When developing a web application, choosing the right technology for the project has always been key. If you make the wrong decision, developing the project will be far more complex than it should be.
In this article, we will conduct a head-to-head comparison between two of the most famous heavyweight contenders in the PHP world: Laravel and WordPress. We’ll help you understand the differences between the two technologies and make the optimal choice for your upcoming project.
What Is Laravel?
Laravel is an open-source PHP framework designed in 2011 by Taylor Otwell primarily to solve his own development problems and increase his productivity. He desired a tool that would allow him to concentrate on business-related features rather than repeating the same basic tasks on each PHP project he worked on. However, after seeing how the framework was appreciated and how valuable it became to developers, he decided to devote more time and effort to it.
Although there are several other open-source PHP frameworks, such as Symfony, CodeIgniter, and CakePHP, Laravel has long been considered the finest and most popular, since it has everything a developer needs. It includes features from various PHP libraries, and it streamlines standard processes like routing, authentication, sessions, caching, and many more.
Due to its popularity, Laravel has strong community support and an impressive number of packages that assist developers in building complicated applications in no time. Furthermore, because PHP is used in 78.9% of all websites with a known server-side programming language, Laravel developers are in high demand.
It’s also worth mentioning that this market demand has led the average salary for Laravel developers to reach $90,487 per year. Fortunately, there are various free and paid resources to learn Laravel on the internet, making it painless to become a Laravel developer.
Laravel’s architecture is MVC-based. MVC is a design pattern that splits an application into three main components:Model, View, and Controller — each of which manages a specific development aspect of an application.
This architectural pattern is often used by software developers to isolate the data shown to the user from the application logic. As a result, software is developed more quickly and is easier to maintain over time.
When a request hits a route in a Laravel application, the framework routing logic determines which controller should handle the request. The controller then instructs the model to communicate with the database and retrieve the requested data. Finally, the controller delivers all of the information to the view to show the page to the user.
Although MVC might be tricky to comprehend and maintain, Laravel has fully embraced this technique, which has allowed it to evolve from a backend framework to a full-stack framework capable of handling both client-side and server-side tasks.
Key Features of Laravel
Although design patterns and framework structure are important, they are not the only features that differentiate Laravel from other frameworks with over 222 million downloads.
Laravel offers a wealth of fascinating features. Let’s have a look at some of the main ones.
Routing and Middleware
Whether we’re building a web or mobile app, configuring application routes with Laravel is a breeze. We can create as many routes and APIs as we need with clear syntax, providing a straightforward and expressive approach for route creation. Consequently, this eliminates the need for cumbersome routing configuration files.
Not only does Laravel allow us to create routes easily, but it also provides the ability to protect them with a
middleware, which offers a practical mechanism for monitoring and limiting HTTP requests that enter our application.
For example, we can wrap a few routes with the built-in middleware
\App\Http\Middleware\Authenticate::class, and it will ensure that the user is authenticated. If the user is not authenticated, the middleware will redirect the user to the login page. If the user is authenticated, the middleware will allow the request to continue.
Queues and Jobs
Sometimes we may need to perform tasks on our website or application without forcing the user to wait for those tasks to complete. When our app initializes image uploads, stores data in the database, or sends confirmation emails, that’s where Laravel queues come in.
Queues can create jobs for multiple tasks and complete them in the application’s background, allowing the app to present a lightning-fast experience to the user. Laravel queues provide a unified queueing API for several queue backends, including Amazon SQS, Redis, and even relational databases.
Cross-site request forgeries (CSRF) are a type of malicious attack that allows unauthorized commands to be executed on behalf of a legitimate user. Fortunately, Laravel makes it simple to safeguard your application from CSRF threats.
Laravel automatically generates a secret token for each user and stores it in the session. Therefore, malicious applications can’t reach this token. Any request from the user must contain a token that matches the one stored in the session. This ensures that all requests are made by the user and prohibits any requests with an invalid token.
Asset Bundling (Vite)
Laravel recently introduced Vite by default to all newly installed Laravel apps. Vite is a frontend build tool that aims to provide a rapid development experience for modern web applications. This means that whenever changes are made in the frontend, Vite compiles application assets and immediately shows the changes in the browser.
Sessions are used to store information about the user across multiple requests. Laravel supports several session backends that may be accessed using Laravel’s expressive, consistent API.
For example, if we have a web app that supports many languages, we may save the user’s location in the session and check the location on each request to display the app in the appropriate language.
Caching is used to prevent the app from performing the same data retrieval operations repeatedly. The objective is to cache the data for a limited duration to avoid performance-related issues.
