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Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Comparing Webflow to WordPress in 7 aspects

The main value of Webflow is its ability to design clean UI and render full websites using the cleanest code possible.
Written by
Mohamed Hassan
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Work Sample

User Experience UX

Design Thinking

Webflow is a digital interface visual builder. It basically allows you to place and style elements of any digital interface.

A responsive landing page designed using Webflow

Setup

WordPress has a renowned one-page setup guide, that they used to name the “5 minutes” guide. However, for anyone who is not an absolute expert in the system, it would take much longer than 5 minutes to understand and debug the setup.

Webflow does not require much to start as there is no setup required for the system.

Customisation

WordPress has recently upgraded its default website editing interface using a minimalist approach. It can also be modified using third party visual builders e.g. WP Bakery Visual Builder. These softwares from third parties are usually paid either through direct purchase or subscriptions.

Webflow customisations are almost limitless, so it is almost on-bar in flexibility with direct coding. However, building the user interface (UI) using Webflow drag and drop is obviously way easier. It also has a dedicated free online “university”, with a hilarious guy presenting most of the videos, e.g. 2 min video explaining the visual designer interface.

Security

WordPress utilises open-source system, while this allows security experts to verify its variability, it makes it equally accessible to hackers. Over the years the open nature of the system proved advantageous and now it is considered reasonably secured. However, exploits such as XML-RPC access open by default remains an issue. The system core requires continuous updates and maintenance too.

Webflow being vertically integrated results in its security being automatically managed with almost no requirements at user end.

Performance

WordPress can usually speed up using one or more third-party add-on software (plugins), e.g. Hummingbird. These plugins help with compression of digital assets, as well as caching them. This could also be done directly using coding on the server itself, e.g. using .htaccess file.

Webflow manages all speeding techniques such as compression and caching using toggle switches built into the system.

Delivery

Both WordPress and Webflow require third parties to ensure fast delivery using Content Distribution Network (CDN).

WordPress requires engaging those CDN third parties separately. Cloudflare makes for a great option as it offers exceptional performance for most sites, with its free plan.

Webflow uses Amazon Web Service (AWS) as the third-party of choice for CDN. This makes the experience seamless for its users. It also hosts assets, e.g. images, using its own domain so visitors can download multiple assets without being penalised or having to wait longer for downloads count limit from a single domain. This approach allows a website build that takes 2 seconds using conventional hosting, e.g. WordPress, to be rendered in less than 1 second using Webflow.

Accounts

WordPress has the necessary admins and editors account creation and management functionality. It also allows website visitors to create accounts by default. This can be an advantage or a disadvantage based on the target functionality of the website. However, it is almost a necessity for e-commerce websites.

Webflow is only limited to admins and editors accounts but allows limited additional functionality for e-commerce upgraded websites. It could also white-label editors’ interface to mask the Webflow branding.

Cost

WordPress is free to use, however hosting is usually not, although a decent hosting server, e.g. Hostinger, does not cost much. For e-commerce functionality, WooCommerce or other third-party plugins can be used. These usually do not take a cut by default from customer purchase. However, payment processors required for payment itself do.

Webflow requires a monthly or an annual subscription to obtain basic functionalities. In addition, it takes a cut from every purchase a customer makes on e-commerce enabled websites, unless you were opting-in for higher tier subscriptions.

Verdict

Unless you are looking to host an e-commerce website or a contribution-based platform, Webflow is the way to go. For my company, we utilise Webflow for front pages and WordPress for blog and shop pages.