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 familiar. 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.
Table of Contents
What Is WordPress?
WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that allows users to create, publish and manage websites without the need for advanced technical skills or coding knowledge. It is an open-source platform, meaning it is free to use, and developers can modify it to suit their needs.
WordPress provides various features and functionality, including customizable templates or themes that determine a website's overall look and feel. Its plugins offer added functionality such as social media integration, eCommerce capabilities, and SEO.
WordPress also has a large and active community of users, developers, and contributors who offer support, advice, and resources through forums, blogs, and documentation. The community aspect has played a significant role in WordPress's popularity and success, as users can collaborate and share knowledge to improve the platform.
What Is Laravel?
Laravel is a PHP framework designed to simplify web application development by providing developers with tools and features that speed up the process and reduce the risk of errors. It is an open-source platform — free to use and can be modified by developers to meet specific project requirements.
Laravel is a code-heavy platform that requires developers to have knowledge and experience in HTML, PHP, and CSS to create a functional website. Therefore, it may not be the best choice for beginners looking to build their first website without prior experience.
For experienced developers and top IT service providers, Laravel offers a flexible and scalable platform that can handle projects of any size. It provides a range of features and tools, including routing, templating, caching, and authentication, that you can use to build complex web applications quickly.
Primarily used for eCommerce and blogs, Laravel also has an active community of developers who offer support, advice, and resources through forums, blogs, and documentation.
Laravel vs. WordPress: Close Comparison
While WordPress is the world’s top website builder, Laravel is intended for building web applications. WordPress doesn’t require coding, while Laravel is complex and demanding regarding technical knowledge. However, there are more differences between them:
If accessibility is your top priority, WordPress is a better choice than Laravel. WordPress was designed to be accessible to beginners without coding experience, with a vast library of themes and plugins that can be easily installed to add new features and functionalities to a website. In contrast, Laravel requires developers with advanced coding skills to create a functional website.
Although not the best choice for beginners, Laravel offers a more flexible and scalable platform that can handle complex web applications for experienced developers. It has a solid structure, runs smoothly, and has a lot of built-in tools and resources that make it intuitive and easy to use for its target audience.
So, if you're a beginner who wants to create a website without coding, WordPress is the way to go. But if you're an experienced developer who wants a more customizable and flexible platform for complex web applications, Laravel is a good choice.
When it comes to SEO, WordPress has a slight edge over Laravel. WordPress has native SEO tools, and when combined with popular SEO plugins like Yoast, it offers a comprehensive set of features such as tracking keyword usage, creating XML sitemaps, and monitoring internal and external links.
Laravel requires you to define SEO routes and has no native SEO tools. However, Laravel websites are known to run faster than their WordPress counterparts, which can positively impact SEO rankings.
Both Laravel and WordPress have their pros and cons as eCommerce website builders. Laravel's strength lies in its uniform structure, which reduces maintenance needs, but building an eCommerce site on Laravel requires a lot of coding knowledge. Laravel offers multiple eCommerce packages, such as Aimeos, Bagisto, and Mage2.
WordPress is the most popular eCommerce platform in the world, with WooCommerce supporting over 5 million online stores. WooCommerce is a free plugin that transforms WordPress into a powerful eCommerce platform with access to almost every payment gateway. It is highly customizable and makes building an online WordPress store easy.
While Laravel offers more uniformity and requires more coding knowledge, WordPress (WooCommerce) provides more accessibility and customization options. Both platforms can be excellent choices for eCommerce websites, depending on the needs and skills of the developer.
Laravel has many customization options in the form of packages. Some are free, but most are premium. However, If you have the technical knowledge and skills, you can code attractive pages with Laravel without spending a dime.
WordPress has 10.701 free themes to choose from in addition to thousands of premium themes. Each is customizable, and you can change all colors, fonts, and layouts. You can also use page builder plugins to create something entirely unique for your website.
In short, both platforms offer many design options, but WordPress has a broader range of free themes and more customization options for beginners.
Laravel has built-in security features, such as authentication mechanisms, password encryption, route protection, and security against common threats like CSRF (cross-site request forgery) and SQL injections. These features make Laravel a very secure platform.
On the other hand, WordPress has had security concerns in the past, but the platform has worked to address them. Today, WordPress has implemented security improvements and has a large community that provides support to keep it secure. However, it may require additional measures to ensure website security, such as installing security plugins and regular updates.
Laravel is considered more secure than WordPress due to its advanced security features, while WordPress requires additional security measures to increase website security.
Laravel has a natural advantage in terms of scalability because it is built using the model-view-controller (MVC) architecture, which separates the application logic from the user interface (UI). MVC architecture makes it easy to add or remove features as your business grows without impacting the website's speed and performance.
WordPress has limitations in terms of customization; adding too many plugins or features can slow down the website. However, enterprise hosting services like Kinsta can help WordPress websites scale without sacrificing performance.
Regarding speed, Laravel is a better choice than WordPress. The world’s most popular CMS offers a variety of plugins, but they can significantly slow the website, especially if you use too many of them or if they are incompatible.
Laravel has a unique feature called Eloquent ORM (Object-Relational Mapper) that helps it quickly and efficiently get the data from the database. The necessary information can load and display quickly, which results in a faster website.
Laravel requires skilled developers to build and maintain the app; therefore, it can be more expensive than WordPress. Developers must build everything from scratch, both a functional back end and an attractive front end, which can be time-consuming and costly.
WordPress doesn't necessarily require developers’ services because it doesn't require coding; thus, it can save you money and time. However, you may need to pay for premium plugins and themes to add functionality and design to your website.
WordPress developers are also usually less expensive than Laravel developers because Laravel can be more challenging for heavily customized web apps.
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.
- 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). Meanwhile, 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 among web development companies. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
WordPress vs Laravel: Takeaways
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.
WordPress vs Laravel FAQs
1. Is Laravel better than WordPress?
Laravel and WordPress are fundamentally different technologies. Laravel is a framework for building custom web applications, while WordPress is a content management system (CMS).
Both platforms have advantages and disadvantages; both can make beautiful and functional websites, but WordPress is easier to use and more affordable.
2. Is Laravel or WordPress better for SEO?
WordPress outperforms Laravel in terms of SEO. WordPress is developed to emphasize SEO; it includes built-in SEO tools that can be enhanced with the Yoast plugin. Laravel doesn’t have native SEO features; you can use external tools, but they will take time and effort.
3. Which big websites use Laravel?
Some well-known websites built on Laravel are 9GAG, Pfizer, BBC, Invoice Ninja, Alison and Barchart.
4. Which big websites use WordPress?
WordPress is home of many famous websites, such as Sony Music, Time magazine, Vogue, PlayStation blog, Angry Birds, The Rolling Stones, Microsoft News, Etsy, Yelp blog and others.
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