Luckily, we won’t have to waste time configuring caching because Laravel is set up by default to use the
file cache driver, which saves serialized, cached objects on the server’s filesystem. It also includes out-of-the-box support for popular caching backends such as Memcached, Redis, DynamoDB, and relational databases.
Migrations are an essential part of the Laravel workflow. They’re an excellent tool that allows developers to effortlessly design, build, and manipulate databases.
Migrations are similar to version control, since they enable teams from different domains and platforms to share the same database structure.
Authentication and Starter Kits
Allowing users to authenticate and log in to a website is a complex and risky decision. We would need to establish a mechanism to shield the app and users’ data from malicious acts.
Laravel relieves us of this burden by providing us with all the tools we need to build authentication quickly, safely, and without breaking a sweat.
Do you want to get started right away? No worries: Laravel provides free starting kits with complete authentication that’s ready to use right out of the box.
Breeze and Jetstream provide a starting point for implementing all of Laravel’s authentication features, including login, registration, password reset, email verification, password confirmation, and more.
Laravel provides many global helper functions that make it easier to utilize fundamental Laravel features. All Laravel developers, for example, use the “Dump and Die” function (
dd()) to dump the contents of a variable to the browser and prevent further script execution, which aids in debugging issues and providing a complete view of the variable values.
Laravel Use Cases
Laravel is jam-packed with features that enable the development of practically any project. But with all the features it has, it makes more sense to use Laravel for building complex and highly customizable apps.
Let’s have a look at some use cases:
- Never-before-seen apps: The magic word here is customization, and this is precisely what Laravel is all about. Laravel enables you to create complex and one-of-a-kind web apps with personalized features. Even if there isn’t a built-in feature that can do what you need, Laravel has a variety of helper functions to aid you in building what you need from scratch.
- Enterprise apps: An enterprise app is an application used by an organization to assist in solving its challenges. They are web-based and provide a data management solution for businesses. Some examples are billing systems, content management systems, project management systems, customer support systems, etc.
- Scalable apps: Laravel is an excellent choice if the business is more likely to scale and deliver new features regularly. It has a flexible architecture allowing it to scale with the application’s workload. Furthermore, the Laravel core team and many developers from around the world are contributing to the framework to resolve bugs and release frequent updates, giving us confidence in the framework’s maintainability. Therefore, it is the ideal framework choice for rapidly evolving applications.
- Secure apps: Laravel makes it simple to implement a reliable authentication system. It is secure against cross-site scripting (XSS), cross-site request forgery (CSRF), SQL injections, and it has cross-origin resource sharing (CORS) support. In a nutshell, there are minimal weaknesses and strong security.
We know what you might be thinking: Laravel seems to be an awesome choice for whatever project you have in mind! Why bother with anything else?
Well, you’ll want to hold that thought until you’ve met WordPress.
What Is WordPress?
When the web development industry was young, it was incredibly tough and complex, and it lacked nearly any developer support tools.
Then WordPress came in like a savior in shining armor.
In 2003, Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little founded WordPress, an open-source content management system (CMS) written in PHP. Like other CMSs, WordPress was created to allow users to easily build websites and maintain their content.
However, WordPress pushed the envelope by enabling users to create complete websites with an elegant and well-designed content management system without having to start building from scratch or evenalready knowing how to code at all.
When someone mentions WordPress, they are most likely referring to the self-hosted WordPress instances available from WordPress.org, not WordPress.com. If you’re wondering about the difference between the two, we can summarize it as follows:
- WordPress.org is the free, self-hosted, and open-source version of WordPress that users install and use as part of their own website. It provides complete flexibility and opens the door to countless customization options.
- In contrast, WordPress.com is a paid service for basic usage and small websites. It does not scale as well as self-hosted WordPress sites.
Although this technology has been around for nearly 20 years, it has never been considered outdated. WordPress has evolved and kept pace throughout the years thanks to contributors and project maintainers who have been keen to keep this brilliant CMS alive, feature-rich, and up to date with modern-day technologies that allow it to be integrated with modern frameworks such as VueJS.
You don’t have to be a developer to learn and use WordPress. It’s written in PHP, but that doesn’t mean you have to know PHP. You can use WordPress with Elementor to create the website of your dreams in a matter of hours, if not minutes.
Think of WordPress as a car with a great engine: It can be used as is, or it can be customized by adding additional features (think parking sensors, GPS, etc.).
WordPress’ architecture is based on plugins. The CMS is ready to use on its own, but you may add plugins to introduce extra features and expand functionalities.
When WordPress is upgraded to a new version, the core files are overwritten. As a result, if you add custom functionality to a WordPress site by directly editing the WordPress core, your modifications will be lost when WordPress is upgraded.
