WordPress is a content management system (CMS) created with a goal of building websites, whether using customizable themes or creating tailor-made solutions. Laravel, on the other hand, is a PHP framework used for creating web applications and other types of websites. So, when should you choose one over another? And why?
Let us see what we are dealing with here.
Imagine a situation: your new prospective client has just reached out to you wondering if you could build her new website. She is an aspiring travel writer and she wants to get her blog up and running before her trip to Guatemala at the end of a given month.
What would you use for building her website?
Now imagine this: your prospective clients are tech-savvy entrepreneurs who just launched their new start-up representing a complex online booking service with cool innovative features. They want your help with website development, and they need it to be impeccable.
What would you choose for their website?
If you are just starting out as a web developer and you are not sure about the answers, you have come to the right place. This article is going to be helpful to you. However, even if you are already a skilled developer, it might be useful to you, too. So, do not leave us now.
When dealing with the dilemma between WordPress and Laravel, you could start by reviewing the very essence of these tools in order to get a better understanding of their capabilities.
WordPress is a free open-source CMS based on PHP and MySQL. It was released in 2003 by its founders Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. Today, more than 60 million websites use WordPress, including 30% of the top 10 million web locations, which makes it the most popular CMS in the world.
WordPress runs using a theme-based system and follows the plugin architecture offering more than 55,000 different plugins. You can use them to modify themes, or you can choose to build a website from scratch and make it a custom-made solution that fits the needs.
Besides the software package WordPress.org for your PC, there are also native mobile apps supported by major operating systems, such as Android, iOS, WindowsOS, and Blackberry.
Laravel is a free open-source PHP framework, created by Taylor Otwell. It is crated with the aim of dealing with complex tasks more easily, and its main purpose is development of web applications. Laravel follows a feature-packages architecture and it is based on a set of reusable PHP components/libraries called Symfony.
Developers around the world mostly agree with the statement that Taylor Otwell did a great job with Laravel. Ever since its initial launch in 2011, Laravel has been experiencing success within a community of developers. The latest version of the framework – Laravel 5 released under the PHP 7 version – is the best-rated PHP framework on GitHub.
Similarities and differences
When it comes to user experience (UX), both WordPress and Laravel create websites that are:
In other words, they are both user-centered and devoted to building easy-to-use websites that are also simple to manage. Their popularity lies in the fact that they both imply simplicity, transparency, and efficiency in web solutions.
And what are the differences?
For starters, WordPress is a system, Laravel is a framework.
WordPress is pre-built but offers customizable themes you can use and adjust to your own (or your client’s) needs. Various plugins serve the same purpose and help to make a richer user experience and better content management.
On the other hand, Laravel provides various features, mainly for complex tasks that arise during the website development process, such as authentication, verification, data management, and other.
WordPress advantages include:
- Search-engine friendly structure
- Integrated link management
- Clean permalink structure
- Ability to assign multiple categories to posts
- Automatic filters for formatting and styling of text in posts
- Editing content both in a visual editor and an HTML-based text editor
- Customizable features with the use of plugins
- Easy integration of third-party services
- Large supporting community worldwide
Laravel advantages include:
- Developer friendly structure supported by excessive documentation
- Implemented authentication system
- Simple validation and authorization process for web apps
- Easily manageable automated tasks
- Consistency in database migrations
- Fast and painless deployment of apps
- Customizable features with the use of packages
- Easy integration of third-party services
- Large supporting community worldwide
How to make a choice?
If creating a blog
Remember our travel writer from the abovementioned situation? Well, if she wants a blog and she needs it fast, we believe you should go with WordPress.
Why would it be a better solution?
WordPress is much better at dealing with a lot of content that the future website is to hold. Also, if the owner of that website does not possess strong technical skills, it will make it easier to manage the posts later on.
Besides that, if your client want, for example, an all-in-one SEO package implemented into their website, you can use that particular plugin for WordPress and make website administrators’ job less time-consuming.
Being search-engine friendly platform is, by the way, one of the most important advantages of WordPress. Knowing that blogs are meant to be read and followed by as much audience as possible, possibilities for a higher online visibility would be another reason for choosing this system.
The same goes for all other content-based websites, such as media portals, online portfolios, single-page websites, various web platforms, online presentations for smaller and medium-size companies, and similar sites.
If developing a web application
In case you are dealing with a web application and complicated never-before-seen requirements from your clients (remember our imagined tech-savvy entrepreneurs?), you might want to choose Laravel. Why? Well, Laravel’s main purpose is to ease a developer’s job for complex issues in web apps, so it simply might serve you better on this type of quest.
If you are developing a large-scale data management application, an innovative tool for a remote team collaboration, global online dealership and everything similar to that, Laravel might be a better solution as well.
Not to get confused, though, we are not suggesting that you cannot build a complex website from the ground up using WordPress. You can, of course, and you can undoubtedly make it a bespoke web location.
Please also keep in mind that WordPress has recently released its first plugin for progressive web applications (PWA). The use of PWAs is by all means on the rise lately as they hold a position of one of the most significant development trends in 2018.
On the other hand, there are several applications that can help you to create content management system specifically for Laravel, such as PyroCMS, Statamic, OctoberCMS, Quarx, and others.
All in all, when you are dealing with the development of web applications, you can follow this as a recommendation – for the light and medium-weight applications you might want to use WordPress, and for heavy-weight projects you may consider choosing Laravel instead.
If building an online shop
Should you develop an e-commerce site using WordPress or Laravel?
Since WordPress has a vastly popular plugin called WooCommerce which was specifically designed for building online shops, you might want to check it out. It is a free open-source plugin for WordPress, with a large support and development community on GitHub. It comes with more than 600 specialized themes and many more to choose from the official WordPress directory.
WooCommerce provides a responsive website, unlimited number of products, creation of special offers and coupons, integrated payment solutions, statistical sales report, and much more.
However, if you are building an online shop that is going to sell, for example, more than 10,000 products, you might consider using Laravel for that purpose, simply because of its complexity.
Having all that said, let us sum up.
WordPress could be a go-to platform for your next project if you are:
- Creating a content-based website – blog, media portal, online portfolio, etc.
- Developing a quality website within a short time period
- Building a custom-made website for someone who does not possess strong technical skills
- Making an online shop for a smaller or medium-size companies
Laravel might be your first choice if you are:
- Building a data-based website – booking service, project management app, payment gateway, etc.
- Developing a custom-made web application with complex features
- Creating a large-scale e-commerce solution
In the end, it is up to you to make a choice for every new project. Of course, try to consider the important questions right from the start – what kind of a website do you need, for whom, and with what goal?
We hope that all the information provided above will make your choice easier.
If you are interested in learning more on this subject, take a look at the related articles:
- How to become a PHP programmer
- WordPress vs. Blogger: which platform to use and why
- Best web development blogs to follow