When starting a new project, there’s nothing worse than staring down that first, blank page. There’s no content, no outline, and nothing to go on but your own thoughts. At the time, it can seem insurmountable. Where do you even begin? How do you put that thing in your head down on the page just as you imagine it? For most projects, it’s just a matter of getting started and jumping in headlong. But when it comes to building a website, you don’t have to jump in headlong.
This is where a content management system comes in. A good CMS will streamline all of the technical mumbo jumbo that can alienate first time site builders. The best ones can even allow you to build a site without ever touching a line of code. However, there is more than one way to build a site. For those that prefer the freedom of that blank page, a web framework like Laravel is typically the go-to option.
While both a framework and a CMS can both be used to build a site- and can even use the same coding language- each are distinct approaches to site building. Even if you’re familiar with WordPress, a framework that also uses the PHP coding language will be a completely different experience, and one with far less hand-holding. So what are the differences between Laravel vs WordPress? And what does is mean for Laravel to be a framework vs WordPress to be a CMS?
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Laravel vs WordPress: The Difference Between a Framework and a CMS
A coding framework and a CMS can both fulfill the same purpose, but there are some key differences.
This blog has talked extensively about WordPress as an effective content management system in the past. We’ve even stacked it up against numerous other comparable CMS like Kentico and Webflow. However, a CMS isn’t your only option when creating a new site. You can also use a coding framework such as Laravel. Frameworks are distinct from CMS in a few ways. Very basically, a CMS is a ready-made application for creating and maintaining a site, whereas a framework streamlines coding at every level. With a CMS, much of the “low level” coding that goes into site building comes pre-packaged, whereas frameworks require you to code your site at every level.
Some CMS systems require fluency in their coding language, but every coding framework will require you to work with base code. So, despite the fact that both Laravel and WordPress use the PHP coding language, Laravel will require a lot more effort to get a site started. On one hand, this means you have greater flexibility with base code for Laravel, but it also means that it is more prone to bugs and human error, especially if you aren’t an expert or if you’re coding without a team. A CMS on the other hand has a team working on their end to improve base code features. Since WordPress specifically is open-source, these updates are also consistent and carried out by dedicated teams of coders.
As you can probably tell by the name, a CMS is also specifically designed for content management. This makes it ideal for specific website functionalities, such as blogging.
WordPress vs Laravel for Blogging
A CMS will always be your best choice when it comes to blogging.
Content management systems are often built around needs for specific kinds of sites. Their flexibility and features vary, but they will often have more dedicated, prebuilt site features than coding frameworks. WordPress specifically is made with content delivery in mind. It features an easy-to-use interface with dedicated tabs for uploading media content and posting directly to a blog page. WordPress is also a CMS that features site visualization so that you can see roughly what your posts will look like while editing. This way, you don’t just have to rely on base, back-end coding.
In addition to this, WordPress also has some general features not standard with every CMS. These include prebuilt and custom themes, a streamlined dashboard interface, and an extensive library of plugins to expand site functionality. All of these can go a long way to improving a blog. They can also be used to expand functionality for other types of sites.
WordPress vs Laravel for eCommerce
WordPress can save you tons of time setting up an eCommerce site.
Although WordPress is structured with blog posts and recurrent content in mind, it is actually an extremely flexible system. This is mostly achieved through its robust plugin system, which allows you to significantly expand your site’s functionality. Any eCommerce needs you might have- storefront page builders, billing, ledgers, etc.- will likely have a plugin designed to cover it.
With Laravel you would have to custom build all of that functionality yourself. All the framework does is make coding those systems for streamlined. That’s good news if you have experience coding in the PHP language, but for anyone else, this coding freedom is practically useless. Essentially, if you have no experience with code, WordPress is one of the best options for site building overall, not just in comparison to Laravel. Its interface is approachable and easy, but also allows for coding and functionality freedom down the line should you choose to expand your skills and site.
So What is a Laravel Framework vs WordPress Good for?
Laravel is not without its uses, though WordPress can have just as much functionality.
Some users prefer to have complete freedom over their site and prefer frameworks to CMS. With a framework system, you have the freedom to directly code any functionality of a site you wish. This is particularly useful for specialized functions like authentication, email integration, and various social media features. A social media site like Twitter, for instance, is built on a framework rather than a CMS. So, if you’re willing and able to shell out for the next potential social media giant, you might prefer a framework like Laravel. However, even among frameworks, Laravel is not widely used. The most popular sites built with the framework are Neighborhood Lender, My Rank, and Deltanet travel. All of them are well-made sites, but they are hardly household names.
This is all, of course, assuming that a user has a certain skill with coding. That skill, while valuable, is not strictly necessary to build a website. This is why accessible CMS’s like WordPress remain so popular. On top of this, WordPress’ plugin features can add almost all of the functions that Laravel affords at a competitive cost.
Plugins, Hosting, and Cost: Other Advantages of WordPress vs Laravel
We covered plugins for eCommerce, but that’s just a small portion of what plugins are capable of. There are over 50,000 plugins available on WordPress, each developed for a specific site functionality. Since plugins each have a bespoke function and are developed by a dedicated team, you won’t have to worry about coding specific functions yourself. With such a vast library of plugins, WordPress can easily adapt to any site’s needs.
You should never make the choice of a web host lightly. A web host essentially provides server space to store your site’s data, provides updates and security to said server, and ensures that your site stays reliable and accessible to visitors. So it’s kinda a big deal. As you can also imagine, the difference in quality and services will vary drastically. The great thing about WordPress, however, is that there are tons of web hosting services built specifically for WordPress sites. WP Super Host provides dedicated hosting for sites built with WordPress and features best-in-class security and support. Using a great host with WordPress means one more thing that you won’t have to worry about when it comes to your site. So check out WP Super Host’s pricing options, including custom quotes, when considering site hosting.
Both WordPress and Laravel are free, open-source systems. You can start using either at no additional cost (after you secure hosting, of course). However, building a site will usually demand a monetary investment down the line, no matter what system or framework you use. Many WordPress plugins, for instance, require paid licenses for their full versions. Costs can also come from outsourcing web design if you require custom themes or paying a team if your site is for a company or tech startup. With all this in mind, WordPress services are still typically cheaper than comparable ones for Laravel since WordPress is an industry-standard and far easier to use.
To Sum Up
Ultimately, the difference in Laravel vs WordPress functionality comes down to frameworks versus CMS. This is especially the case here since both use the PHP coding language. But even if you are more comfortable with coding from the ground up, using a CMS like WordPress can save unnecessary time and effort building base code without sacrificing flexibility. So find the tools you need to get started with WordPress CMS. You won’t have to stare down that blank site page by yourself ever again.