Support » Requests and Feedback » WordPress vs. ExpressionEngine

  • I have used WordPress for a few small websites and recently I took over an ExpressionEngine site. The comparisons are amazing! After reading the reviews on ExpressionEngine, I was expecting to find something that was more versatile and perhaps even easier to use than WordPress (if that is even possible). Looking at the claims of ExpressionEngine where they basically claim that ExpressionEngine is so vastly superior to WordPress I really had to wonder how it could be so superior.
    These are my personal thoughts and impressions – your mileage may vary.
    I soon had my answer. After struggling with the admin layout for a while I was getting a bit frustrated. I started to look at their documentation and found that the documentation leaves a lot to be desired also. It seems that the documentation only gives you part of the answer that you are looking for although they do give the information on what each tag does. It would be nice to have a few more examples with them.
    Here is what I found in the end:
    To my way of thinking, the admin section is very confusing because it seems to jump around a lot. To start with, if you want to get to the admin section, you have to log into a whole different section of the website that is not accessible from the main website. Almost like goint to a whole different website. This can be good or bad depending on how you look at it and what you want. If you want to edit a page, you have to go to one section of the admin area. If you want to do anything with a “module” you have to go o a different area. If you want to adjust some of the settings, yet again a different area.
    I sure like WordPress where it is all basically available by clicking on “site Admin” and everything is well organized on the left side of the screen. Sure nice that way.
    I have added some modules to ExpressionEngine. It seems that it should be straight forward (look up the module or plugin you want and click “install” then “activate”) but Expressionengine does not work this way. You download the module, copy it to one directory, copy another file to another directory and yet another file to yet another directory. Not too bad but certainly could be made to be more user friendly. I find it interesting also that ExpressionEngine claims to have made it so that you can use WordPress themes. It seems that they are pretty impressed with WordPress also. Maybe I am wrong about that though.
    I sure like the way you add plugins to WordPress. Or themes. Or Widgets. Not much more needs said there – we all know how easy WordPress makes it.
    I recebtly had a discussion with someone who was considering starting a website with ExpressionEngine. His reasoning was that ExpressionEngine was “more versatile”. I suggested that he look at the WordPress showcase. He did and was quite impressed with what he saw. Though I do not know if he actually used WordPress or ExpressionEngine in the end.
    The long and short of this rambling post is this:
    After trying to use and make sense out of ExpressionEngine, I would NEVER attempt to build a website with it. Oh, I’m sure that there are some uses for it and some reasons that it may be used by some, but while I was working with it, I kept thinking to myself, “Why go to all this trouble with Expressionengine when it is so much easier to just code the website by hand – or just use WordPress and have a quality site up in no time.”
    Wordpress is such a pleasure to use! Well laid out, easy admin navigation, easy theme options, SO many plugins and widgets for it! The support is just great on the forums and all.
    In all fairness, I guess that I am not a big fan of CMS programs, but I sure like WordPress.
    In the end, I would recommend WordPress every time.

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  • I confess to a strong bias but I think that despite the complaints occasionally posted here about support and despite the fact there isn’t any official support at all WordPress has some of the best support around. It also helps that both PHP and MySQL have some of the best online docs I’ve seen.



    Um, all you did here was critique the admin UI of WP vs EE (EE1 too, I assume, given the age of your post).

    The real difference between WP and EE is how content is structured. In WP, content is a single channel…. You write “posts”, which are aggregated to your “blog” (yes, certain WP themes can remix this basic idea creatively so it doesn’t really *look* like a blog, but it’s still a single channel post > blog model).

    EE makes no assumptions about your content. It supports multiple channels — as many as you want/need to make — so that you can manage all parts of your website.

    This is a huge, incomparable difference. Comparing WP to EE really is apples to oranges.

    WP is great for blogs, photoblogs, news, and other “article”-based sites. The sexy WP admin UI also makes it attractive for simple “hey look at us!” brochure sites, as clients can usually handle WP’s admin interface without too much stress. But WP is *not* a true CMS. As soon as you need to build something more complex than a simple blog-like site, WP becomes a nightmare of hacks, conflicting plugins, and poor or completely undocumented support.

    By contrast… EE is meant for managing complex sites with functions like shopping carts (, photo galleries (, Facebook-like social networks (, and huge databases of inventories ( It’s essentially a robust set of frontend tools for a MySQL database. That’s the “versatility” that your friend talked about with EE. It’s a completely different beast, meant for creating websites FROM SCRATCH — not dipping into a pool of 100,000 stock themes that all do more or less the same exact thing.

    Oh, and EE is fully supported. $50 for a plugin is nothing when you consider that if it’s what you need, that plugin works, works well, works securely, and is fully supported by the developer, who can actually afford to support it because he’s fairly compensated for his work… If you have a client that needs that functionality, the question you ask is, could you write that plugin for $50? Probably, no. So $50 is a bargain for that code.

    Yes, WP makes “free” attractive, but anyone that develops professionally knows the hidden cost to “free”. At the end of the day, clients want websites that work well and someone to be accountable when they don’t. “Free” is a lot less attractive when it means relying on the “kindness of strangers” or some fly-by-night coder who happened to write this thing one day and throw it out there to the plug-in library, untested and completely unsupported.


    It’s really not about EE vs WP. They are different tools. It’s about which is a suitable tool for the job at hand.

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