Selecting the right content management system (CMS) to serve as the foundation of your business’s website is an important decision, and a difficult one at that.
With so much choice available today, it’s necessary to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your options and look at how they compare with each other.
WordPress and Episerver are two platforms that can each comfortably cater to mid-market and enterprise-level businesses. But the differences between the two deserve careful consideration alongside your own website’s unique requirements. Here, we’ll compare WordPress and Episerver, weigh up their pros and cons, and make your decision-making process an easier one.
WordPress is one of the most popular platforms around today, as it currently supports around 40% of the websites on the Internet. It’s known for its simplicity, ease-of-use, and ever-evolving set of features, but many larger businesses still believe it’s not suitable for building a secure, reliable enterprise-grade website. That’s because WordPress has often associated with smaller organisations and simpler websites, but those days are well and truly in the past.
WordPress is an open-source platform built on the PHP programming language. It is run and maintained by a large developer community, and anyone can access its source code to suggest updates, fix bugs, or build additional features. For business users, this is a benefit because it gives you full control over what you do with your website, and you won’t be locked-in to any commitment with a solution provider.
Episerver is a digital experience platform (DXP) that provides teams with took and insights to create and optimise content. It has a smaller market-share, but it offers content, commerce, intelligence and search capabilities out of the box for even the most complex scenarios. Episerver allows marketing teams to create targeted content in one place, but it does this as part of a proprietary platform. This means that the source code is owned and managed by one company.
To build a website using Episerver, you’ll be required to purchase licenses for the platform for a binding long-term subscription. Once you’re locked-in, you won’t have any influence over the platform or its functionality, so any changes the proprietor makes will impact your website – and possibly your wider business – whether you like it or not.
WordPress is an open-source platform which means it’s entirely free to use. No matter how complex or innovative your website, you won’t have to pay any license fees. This is a valuable point of differentiation when compared to other enterprise-grade solutions, as it can save you tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds per year.
While you will likely need some budget for plug-ins, custom development or integrations like SEO or Google Analytics, these will be minimal when compared to the cost of purchasing a proprietary platform.
Systems like Episerver, on the other hand, do come with significant costs attached, as licenses are known to be very expensive. It’s also possible that Episerver may require dedicated developer resources or admins as well, which will incur more cost.
Not only that, but it’s important to point out that almost everything you can achieve with Episerver will also be possible when using WordPress, making the cost even more difficult to justify.
It’s important to remember that Episerver is a proprietary platform, built on the .NET programming language, which means it’s owned and controlled by Microsoft.
WordPress is renowned for having a best-in-class user experience, great functionality, and highly intuitive content editing tools. The majority of first-time users should be able to get comfortable with the platform almost immediately, even if they’ve never used a CMS before.
This provides a number of benefits. Not only does it allow you to get a great website up and running quickly and easily, but also drives higher levels of productivity and efficiency among your team.
Episerver can be challenging from a usability point of view. Your staff will actually need to go through specific training before using the platform to familiarise themselves with its user interface. Of course, this training will add to the TCO, not to mention the time they’ll lose away from their actual roles.
However, Episerver does have advantages in some areas, like having pre-existing templates and built-in features allowing you to build complex functionality, such as an e-commerce store.
Some tend to think open-source platforms come with greater security risk, but WordPress is perfectly safe even for enterprise-level websites. In addition to quarterly core updates, the community works hard to update the platform often with bug fixes and security patches.
There are also ways to make WordPress even more secure, such as leveraging the WordPress VIP service to handle all your core updates and releases automatically from the cloud.
Episerver will inevitably have greater in-built security than WordPress due to its proprietary nature, as Microsoft manages, tests, and maintains the platform itself, but there are no significant differences overall here.
Remember that all software can be vulnerable, which is why it’s important to have a trusted partner supporting you to ensure your platform is being regularly updates and tested.
If you’ve been under impression that there is no cost-effective solution available to build a high-functioning, secure website for your business, you’re not alone. Fortunately, we know from experience that WordPress is the ideal answer to that problem.
We’ve helped many organisations successfully achieve unique and complex requirements using WordPress, while saving significantly on cost and enjoying a greater overall experience. Granted, there are cases where more robust solutions will be necessary, but the vast majority of mid-market and enterprise clients will be best served by WordPress as the most cost-effective and pragmatic option available.
If you have any questions about a project of your own, or anything mentioned here, don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’d be happy to chat through them with you.