Ask DN: Wordpress vs. Craft CMS

over 7 years ago from , Product Designer / Hacker

Hey Everyone, yesterday I posted a general question (https://news.layervault.com/stories/20987-craft-vs-perch-vs-statamic--whats-the-best-cms-for-my-needs) about a few CMS's I was evaluating. Out of the ones I mentioned I got a lot of good feedback on Craft. The big decision I'm making is switching from Wordpress as a CMS platform but I'm trying to understand the real pros and cons. What are the big benefits of using Craft over Wordpress?


  • Steve AdamsSteve Adams, 7 years ago

    I've been using Craft since before it was released publicly, and I can say with all certainty that Craft is the best CMS I've used professionally or experimented with personally.

    I've built sites with Joomla, Wordpress, EE, Perch, ModX, Drupal, Statamic, and a few others. None of these compare with the freedom and flexibility that Craft offers.

    With Craft, you're not stuck in a WP loop, Joomla content structure, or Drupal spaghetti of plugins just to do something basic.

    After learning to swim in Craft, there is not much I can conceive of that would be difficult accomplish. The freedom of being able to add a few lines of code that would normally require several plugins in the other CMS's is very liberating.

    As I look back on older projects of mine not using Craft, I find myself thinking of how convoluted those solutions were compared to how I do things now.

    Craft certainly is not for everyone, if you're a Open Source monkey who just slaps things together and hopes for the best, you're probably not going to 'get' what Craft is all about initially. But if you're willing to learn some best practices and how Craft is intended to be used, then you will find yourself with the 'god-like' powers of a developer whose default answer is an honest and un-panicked 'YES, we can do that.'

    If you're working with any other CMS, then you owe it to yourself and your career to try Craft. If not, enjoy figuring out how you're going to implement all that functionally in the RFP, w/o having to hack away at things just to pull it off.

    Simply put, Craft bends to your will, not the otherway around as is the case with most other CMS's

    7 points
    • Nathan HueningNathan Huening, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

      ^ This (x 1 million)

      My reply from yesterday: https://news.layervault.com/comments/57682

      1 point
    • Matt ScorteMatt Scorte, 7 years ago

      If been really struggling with the question of which CMS to use, and when to even use a CMS.

      Does Craft have a steep learning curve? I am more a designer, but I still learn code to make my sites. Would it be a good thing to learn. I did an Ask DN and I was told best practice is to write everything static and then implement the CMS. Would this be how I would do in in Craft?

      1 point
      • Jake ChapmanJake Chapman, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

        Twig has a little bit of a learning curve but that's only because of how much functionality and control you have. With other templating languages there really isn't a learning curve, but you look at the amount of control you have and its saddening.

        Take a peek over at http://twig.sensiolabs.org/

        Just a super quick example showing how to loop through entries from lets say the "Blog" section.

        {% paginate craft.entries.section('blog') as entries %} // Check if there are any entries {% if entries|length %} {{ entry.title }} {% else %} // No entries <p>No entries SUCKA!</p> {% endif %} {% endpaginate %}

        What's really awesome about Twig is there is no Parse Order, so if I wanted to have an partial of what a specific type of blog article looks like, it super simple with no needing to figure out of the right data will be in the included partial.

        {% paginate craft.entries.section('blog') as entries %} // Check if there are any entries {% if entries|length %} {% if entry.type == "photoarticle" %} {% include "_partials/photoarticle.html" %} {% else %} {% include "_partials/regular-blog.html" %} {% endif %} {% else %} // No entries <p>No entries SUCKA!</p> {% endif %} {% endpaginate %}
        0 points
        • Matt ScorteMatt Scorte, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

          I definitely need to research it more. Didn't realize is was $300. Might be a lot for me, being in college and all.

          I guess I can use the free version until I get bigger clients.

          0 points
          • Nathan HueningNathan Huening, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

            The $199 Client version will work for you in almost cases: the Pro really is everything but the kitchen sink. But honestly, does the cost matter that much? I mean, it's a line item expense to the client; you're not paying it out of pocket.

            If your client is not expecting charges in addition to your actual production work, you're not setting expectations right. You'll need to acquire photographs (stock or custom?), maybe hire an illustrator or copywriter, purchase a web license for a font, certainly software costs are factored in... You can't be expected to do good work with shitty inputs ("garbage in, garbage out").

            Put another way: if $300 is too high a license fee for your clients to pay, you need better clients. That's what, 3 billable hours? Just add the time to your production estimate.

            0 points
            • Matt ScorteMatt Scorte, 7 years ago

              Yeah I don't think 300 is a big price when working with clients. Right not I am in the beginning phases, where I am doing personal projects, and a site for my church. So $300 for me now looks like a lot, but I think in the future, if I do a lot more of this, it wouldn't be a big deal.

              0 points
      • Nathan HueningNathan Huening, 7 years ago

        In general, yes -- that's the best practice. If you're going to implement a photo gallery, let's say, then you'd do a few of them as static entries with asset, title, caption, date, etc. Mark it up straight. Then, replace all of them with the template code that generates each entry which, of course, will be different for each CMS. But that's the gist.

