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WordPress vs Next.js: 2024 comparison

The decision should depend on your project's unique needs, the expertise of your team, and your long-term digital strategy. 

12 January, 2024
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WordPress vs Next.js…  How do you choose one when you want only the best for your project? We’ll begin with a short overview. 

WordPress, a versatile content management system, has long been the basis for bloggers, businesses, and creators seeking an intuitive and expansive platform. It offers a rich ecosystem of themes and plugins, simplifying the process of building and managing websites. 

On the other side, Next.js stands as a powerful React framework designed for developers looking to craft dynamic, high-performance web applications. It brings modern web development features, such as server-side rendering and static site generation, facilitating the creation of fast and scalable digital experiences. 

So, how is one supposed to choose? Let’s see what we can do. 

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Scalable web development

When comparing WordPress vs Next.js for scalable web development, think of it like choosing between a versatile oldie and a high-performance engine. 

  1. WordPress and WordPress app offer an advanced yet a bit cluttered interface, extensive SEO tools, and a robust community. However, its flexibility, performance, and security may sometimes fall short. 
  2. Next.js, on the other hand, excels in performance, scalability, and modern capabilities, ensuring a smooth and efficient journey with faster load times. It demands a more technical skill set but rewards with superior user experience and dynamic solutions. 

Your decision should align with your technical proficiency and priorities: simplicity and tradition with WordPress or speed and advanced features with Next.js.

As you weigh the pros and cons of WordPress and Next.js for your project, remember that the choice often hinges on specific front-end development needs. Consider exploring professional front-end development services that can offer better solutions that fit your chosen platform's strengths and limitations.

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Customization options

WordPress and Next.js cater to distinct preferences and skill levels when comparing customization options. 

  1. Next.js is a robust framework for those proficient in React, offering a high degree of customization and control. 
  2. In contrast, in WordPress website examples, it is celebrated for its extensive array of themes and plugins, providing customization even for those with minimal technical background. 

If you're a developer seeking a flexible, powerful framework, Next.js stands ready, while WordPress still remains the accessible choice for abundant customization.

Performance

In terms of performance, WordPress reviews state the tool can deliver good results but may struggle as sites scale, largely due to plugin and theme bloat. Proper optimization and caching can potentially address these challenges. 

Next.js, on the other hand, shines with its server-side rendering (SSR), offering faster load times and better SEO, especially when compared to client-side rendering frameworks. It inherently provides superior performance through features like automatic code splitting and pre-rendering pages​​.

To add some numbers, let's use the example from Digital Polygon. They conducted a comparison of their website on WordPress vs. Next.js. On desktop, WordPress achieved a 97% score but suffered on mobile with only a 51% score. The issues are primarily related to image optimizations, unused JavaScript, and CSS​​.

Their Next.js site, however, scored a perfect 100% on desktop and 86% on mobile. The improvement in mobile performance was significant, with a gain of over 50% compared to the WordPress site​​.

WordPress mobile performance
WordPress mobile performance

Traditional CMS

In traditional CMS, WordPress stands out for its ease of use and extensive plugin ecosystem, allowing for a wide range of functionality. 

However, these same features can lead to performance issues if not carefully managed, requiring optimizations like caching and image compression to maintain speed and efficiency. 

Next.js CMS capabilities: For users prioritizing performance and modern web standards, Next.js might be a more powerful choice, particularly for those comfortable with React and seeking the benefits of SSR and SSG for faster, more SEO-friendly sites.

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SEO optimization

For optimal SEO for your website, a choice between WordPress vs Next.js means two distinct paths with unique advantages. Here’s what we mean:

  1. WordPress is renowned for its user-friendly SEO plugins like Yoast SEO, offering features such as meta tags and sitemaps to enhance on-page SEO​​. However, it may become slower as the site grows due to plugin bloat, though this can be managed with optimization techniques​​. 
  2. Next.js SEO capabilities center around server-side rendering, ensuring faster load times and better indexation by search engines​​​​. It performs better by pre-rendering pages and optimizing resource use with automatic code splitting​​. 

