7 Bad Things About WordPress

Last week I did something awful, namely a list post. Luckily it wasn’t one of those linkbaity things that way too many blogs publish to get some extra eyeballs, but still. It was a list and therefore I loathe myself right now.

And I will continue to do so, because this week we’ll, or more accurately I will, talk about what’s bad with WordPress. Last week was apparantly TDH is being nice week so those of you who thought I was replaced by a doppelgänger at the WPMU.org office (is there one?) can rest easy. Your favorite asshole is back.

Right, so 7 bad things about WordPress then. Here goes.

  1. The admin interface isn’t user-friendly. I’ve touched this before, while I do think that the WordPress admin interface is one of the better options out there, it still has a long way to go before it will feel intuitive. This is a problem particularly for new users.
  2. Media management sucks. Well, it doesn’t suck really, but it can certainly be improved. Luckily this is in the works so I hope to cross this from my list in the future.
  3. There’s no truly useful page tree view. If you work with lots of static pages and are used to more traditional CMS’ then this will bother you. The page list in the admin interface should be tailored to pages hierarchical nature.
  4. Custom stuff and third-party apps. Sites relying custom post types and custom taxonomies can’t even use the official WordPress app since it can’t handle those (somewhat related). This is a shame, we should be able to solve this some way or the other.
  5. The admin interface needs to be responsive. Apps are great, but I’d really like the WordPress admin interface to become truly responsive and work on iPhones and Androids. Sure, you can’t upload images, but lots of other stuff will work and since the apps can’t keep up, at least this will let us post on the go if we use custom stuff mentioned in #4 above.
  6. Cache cache cache. WordPress doesn’t rely on caching plugins as much as it used to, in fact most sites won’t need them. I do think there should be an advanced settings page with extended cache features, something easier to setup than W3 Total Cache, but still there. From this page, help people find more advanced caching alternatives if needed, but get the basic “create flat files” caching stuff in place please.
  7. Focus less on Automattic’s stuff. Don’t get me wrong, Automattic and the core developers are doing awesome stuff for WordPress and they deserve recognition for it. We’ve talked about this briefly previously, regarding Akismet, but sometimes it gets silly. Like the featured plugins list on wordpress.org right now, featuring six great plugins, all tied to core developers or projects. Not all are Automattic, not at all, but doesn’t it seem a bit one-sided?

It was surprisingly hard writing this list actually. I really love WordPress and are, despite the hard-earned lessons from before, working on a second WordCamp in Sweden this year. WordPress pays my bills and I contribute as much as I can, I write books and I get annoyed when the platform is moving in the wrong direction, or when people are being asshats.

I bitch and I whine and I come across as a negative bastard sometimes, but I do it because I truly believe that WordPress is important. For free speech, for open source, and for making the web a better place.

Seems I got a bit teary-eyed there. Here’s the soap box, I’ll go have a Big Peat and be nostalgic now.

Big Peat? Ralfy knows what I’m talking about:

Rage photo by Thoth, God of Knowledge (CC)

18 Responses


      That is a great plugin actually, although it does need a bit of UI love. Thanks for sharing the link, I had forgotten about it, actually installed it for a customer a while back. :)

    Corey Kretsinger
    • Elite
    • 865
    • #91

    I’m amazed the text editor didn’t make this list.

    Of all the things that holds beginners back, I would say that is #1.


      Well, I do think that it needs improvement, but it is still way better than the competition and most of my clients are fine with it. At least until they want more advanced formatting.

    Mitch Popilchak

    Where WP is falling behind is in security.
    There should be a one check (box) feature to enable SSL for the whole site.
    Not just the admin area. Which would be a good solution for basic securing of your login considering most users are logging in from an unsecured wireless connection.
    To be able to SSL the whole site, including admin and plugins, without having to hack many files would be ideal.

    With every WP-admin folder in the same location for every site having the ability to change that location/name from the admin area, would be a terrific and easy way to secure WP for the average user.


      A checkbox for SSL would be great, assuming it could do a check to see if there’s a certificate. Problem is, most web hosts won’t give you one without you ordering it as an extra, so it’ll confuse users unless there’s some sort of wizard that guides you through it.

      Would love that feature though.

      Shawn K. Hall

      It would also be nice if WP would provide the option to force a preferred domain, instead of allowing any variant that’ll return the content to do so. You can accomplish both of these with the following htaccess snippet (put it above the other WP processing stuff):

      # Force SSL and wwwith or wwwithout
      RewriteEngine On
      RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} !443 [OR]
      RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^example\.com
      RewriteRule (.*) https://example.com/$1 [R=301,L]

    WP Mayor

    Totally agree with all these points and the comments above, it’s great to take a step back sometimes and apply some critical thinking.

    Sebastian Cork

    I thought it was kind of interesting that you mentioned the case about focusing less on Automattic’s stuff. I often have to sift through the lists of ‘Newest’ and ‘Recently Updated’ plugins—or resort to browsing some site like WPMU.org—just to discover many of the less highlighted plugins. Said plugins are in need of featured circulation too, I’d say.


      Two and a half years later and they *still* haven’t fixed this!! How hard is it to add filters??!

      To test, I searched “backup” confident it would give many hits.

      Indeed it did. And number one, a plugin that hasn’t been updated in two years, and is not tested on my version of WP! Seriously, WP?!

      On the first page (30 items), there were 17 that were “Untested with your version of WordPress”.

      Why, after years of asking, can’t WP at least have an option to filter out outdated plugins?

      Not to mention the need for sorting, such as by rating.

      The plugins page had a major overhaul in v4 that was really just spit and polish. Ooooooo! It looks sooo much prettier that I don’t care it hasn’t improved in functionality since 2005.

      Typical WP. They think some (amateurish) spit and polish will somehow make WP so much more usable. Just like they did with the media manger, the Admin interface, the post editor etc. Form before function.

      (I probably shouldn’t bag the post editor too much because that is an area form has improved function. e.g. the galleries displaying wysiwyg)

      But there is no excuse for the plugins library.

    Glenn Hauman

    No production staging area. This is brutal when trying to make major changes to a live site, and you even feel worried working with minor changes.

    Genius Startup

    Is it just me that finds the Hello Dolly plugin totally annoying? Especially since it pops back on every upgrade.

      Lane Lester

      Oh, yes! I get so sick of Dolly… and Akismet, for that matter. It seems well established that Akismet does as much harm as good for commenting. I’m a fan of the G.A.S.P. plugin for preventing comment spam.

    Kevin Mahoney

    Better media management would make WordPress an unstoppable force. Caching is not a huge issue unless you’re getting tons of visitors. All of my clients that use WordPress love it.