WordPress and Plone are both Content Management Systems (CMSes) that have become very popular. Comparisons between the two abound, with someone always trying to figure out which of the two is the best one. The fact is, however, that no CMS can do everything. There are some things that WordPress excels at and others that it doesn’t do so well. The same can be said of Plone. So it isn’t a matter of figuring out which CMS is best; it’s about figuring out which one is best for your project.
The Rise of WordPress
WordPress became very popular very quickly because it can be installed quickly and is easy to maintain. If you are a beginner programmer who knows very little coding, WordPress is an excellent place to start. If you do get stuck, and you will your first time out, no matter which CMS you use, WordPress has an excellent support system in place to help you find the answers you need.
WordPress was originally designed to be a blogging platform. Depending on what you are trying to do, that can be either an advantage or a disadvantage. It is a very simple design that can be applied to basic web pages very easily with little fuss. If all you need is a blogroll and a few static pages, then you are good to go.
This doesn’t mean that WordPress is incapable of more complex content, but that wasn’t its original purpose. WordPress is constantly updating itself, which can be a pain if you find your old plugins don’t work anymore, but it also means that there are always new plugins available. For almost anything that you want to do, somebody else has already found a workaround to make it happen and shared it on WordPress’s forum. But some of these workarounds feel clumsy and don’t get you the exact results you really want.
The Difference With Plone
Plone is based on a more complicated system of code. Many people feel more comfortable hiring a programmer to at least set up their Plone-based website, even if they are willing to tackle the project of maintaining it themselves. But all of this complexity can pay off if you need it to accomplish the look and feel that you are aiming for.
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Plone is designed to accommodate more complex websites. The downside to this is that it makes everything about Plone more complex than WordPress. Installation is more of a hassle, but only because Plone is configuring a lot of different settings in order to make your webpage more scalable and smooth out workflow. This does mean that you have to pay attention to make sure that everything is configured correctly.
There have been some claims made that Plone is more secure than WordPress. Plone does come with a very good security system that makes your website almost invulnerable to the casual hacker. WordPress can be made very secure, however, if you go the extra mile with the necessary plugins and coding changes.
It is true that WordPress sites get hacked more often than Plone sites do, but this can likely be attributed to two things, neither of which reflect poorly on either CMS. The first is that because Plone is a more complicated system, users generally know what they are doing better and it is second nature to them to check their security and keep it upgraded. Many WordPress users are just beginner programmers. They install WordPress as it comes and never give security a thought. This leaves their site vulnerable to hackers.
The other likely reason there are so many more hacked WordPress sites is that there are just that many more WordPress sites period. There is such a high installation rate for new WordPress sites, even a fraction of them getting hacked adds up to a dauntingly large number of hacked sites.
This popularity isn’t all bad, however. As previously mentioned, if you run into a problem on WordPress, you can be sure that you aren’t the first one to get yourself in this jam. The WordPress forum is amazing. If you don’t want to sort through countless threads trying to find the answer to your problem, just post a new question. Someone is sure to come along with the solution to your problem before long.
This is where the lack of popularity really hurts Plone. There is only a small community of Plone users contributing to online tips, tricks, and troubleshooting. It will likely take you much longer to solve your Plone problem than it would on WordPress. And if you are trying to get too creative with your site, you just might launch yourself into unexplored territory and be in the position of having to figure out your own solutions through trial and error.
Plone is an excellent choice for a company that makes use of its document sharing capabilities. There are plugins on WordPress that will match anything that Plone does. The large number of plugins that end up attached to any truly active WordPress site, however, are probably the root of the claim that Plone sites load much faster than WordPress does. Free tools like Google Docs may make this advantage seem small, but it is helpful to keep all of your web activities under one roof, particularly if you are sharing documents that may contain sensitive information.
Choosing between Plone and WordPress isn’t about deciding which is best overall, but which is best for your application. If you are making a small website with lots of static pages, than WordPress’s simple design will make your life much easier. If you are a large company with a complex website that needs room to expand, Plone is most likely the better choice for you.