7 BIG Myths About WordPress

This is frame 352 from the Patterson-Gimlin film taken on October 21st, 1967, claiming to depict Bigfoot/Sasquatch/Colton.By any standard, WordPress is a popular blogging platform.  So popular, in fact, that some estimates place WordPress on over 200 million websites worldwide, several thousand of which are installed right here on Newtek servers.  It’s a bona fide celebrity in the web application world.

But just as with any other celebrity, rumors start to run amok.  So we’re here set things straight, if you will, and talk about seven of the biggest WordPress myths we hear about on a regular basis.

Myth #1- You can only run WordPress on Linux (or if you can run it on Windows, it doesn’t perform well)

This is easily the most common misconception we encounter with customers about WordPress.

The fact is, WordPress not only runs on Windows, it runs extremely well on Windows, as do most other popular PHP applications.  But it’s certainly understandable why this misconception continues to persists…

Until somewhat recently, PHP held an ‘unwelcomed guest’ sort of relationship with Windows.

But that’s all changed now, and in a big way.

PHP + WSThe reality today is that Microsoft has come to embrace PHP, and thanks to the FastCGI extension for IIS 6 & 7, PHP applications, including WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal (just to name a few), run on Windows/IIS web servers with great performance and reliability.

Want to see it in action?  Install WordPress on your site in a few easy steps.

Myth #2– Setting a ‘pretty permalink’ structure in WordPress requires Apache mod_rewrite

This is a close cousin to myth #1.

And out of the box, it’s true that the ‘pretty permalink’ option is not possible if you’re using IIS 6.  Luckily there are third-party tools available that can emulate Apache mod_rewrite in IIS, one of which is Micronovae’s IIS Mod-Rewrite module, which we’ve deployed across all of our IIS 6 servers that support Intermediate level or higher hosting plans.

What this means is that the same mod_rewrite rules you would use in Apache are 100% compatible on our IIS 6 servers.  Simply place the .htaccess file that includes the rewrite rules into the root of your WordPress installation just as you would on an Apache web server.  We have a knowledge base article that will show you how simple this is to do.

IIS 7, on the other hand, has its own rules-based rewrite engine that supports the Pretty Permalinks option in WordPress.

Myth #3 – You can’t do Ecommerce with WordPress

This myth makes a lot of sense–WordPress is a blogging platform, not a shopping cart application.

Ah, but wait.  Just like so many other remarkable things you can do with WordPress, there are plugins for that.

The most well known out of the bunch is WP e-commerce, but there are several free and paid solutions out there, most of which support a number of payment options and gateways.

Plan on doing Ecommerce or need a merchant account?  We can help.

Myth #4 – You have to know PHP to use WordPress

You don’t need to know any PHP to put together a great looking blog.

The strength of WordPress lies in the fact that it’s easy to use for beginners while also giving designers and developers a powerful platform to build upon.  It’s no wonder why the application is so widely used.

Sure, if you dabble in PHP there’s a bit more you could do with the platform, but it’s certainly not required.  The same goes for knowledge in CSS, which comes in handy if you want to customize the look and feel of your theme.

But when it comes down to it, if you don’t know the first thing about PHP or CSS, the work has already been done for you.  There are thousands—no, thousands upon thousands—of WordPress themes, plugins, and widgets that have already been built that you can use without ever having to look at the code behind them.

Myth #5 – WordPress isn’t secure

Let’s face it, as WordPress continues to grow in popularity, it will continue to be a big target for hackers.  There’s not much we can do to get around this.  But does that mean it’s not secure?

Just as with any other piece of software, if you give it enough time, someone will eventually figure out a way to exploit it.  But there are fairly simple, common sense steps you can take to keep your WordPress blog secure.

  • Always keep your version of WordPress up-to-date, including plugins, widgets, and themes.
  • Use a strong password for both your WordPress login and your MySQL database.
  • Don’t use the default “admin” username.  Create a new user with admin control and delete the default.

For more tips, see WordPress.org’s blog post on how to keep WordPress secure.

Myth #6 – Improving SEO is difficult in WordPress

Like a lot of myths, this one is grounded in some truth.

But, like with myth #3, there are plugins that can make it happen for you, which means you won’t need to dive into your WordPress code unless you really want to.  And with some of these, you’ll be able to create XML sitemaps that all major search engines can read, easily add meta data, and even optimize the images you place on your blog.

For a great list of available SEO plugins for WordPress, check out this great overview from Mashable.com.

Myth #7 – WordPress.com is the same as WordPress.org, but with free hosting

As WordPress even admits, there’s a bit of confusion between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

Here’s the difference between the two, in a nutshell:  WordPress.com is a blogging service (SAAS), WordPress.org provides blogging software.  Sure, you can host a WordPress blog at WordPress.com for free, but you don’t have any control over the software installation, which means:

  • You don’t have access to the PHP behind it
  • You can’t upload plugins
  • You can’t run a custom theme (unless you’re a “VIP,” which means you have a famous blog)

Don’t get us wrong, though.  The good people at WordPress.com provide a great and reliable service, but there are pros and cons between using either option.  Make sure you pick the option that is right for you.

So there you have it, seven of the biggest WordPress myths debunked.  Did we miss any?  Let us know.  Also, we’d love to get a unscientific poll going on which blogging platform is the most popular among our readers.  Let us know what you prefer in the comments below.

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6 Responses to “7 BIG Myths About WordPress”

  1. “…one of which is Micronovae’s IIS Mod-Rewrite module, which we’ve deployed across all of our IIS 6 servers that support Intermediate level or higher hosting plans.”

    well, this is free on EVERY linux hosting plan. I need to upgrade to intermediate account to get what is FREE on any other Linux hosting server? Total fail, Wordpress doesn’t belong on IIS, period.

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  2. If you want to get more of my WordPress customers, I agree with Clarkson: you’ll have to include IIS Mod-Rewrite in a more affordable shared hosting plan.

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  3. @Clarkson
    That’s a business decision, not a technical limitation. Note that the Micronovae’s IIS Mod-Rewrite module that’s mentioned is a third-party extension that runs on IIS 6. With that in mind, I’m not surprised that it’s not on the lower hosting plans. Nothing has been said about which plans support the URL Rewrite extension on IIS 7, but I’d hope that there’s more plans supporting it due to it being a first-party extension.
    “Total fail, Wordpress doesn’t belong on IIS, period.”
    *facepalm* Microsoft bashing much?

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  4. User security is still a problem for me. In order to upload anything to the media library, or upgrade plugins, etc. I need to add ‘write’ permission for Everyone for the destination directory. I then run my task and reset security – it’s a pain, and a step I don’t need to do for Wordpress sites hosted on a Linux platform. I’ve tried playing with combinations of users and security to no avail – would love a solution.

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  5. I’ve been looking into the mod_rewrite issue with IIS because it’s REQUIRED to install WordPressMU. It looks like I’ll have to BUY a third-party solution in order to use the WPMU application. So, my options are to spend some more time researching open source solutions to this; or, spend that same time (probably less!) researching alternative shared hosting plans using linux servers and Apache.

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  6. I don’t have any problems with Wordpress running on Windows… except one thing… exactly what Brian D has said. Setting folder permissions to allow for both Wordpress and plugin upgrades is not very clear, and having to set and reset is, as he says, a pain! Some technical advice on this would be great. No one wants any nagging doubt that they might be left with an insecure setup!

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