WordPress isn’t awful. In fact, I recommend WordPress to everyone who wants to start a blog. Despite this, I switched from WordPress to Hugo a couple of weeks ago. The real reason came down to cost and simplicity.
Running a WordPress blog meant that I needed a good shared hosting environment with a MySQL server and PHP execution. I first tried Hostgator, and it was sufficient enough while my blog had less than a hundred of visitors per month. As my traffic grew, the performance degraded and there were also valuable things like SSL that I wanted on my website.
That led me to Siteground, which has been an amazing hosting service with easy SSL setup and built-in support for CloudFlare and their own special caching mechanism (no, this is not an ad). This kept my site reasonably fast. Still, there were multiple times when a WordPress plugin went crazy and created a huge spike in my CPU resources which caused Siteground to temporarily shutdown my website. Also, after the promotional price ended, I realized that paying $240 to renew my package wasn’t worth the cost to me.
By switching to Hugo, I did not need an environment with a MYSQL server or PHP execution. Therefore, I could use one of the many free resources such as GitHub pages which allows me to host static files. Also, GitHub pages setups every page with SSL by default. Since its static, I don’t have to worry about scaling up to different plans for better performance either.
WordPress ia a monolith with a lot of moving parts. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but opens you open to so many possible vulnerabilities and hidden complexity. I realized that I did not need any of that. My content is truly static. I post a tutorial or a random thought and that’s it. There’s no user interaction, no e-commerce, or no special calendar system. I simply have a domain that I post what could be simple Word documents.
From a developer’s viewpoint, I think working with WordPress is not that fun. Yes, you’re dealing with ordinary PHP but you also have to deal with the WordPress API and their way of doing things. Such as queuing script files, or creating hooks in your function.php.
When it comes to simplicity, I like how Hugo allows me to focus on writing and less on all the other fluff that I don’t really need.
I am not trying to convince you to switch to Hugo. If WordPress works fine for you then stick with it. In the end, it’s all about what goes better with your workflow. Building a site with Hugo has its own challenges and downsides over WordPress, so don’t think its all rosy either.