To summarize, choose WordPress if you need an extensive plugin ecosystem or Next.js for performance-centric, dynamic websites focusing on SEO.

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Learning curve

When comparing the learning curves of WordPress and Next.js, it's essential to understand their different skill sets:

  1. WordPress is decently approachable for non-technical content creators. It's built on PHP and offers numerous SEO optimization plugins, making it a favorite for users less familiar with coding​​. 
  2. Next.js, built on JavaScript and React, presents a steeper learning curve, especially for those unfamiliar with these technologies. Despite its performance benefits, its lack of out-of-the-box SEO optimization might be a limitation for some websites​​. Check Next.js documentation for more information.

In simple terms, WordPress is more accessible for beginners and content creators, while Next.js requires a deeper dive into JavaScript and React but offers more advanced capabilities for web applications.

Community and support

Speaking of community and support, Next.js and WordPress offer distinctly vibrant ecosystems. 

Next.js boasts a thriving community, notably tied to the expansive React ecosystem. Vercel, the creator of Next.js, provides enterprise-grade solutions, emphasizing technical and developer-focused support. 

WordPress, however, with a substantial global presence in the CMS world, prides itself on an enormous community encompassing forums, tutorials, workshops, and a wide range of developers.

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Cost analysis

When comparing WordPress and Next.js for cost, WordPress generally comes out as the more budget-friendly option due to the availability of free themes and plugins. 

On the other hand, Next.js can be more expensive because it requires more development expertise and may have higher initial development costs. 

It's essential to consider the long-term maintenance and scalability of your project. While WordPress can often be a little bit cheaper at first, Next.js's performance benefits and flexibility might offer better value in the long run for more complex, scalable projects​​.

Developer rates

Developer rates for both platforms can vary widely based on the developer's experience, project complexity, and geographic location. Typically, WordPress developers might charge anywhere from $15 to $100+ per hour, while Next.js developers, often requiring more specialized knowledge, might charge slightly higher rates.

Use cases

Next.js is well-suited for creating websites and web applications that demand high performance and scalability. It enables server-side rendering and static site generation, which ensures faster load times and efficient handling of traffic spikes. This makes it ideal for businesses expecting growth and high user traffic​​.

Next.js can also be used with headless CMS options, providing flexibility in content management and front-end design. This fits better if you need a more complex web application​​.

WordPress is, at the moment, quite outdated, even though it's cost-friendly. WordPress is ideal for simple websites, such as blogs or small business websites, where advanced functionality and scalability are not primary concerns. You can easily find developers for it, but in the end, it's going to result in higher costs for your business.

The plugin-based architecture, while flexible, can also lead to increased costs, slower site performance, and security vulnerabilities. In addition, WordPress sites can be targeted by hackers due to their widespread use​​.

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Security considerations

Next.js, being a modern JavaScript framework, inherently has fewer vulnerabilities and offers better security due to server-side rendering, reducing the risk of client-side attacks. 

WordPress, while robust and frequently updated, is a popular target for hackers due to its widespread use. Keeping WordPress secure requires diligent updates and monitoring, especially given its extensive plugin system, which can introduce vulnerabilities. 

Both require a proactive approach to security, but Next.js's modern architecture provides a more secure foundation​​.

Want to have an efficient, business-oriented design?

View a recorded webinar with Pavel Tseluyko on how design adds value to your business.

Watch now

Summary

In choosing between WordPress and Next.js, the decision depends on the unique requirements of your project, the expertise of your team, and your long-term digital strategy. 

WordPress offers extensive customization, making it ideal for those who need a robust blog, for example. It is budget-friendly, but development can cost you quite a lot in the end, and the design will definitely be lacking a bit.

Next.js, with its advanced features and performance capabilities, is suited for projects requiring dynamic, fast-loading experiences.

As Webflow experts, we’ve rolled out another comparison piece with one of Next.js’ alternatives, this time pitting these two against each other - WordPress vs Webflow. Go check that one out next! 

And if you need our team’s expertise for your project, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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author

CEO and Founder of Merge

My mission is to help startups build software, experiment with new features, and bring their product vision to life.

My mission is to help startups build software, experiment with new features, and bring their product vision to life.

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