Why WordPress Sucks? 7 Major Reasons

WordPress powers over 40% of all websites, making it the world’s most popular CMS. 

  • But with great popularity comes intense search. 
  • Is the criticism warranted? 
  • Can the cons outweigh the pros of using WordPress? 

In this in-depth guide, we will objectively explore the biggest pain points users face when working with WordPress. 

By the end, you’ll understand the key reasons why WordPress sucks, along with counterpoints defending its capabilities.

Let’s exmine the debate around WordPress’ flaws and whether the negatives ultimately outweigh its benefits.

Why WordPress Sucks? 7 Major Reasons

Why WordPress Sucks

There are 7 major reasons why wordpress sucks:

Reason 1: The Complexity of WordPress can be Frustrating

For a platform designed to simplify building websites, WordPress itself has grown extremely complex over time. The learning curve has gotten steeper, making the system more difficult for beginners to pick up compared to classic WordPress.

Code Bloat:

Built on PHP, WordPress and its page builder plugins can produce bloated code that impacts site speed and performance. All the extra divs, spans and markup add overhead.

Too Many Options:

With thousands of themes, plugins, integrations and setup options, choice overload can paralyze beginners who just want to build a simple site.

Confusing Backend 

The WP dashboard and editor increasingly has more tabs, menus and settings crammed in that users must learn. It’s far from an intuitive interface.

Steep Learning Curve 

Understanding how to properly use themes, plugins, web hosts, domains, caching, CDNs and all the associated tech requires extensive learning for those new to web building.

Pro Tip

Pair new WordPress users with an expert developer or digital agency to help educate them and handle complex components like hosting, security, performance, backups etc.

Reason 2: WordPress’ Customization Can Slow Down Sites

One of WordPress’ strengths – its customizability and extensibility – can also be a weakness when misused. Too much customization stresses hosting and hinders performance.

Page Builders:

Visual page builders like Elementor, while convenient, produce inefficient code and add bloat. They often render sites quite slow without optimization.

Excess Plugins:

Too many plugins, especially those not properly coded, can bog down servers and cause crashes. Their interactions can also cause issues.

Custom Themes:

Highly customized themes typically perform poorer than well-optimized default themes like GeneratePress without tuning due to added code weight.

User-Generated Content:

Sites with endless UGC like comments and forums tend to load much slower. Every response adds overhead for servers to handle.

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Keep plugins limited on WordPress sites and make sure any visual page builder sites are well-optimized. Test speed regularly.

Reason 3: WordPress’ Open Source Model Creates Security Risks

While being open source enables collaboration for WordPress, it also makes the platform vulnerable to security threats and quality control issues.

Plugin Vulnerabilities: 

Hackers actively seek vulnerabilities in WordPress plugins to exploit. Poor code quality leaves openings.

Theme Vulnerabilities: 

Third-party commercial themes also frequently contain security flaws that sites using them inherit until fixed.

Up-to-Date Maintenance:

Using outdated versions of WordPress, PHP, themes and plugins vastly heightens security risk. But sites rarely stay fully updated.

Lack Of Review:

No formal security review model means vulnerabilities can slip into plugins and themes. 44% of all sites use vulnerable plugins.

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Pro Tip

Limit plugins, thoroughly vet third-party themes, stay up-to-date, and implement essential security protections like firewalls to harden WordPress sites.

Reason 4: WordPress’ Scaling Limitations Impede Growth

While WordPress can technically handle high traffic loads, it rarely scales gracefully without substantial effort. At a certain point, growing sites hit limits.

Resource Intensive:

High traffic spikes burden servers due to WordPress’ database-driven architecture. Caching alleviates but does not eliminate underlying load.

Difficult Caching 

Caching WordPress properly requires technical expertise most users lack. Without caching, scaling stalled.

No Vertical Scaling 

Adding more servers won’t resolve workload issues stemming from PHP process and database bottlenecks.

Page Speed Declines 

More visitors and activity inevitably bog down WordPress sites. Even well-optimized sites see speed drops at scale.

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Plan a transition to a static site or headless CMS architecture before scaling bottlenecks hit. These handle heavy traffic far more efficiently.

Reason 5: The WRAP Model Limits Customization Options

The WRAP model (WordPress + RDBMS + Apache + PHP) that WordPress depends on makes straying from conventional tech stacks difficult.

Locked Into LAMP/LEMP Stacks

One of the biggest limitations of relying on WordPress is that it locks you into using conventional LAMP or LEMP software stacks. 

This includes being restricted to Linux-based operating systems, the Apache or Nginx web servers, MySQL/MariaDB databases, and PHP for processing and rendering. 

While these are proven technologies, they leave little room for adopting modern alternatives better suited for certain use cases. WordPress’ tight coupling to these traditional stacks makes deviating challenging.

