How Scalable is WordPress?

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WordPress has gone from a humble blogging platform to one of the biggest web software engines in the world. There are over 60 million WordPress sites online, with an average of 500 new sites being launched every day. The WordPress site claims that 27% of the web uses WordPress to power their blogs, businesses, and websites.

Some of the most prominent companies using WordPress include:

While some may think of WordPress as a tool for small-scale personal blogs, the truth is WordPress is in wide use by plenty of major companies and organizations. So how scalable is WordPress exactly?

Can You Integrate New Themes and New Functionality?

While the default WordPress theme offers plenty of functionality for any user’s basic needs, there is an entire ecosystem of premium themes that can take WordPress to the next level. Premium packages like Divi offer a rich array of options for building a WordPress site that meets your exact needs, from drag-and-drop layout creation, to custom layouts, to modules that integrate slideshows, image galleries, email forms, and other useful features.

Many premium themes also offer demo layouts and sample content tailored to specific site needs — making it easy to get started if you want to start a website for photography, writing, business, music, etc. Even before you get into the vast array of over 58,000 plugins available to add new functionality to WordPress, there are numerous options for taking the platform beyond the basics.

Can You Scale Up Content and Handle Large Traffic Volume?

Out of the box, with a lightweight theme, an average WordPress site could handle tens of millions of pageviews a day — but many websites, especially those run by larger organizations, aren’t likely to have such simple content needs. While the WordPress software is robust on its own, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be ready for every spike in traffic or change in content volume without some time and attention from the website admin.

To keep a website running smoothly, the administrator should be choosy about what plugins and customization options they choose to embrace. Every plugin adds a little more overhead to the processing time, and while featuring every bell and whistle might seem appealing at the front end, it can cause problems later on in the form of lag time, errors, or even site downtime.

Diligent admins can use software like NewRelic to weed out errors and issues that can eat up valuable resources and make for slower load times. Scaling up your plan with the site’s hosting company may also become necessary as your website’s popularity grows. And while there are plugins like WPCache that may reduce load times for some websites, your website might eventually need a Full Page Caching (FPC) solution to further reduce strain on server resources.

Another option, especially if your website is distributing large amounts of files or other data, a Concent Delivery Network (CDN) such as Cloudflare will also reduce the resources required by your hosting provider, while also offering better security and speed.

Can You Add an E-Commerce Store?

The answer is a resounding yes! For companies looking to add an e-commerce solution to their websites, WordPress is already a leading choice. Why? Because e-commerce integration on WordPress is fast, easy, and robust. Some premium themes come packaged with e-commerce solutions ready to go — and plugins like WooCommerce, Shopify and others make it easy to integrate a flexible e-commerce solution.

In the past, creating an e-commerce storefront took large amounts of time and money, and likely had to be farmed out to a third party developer. But now administrators can set up a fully functioning storefront with a few clicks. You will, of course, want a robust hosting solution to make sure your customers are taken care of.

Can You Integrate a Customer Support / Help Desk System?

Speaking of taking care of customers: not everyone thinks of WordPress as being useful for customer service and support — but with the help of an integrated customer support ticket system, you can use it for exactly that.

A WordPress ticket system lets you track and manage customer service tickets that come in, most likely through a contact form on the website. Some systems even allow for the one-click creation of support tickets from blog comments. This makes for a much more robust customer service solution than relying on email or social media messages.

A good ticketing system plugin can:

  • Allow agents to answer questions and issues from blog readers
  • Offer reporting on ticket data to offer additional customer insights
  • Facilitate interactive dialogue and chat with end-users, increasing customer satisfaction

As with most of the expanded solutions WordPress offers, the major appeal of a ticket system is the ease of integration and use.

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