One of the things we hear all of the time is that WordPress can be really glitchy. We get calls from people on a regular basis that have had their website completely crash, their login screen isn’t working, features have broken down, … The whole gambit of issues and problems that you wouldn’t have heard years ago when they were basic HTML sites, but now we hear all of the time.
The main reason is that WordPress is “software” driven. The whole nature of the way WordPress was created and grown innately has glitchy-ness built into it. The platform itself is what is called “open source software” where the designers have left the code open for everyone to view. By doing this, it has allowed software designers and developers from all over the world to add their own code, their own features, their own software, … into WordPress. So, the platform has grown and grown and grown. But, as a result, it has also left itself open to tons of incompatibility issues, bad code, and a constant stream of problems. Is it worth it? Yes. Is it a problem that needs to be addressed? Yes.
Let’s visualize this a little bit… How WordPress works is actually in three parts…
- WordPress, The Software – The first part is the platform itself. This is maintained by the awesome team over at WordPress. They are constantly tweaking it to be cleaner, adding features they think everyone will like, and making sure security issues are as clean as they can be to protect us. Picture WordPress as the “operating system” much like Windows runs a PC. It is the core of how it all works and runs.
- Theme/Design Software – The next layer of software is all about design. WordPress comes with some free design templates, but in general you will want to use a “paid” or “pro” version built by a design company. There are tons of companies out there making some pretty awesome software that will allow you to make your site look really pretty. Just realize, these design companies have to continually update their software to run as the WordPress Team does changes, fixes, and security updates. So, this software is also always in flux.
- Plug-ins / Special Features – The next layer is all of the little fancy features you may want to have in your site. These are called “Plug-ins” and they are mostly designed by developers from all over the world. If you are a programmer and you want a feature (say “Social Media Buttons” that do something special), then you can design the software yourself. If it is something other people might like to use, you can then make it available on the WordPress Codex for others to use too (or even purchase). This is where all of the features you see come from – and it is completely unregulated. People can “rate” this software, but you really have no clue if the software is stable, will change as the WordPress Platform changes, or will continue to be compatible with your Theme software. It’s a never-ending gambit…!
So, as you can see, with all of these three layers working together, you can end up with a nightmare of software glitches. Things can be fine today, and then become trouble tomorrow. You want to do all of the updates – they are protecting you and fixing things – but you also run the risk that the whole website stability will come tumbling down.
WordPress is an AMAZING platform that allows us to do some AMAZING things on a website! It actually comprises somewhere around 25% of the websites on the Internet today (that’s one quarter of what you see out there). That’s an incredible statistic. So, it’s clearly worth using. Just realize that just because a designer slapped you a site together and it looks great today, that it will be so tomorrow and tomorrow and the tomorrow after that. They need maintenance…!