No Database Flexibility

Due to WordPress being tightly integrated with MySQL and MariaDB relational databases, users have no flexibility to swap these out for more scalable NoSQL databases like MongoDB. 

This hinders the platform’s ability to handle massive workloads and throughput. Again, the closed nature of WordPress’ architecture severely limits choices when it comes to key foundations like database engines. MySQL/MariaDB is entrenched.

Confined to PHP

PHP powers WordPress sites both on the frontend and backend, from templating to plugins. This reliance on PHP for core functions again restricts engineers from swapping in more performant languages like Go or Rust. 

While PHP is capable, being forced into a single server-side language reduces optionality that a more agnostic architecture could provide.

No Edge Computing Options

Additionally, WordPress’ conventional server-based infrastructure makes it difficult to integrate with cutting edge edge computing platforms. 

New paradigms like serverless functions, edge locations, and global CDNs cannot simply slot into WordPress’ legacy framework. Adopting emerging edge technologies generally requires a cloud migration.

Pro Tip

Evaluate if migrating to a more flexible Jamstack architecture would open up desired tech options lacking in WordPress’ WRAP model.

While WordPress is hardly perfect, the platform still delivers immense value to millions globally. But understanding its limitations provides a more well-rounded view of where WordPress falls short for some use cases and how its weaknesses can be mitigated.

Reason 6: The Learning Curve is Steep for WordPress

For a platform aimed at making building websites easy, WordPress has evolved into a fairly complex beast. This imposes a steeper learning curve that frustrates newcomers.

No Intuitive UI:

WordPress’ dashboard and editor is cluttered with menus rather than intuitive. Finding your way as a beginner feels like being lost in a cockpit.

Too Many Options:

With endless plugin and theme choices, beginners suffer from decision fatigue in what should be simple setups.

Bloated Code: 

Page builders like Elementor generate bloated code that impacts performance. Novices don’t realize the downsides.

Configuration Overload:

For beginners trying to create their first website, dealing with hosting, CDNs, caching, security, domains, and other technical stuff can be really confusing and overwhelming.

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Simplify the platform. Limit plugins and excessive customization. Take advantage of managed hosting solutions. Focus on Core WordPress.

Reason 6: Performance & Scaling Suffer with WordPress

Why WordPress Sucks

Two of the most common complaints about WordPress – performance and scaling limitations – relate closely to architecture.

  • The database-driven nature of WordPress does not architecturally scale well, creating bottlenecks.
  • Bandaid caching solutions help but don’t address underlying performance flaws.
  • PHP processes bog down servers causing load issues at scale. Alternatives like Go and Rust operate far more efficiently.
  • Adding more servers fails to resolve workload issues stemming from WordPress’ foundations.
  • More activity inevitably slows WordPress sites as limitations are reached. Speed optimization grows challenging.

Pro Tip

Evaluate if migrating to a static site generator or headless CMS is best before you reach inflection points in site traffic and growth.

Reason 7: Governance & Quality Control Issues Arise

Quality control and update coordination suffers at WordPress’ massive scale despite governance efforts.

  • Auto-updates can unexpectedly break site functionality forcing unplanned maintenance.
  • Changes do not receive enough testing before hitting production sites, resulting in bugs and issues slipping through.
  • As open source software, no formal support model exists for most users, leaving them to self-diagnose issues.
  • Popular plugins often get abandoned leaving site owners with zero support and security updates.
  • APIs can change with no deprecation warnings, breaking integrations during WordPress updates.

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Have robust testing environments. Document dependencies. Monitor updates closely. Have backups and recovery plans. Limit plugins.

Frequently Asked Questions About Why WordPress Sucks?

The learning curve has increased substantially as WordPress has grown more complex. But hosts and agencies can offset this with training and handling technical aspects. Core site building remains accessible.

No – with proper hosting, caching, image optimization, limited plugins, and performance tuning, WordPress sites can run very fast. But extra effort is required compared to leaner CMS options.

Generally yes. While risks exist like any software, cautious security measures minimize the attack surface dramatically. The open source aspect does help identify and patch vulnerabilities.

With extensive optimization, scaling, and migration to cloud infrastructure, WordPress can technically scale up. But it requires immense effort compared to platforms designed for scale.


In the final analysis, while understanding the drawbacks outlined in “Why WordPress Sucks,” it’s essential to acknowledge that no platform is flawless across the board. 

WordPress is far from a perfect solution. But context is required – no platform can excel equally in every criterion. For many, WordPress remains a sensible choice despite its flaws. 
Understanding both its strengths and weaknesses allows users to maximize its benefits while navigating around pitfalls. Every CMS has tradeoffs. Focus efforts where WordPress delivers most value for your specific needs.

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