structures underneath. You can stay in WordPress and implement layers of cache structures and prop it up with add-ons, or you may be able to see that the software itself may not have the strength to support your upward trajectory and you don't want to risk it. You can improve your server, and then do it again. You can stop all growth of the website in favor of keeping it afloat. Is this even an option? It doesn't have to be the only one.

You may be experiencing too much unwanted traffic or spam.

Are you unsure of what happened to this entry? Or how this password got compromised? Or why your site was down for 3 hours in the middle of the night? For as much positive attention as WordPress gets for legitimate uses, it gets just as much attention for the purposes of exploiting it for nefarious activity. Whyyy? Well, there are a few reasons.

  • Most WordPress builds are 95% similar- same names of files, same paths to log in - this makes automation of hacking attempts much more straight-forward compared to software like EE that allows (and suggests) these be individualized.
  • WordPress isn't designed for security. It has a history of being vulnerable to very creative and very direct security exploits. It's one of the reasons why there's always an update - to patch the latest security find. ExpressionEngine incorporates security as a design element - threats to software and how to keep them out are avoided by its developers from the get-go. It's important to read the ExpressionEngine docs to know where these set-up points for security are, especially as a new ExpressionEngine developer
  • It's not just the software, it's the numbers. WordPress is both popular and set up one particular way, therefore any person designing automated software for nefarious activity can write one exploit and aim it in thousands of places and be rather assured of having some success.

You may be experiencing plugin bloat or incompatibilities.

You may not trust the website to handle more functionality or traffic given a pattern of trying to keep the website from breaking or from slowing to a crawl. You may be looking at band-aids like caching options that make updates a hassle. Or you may be looking to offload some of your in-site responsibilities to expensive third-party vendors. Whether plugins disagree with each other or there are just too many to correctly load your website, it'll come through as slow, jumpy pages that are more likely to fail as more traffic arrives.

The difference between WordPress and ExpressionEngine as far as add-ons goes is that WordPress still, in most instances, includes functionality where it injects the plugin into the front-end (the part you see) whereas ExpressionEngine makes a developer do this - usually with plenty of community help and documentation. The benefit here is that the developer can keep watch over other functionalities on the site and make sure they don't conflict or make intelligent decisions about making the code work while boxed-addons can't make these decisions, at least not with a lot of experience.

If you're tired of the security updates.

WordPress' security shortcomings are infamous. Sometimes-daily security updates come up for this popular blogging platform with the utmost urgency, all the time. they come up every time a potential exploit is fixed. For some of us who manage websites, even one of these is too much. With its widespread use, people who seek to exploit websites are able to build bots and other programs that attack WordPress from many angles - even your own in-office Windows computers! (True story.) The platform is free, but when you have to spend your budget (be it limited money, hours, or both;) on protecting the website, what is actually costing you?

ExpressionEngine on the other hand, has had 4 total major security fixes in the entire life of the software (90's territory.) ExpressionEngine touts "security as a design feature" which makes us wonder why more people don't know that they don't need to bother with vulnerable software?

Are you saying that these aspects of WordPress administration can be avoided?

WordPress may need budget for active intervention when it comes to slow website, security breaches, software clashes, downed pages, unauthorized user activity, or other bad actors; this is part of using WordPress at a highly-successful level. Moving your website to ExpressionEngine from WordPress yields the same website (or incrementally better) on a different control panel that is scaleable to even more traffic and 99% less vulnerable to these kinds of attacks right out of the gate. No software clashes, no security breaches, no unauthorized user activity, and a faster website. Now that you're in ExpressionEngine, you have the chance to make meaningful gains with content strategy, whether it be SEO gains or more meaningful feature web development objectives.

ExpressionEngine 6, the current version, is a long-term release. 5 years of support. This is unheard-of in WordPress territory.

ExpressionEngine- the secure open-source web software. If it sounds too good to be true, it's because substandard solutions have been normalized for far too long.

If you're tired of the spectre of getting hacked.

If you're tired of stability issues.

If you're tired of one thing always slowing down/breaking another.

If you're tired of your website slowing to a crawl with any traffic.

It may be time to switch to ExpressionEngine.

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