Wordpress vs web dev

What is the difference between learning to build websites with Wordpress and by coding? Isnt Wordpress easier and quicker? Why doesn’t everyone use it?

Does Wordpress cover both backend and front end?

I am also referring to wix and other sites like these. Couldnt customers just make their own websites without needing you?

When do you start to learn about how to actually start building a website with code? Im learning coding but have no idea where to start if I wanted to build a website.



If you do it with coding the sky’s the limit in terms of what you can do and how you can manage it. For certain use cases, Wordpress is for sure very useful. So it depends on what kinds of sites you want to be able to make (and what part of them to work on). Using a CMS like Wordpress is useful when your client is going to need to manage content on their site.

Learning to make a simple website with code is the quickest part (at least, rudimentary websites). HTML and CSS are the fastest way to code something basic. Javascript will also be very useful (if not downright necessary) in even most basic sites.

The moment you want more functionality or scope, then you need to work with more components (and this part can splinter into many different specialties depending on what you’re looking for). Which languages to go for will depend on what you’re more interested in.


So to make websites for customers if you want to freelance do you need to know coding? What about for companies?

I’d say it’s vital.

PHP I think is useful. Javascript is almost necessary to know. Probably one of the big frameworks (react, angular, vue). Maybe some backend (PHP/Laravel, Python/Django or Python/Flask etc. there are more variations).

You’d be really drawing yourself into a corner if all you could do was Wordpress.

The good news is that there’s a ton of free high quality resources to learn all this stuff. It just takes time, energy, effort, patience, and will.

@dev6112515278 check the webdev subreddit for a lot of good chats on this very topic.

What about back end stuff like python. Where does that fit in with wordpress

Python in this context is if you want to use a backend framework like Django or Flask. I use flask and I find it very useful for what I like to do (but my websites interact with databases, which is not everyone’s thing). If you are going to do backend it’s really also worth it to invest some energy to learning at least basic database knowledge.

I would say python doesn’t really fit into wordpress (that’s more of the land of PHP).

Does wordpress do backend for you?

It can support it (though it’s not necessary), PHP, MySQL, and Javascript are your friends in this scenario.

Ok so I am guessing when you build websites for your portfolio employers dont want to see wordpress?

That being said I don’t use wordpress so you’d probably need to ask people who work with it to get a better picture.

I think you build to your strengths. Over time you develop skills, and you basically should build a portfolio that balances the display of those skills, versus what the employer wants.

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PHP at the moment has the reputation of being more of a freelance thing (although maybe there are companies looking for PHP where you live, you’d have to do the research on this).

I wouldn’t get hungup though on which stack. Learn one well, the skills can transpose if you learn it properly. If you find you like backend more than you thought, you can dedicate more time on that, and viceversa with frontend.

One piece of advice is once you have some skills, offer to do some volunteer project for someone you know (that you know you can pull off). People value the fact that you can apply your skills in real-world scenarios.

Check out this thread:


This is actually a bit tricky, as there isn’t a definitive answer.

The technologies you’ll pick will greatly depend on the needs of said customers.

If you want to go the freelance route, you can pretty much pick whatever languages and frameworks you wish to use. Then you’ll just need to find projects that use those. If you want to join a web development agency, you’ll have to meet the requirements and tech used by that agency.

@toastedpitabread has given you a pretty clear answer, I’ll just add my two cents.

WordPress gives you a skeleton to build on. The back-end is already there (written in PHP), and connects to a MySQL database. It’s pretty much plug and play, in the sense that if you wanted something up quickly, you could easily add an already designed theme, add some plugins, and be well on your way to a working solution. That’s for the basic part. Now if you wanted to tweak things a little, you’d have to know PHP to come up with your own scripts, or even develop your own plugins. An understanding of MySQL and relational databases is also a nice skill to have. For the front-end, it’s basically HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Those would allow you to come up with your own designs, rather than relying on a theme that was made by someone else, and available to purchase from a marketplace.

Isnt Wordpress easier and quicker?

Definitely quicker than starting from a blank page, yes. As I said, it’s pretty plug and play. That said, as requirements grow, you might have to tweak the solution to meet the clients’ needs. And then you need to know the languages aforementioned.

Because it doesn’t fit all purposes. WordPress is pretty good as a CMS. If you run a blog or a news website, using WP’s CMS would be easier than coming up with your own custom solution. Good examples are The New York Times, or TechCrunch. They both run on WordPress. But then again not everyone can rely on WP, because not everyone has the same needs. It wouldn’t make sense for Netflix to use WP, for example. Different projects have different needs. For blogs and company websites, it can be useful.