This leads to one of the key WordPress development concepts: Whatever feature you wish to add or alter should be done either through a child theme or — more commonly — through plugins.
A WordPress plugin is a piece of software that adds additional functionality to any self-hosted WordPress site. As the name implies, you “plug in” a piece of software to install new features or enhance current functionality on your site without coding knowledge. Depending on the characteristics of the plugin, it might make minor or major changes to how your site looks and functions.
Remember that WordPress plugins are only compatible with self-hosted WordPress websites. WordPress.com (as opposed to WordPress.org) often provides theme choices for site customization. However, it is not possible to freely add plugins to alter websites on WordPress.com.
The secret to WordPress’s incredible success lies in its built-in features, which allow you to achieve so much with little effort. Let’s go through some of the top features the CMS offers.
One of WordPress’s most powerful features is the ability to extend the CMS’s features through plugins. This means that if you need additional functionalities, you can have them by simply installing the appropriate plugin for your requirements. Complex galleries, social media widgets, calendars, SEO optimization tools, and many other plugins are available.
WordPress makes it incredibly simple to have contributors to your website and allow others to just be a part of your community. User management in WordPress allows administrators to import and export user information on a website. In just a few clicks, you can import or export WordPress users, roles, and capabilities through a CSV file.
You will have a fully functional media management system, known as the WordPress Media Library, that covers everything you could possibly need for managing your website’s assets. You can add media by dragging and dropping it, and you can also include alt text, captions, images, and galleries in your article.
Several image editing tools are also built in for modifying images. If you’re using Kinsta to host your WordPress site, you can easily optimize your images to boost performance with only a few clicks.
Modern Browsers Compatibility
WordPress relieves you of worrying about modern browser compatibility, because every piece of code in the CMS’s core is fully compliant with W3C standards. This ensures that your website will run smoothly in today’s popular browsers while remaining compatible with the future generation.
Do you have an idea for a website but aren’t sure how to bring your design to life? WordPress has got you covered.
Aside from the three default themes that come with a fresh WordPress installation, you can comb through the CMS’s theme directory, which has hundreds of themes to help you design a stunning website.
You can also upload a custom theme in a matter of seconds to create your own look.
Users’ engagement has never been easier, as WordPress has a built-in comments functionality that allows your audience to comment on your posts. With a simple toggle, you can make a forum out of your website and you may optimize the performance of your website’s comments section and also easily prevent spam.
WordPress makes it easy to manage your content. You will have a complete content publishing system out of the box where you can create drafts, review post revisions, and publish them. You will also be able to regulate the privacy of your posts and pages by making them public or private with an option to password-protect them.
WordPress Use Cases
Due to constant improvements in functionalities, WordPress has become so much more than a blogging platform. It’s now a powerful and empowering technology that’s bolstered by a global community of dedicated contributors focused on allowing anyone to create and share without boundaries.
Let’s discover a few of the types of sites you can build with WordPress:
- Community websites: A community website is a place where people gather to have discussions, exchange information, connect, and form relationships. WordPress makes it easy to build such websites. You may also benefit from WordPress’ multisite feature, which allows you to connect multiple sites in one WordPress instance. There are also several useful plugins for maintaining multisite platforms, and you can quickly build up a multisite network with Kinsta.
- Ecommerce websites: If you have an idea for an ecommerce platform and you want to start now and scale fast, then WordPress can help you with that. With the right plugin, you’ll be able to go live in a matter of minutes. WooCommerce is one of the most popular ecommerce plugins; it’s highly customizable, has extensive community support, and allows you to sell subscriptions to your customers.
- Membership websites: In addition to selling physical or digital products, you can also sell memberships. This might be useful if you’re an educator or a writer who wants to get reimbursed for your hard work. WordPress allows you to sell memberships that provide users access to premium content on your website. One of the simplest ways to get started is to host your membership website on Kinsta and optimize the speed of your membership features.
- Business websites: A business website is where you would want to look professional and organized to present your brand as strong competitor in the market. This can be easily accomplished if you select the right theme — WordPress will take care of the rest. There are also plenty of plugins to help you showcase your work.
You might have noticed that the possibilities for creating websites using WordPress are nearly limitless. As long as you know what you want, it’s almost certainly possible to build it using the popular CMS.
But this is also the case with Laravel — so how are we supposed to decide which technology to use?
