Short semantic disclaimer at the beginning: our SEO plugin recommends a powerword for the title of our comparison between WordPress vs. TYPO3. Ultimate is a great powerword, as it comes to mind in an ad-hoc way and naturally creates an expectation in you that you have finally reached the philosopher's stone when it comes to CMS consulting.
Therefore: Rudder back. The ultimate comparison you could possibly make if you had implemented two or three identical digital projects with both content management systems. Please let us know if you know a person who has taken this route. Since no one wants to waste so many resources, this blogpost is based on the experience of our team of conceptual designers, backend and frontend web developers, and editors instead. These people have gained a lot of experience with the pros and cons of both TYPO3 and WordPress over the course of numerous projects with a wide variety of requirements.
You will find here the concentrate of it, divided into 12 sub-aspects. Spoiler Alert: There will be no winner and loser. On the one hand this would not do justice to both CMS due to their sometimes big differences, on the other hand this would also not take into account the individuality of each web project.
1. TYPO3 vs. WordPress – license free 💸
First of all, some good news. Both systems are open source and free of licensing costs. So, if you are planning and designing your own website, programming it, maintaining it, maybe even running your own server, you can get started with TYPO3 as well as WordPress almost free of charge.
Also true for all of our clients; running both systems is basically very economical and the cost comes primarily from the complexity of the project, as well as the subsequent maintenance needs and hosting.
2. Complexity of the website as a key decision criterion 📏
After this point, your decision for either TYPO3 or WordPress should have already become a bit easier. While TYPO3 as an enterprise CMS is designed for scalability and thus predestined for medium and larger projects, WordPress is still characterized by its origin as a classic blog system. So it doesn't offer a structure with a page tree in the backend like TYPO3 and is ultimately based only on records of the type post (contribution). TYPO3 again offers an independent media management with media data and category system. It is also possible to manage several websites within one installation, which makes editorial work much easier.
3. Web design with TYPO3 and with WordPress 🎨
WordPress offers numerous themes as design templates. These offer different variability for customization, but they are limited. Those who want to fully live up to their corporate identity will prefer an individual implementation. This is also possible in WordPress, although the implementation time then shoots up significantly. At PPW, we usually implement individual design specifications in TYPO3 based on the specifications from the concept and layout phase, and thus stage the brand as you want it to be. If you are satisfied with a standard theme, you will quickly reach your goal in terms of web design with WordPress.
4. User roles and rights management 👥
In advance it should be clear, which users and editors will later maintain a web project, whether there are restrictions regarding the read and write rights, or possibly even a subdivision of individual areas on individual subpages. While WordPress offers a rather simple user administration by default, TYPO3 allows for individual roles and visibilities. This way it is possible for larger editorial teams or departments with different tasks to make only those contents visible in the backend that are relevant in each case. Especially for complex projects this results in a very good overview.
5. Extensions and flexibility 🔌
Almost every requirement specification in a digital project provides for special functions and interfaces that can no longer be mapped with the core of a content management system. Here come extensions (in the TYPO3 world) resp. Plugins (WordPress) into the game. They extend the feature set and in many cases provide exactly the solution you want. However, there are also scenarios that are not solved by existing extensions. Then individual solutions are required.
WordPress offers a huge plugin library for almost any purpose. However, no quality assurance is done, there are a lot of outdated and unmaintained updates and some block update processes with it. This is how security and pagespeed problems arise. These "finger way plugins" are not used by experienced WordPress developers.
TYPO3 in turn sets high quality standards for the programming and functioning of the extensions. For version 9, in August 2020, over 1.000 extensions available in the official extension library. Thanks to its open architecture, TYPO3 is also perfectly suited to linking IT systems such as ERP, CRM or PIM via interfaces.
6. Scalability 📈
Here we tie in with point 2 (complexity). Often during the operation of a website, new requirements are added. Three examples: New functions are needed. The architecture of the website should be overhauled. Product presentation is to be done on a new digital stage. Here TYPO3 and WordPress differ again clearly. While with WordPress the range of functions should be considered at the beginning, later adaptations in TYPO3 can be implemented continuously. The system is flexibly scalable. With WordPress you sometimes reach the painful point that a required further development with the existing CMS becomes impossible.
