In the past we at Taikonauten have used both Kirby and WordPress on a regular basis to create stunning projects. Choosing the right content management system is always a difficult decision, so let’s take a look at their unique strengths and differences and how they affect digital product development!
The biggest and fundamentally most important difference is the way in which the data is stored:
WordPress being the most popular CMS requires a database to store its information such as users or blog posts. The database is a separate system that needs to be maintained and updated.
Kirby on the other hand utilises a hierachical file-based structure to store its contents in files and folders inside the physical file system, much like you would store and organise files on your desktop.
Not relying on a database eliminates the single point of failure (if the database fails - the page will no longer work) and Kirby’s powerful templating engine ensures much faster processing. Content can also be versioned much easier (GIT, SVN) as the files are stored in nested folders instead of database tables.
Kirby’s setup is done in a breeze – it’s easy, flexible and production ready in an hour leaving you more time to focus on developing the product. All that is required is a basic web server (Apache, Nginx) and PHP. You can simply drag and drop the files onto your server and should be able to instantly start using your new Kirby site.
WordPress’s setup has come a long way and most online platforms and providers offer a simple 1-click install. If you are installing WordPress manually however, the process get’s a little more complicated. First, you need to install and set up a new database. Next you will need to move the project files into your web server to serve them to the outside world. Finally when visiting your new WordPress site you’ll have to complete the installation process by following the instructions on the screen.
Getting Kirby up and running is much easier and faster compared to WordPress and the developers have also provided a great Starterkit download including lots of sample content so you can try it out yourself.
WordPress itself is free and offers a wide range of commercial as well as free plugins and themes. You won’t need any programming knowledge in order to extend and change your site’s look and feel. The included plugin marketplace offers a
quick and easy way to add new features. Implementing new themes or plugins however will require a decent amount of very specific knowledge in order to use and extend the WordPress ecosystem.
Kirby in comparison is paid-per-domain but provides features like multi-language sites out of the box. The rather small library of external plugins will force you to implement custom solutions more often. These custom solutions however make use of the extensive library of pre-defined field types and building blocks for images, urls, texts and many more. Developing new features is much faster, easier and more intuitive compared to WordPress.
Kirby’s documentation is very organised and includes hundreds of code snippets and examples that you will most likely find very helpful. In case the documentation does not offer the right answer, the small but very technical community has proven to be incredibly helpful and the forum is constantly updated and moderated by the official developers.
WordPress also offers an extensive official documentation but the amount of content is very overwhelming and finding the right piece of information can be frustrating. WordPress attracts a huge audience generating content, which leads to more time being spent in doing research and validation than actual problem solving.
This is where Kirby will outshine WordPress by a lot! Kirby’s page load time is much, much faster compared to WordPress. The many different caching options and providers, if used correctly, will result in speeds similar to static html pages.
Maintenance also matters: Kirby being a lightweight system is easier to keep in shape. Updates are usually very easy to install and won’t mess with your existing data.
A common issue with WordPress is having to wait for plugins or themes to update after the WordPress core has been updated. This is cause for security concerns and has proven to be a common target for many WordPress sites.
There is no right or wrong when choosing your CMS but it can have a crucial impact on your project planning and development times. Times are changing quickly and so are the requirements for a modern website. Loading times and security concerns are becoming more important than ever. WordPress may offer a lot of extensions but how many of these are you actually going to end up using?
Kirby offers a future proof alternative that tries to fill the gap between a minimalistic static blog and a full blown e-commerce platform.
Consider both options before your next project and adapt to your customer’s needs with the future in mind.
What are your experiences? We’re curious!