Back in 2003, WordPress was merely a blogging platform. Ten years later, it now powers more than 20% of the web and it is no where near stopping. Bloggers and businesses are equally benefiting from this easy-to-use content management system (CMS). Now Automattic, the company behind WordPress, is trying to make the software popular amongst the enterprises.
Last year, Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, announced WordPress Enterprise. Before this offering, Automattic only provided WordPress VIP. This VIP package is based on cloud hosting and provides detailed technical support. The price starts at $3,750 per month. The organizations wishing to self-host the WordPress VIP have to pay an annual surcharge of $15,000. Several large businesses including Time Inc., CNN, TechCrunch, UPS and many others are using the services of WordPress VIP for their website blog.
However, the new WordPress Enterprise is a different ball game. It is specially targeted towards customers who want managed hosting from WordPress but do not require all the features of WordPress VIP. The $500 per month plan has been able to attract ESPN and New York Times Bestseller author Tom Ferris.
Is WordPress right for Enterprises:
There is no doubt that both WordPress VIP and WordPress Enterprise are slowly making their place amongst big businesses. The managed WordPress hosting offered through these packages is highly beneficial for publishers and business who have their monthly IT budget in thousands.
Yet bringing enterprises on board, especially those having yearly revenue in billions of dollars, is a completely different story. In this blog post we will evaluate the capabilities of WordPress along with the concerns it is going to face from the enterprises.
WordPress as a Platform:
Blogging is now just one of the small use of WordPress. With over 27 thousand plugins (as of October 2013) and thousands of themes, the possibilities are limitless. This is the reason why developers are more inclined towards the free and open-source WordPress. It allows them to build virtually anything using WordPress and its plugins. We have job portals, CRM, project management system, team collaboration platforms and even an LMS (Learning Management System) like Moodle which are expertly built on WordPress.
WordPress for Enterprises–The advantages:
WordPress has turned into a full-scale application framework. While a software engineer might debate with you on merits and demerits, organizations have already gone deep inside and have built applications on top of it. The reason is because it is there—easy and free.
Organizations have always looked towards evolution and growth of technology. WordPress has shown itself as mature and scalable enough to handle large enterprise solutions. Moreover, operating applications built on WordPress is also found to be efficient. This is why WordPress is slowly making its place in enterprise ecosystem.
What can be the major setback:
With all its advantages, there are a few concerns that can belittle WordPress as an enterprise solution. The most important amongst them is the rapid release cycle where plans are to set WordPress on auto-update. Though it sounds good, it can create some serious bottle necks for enterprises. Passing all the plugins and themes through testing stage and solving the minor and major errors can take up tremendous amount of time.
The plans of automatically updating WordPress are usually related to the way modern browsers like Firefox and Chrome update. But what about the 3rd party plugins? A single compatibility issue can turn user experience and workability of the application in jeopardy. Similarly, not everyone seems to be in the favor of auto-updates. While we have WordPress 3.7 in our hands, stats from W3techs show that more than half of the WordPress users have still not updated to version 3.6.
While Firefox is just a browser, one can imagine the the hardships the IT department of an enterprise will be facing when a CRM software built on WordPress is exposed to frequent changes. Enterprises are more prone to keeping things the way they are. Windows XP can still be found in large companies. WordPress is an amazing piece of software, and while the team behind is working to bring it to enterprise ecosystem, this one suggestion will help them grab more love.
For scalability in the small to mid size field, I’ve grown several Worpdress sites from shared hosting on a VPS to a single dedicated server and beyond. When you start to get to that level it can be a real trade off between time and cost of management (do you like pager alerts at 3AM?) and I swear by handing off to a hosting company. The best in the space currently is enginewp.com. The lack of 3AM pager alerts alone is enough of a tipping point for me. :)