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WordPress vs Custom Coded Websites: What’s The Difference?

When deciding what framework to utilise when creating your website, it’s important to establish your goal and the type of experience you would like users to have when using your website.

In the world of web development today, your choices generally are between a completely custom designed and coded website, combining and utilising the appropriate frameworks dependent on the purpose of the website, or opting for a ‘Drag-and-Drop’ system for creating a website where ‘what you see is what you get’.

Custom code is used far less and only when a specific result is desired outside of the scope of the builder itself. There are various services which allow users to create their website through the ‘Drag-and-Drop’ method, but for the sake of simplicity we will be comparing the most popular framework, WordPress.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is an open-source CMS, or Content Management System which allows you to create and manage a website. It is a collection of core files, databases, and additional files that users may add or install that are all managed through a central dashboard.

It offers great amounts of flexibility and customisation and is an extremely well supported platform for creating websites. WordPress is built using a combination of the programming language PHP and database language such as MySQL.

Without diving into too much of the technical aspects, WordPress allows users to create and deploy websites effortlessly through the use of various ‘Drag-and-Drop’ builders, themes and plugins which can alter the ‘look-and-feel’ and functionality of their website substantially with virtually no coding knowledge required on their part.

Platforms such as WordPress streamline the process of creating a website and essentially give anyone the tools to create a website for their business with a much faster turnaround time compared to a custom coded website. It also allows users to add, remove and edit content on the fly through the dashboard with your database being managed and updated automatically by the CMS itself.

Pros of using WordPress:

  • Streamlines the process of creating a website.
  • Much easier to maintain and update content.
  • A variety of themes and plugins that are available to easily customize and add functionality to your website.
  • Consistently updated with new features and bug fixes.

What is Custom-Coded?

Now that we have touched on the basic idea of what WordPress/CMS is, we can discuss what it means to ‘custom-code’ a website and the benefits of doing so.

The premise of custom coding a website involves just as the name would suggest – typing out each line of code into a text editor to create a website or web application. This is quite the oversimplification, but essentially this involves a skilled developer utilising the necessary frameworks in order to develop a website from the ground-up.

This process is far more time consuming, skill orientated and complex than using a CMS, but essentially it eliminates the limitations we face when using a CMS. When custom coding a website, it is at the developer’s discretion which programming language or framework they decide to use in order to achieve a specific goal.

The result when choosing a custom coded website is that you have full control over every aspect of the functionality, design, and interactivity of the website. Using custom code allows for simpler, more secure code and therefore faster loading times.

The question stands of which is the better route to take when developing a website. The answer is that it depends on what you are trying to achieve and the type of functionality and interactivity you would like to have on your website. For most businesses and individuals, a CMS is all you will really need and more. For the individuals who want something a little bit more unique and specialised with customised functionality and built with modern frameworks, custom coded websites are the route to take.