Our co-founder, Chris Simental, was recently interviewed by Clutch as a web expert. This is part of a series that highlights designers’ and developers’ technical knowledge to help businesses gain more insights on their options when building a website. The interview centered around the differences between WordPress and ExpressionEngine, the platforms we use the most at Ripe.
According to Chris, one important factor to consider when choosing a platform is based on the skill set of the client’s internal team:
“If the company’s goal is to take over in-house website maintenance, then ExpressionEngine is probably not the best choice unless they have a tech-savvy team that can do the work. It’s a little more hands-on than WordPress in terms of updating.”
From there, the purpose of the site and the functionality are generally the biggest considerations when choosing a platform.
“It depends on the type of project. We generally think that, for smaller, brochure-type sites and blog-focused websites, WordPress is a great fit, especially if clients have experience using it for other web properties they may have. The interface is fairly straightforward. Once you’ve used it, you understand how it works, and that’s a helpful leg-up on the next project. It makes sense to recommend that as a platform for that type of client.”
WordPress websites are also very easy to customize due to the high number of plug-ins that can very efficiently add functionality to a website:
“You just search to add a plugin, and then boom, there it is. That is a significant time and cost benefit, compared to ExpressionEngine. Acquiring and installing plugins and add-ons for ExpressionEngine is not nearly as easy.”
On the other hand, ExpressionEngine is better for more robust and complex sites:
“In our experience, using the ExpressionEngine platform gives us more flexibility over the visual design of the site. If we have a complex design with multiple types of layouts, then sometimes it might make more sense to build in ExpressionEngine. The CMS component and the templating engine of ExpressionEngine lend themselves more to complex design than WordPress.”
ExpressionEngine sites are also intrinsically a lot more secure than WordPress sites. This is because most WordPress sites use many plug-ins and add-ons. Hackers can hack one popular third-party add-on and affect millions of sites in one go, which is not the case with ExpressionEngine:
“With ExpressionEngine, we have never had a website get hacked. That’s even without applying any non-standard security measures. We only need to take very basic security measures, such as having a strong password for the admin account, and ensuring the directories aren’t browse-able.”
In the end, neither platform is inherently better than the other. It really come down to the user and their goals and the experience and wisdom of the web developer. You can read the full interview series on Clutch to learn more about other platforms’ strengths and weaknesses.