Similarities and Differences in Laravel vs WordPress
First, let’s have a look at the similarities between Laravel and WordPress:
- Free and open source
- Offers the ability to build different types of websites
- Has a huge community and endless support
- Stacked with built-in features
- Fast and flexible
- Run on an object-oriented structure
- Reliable and maintained by contributors from all around the world
Now let’s examine the differences between them according to what’s been mentioned so far:
- Laravel is a framework for creating custom web apps from scratch, whereas WordPress is a content management system that provides an advanced starting point for creating websites.
- To use Laravel, you must be a PHP developer, but WordPress may be used without any coding experience.
- Laravel leverages MVC architecture, whereas WordPress uses plugin architecture.
- In Laravel, you can expand and add functionality using packages, while in WordPress, you use plugins.
Laravel vs WordPress: Head-to-Head Comparison
We understand that choosing between Laravel and WordPress is not an easy task as they both appear to be ideal for the majority of use cases. To resolve this, we shall pit both technologies against one another in a head-to-head comparison.
It’s not fair to compare popularity because when it comes down to it, Laravel and WordPress aren’t the same. Laravel is a PHP framework, whereas WordPress is a content management system; the difference between the two is significant.
Laravel allows you to construct and accomplish whatever WordPress can. WordPress, however, cannot do everything that Laravel can.
This makes sense given that Laravel is limitless — it’s a framework for customizing web applications to meet your requirements, no matter how complex they may be. But WordPress was created to simplify content management.
That having been said, here is a screenshot from Google Trends demonstrating the difference between the two technologies over the last five years.
It is evident that Laravel is gaining ground on WordPress. Yet, this is not proof that Laravel is superior. People, in fact, tend to follow trending topics, even if they are not always suitable for them.
Because Laravel is the current PHP trending topic, Laravel developers are becoming increasingly expensive, making it wise for small businesses to choose WordPress if it fits their needs.
Laravel requires an experienced PHP developer to build a reliable backend for the app, as well as a frontend developer to make the app attractive and user-friendly. Hiring those developers would be costly since they would need to build all of the necessary features from scratch, and even if it was decided to utilize packages to make things easier, a developer would still be required to programmatically integrate the app with the package.
WordPress isn’t truly free because you’ll have to pay for plugins or themes at some point, but it will surely save money and time because you won’t necessarily need the services of a developer. Even if you decide to hire a developer to apply customization to your website, WordPress developers are often less expensive than Laravel developers. This is due to the technology used, since things in Laravel may become difficult for heavily customized web apps.
Thanks to Kinsta’s new hosting solutions, it is now hard to say which of the two technologies is easier to host. Whether you’re attempting to host a WordPress website or host a Laravel web application, it only takes a few clicks and Voilà! Your project gets deployed.
Customers have experienced significant reductions in latency since Kinsa released its new solution for web apps and databases. This led to improvements in the speed and responsiveness of their live projects. In addition, we’re giving away $20 as a gift from Kinsta for both new and existing customers. How cool is that?
Learning Curve and Ease of Use
Laravel is well known for its developer-friendly syntax. After all, Laravel was designed to make PHP development easier.
Although learning Laravel may be simple for an experienced PHP developer, it can get complex for a beginner. Of course, with the right resources and documentation, things can be a lot easier. But when we say that Laravel was created for developers, by developers, we mean those with prior coding experience.
WordPress, on the other hand, is quite simple to understand and learn for non-developers. This is considered one of WordPress’s key advantages: It’s simple enough that a WordPress newcomer can comprehend the fundamentals in about 10 minutes.
Laravel’s core code base is very well written and has been highly optimized by some of the best PHP developers in the world. The framework was created to handle complex jobs by providing a plethora of built-in functionalities that can be supplemented by a variety of available packages. However, every Laravel developer should be aware of several Laravel performance optimization techniques they can use to avoid causing any performance issues.
WordPress sites are sometimes plagued by slow site loading and poor performance of specific add-ons. It works fine with simple sites, but when your site grows and demands additional plugins and resources, finding a solution might be challenging.
However, you can speed up WordPress sites by following best practices. In addition, you can also utilize a reliable dashboard tool such as MyKinsta, which is the best control panel available for WordPress websites.
Laravel apps are naturally scalable since they’re built from the ground up using MVC architecture. As we previously explained, MVC separates the application logic from the data displayed to the user, making it incredibly simple to work on each component individually. This allows the business owner to add or remove features and adapt the project as the business expands without having to worry about any negative impact on user experience or the web app’s speed and performance.
WordPress customization options are limited, and the more add-ons you add, the slower the website becomes. As a result, scaling your website without affecting its speed may be challenging. However, Kinsta’s enterprise WordPress hosting services would allow your project to securely scale without risking performance.
Laravel projects are developed from the ground up, so it takes a long time to complete a project with an effective CMS and personalized features. However, with a variety of tools available for Laravel and a huge community supporting it, talented developers may substantially reduce their overall coding time.