        0 points
  • Account deleted 7 years ago

    Craft CMS. It's the best cms of all time.

    3 points
  • Warren BaskinWarren Baskin, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

    Craft is a great choice; it reminds me of Kirby CMS.

    A benefit of using a CMS like this is that you can easily customize it to be lightweight and compliment your front-end. It's very straightforward and does only what you need it to do.

    Wordpress is great for what it is, but I personally find it to be disconnected from my front-end and full of features that I'll never use. I also don't like working with Wordpress plugins, but that's another story...

    3 points
  • Jake ChapmanJake Chapman, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

    I'm going to have to 2nd what Steve A. said. I've been apart of the Beta group since before release and was on the craft chats for the beta and it's absolutely the best thing out hands down.

    I wouldn't necessarily call it a CMS though. It's been labeled as one and yes it is one but I feel it should be labeled as a CMF/S. Their plugin development API is absolutely amazing. It really does give access to the entire Yii Framework to do build whatever you want to build, but sets it up in a way that whatever you're building is working correctly with the CMS itself correctly and as efficiently as possible.

    Obviously most people in here are Designers... so Twig, Crafts templating is the best thing you'll use to date. Coming from WP / ExpressionEngine and also a background in CodeIgnitor / Laravel frameworks... working with Twig is best. It doesn't have a Parse order, so you never have to worry about View Data being correctly set inside of includes or partials, which means template organization and reusability sky rockets which also means productivity and workflow skyrockets.

    I haven't even started talking about the concepts behind setting up the types of content the CMS will handle. Brandon and the peeps at Pixel and Tonic have done an outstanding job of being extremely thoughtful about what it means to be a CMS and how to handle content, what content is, what type of content that is and how it should be related to other content.

    What's so fantastic about the way that Craft handles content is they've learned from all the mistakes from Wordpress / Drupal and ExpressionEngine and alot of the other major CMSes.

    Pros of CraftCMS -> WAY to many to count, it just keeps getting better and better the more and more I develop with it.

    Cons of CMS -> the ABSOLUTE ONLY downside to CraftCMS right now is the Plugin Community. There aren't as many plugins yet and the only real reason for that is because its still in it's early life of a being a CMS, but it's picking up EXTREMELY fast, they just released a new API called the ElementType API which has changed the game again for plugin development. Take a look over at http://straightupcraft.com/craft-plugins which keeps a pretty up to date list of plugins for Craft, this list is only from people who submit their plugin though, so there are probably many more that are not listed.

    I really feel the whole "Wordpress has its place" excuse has been played out. It's not even a "framework" - It's a Blogging platform that has been hacked to flipping pieces to work like a CMS, but it will NEVER be a CMS because..... well, ITS NOT A CMS. The only thing that WP has on anything else is it's Plugin Community, which even that is a disaster because you have tons of people writing crappy code that don't keep their code updated for each WP release and shit starts breaking left and right, which causes clients to spend more money in the long run.

    I guess "Wordpress has its place" isn't completely wrong, it does... as a blogging platform. Are you building a simple blog with no other functionality or no other type of content other then an "Article"? Then go for it, if not.. do yourself a favor and keep yourself from the pain and agony of WP and just use something else, preferably CraftCMS because you will see the benefits IMMEDIATELY.

    2 points
  • Stephan AngoStephan Ango, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

    So glad to see the Craft love here on DN. I've been playing with it for a few weeks and it's amazing. It now powers both of my big projects: http://lumi.co and http://edgemade.com.

    I have never seen a CMS that is so competent at providing excellent flexibility on the backend AND excellent user interface on the frontend (especially for non-technical writers and contributors). I love it.

    2 points
  • pjotr .pjotr ., 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

    Sounds like it's really a choice between Free and $299.

    2 points
    • Steve AdamsSteve Adams, 7 years ago

      You would think so, but how much of your time is that $300 worth.

      The way I look at it, Craft saves me so much time, the price is negligible compared to the extra work of a 'free' CMS. If you spend a few hours wrangling some crazy plugin on a 'free' CMS then you've already paid for Craft.

      Free isn't always free, and $300 for what Craft does is a huge bargain.

      2 points
    • Nathan HueningNathan Huening, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

      Sure, if your time is worthless. When I can offer more value to my clients with less effort and in less time, that's worth an awful lot more than 300 measly dollars. Especially so on a $50k+ project... it's not unusual to spend 10 times that amount just in sourcing photo assets. Hell, I'll gladly pay a few hundred dollars out of pocket not to have to use Wordpress ever again.

      Also, who wouldn't want great tools? You're a maker, aren't you? In another life I was a professional chef and was always on the lookout for the best tools to do my job. Not all tools are created equal: some are created with more care, last longer, have sharper edges, more comfortable handles, etc. I spent a small fortune on my kitchen tools because I enjoyed my craft that much more using them. How is this any different?

      1 point
  • Eric ResslerEric Ressler, 7 years ago

    Do it. You'll never turn back to Wordpress and you'll quickly realize how much it was slowing down your dev process.

    Craft is awesome and allows you to code your front-end the way that you want. Templating is super clean with Twig. It's a real CMS, not a bloated blogging platform.

