5 Reasons Not to Build a WordPress Website

August 24, 2023

Previously, I wrote an article for the 5 reasons to build a WordPress website. However, there are also reasons not to build a WordPress. In this article, we’ll explore when it’s easier to avoid WordPress and choose something else.

1. Avoiding any “technology”

If you are building your website more-or-less by yourself and you find yourself averse to using “technology” in general, you might not want to build a WordPress website. There are certain things that are extremely beneficial for even basic WordPress maintenance that might scare you off. For example…

  • When errors arise, you might need to use your server’s file manager or an FTP program to change directory names or delete plugins manually.
  • Occasionally, you might need to change something like the site URL in the wp-config.php file or in the MySQL database.
  • It’s very helpful to understand how a WordPress website’s PHP code interacts with the MySQL database.
  • Realizing that PHP and MySQL are services you need to pay for is helpful when realizing billing or accounting for expenses.
  • Understanding your website package and how your website will respond to high visitation requires understanding how to scale PHP web servers.

You don’t need to understand all these things but in case you find yourself in a position where you don’t want to have to hire an expert, it can help to choose a different type of website such as Squarespace, Wix, or Shopify, and using the default themes provided. These services take care of your website deployment and infrastructure so you just create the web pages and manage your e-commerce products.

2. You don’t have time to keep it up-to-date

You might not want to build a WordPress website if you can’t cut out 30-60 minutes per month to update your website. Since WordPress makes up roughly 70% of the web, it is a huge target for hackers to exploit. If they figure out how to get into the WordPress core code or even one of the most popular plugins like WooCommerce or BuddyPress, they can hack into numerous websites with one piece of code.

Luckily, the WordPress team & popular plugin dev teams are always addressing these issues. The problem is that you need to update your site regularly. There have been improvements to allow auto-updating of plugins and themes in WordPress, but if those automatic updates break your website, you may have to roll them back, which requires adding another plugin or going in an reinstalling the plugin. If you don’t have a “staging” environment to test these, which is an environment that matches your main website but allows you to “stage” changes before pushing them live, you could be taking down your website by updating plugins.

While this doesn’t happen too often, it’s still a concern, and compared to the site builders I mentioned before, Squarespace, Wix, and Shopify, this is all handled by their internal teams. I’m sure it could happen that an update breaks your site, especially if anything custom is added to it, but the chances are much lower than with WordPress, since you handle the updating process and are more likely to mix and match plugins and themes.

3. Dashboards…

Even though I’ve used WordPress since 2014, I still think the dashboard is over-the-top and hard to navigate. If you don’t log in often, you might get lost, and that’s a very good reason not to build a WordPress website. When you first log in, you get the following dashboard:

I almost never find anything of use on this page, so you are already one extra click from where you want to go. As you add various plugins, you’ll see that some plugins have their own item on the left sidebar and some are nested in “Settings” or on a page in another page. Learning and then remembering where each plugin is is even difficult for me after all these years. Since I consider myself a bit of a power user, this gets frustrating for me, so I can only imagine that if you had a WordPress that you only updated once a month, you’d get lost quickly.

In my case as a developer of WordPress websites, I try to make WordPress as foolproof as possible. I try to hide items from users on the left sidebar and craft the post and page editors to show only the fields we should be editing using ACF Pro. Even then, I find myself having to explain where things are to users often, and that takes a lot of time and sometimes doesn’t even work to the point where I have to make changes for them. That defeats the whole purpose of using WordPress. But let me stop my ranting and move onto the next point…

4. You don’t blog

If you don’t have a blog-oriented content marketing strategy, you might not want to build a WordPress website. WordPress is for blogging and it has all sorts of amazing tools to help you succeed at using blog posts to attract visitors to your website. I go over this in detail in the blog post about why you should build a WordPress website.

If you aren’t blogging, why use a platform that was conceived for it? It’s like wearing snow boots in the summer; yes, you can walk around just fine all day, but your feet will be hot and probably sweat and if you have to run, you’ll spend more energy than if you just wore sneakers. I’m a huge proponent of using the right tool for the job. I will even convince potential clients not to use me if they aren’t going to take advantage of the services I provide for WordPress or static websites etc. It would be a headache for the client and myself to force them to use a tool that doesn’t do the job they want done.

5. Drag-and-drop customization & theming

If you want to make a lot of minute changes to your website by yourself, you might not want to build a WordPress website. The WordPress team is trying become more drag-and-drop friendly and there are plenty of tools for adding that functionality to WordPress websites like Beaver builder, Divi, and Elementor. But Squarespace and Wix were built to be drag-and-drop from the beginning. They’ve pretty much figured it all out. The plugins you’d use to add drag-and-drop building to WordPress would start to complicate it more.

Then you could find that something you want to edit is not editable in the interface. That’s when you need to hire someone like me to create a child theme and edit it that way. Being a programmer makes WordPress much easier to use. Not being one can make it frustrating.


What WordPress strives to do is make it seem like anyone can have a website. This is true but you should try to build a WordPress website rather than any kind of website. Let’s say you aren’t technical and you don’t want to hire a programmer, here’s when I would use a WordPress website:

  • You want to blog.
  • You find yourself a perfect theme. That means a theme you wouldn’t change a thing with.
  • You can spend 30-60 minutes at least per month on the website.
  • You might want to add products or product management to your site.

Here’s when you wouldn’t want to build a WordPress website:

  • You aren’t interested in blogging.
  • You have a specific idea for the website appearance and can’t find a theme that matches it.
  • You don’t have time for the website.
  • You don’t want to hire a programmer or learn anything about coding on the web.

If you want to hire a programmer to work on your website and/or have a team that you can delegate tasks for the website to, then you open up all the possibilities that come with a WordPress website.

David is a front end leaning full stack developer, staff engineer, and tech lead who specializes in project management and creating scalable application architecture. His stack of choice is Typescript, React.js, Node.js, and DynamoDB on AWS infrastructure, orchestrated by SST. He's been coding professionally since 2011. He acquired a BS in Electronic Arts and an MFA in Computer Arts at RPI and SVA respectively.