From WordPress to Next.js: The Evolution of Faster Websites


WordPress to Nextjs

This is no coincidence that you stumbled your way here to this article. So, if you’re considering building a new website or improving an existing one, you are lucky! Because when it comes to website building programs, technology is continually progressing and the process is evolving in a positive way. And this comes as a direct response to ever-growing user demands for better page loading speed (in milliseconds!) and the experience when utilizing websites or online stores. 

The process of creating websites or converting the existing one into a new framework has become relatively easier. This is a fantastic opportunity for businesses who have chosen to trust new technologies such as Next.js. 

While WordPress content management system has dominated the web development environment for several years, accounting for the majority of websites globally. It is simple to set up and use, but it lacks speed.  The traffic on a WordPress website may be affected by such page load times. The CMS tool is based on PHP and has a significant number of codebases due to its many uses. Poor performance and difficult optimizations are typically linked to this (We will read more about this as we move on). 

WordPress makes it easy to set up a website, but the slower a website is, the fewer people it draws. Aside from great content, Google considers a website’s loading speed to be one of the most essential ranking factors. The latest generation of mobile app and website development frameworks are lighter, faster, more secure, scalable, and versatile. In this article, we will examine the differences between WordPress and a React-based framework Next.js.  

Let’s Talk WordPress

WordPress revolutionized website creation when it first appeared in 2003. WordPress is used to construct and power one out of every four websites you visit today. Anyone, not just “developers,” could construct and maintain a website with WordPress. 

WordPress is a PHP-based open-source content management system, which means anyone can use and change it. And what is a content management system, and how does it work? It is an application that allows a user to edit and manage a website from the back end without having to learn how to program it. 

For decades, WordPress has reigned as the most widely used content management system. As an open-source model, WordPress has maintained to provide commendable service to hundreds of blogs and websites throughout the years, in addition to providing a number of free content and SEO management tools, such as plugins and extensions. Many people prefer WordPress because of how simple it is to upload content and how precise it is to alter all aspects of the text, including SEO. It is presently used by 66 million websites including high-profile users such as TechCrunch and CNN. WordPress websites receive over 4 billion page views every month from 368 million users. 

This CMS software tool can be a good choice for a simple blog or a company that wants a basic, static site with little room for future development, additional features, or growth. It’s not the right foundation for a company that needs a flexible, and quick website. 

But if you’re a growing business, WordPress might not be the best option. Performance concerns arise from the fact that it is an unsupported piece of software that utilizes heavy PHP code. Listed below are the issues commonly faced by developers. 

PHP coding 

Changing a WordPress site necessitates the use of PHP. Customizations are possible in WordPress, but many users find them time-consuming and demanding. And, aside from WordPress sites, PHP isn’t the most used programming language, therefore it seems senseless to utilize it. 

Some people choose page builders because they can simply update and adjust the look of a site without knowing how to code. However, WordPress does not allow you to have all of the features you desire, nor can you create a dream site with all of the features you desire. It will almost certainly be difficult to use WordPress as the front end for a more complex site.  

Additional Plug-ins for features 

After you’ve acquired your website’s design template, you’ll almost certainly need to acquire plugins for any additional features you want. As you’ll need to set up, maintain, and update every single plugin, this might become incredibly inconvenient to manage overtime. All of these additions slow down the performance of your website, affecting its speed. 

Updating plug-ins 

Things are continually changing, upgrading, and reorganizing due to the rapid pace of technological advancements. That means you’ll have to update plugins on a regular basis, improve your design, and repair any bugs that arise. You may have to pay a developer to examine and fix flaws and code conflicts caused by new upgrades and plugins, which can be tough to diagnose.  

Lacks speed in loading time 

Speed in loading time is critical for engaging your readers with your content and, hopefully, converting them into long-term customers. The fancy plugins that come with WordPress make websites slow and glitchy. WordPress is also known for not being able to handle huge or multiple images, as well as large amounts of content. Your website is more likely to load slowly, be glitchy, or lag behind users as a result of these concerns. 

If your website or page takes too long to load, users will most likely abandon it in favor of another site that provides a similar service faster. Even more crucially, your SEO score is heavily influenced by your website’s speed. 

It may not always be SEO friendly 

As previously stated, WordPress can be cumbersome and slow, which impacts your SEO. Furthermore, WordPress’s template packages only include a limited number of SEO-optimizing capabilities. These existing capabilities may assist you to control basic search and Open Graph metadata, but you’ll need to hire professionals to optimize your site for more in-depth site speed improvements. 

Security Issues 

Hackers are more likely to attack WordPress sites since it is the most popular website builder. Your website may fall victim to hacker attacks and viruses due to WordPress’ popularity. Another reason WordPress sites are vulnerable to hacking is that their front ends are fully connected and integrated with the server, making it simple for hackers to overload your site’s server and cause it to crash.  

On migrating to Next.js 

Although migrating from a WordPress site to a new host may appear difficult, the aforementioned reasons are the key motivators that often lead users to move away from WordPress.  

The number of possibilities grows as technology advances, and WordPress has had its share of challenges in recent years. When it comes to page loading speed and the user experience when browsing websites or online stores, consumers expect more. And this comes as a fantastic opportunity for businesses who have chosen to trust new technologies such as the latest React-based frameworks such as Next.js.