    2 points
  • David Klein, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

    What about Squarespace?

    Note: Just read yesterday's post. Nevermind! :)

    2 points
  • eli peters, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    I've been with craft since its onset and even suggested that craft include the Site Homepage link in the header - which was a feature of Expression Engine.

    Firstly I would like to talk about the cost of this cms. $299 is a little steep considering the market these days and the abundance of free website building AND hosting tools. Pixel & Tonic, in my opinion, feel the price is justified but I suspect that a lot of people like me who followed them from EE matches the cost of $299 although you would need to pay extra for add-ons for EE such as Wygwam and Matrix which is not true of Craft. To keep cost down I opt for the $199 USD version which suits most of my clients needs. Any website job below $1500 is not feasible with Craft unless you can turn over a website or more per week, but then a free cms like Wordpress becomes a viable option - template websites yuck!

    The Pro's - its fantastic! It's probably one of the easiest templating language to use. The power of Wordpress is in the templates but if you want custom then Craft is what you want. Twig has probably the best documented programming language found on Sensio Labs website - best in it's legibility, simplicity, informative and beautiful design.

    The Con's - Craft's documentation has always been a little restrictive. It's fault really lies in the name "Craft" which is not a unique search term on Google so almost everything has to be searched for using their docs or one of the support forums. There are some gems of code snippets out there but finding them can be difficult. The navigation needs some work and is missing the basics such as "selected" states and "has-children" classes which was included in EE's add-on Structure. Try finding ".hasDescendants()" in the docs and you won't get the method result.

    FYI- all of the EE add-ons I have mentioned are built by Pixel & Tonic the makers of Craft.

    The latest website I have built using Craft http://earthscool.com.au

    0 points
  • Brandon KellyBrandon Kelly, over 5 years ago

    Here’s a post on the Craft CMS Stack Exchange site that asks the same question: http://craftcms.stackexchange.com/questions/11414/differences-between-craft-and-wordpress

    A couple people who actively develop in both platforms gave very comprehensive and helpful answers.

    0 points
  • Gletzer SigGletzer Sig, over 6 years ago

    I have been looking at Craft cms alot the last weeks but still have not taken the plunge of setting up a site with it. I am working on new site which is an audiobook site with well over a 1000 audiobooks. The site needs a complete overhall and I will be setting it up from scratch. I have been using Drupal for a few years and find it would be a bit of an overkill for this site. Besides I generally do not enjoy much working in Drupal, for all the known reasons. As the audiobook site is fairly basic in structure and needs and I want something easy to work with for me and especially for my editors. I am wondering if I should go for Craft cms or better to look to Wordpress for this project? ps. I have no experience with Wordrpess.. and am a bit excited to try Craft cms. But as usual want the right tool for the job. As you can read I am a bit lost on comparing the two together.

    0 points
  • Dan Boland, 7 years ago

    I'm at the very, very beginning phases of messing around with Craft so I can't add too much about the CMS itself, but what I can say is that they're very responsive on Twitter (@craftcms). I asked them a few questions and within a minute each time, I had a valid and useful response.

    0 points
  • Matt ScorteMatt Scorte, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    So would this be the CMS to use for everything? Would I still code everything in HTML/CSS then add twig? Would this be good for the more designer type?

    0 points
    • Jake ChapmanJake Chapman, over 7 years ago

      I currently won't use another CMS for a website, web applications are another story.

      Yes you still code just like you would any other website for the front-end. Twig is Crafts templating language...

      so you're on an article for a blog, and the template that is being rendered is _entry.html - In that template there is a Twig variable all ready for you to use in the template to display that articles content.

      {{ entry.title }} - displays that articles title

      maybe you have an image field

      {{ entry.hero.first().url }} - displays the first image in that specific asset field

      Again, checkout the docs to get a better idea of how craft is used. If you've ever used a CMS other then wordpress, you've used a templating language. Twig is just a better solution IMO.

      0 points
  • Catalin CimpanuCatalin Cimpanu, 7 years ago

    Before you do anything or let others decide for you, head on to the Craft CMS website and check out the docs. You may not like what you find there, while I'm sure you can find WordPress tutorials hiding under your desk if you look enough.

    0 points
    • Jess EddyJess Eddy, 7 years ago

      "You may not like what you find there" - I will look but perhaps you can tell me what you don't like - as this is what it sounds like?

      0 points
      • Catalin CimpanuCatalin Cimpanu, 7 years ago

        I did not mean it as something negative. But people have their own standards when it comes to products, services, CMSs, etc. and not all the times are these standards full-filed

        Just wanted to make sure you went over them and understood how the CMS works before choosing to use it. Especially if you plan to use it for client work.

        0 points
    • Eric ResslerEric Ressler, 7 years ago

      Although the craft docs are pretty high-level and conceptual currently, without too many example snippets, anything you can't figure out intuitively based on Craft's awesome structure and Twig for templating can always be put out to their Google+ community. You'll often get a response from one of the Craft lead devs within an hour or 2.

      You can also file an official support ticket through the backend. Their support is awesome.

      2 points