Yes, PHP / SQL on the back-end, HTML / CSS / JS on the front-end. You’re free to use any kind of JS framework on the front-end as well. For the back-end, you’re stuck with WordPress’ way of doing things.

Absolutely. Anyone can sign up for Wix and similar solutions to quickly come up with a simple website. Say you run an interior design business, and just need a couple static pages to showcase your work, as well as a contact form for clients to get in touch. Well in a matter of hours you’d be up and running and voilà, no need the require the services of a web dev. That said, not everyone has the patience / will to actually take the time to do this. I’m sure a lot of people do, otherwise Wix would be out of business – but it’s not for everyone. Such solutions will get better in time, and the lower-end of web developers might become “obsolete”. But not just yet. I don’t think Wix websites can even connect to a database. It’s really designed for very simple solutions. And it’s not web development. It’s drag and drop.

You could start learning the fundamentals straight away. HTML, CSS, JavaScript. Learn how to design a simple website, a simple user interface. You can even start right away:

    <title>Hello World</title>
    <h1>Hello, World!</h1>
  • Save it as index.html
  • Open the file with your favorite web browser
  • You’ve got yourself your very first web page

Some employers might actually specialize in WordPress, and require you to master the ins and outs of the platform. Usually you’ll be required to know more than just how to set up a WP website, because virtually anyone can learn this very quickly. Many bloggers learned how to set theirs up, doesn’t mean that all of them are web developers, it’s just not the case. You’ll need to know the actual languages used.

Then again, and as I opened this post with, there isn’t a definitive answer. It really kind of depends on the sort of web developer that you aspire to be. Do you want to become a WordPress specialist? If yes then go all-in and learn to master the platform, and look for employers that specialize in it.

If you want to be more employable, these days it’s pretty much required to know an actual framework, as @toastedpitabread mentioned. If you want to build stuff with PHP, you will have to learn frameworks such as Laravel, Symfony, Yii, CakePHP, CodeIgniter… these are the most common ones.

But depending on where you live, and if you want to work in this field, it might not be the best path to follow. It really depends. Enterprise software for bigger companies usually runs on stuff like Java, C#, Node.js (those come up a lot). While Ruby is still pretty common among startups. Python is interesting because it’s picking up pace, could be the next Ruby (if it isn’t already?).

But, for now, your goal should solely be to focus on learning how to build the simple stuff, IMO. A simple HTML web page, that you can make pretty with CSS, and interactive with some JavaScript.

It’d be difficult to even claim for just an internship without knowing the basics. That’s the harsh truth, as the requirements have literally gone through the roof.

But really take it step by step. It’s a marathon not a sprint. Learn the basics well and build from there! :wink:


Ok thank you so much for that beautiful response!

So far I have built a list of things I need to learn. It goes like this:

-Digital Marketing
-Codeacademy/FCC courses
-Look for projects on freelance sites (I am beginner-intermideate level in terms of web dev coding languages… I learned html, css, javascript, and am learning python)
-Work on my own projects
-Build my website for a beat store I am making / for my personal portfolio website… would wordpress be able to make a beat website where I need people to be able to download beats and listen to them?
-Learn installing software properly
-Learn command line in depth (already know basics)
-Learn about software depencies
-Version control
-web design

My main goal is to become a freelance web developer but looking at the job postings on upwork has left me very confused as to what to actually learn. I have been thinking that I should just follow codeacademy and freecodecamp curriculum, but again, after looking at the job postings, I see lots of skills I have never heard of.

Also the issue of wordpress vs handcoding is really confusing me, as I dont see the point of being a web developer if people can make their own websites these days really easily. My uncle runs a business and his website was made by him with wordpress.

How do I learn to build a website from scratch is their any good websites or videos on this? I would not know where to start coding or how to start.

Is my list of things to learn smart for my goal of becoming a freelance developer?

Again the upwork postings have left me really confused as to what to learn. Most of the skills are not stuff I find on FCC or Codeacademy but Ill have to look deeper. Also the skills seem to change drastically from job to job, so how do you specialize in one field while freelancing.

Is it smart to get a broad base of knowledge or should you focus yourself on one skill? I feel the latter is better, but it is proving hard to do.

I have more questions but cant think of them at this time.

If you have time to answer this I would be very grateful.



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