Introduction to Next.js  

What is Next.js? It is the most popular web-development framework. This was developed as a response to the problems mentioned above with the traditional website development process. It has successfully segregated the content management system from the front end of the website. A headless CMS has a user interface for adding content and an API such as JSON or XML for delivering it to your website. The headless CMS’s sole purpose is to store and distribute structured information. 

Next.js is built on the react framework. Users can utilize this tool to build super-fast static websites and web applications. Vercel, formerly ZEIT[5], owns the rights and trademarks for Next.js, as well as maintaining and leading its open-source development. 

Nextjs takes care of the React tooling and settings, as well as adding structure, functionality, and optimizations to your program. It provides stunning Web applications for Windows, Linux, and Mac platforms. If you are unfamiliar with the react ecosystem and are interested in learning more about it, you should become acquainted with the Next.js framework. 

React is a JavaScript package that has usually been used to create web applications that are rendered using JavaScript in the client’s browser. However, developers recognize a number of issues with this strategy, including the inability to cater to users who do not have access to JavaScript or who have disabled it, potential security issues, significantly longer page loading times, and the possibility of harming the site’s overall search engine optimization. Next.js adds new functionality including server-side rendering and static website generation and avoids these issues by allowing some or all of the website to be displayed on the server before being transmitted to the client.  

Some of the key features of Next.js are 

  • Dynamic Code Reloading: When changes in the code are saved, the application is automatically reloaded. 
  • Splitting the source code: This functionality bundles and serves each page with every import in the code. It signifies that no extra code is loaded onto the website. 
  • Ecosystem Compliance: JavaScript, Node, and react are all compliant with the ecosystem. 
  • Server-side rendering: Render react components on the server easily before delivering HTML to the client. 
  • Styled-JSX: Styled-JSX is a JavaScript extension that allows you to write CSS directly into the code. 

Next.js is mentioned in the React documentation as one of the “Recommended Toolchains,” recommending it to developers for “Building a server-rendered webpage with Node.js.” [4] Whereas standard React apps can only render content in the client-side browser, Next.js expands this functionality to encompass server-side applications.  

What is so Great about Next.js?   

The fact that Next.js is built on top of the React front-end technology makes it even better. It is powered by the React engine, with a slew of out-of-the-box functionality added on top. Syntax highlighting support, content optimization, API navigation, and other features are all included in Next.js. The out-of-the-box functionalities were a big factor in my decision to use Next.js. 

Next.js’ key feature is the usage of server-side rendering, which reduces the load on web browsers and improves security. This can be done for any component of the program or the entire project, enabling the server-side rendering of content-rich pages. It can also be limited to first-time visitors to ease the load on web browsers that haven’t yet downloaded any of the site’s assets. The “hot reloading” feature identifies changes as they happen and re-renders the appropriate pages, saving the server from having to restart. This allows changes to the application code to be reflected in the web browser almost instantly. 

Additionally, Incremental Static Regeneration (ISR) is also supported by Next.js. SSG (static site generation) is a technique for creating static websites. During the development process, a compressed edition of the website is normally created and saved as a.next folder. The pre-built version is provided to the user in the form of static HTML pages when they request it.  As a result, loading times have sped up.  

WordPress Versus Next.js: Which One Should You Go For?   

The most notable distinction between Next.js and WordPress is that the former has completely isolated the content management system from the website’s front end (interface). A “headless CMS” is the name for a standalone content management system.  But how does that help?  

Here’s how- 

Website loading time 

Your website will load extraordinarily quickly as a result of the CMS disconnecting from the front end. This is due to the fact that data can now be delivered to your site visitors via a CDN. Visitors would previously come to your website and wait for your server to load data from anywhere in the world. A website placed on a CDN, on the other hand, is loaded on thousands of file-storage systems throughout the world, sending the data via the server nearest to the site visitor, reducing the loading time.   

The rate of development 

Because your website’s headless CMS will be completely isolated from the front end, you’ll be able to create quickly and efficiently. A benefit of utilizing a JavaScript-based framework is that JavaScript is now used by more programmers than any other programming language. As a result, finding developers to sustain the site and add new features in the future is easier.   

Online safety is important

Hackers can easily access a server that frequently goes down. By using Next.js, your website is hosted on a CDN, a globally distributed storage network, making it nearly impossible for hackers to access it. The user experience is thereby improved, and the hassle is eliminated. 

Customization and adaptability 

The unique features and integrations you can design down the road are nearly limitless. This includes integrating with various sorts of third-party applications and adding store displays. If the required slices/components were created previously in the CMS, you can easily unveil hidden pages on the fly to present to specific clients.   

It is fun and user-friendly 

A headless CMS is a lot of fun to use and understand. The ease of use of a headless CMS is unrivaled by WordPress. For marketing and media teams, headless CMS systems like Prismic.io were created.   

Final Verdict  

Despite being the first choice, WordPress can come with its share of advantages and disadvantages.  Based on the analysis above, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to choose WordPress or Next.js. If you have only a few pages on your blog, a completely customized website might not be worth the investment; instead, you should consider WordPress. 

You should definitely create a highly configurable website if your company plans to grow, especially if you plan to add applications, stores, or any of the other seemingly endless options. Improve your page speed, SEO, and user experience, and keep in mind that technologies like Next.js are helping to make websites more user-centric.  And that is something to look forward to for the users.  

The choice to go for the right CMS tool for a website can be confusing. And that’s where we come in. Get an overview of your website’s capabilities by contacting our experts at Webuters for consultation. 

And make the right choice for your business website today!