WordPress or TYPO3? This question is controversially discussed. The agency d-mind implements both systems. We talked to Jens Fuchs about the advantages and disadvantages of WordPress vs TYPO3.
This involves issues such as scalability, security or the implementation of multilingual projects. But also the extension by means plugins of and extensions plays an important role. WordPress has its strengths, TYPO3 as well. You are welcome to join the discussion: Use the comments at the end of the article.
Jens, how do you decide which CMS to use for which project?
Often, customers already have concrete ideas about a system when they make an enquiry. If this is the case, then this is set - subject to a technical and price check. With a free choice of CMS, we like to use TYPO3 for multilingual sites as well as increasing technical complexity. WordPress we take rather for small to middle sites .
WordPress for larger projects?
SEO and multilingualism
With strong editorial maintenance, i.e. continuously new articles with a focus on search engine optimization (SEO), WordPress is suitable. Especially through the easy to use backend, especially since the new Gutenberg editor.
Is the changeover to Gutenberg working well for your customers? What do you have to keep in mind?
We had not yet converted any existing websites to Gutenberg , but in these cases we allow the choice between Classic and Block Editor. The latter is to be supported until the end of 2021. Since the old editor only supports text and images, it is in principle upward compatible. The old text block can also be converted into blocks from Gutenberg using "Convert to blocks".
Editing with Gutenberg
Personally I find the Gutenberg editor successful, when copy&paste from third party applications it converts list items, hyperlinks and blocks - better than other editors. Drag and drop also works well. One major difference is the consistency in handling custom fields (Advanced Custom Fields). We used to place these controls below the content in the backend, but now we build flexible-use Gutenberg blocks instead.
Let's start with the typical reservations. TYPO3 is considered powerful, but expensive and cumbersome. Companies tell me again and again that even the smallest changes are developed manually by their agencies - with high costs. What's the point?
The initial development of a website with the same technical requirements will not differ fundamentally between the systems. In the past, however, updates of old TYPO3 versions were very time-consuming. Especially when working with third-party extensions that are no longer being developed. This was done in the past, also with us, partly short-sighted.
Here is WordPress an advantage. Because popular Pluginsones are always kept up to date and, due to the number of pieces, are usually also distributed commercially. But I don't see a huge difference between the two, since I don't use third-party plugins or extensions anymore.
WordPress scores with the plugins
However, it is also true that in the past TYPO3 was offered at a higher price. The effort for updates or an extension that cannot be mapped via extension can shock especially customers who do not have much experience with agencies. Large customers, however, usually understand the effort.
WordPress , on the other hand, has a reputation for being unsafe. Is that true? And what measures do you use to secure WordPress projects for your customers?
Currently, apparently one third of all websites worldwide run on WordPress . Due to its high prevalence, it is an attractive target for hackers. However, we haven't had a hack on sites developed by us in years. Simple measures are:
- Invididual database prefix
- Change salt key in wp-config.php
- No username "admin" as admin, a strong password
- Renouncement of external plugins and four times per year updates
- Gladly still set the access data in the environment variables
- Possibly double-secure the admin area via the .htaccess or use the Plugin Wordfence use
Since the host backups rarely last long, I still make sporadic backups for local backup. Successful hacks in the past always came from third-party plugins. So be careful with your choice.
Another explanation for successful hacks and the reputation of being insecure: WordPress compared to TYPO3, it is often set up by laymen with a lack of security.
Cookie solution, backups and child Themes
What are your most important tips and Plugin recommendations for WordPress ?
Advanced Custom Fields Pro is the Plugin without which I would not use WordPress . It allows individual input masks in no time and is well documented. If it has to be multilingual, I have had good experience with Polylang. When using the Bootstrap CSS framework I find Bootstrap Blocks as an extension for the Gutenberg editor great.
My tip: If it is foreseeable that a customer will have several similar sites created, then create a Theme for him - with the most important settings and the main CSS. On child-Theme-level you can then adjust and add everything. You can also use Github to deploy the Themes when changes are made. Another tip: In a project, you should communicate the follow-up costs - in the form of updates - to the customer right away.
Advantages of WordPress and Typo3
Where do you personally see the most important advantages of WordPress ?
WordPress has a low barrier to entry as the PHP requirement is not high. There are excellent third-party plugins if needed. Just about every problem you have during development someone else has already had. In this respect, the forum or Stack Overflow very often help. The backend is often used by editors. In case of need, there are also instructional videos for editorial handling on Youtube.
And what are the advantages of TYPO3?
The scalability and the requirement for developers to work properly. Not to mention the natively available multilingualism and granular rights management. On the subject of security, it should also not be a worthwhile target for hackers due to the low distribution.
What should companies look for when choosing an agency for WordPress or TYPO3? In your opinion, how can you determine and check the quality of an agency?
The age of the agency and the size of the team can be an indication of secured sustainable support. From the offer, the price must be realistic. If you take the cheapest offer, you will pay more later. A transparent reference in the offer to the support after the end of the project should be apparent in the offer.
This concerns points such as support, response times or updates. I would also look for current reference projects. Are they visually appealing and GDPR -compliant? In addition, you should check a few technical details, but not everyone can do that.
How did you come to rely on both systems in the first place and not specialize?
With TYPO3 you usually do large projects with high technical demands. We want to do big, beautiful projects. But you don't find them every day. And that's how it came about that we added to our portfolio a few years WordPress ago. If you look at the market shares, you can hardly get around it. By the way, that's what most agencies do these days.
Can you name projects that could only be realized with WordPress or TYPO3?
TYPO3 has been the tool of choice at the Akademie für Lehrerfortbildung Dillingen, due to the mass of contributions and the complexity. For our main customer, Wirtschaftsförderung Region Stuttgart, a WordPress setup with a constantly evolving mainTheme has paid off. Here we can set up a new website initially in a few minutes. In principle, however, most sites can be implemented with both systems, or with others. The decisive factor is not so much the system, but how it is set up.
Development for TYPO3 & WordPress
Do you have developers who implement WordPress and TYPO3? Or do you need special expertise in each case?
We have two developers who do both. All the others are specialized in one system. When it comes to the frontend, the switch is easier than with backend development. Of course, this also has to do with the order situation. But specialization is naturally more sensible.
A few words about you and your agency? Are you still looking for developers?
d-mind is located in the beautiful south of Stuttgart, we make websites since 1999. Currently we are 10 women and men in the team, with a focus on development. Often we also work in the background for other agencies.
We are looking for developers who are able to work independently in the web environment. We are looking for a synthesis of planning, front- and backend. Specific CMS experience is not decisive in my opinion, especially since it is WordPress learnable and well documented.
WordPress vs TYPO3: Your questions
Contributing photo: Domenico Loia