Updated: ExpressionEngine 4 vs. Wordpress
2017 February 13
One of the most common questions we receive, especially with new clients, is about why we choose ExpressionEngine (now free!!) 4 as our preferred Content Management System (CMS) for websites, as opposed to something like WordPress.
ExpressionEngine 4 is something I had heard very little about before I started working at Omaha Media Group, so I had similar questions at the time. Before long, the answer was clear to me.
The number one reason we choose to use ExpressionEngine 4 over any other CMS is simple: Security. ExpressionEngine 4's core system is rock-solid and hasn't had a security breach in over 10 years.
You read that right, 10 years! It's also PCI-compliant right out of the box. FYI, PCI-compliance is a set of requirements designed to ensure that all companies that process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment (I'll attach a link below for more information).
On the other hand, WordPress has massive security vulnerabilities and requires frequent security updates. In our opinion, EE's security alone is worth the price of admission.
WordPress was initially designed as software for bloggers and it has grown from there. It's perfect for small businesses and individuals looking to make a splash on the web, especially those without any web design or development experience.
Anyone can go find a theme they like for their WordPress site, add their logo and some content, and suddenly have a site that looks good and that they can manage themselves. For businesses (both large and small) or individuals looking for something more unique, in design or in content, this can be woefully inadequate.
ExpressionEngine 4 was designed for web developers. It forgoes the theme system in favor of a simple, but powerful, template system.
We build every site from the ground up, starting with the design process. With ExpressionEngine 3, it's simple to import a coded design into it's template system. Then, using the system itself and sometimes some excellent third-party plugins (and some we've developed ourselves), we then tailor the site's functionality to the client's requirements.
We've used ExpressionEngine 3 for many different types of projects from simple websites to e-commerce site, portfolios, web apps, banking apps and even mobile apps, it has yet to disappoint us on any project we've chosen to use it on.
Easy to Manage
Now onto content! As technical as we like to be, it's also important for us to use a system that's going to be easy to use for the client in order to manage their content. With ExpressionEngine 4, it's simple for us to customize the publish form for each channel/section of the site, including instructions for each field we add to it.
This allows us make dynamic content and complicated layouts easy to manage for the client, as well as give them extra features and options they can choose to use on each page/entry. With WordPress, this can be a bit more difficult to accomplish and would usually require the use of third-party plugins just to achieve this same functionality.
In EE, we can also control how much of the Control Panel the client has access to which allows us to boil the (admittedly) complicated interface down to just the parts they will use. User Management, the Admin section and the Design and Templates aren't something the client will usually ever use.
I hope it's been fairly obvious that we're on the ExpressionEngine 3 bandwagon. At the same time, I don't want to completely discount WordPress and other CMS's. WordPress has made it possible and affordable for people to setup and manage their own websites for very little cost. That's something we definitely respect!
However, as security-minded web designers and developers, we find it restrictive and choose to use ExpressionEngine 4 for all the reasons above and many others (seriously, I could make this article MUCH longer). In the end, when choosing a CMS for your project, it boils down to your wants, needs and capabilities.
Certainly, ExpressionEngine 4 and WordPress are not the only options available. If you're looking for one for your project, also research Drupal, Joomla and Craft. They all have some nice features (we especially like Craft's Live Preview feature) and might be better suited for what you're looking to do. Some are free to use, other's have a licensing fee.
For example, ExpressionEngine 4 has a one-time $299 licensing fee for their full version. I would also like to note that EE has a free core version which strips some of it's features out but is still highly useable and can be used on anything but commercial sites. It's also a nice way to get your feet wet and see if it's something you would want to utilize.
Be sure to check the link below for more information. Also, use the comment section below if you have something to add to the conversation or have us address any questions we didn't cover in the article.
We're one of the oldest, largest and prettiest ExpressionEngine development firms in the universe. Really!! Need help? We'd love to help you./contact