As a company, we use WordPress for creating websites, but use Microsoft .NET for our App and System Developments. For the Microsoft platform (.NET), one of the most popular CMSs used by companies for websites is DotNetNuke (DNN). WordPress and DNN have both existed for almost 20 years. In this post, we will outline the advantages of WordPress over DNN for websites.

Over 40% of Websites Use WordPress

As of 2021, 43% of all websites use WordPress as their CMS. For DNN, 0.1% of all websites use it. This is a big difference and having a larger installed user base has a number of advantages, many of which are listed below.

Themes and Plugins – Huge Library

WordPress offers a huge library of themes and plugins. This means there is a very wide choice of high quality solutions, many of which are free or low cost. DNN does also have a library of modules, skins and extensions, but a lot fewer. This means that in DNN something to solve a particular problem may not exist and custom code may be needed. For e-commerce WordPress offers WooCommerce, which is a comprehensive plugin – other options are available too.

Many Knowledgeable People

There are lots of people (designers, developers, marketeers, content administrators) who have knowledge of WordPress and how it works. For DNN due to its lower installed based there are a lot fewer people. The wide pool of knowledgeable people means more options and a higher chance that staff and partners will have knowledge. In addition, many more WordPress training resources exist (most of which are free) to get people up to speed if required.

Wide Variety of Hosting Options

There are more hosting options available for WordPress than .NET. These range from low cost ‘shared’ hosting (suitable for smaller sites) through to cloud servers. In many cases, hosting can work out cheaper too – this is particularly due to the lack of SQL Server licensing cost (which DNN requires). In addition, WordPress hosting is often significantly quicker to setup than DNN hosting.

Regular Updates & Improvements

WordPress core, themes and plugins have regular updates and improvements. So new functionality is available regularly and if a bug does exist, it’ll be fixed quickly. With DNN, updates are comparatively less frequent – meaning longer to wait for enhancements and fixes.

More ‘out of the box’ Functionality

For standard websites, WordPress has more ‘out of the box’ that you need compared to DNN. This means without any plugins / extensions, you’re likely to be able to build more of a website than you can with a brand new DNN installation.

Robust Future Roadmap

WordPress has a robust roadmap for the future, with continued changes and improvements. DNN has some challenges – for example they have stated it’s not feasible to migrate the CMS to .NET Core – due to the effort required.

Less Time and Therefore Lower Development Cost

For most websites, time (and thus cost) to create a site is considerably less in WordPress than in DNN. This is due to several of the above advantages and with the use of comprehensive theme and plugins, most functionality is available without custom coding. For most WordPress websites, custom coding is unlikely to be required.

DNN Advantages

WordPress does offer a number of advantages over DNN for websites. However DNN does have some advantages or situations where it can be good:

  • Due to its lower installed base, DNN is less of a target for hack attempts / attacks. However, WordPress is increasingly secure and when the correct security plugins and firewalls (such as Cloudflare WAF) are in place it is very secure. Combined with a Website Care Plan (which DNN would need an equivalent of too) a WordPress website will be healthy and secure.
  • DNN may be a better option if you only have .NET resource available and don’t wish to expand knowledge, or utilise other resources. However, we would suggest that making a decision based on resource availability is not a sensible thing to do. Also, do remember that a via a custom coded plugin WordPress website can quite happily talk to a .NET based backend (web service).
  • If you already utilise DNN and have a large library of custom modules, extensions etc., sticking with DNN may be a better option than switching to WordPress. This is particularly relevant if you are in more of a ‘sustaining’ phase, with less active development on your website.

Summary

For almost all public facing small to medium sized websites, WordPress is a better option. Many of the benefits (as summarised above) are down to its large installed based and subsequent impact this has had over the years. To summarise, a website built using WordPress can be built faster, at a lower cost (both initial and on-going) and be easier to maintain than a DNN based website.