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We weight the pros and cons of WordPress and Laravel to help you decide which technology to use

As a PHP developer, you could easily face a dilemma – to develop a custom WordPress website or to opt for Laravel and create something less common?

You might also wonder why you should choose one of these web technologies over the other.

To answer these questions, let's look at what WordPress and Laravel have in common, how they differ and – most importantly – when to use them, how and why.

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WordPress And Laravel Similarities

WordPress and Laravel can both help you build highly functional websites with great user experience and simple-to-manage admin panels.

In addition to that, both WordPress and Laravel:

  • Include free open-source web technologies
  • Are based on Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP)
  • Are fast, flexible and pragmatic
  • Run on an object-oriented structure
  • Include supportive online communities

Everything can be customized in both Laravel and WordPress, although WordPress runs on a theme-based structure with plugin-architecture (there are more than 57,000 WP plugins, such as plugins for blog based businesses) while Laravel has customizable features and packages, as well as reusable sets of PHP libraries.

WordPress And Laravel Differences

With more than 38% of websites running on WordPress worldwide, WordPress is the most popular solution for web development.

However, Laravel is also growing in popularity and more and more web apps are being built with Laravel framework.

Besides the fact that WordPress is a PHP-based content management system (CMS) and Laravel is a PHP framework, the main differences between these two solutions are:

  • WordPress requires less development experience than Laravel
  • The learning curve for WordPress is much simpler than for Laravel
  • Writing database queries and migrating databases is easier with Laravel than with WordPress
  • WordPress depends on plugins for most of the functionalities, while Laravel has built-in features for validation, authorization, inversion of control, etc.
  • Too many plugins can substantially slow down the page loading speed of WordPress sites, while Laravel pages load faster due to easily manageable automated tasks
  • The security of WordPress websites depends on updates and maintenance of (third-party) plugins, while the safety and stability of Laravel platforms have the advantages of authentication, protection against cross-site scripting (XSS), minimizing cross-site request forgery (CSRF), etc.

WordPress has also proven to be more efficient with frequent content updates on a website. On the other hand, Laravel is often a better solution for custom web design, dealing with data management and large-scale systems.

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When To Use WordPress

WordPress websites are typically based on themes, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t create your own theme from scratch or customize an existing one to fit your needs.

For a WordPress website development starting from scratch, you can go through WordPress Codex as it’s the most important WP documentation resource.

To utilize WordPress CMS, consider building:

  • An SEO-friendly business website
  • An online portfolio integrated with social networks
  • A presentational website for professional or personal use
  • A blog, news portal or a platform with a heavy load of written content
  • A simple webshop or a mid-size eCommerce website

Note: If building an eCommerce site on WordPress, the best practice is to use WooCommerce, a completely customizable WP platform specifically designed for eCommerce solutions.

All in all, if you want to a build responsive, optimized, high-performing website – and you want to build it fast – WordPress is likely your best choice.

WordPress.org home page screenshot
[Source: WordPress]

When To Use Laravel

If you are dealing with more complex requirements and you want to build custom web applications supported with excessive documentation, you should consider Laravel.

In fact, the main purpose of creating Laravel back in 2011 was to help developers deal with complicated tasks more easily. That’s why this framework is focused on flexible, straightforward syntax coding.

The best use for Laravel includes:

  • Complex web applications
  • Dynamic websites with flexible back-end systems
  • Membership-based platforms that process a lot of information
  • Large-scale eCommerce websites with 10,000+ products

One of the most important advantages of Laravel is the incorporated unit-testing feature that enables multiple, simultaneous tests and provides additional stability to web apps. Plus, its pragmatic MVC pattern makes Laravel a highly efficient web development tool.

To start building a Laravel website, read Documentation on Laravel’s website for more information and obtain the documents you need to take your Laravel development project off the ground.

Laravel home page screenshot
[Source: Laravel]

Is A Laravel-WordPress Hybrid Possible?

Yes, Laravel can be integrated with WordPress and the two can be used together. This way, you’ll get to manage the backend administration panel through WordPress and the frontend through Laravel.

The most popular way to use such a hybrid is by a collection of PHP classes called Corcel. It’s an open-source collection built on top of the Eloquent technique from Laravel to help developers get data directly from a WordPress database.

Integration between Laravel and WordPress can be a useful solution for developers who want to rely on WordPress CMS while managing complex tasks in Laravel.

Conclusion

The main difference between WordPress and Laravel is in the types of projects you are going to build with these technologies.

The bottom line:

  • WordPress is much better for web presentations, blogs, news portals and small to medium-sized online stores
  • Laravel is a better solution for large eCommerce websites, complex web apps, complicated backend systems and another complex, typically custom-made product design
  • A hybrid between WordPress and Laravel is also possible and it might be a perfect fit for experienced PHP developers who want the familiarity of WordPress and the streamlined workflow of Laravel incorporated into their projects

Depending on the project at hand, the best way to decide is to go through the pros and cons of both technologies and find the right fit for your next website, web app, eCommerce site or specialized digital platform.

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