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SilverStripe vs WordPress

In this guest post, Senior Developer of Daykin & Storey, Hugh Volpe, tells you what he thinks of SilverStripe CMS as opposed to WordPress.

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In this guest post, Senior Developer of Daykin & Storey, Hugh Volpe, tells you what he thinks of SilverStripe CMS as opposed to WordPress.

It's a sad fact that we live in a WordPress dominated Internet. OK maybe that isn't fair, it makes me sad that we live in a world dominated by WordPress.

Let me justify that a little…

WordPress is amazing. If you want a cheap website that you can get up and running quickly if you don't need anything fancy, even if you want a simple shop, IF YOU ARE WILLING TO COMPROMISE, WordPress is the way to get it. You want a contact form, fine get one of the many fine plugins that do that and install through WordPress never looking at a line of code. None of this is a bad thing.

If you want something that WordPress doesn't have a well supported plugin for, if you don't want the same theme as 100 other people, you're screwed. Someone can make it a custom theme and plugins for it and if they are good they might even advise you not to do it, but it will cost you more, and not just at the start. 6 months down the line, WordPress updates with hundreds of security flaws, you update to protect yourself and ...your site stops working! The only reason WordPress works at the price point it operates at is because you are using the same plugin and theme thousands of other people are using. The plugin can be updated with the cost of doing that spread out. If it's only you that has the plugin, that's you stuck with the cost.

So what is SilverStripe? Well SilverStripe is a different CMS. The difference is that it's a CMS built with a modern design pattern using well structured code. Similar to WordPress, it still has plugins but these plugins are a solid starting point for a developer to build you what you need - not an out of the box solution like WordPress. If you want to make something that gives you exactly what you get with a WordPress theme, then it's probably going to cost you more to do, but as soon as you want to customise in a way the theme didn't allow, you have won.

In SilverStripe, a good developer can quickly build your custom functionality that would take twice as long in WordPress. And when they update SilverStripe (sorry yes you have to update SilverStripe albeit less often) it's much easier for them to test for you to make sure it's going to work. It's not a bloated mish-mash of badly written code, it's a well structured, well formed bit of code that did what you needed, not 100 other things that might break and interfere in a way you didn't expect.

With SilverStripe you don't get layout builders, sorry I know this is a point that many people would be put off by. What you get instead is the ability for developers to give you a well designed, mobile optimised template that you can use in the Content Management System to MANAGE YOUR CONTENT. This in my opinion is a good thing. You don't end up with a poor attempt at a layout that doesn't do what you really wanted on all devices and suddenly you need some customisation that you promised you didn't want when you started out with the site. Instead, what you have is a bespoke design that looks amazing and can do something unique.

So in summary, yes WordPress will work and may not be a bad idea if you’re looking for a simple, low cost site but you have to be willing to compromise. If you want some custom functionality there are better options.

Original post:

About the author
Hugh Volpe

Hugh Volpe is a Senior Developer at Daykin & Storey - a strategic digital marketing agency, based on the Gateshead bank of the Newcastle quayside (UK).

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  • Hi, i am searching for a modern , fast , google-seo-friendly , responsive internet-page! I read the Points in the article above, but please tell me where is the edge with SilverStripe? I want to Keep it simple and straight Forward! I do not Need any Kind of junk or Things which get my side slow or make my Google ranking bad. How can i be better then all this wordpress pages? But the simple way , without programming the whole day!?

    Please help!

    Posted by John, 09/03/2017 5:51am (2 years ago)

  • I agree with Michal (on Facebook, saying we should compare in a constructive way). Everyone is 'selling' WP as the simplest, easiest, be-all CMS of all times. Plus, building your site in WP 'magically' makes it rank well in Google, etc. Bashing WP only gets you ignored (not what clients want to hear, after all, how can 60% of the internet be on WP if it's such a 'bloated'/bad system). Even technically; WP in my experience generally is a bit lighter & faster.

    As a developer, I don't like working on (most) WP projects though, exactly for the reasons Hugh describes. Customisations quickly get out of control with sites & layouts breaking at various points.

    It is an interesting challenge though, to convert this into arguments that register with clients. Generally, what works for me is to just agree that WP is a very nice system, and I would sure advice you to use it if you need a time-line oriënted site (eg blog). Because that's what it essentially is, down in the core, anything is a blogpost. I then describe how WP plugins work, each changing something to the blogpost to make it do something else (e.g. be a hierarchical page, be a product, etc), and for example, how many of the plugins are generally just 'glue-ing' their functionality onto WP, that there (out of the box) is not really a framework/base system to customise. And also, that most plugins are unaware of other plugins also changing stuff on the same blogpost. This gets the bloat-point across.

    Then, I compare this with how SS works, main arguments that SilverStripe;
    - is a hiërarchical, page-based system out of the box (show SiteTree!), with additional base 'DataObjects' that you can use for any customisations
    - because we're creating exactly the site YOU need (in collaboration with the designer), we can make the interfaces for editing much better (specific). In our experience, we let the clients in on first testing stage, and they often turn out to be able to manage their site without any prior instructions. Compare that to most WP sites we manage, where clients keep calling in with questions about how to set a specific layout for the new post they just added, and why it's not showing up in the menu, etc.
    - the overall Total Cost of Ownership is generally comparable or lower compared to WP over the course of a few years
    - updates are required far less often, and are less likely to break stuff because of the modern architecture of SilverStripe (e.g. composer for dependency management)
    - the separation of concerns (MVC) argument also seems to register well with clients, makes sense that if any part of code does just one thing, things are less likely to break
    - most important decission point in my experience however is; do you want to create a quick one-off site, and build a new one in a year or two when your company has grown? Or would you prefer us to build a solid, lean base, on which we can continuously build & add features as we go along.

    Interested to hear other people's viewpoints on this, as indeed most clients seem to be asking for Wordpress. WP's marketing definitely is better :)

    Posted by Michael van Schaik, 17/11/2015 11:25pm (4 years ago)

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