WordPress is undoubtedly the winner in this area since it includes pre-built themes that will get your site up and running in no time. Customization might sometimes be time-consuming, but not when you use DevKinsta to build your website. DevKinsta is a free tool from Kinsta that provides a local development suite to help you design, develop, and deploy your WordPress project.
Laravel apps are completely secure due to the framework’s robust security features. This makes it an excellent choice for dealing with sensitive data. The framework includes powerful security features such as authentication mechanisms, password encryption, route protection, and security against common threats like CSRF and SQL injections.
WordPress has had its fair share of security concerns in the past, but they have been discovered and handled over time. However, security has greatly improved in recent years.
Still, Laravel is still more trustworthy and secure without the need for additional packages.
Laravel doesn’t come with any SEO features. If you want to improve SEO performance, you’ll need to use external packages, which are widely available. You can make your web app SEO optimized as you can totally tweak it and tailor whatever feature you desire, but it will take some effort and time.
WordPress websites typically rank quite well in search engines. It’s designed with SEO in mind, and you can expand it by adding plugins such as Yoast, but even if you don’t, the website will still be SEO optimized. It comes with a good collection of SEO tools by default. You may adjust the URL structure, create and manage taxonomies, and most themes are naturally responsive.
Laravel’s Eloquent Object-Relational Mapper (ORM) is one of the key features that distinguishes Laravel from other PHP frameworks. Eloquent ORM is used to query the database and is lightning fast. You may also disregard it and utilize Laravel’s query builder, which is even quicker than Eloquent models.
WordPress can be slowed down by the number of plugins you use on your website. Site owners should tread carefully while installing plugins and double-check the quality of the included code before pulling it.
Can Laravel and WordPress Be Used Together?
Laravel is the most popular open-source PHP framework today, and it manages both the frontend and backend of the app. However, the backend is always the most complex part. Therefore, many developers use Laravel in combination with WordPress, with Laravel managing the frontend and WordPress handling the backend.
Another benefit of WordPress is that it is massively popular and easy for anyone to use. This is beneficial when developing a web app since it eliminates the need to teach users and contributors how to manage content.
There are different ways to use Laravel with WordPress. Let’s go through some of the best methods.
Corcel is the best open-source package to integrate Laravel with WordPress. It enables content retrieval straight from your WordPress database using Laravel Eloquent models. You can utilize WordPress as the backend (administration panel) or as the CMS, with any other PHP framework accessing data on the other side (as a Model layer).
Corcel is ideally suited for Laravel, although it may be used with any PHP project that uses Composer.
WP Eloquent is a WordPress database table wrapper package. It includes Posts, Comments, Post Meta, User, and User Meta models.
The package has not been updated in a long time. Therefore , it might require some updates before using it in your project.
WordPress Rest API
You can also make use of the WordPress rest API, which gives any blog a JSON API through which you can make read-only requests that don’t require any authentication.
This approach vastly simplifies data reading and retrieval processes. What’s more, it simplifies a good deal of code as well.
Laravel vs WordPress: Which Should You Use?
When we’re forced to pick one technology over another, it always feels like we’re giving up some benefits only to obtain others. In our case, both Laravel and WordPress are pretty much capable of achieving anything.
However, only the right tool for your needs will make your life easier.
With that said, we suggest using Laravel when the app you’re building is:
- An enterprise app used by an organization to assist in solving challenges
- Complex and will require custom and unique features
- A container for sensitive information that must be well protected
- Likely to scale fast
- Going to require APIs
And use WordPress when you’re planning a website that’s:
- A blog, news site, or platform with a large volume of written content
- Going to require speed in development, particularly when you want to start fast
- A professional or personal presentational website
- An SEO-friendly website
- A simple and straightforward ecommerce store
In short, Laravel is the best choice to have a customized web application. It can be more costly than WordPress and necessitates the services of a professional developer, but it will enable your app to scale while including as many features as you like. WordPress, on the other hand, is an excellent choice for lightweight websites or websites that are unlikely to receive significant updates in terms of feature capabilities.
Which option — Laravel vs WordPress — have you chosen for your next project, and what do you plan to build? Let us know in the comments section below.
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> Can Laravel and WordPress Be Used Together?
Don’t forget about Acorn! https://roots.io/acorn/
Acorn provides a way to gracefully load a Laravel application container inside of WordPress while respecting the WordPress lifecycle and template hierarchy.
Many Laravel components are already supported, with more being worked on or planned to be added soon.
Thanks for letting us know, Ben, I hope you and the Roots team is doing well!