7. Multilingualism 🗺️
The paid WordPress plugin WPML offers the implementation of multilingual websites with WordPress. With TYPO3, standard functions offer clear handling of language versions. It is also possible to quickly switch from one language to another within a content element. In complex menu structures TYPO3 plays out its advantages in multilingualism.
8. Pagespeed 🏎️
The topic of loading times and performance is becoming increasingly important in the field of search engine optimization. Google offers a PageSpeed test that reveals optimization potentials. Depending on the selected template and installed plugins, WordPress quickly creates a very voluminous source code, which is also detrimental to good performance due to its outdated templating method (PHP and HTML queries in combination). Definitely recommended are caching plugins that reduce server load and improve user experience.
The TYPO3 core, on the other hand, has a very tidy code base and caching is a core function. In combination with selected extensions this causes a fast performance and therefore a good SEO result. In our blog article "TYPO3 Performance" we dedicate ourselves completely to this topic.
9. Editor friendliness 😃
Because of its ease of use and manageable depth, WordPress makes for quick onboarding for editors. The operation is quite intuitive and offers WYSIWYG feeling (what you see is what you get), depending on the editor. But the versatility is also not as high as with TYPO3. With this CMS, on the other hand, onboarding takes a bit more time than with WordPress, especially for TYPO3 newbies. The reason is the greater complexity of the backend and the nested structure of content elements. This requires the isolated editing of individual elements and is therefore less error-prone. In addition, complex data types can also be managed. Ergo: Speed and intuitive handling on the one hand, variety and more flexibility on the other hand are opposed to each other.
10. Security and stability 🛡️
In this section there are major differences between WordPress and TYPO3. While TYPO3 has a significantly lower distribution than WordPress in a worldwide view, WordPress with its large worldwide distribution is also in the lead in the area of attacks. For example, the plug-ins mentioned above provide common entry points. Definitely recommend two-step backend login via upstream htaccess protection. The TYPO3 Community, on the other hand, closes security gaps quickly and brings continuous updates as part of the Long-Term Support versions. The site https://www.exploit-db.com/ informs about security gaps and lists known security gaps when entering the CMS in the search window.
11. Certifications 🎓
In order to document quality standards and ensure a continuous transfer of knowledge, certifications provide a degree of transparency for developers and agencies, as well as for their customers. While in the WordPress area there is no certification program and the quality of developers might be more difficult to judge, TYPO3 offers a certification system with four sections. At PPW we cover the areas of TYPO3 CMS Certified Editor, Certified Integrator, Certified Developer and Certified Consultant. Above all, the TYPO3 CMS Certified Developer ensures high standards in terms of programming quality.
12. Deployment process 🚀
Deployment is basically the process of software distribution. In the context of websites it is about the live or. to play out a website on a so-called productive system. The files underlying a website can be played out in highly automated form. For TYPO3 projects, we rely on established deployment processes with development, staging and productive system instances, which are ideal for developing and testing new functions. The integration of deployment processes is less mature in the WordPress area. This leads to the fact that changes are often made on the live system and thus to a higher susceptibility to errors.
Conclusion: WordPress vs. TYPO3 – which CMS for which project type?
Both systems have now grown up and offer solutions for almost every challenge in the digital environment. WordPress scores with its fast onboarding, intuitive handling and numerous plugins. Simple corporate websites with manageable functionality, landing pages, one-pagers, blogs (also as parallel installation to a TYPO3 corporate website) can be implemented excellently with WordPress.
TYPO3 scores with its variability and scalability, its pagespeed-optimized core and a high security level. Complex corporate websites, service portals, websites with access-protected login areas, multilingual multisite installation with multilingualism and projects with a later expected scaling stand stable and future-proof on the foundation of this CMS.
Questions still open? Send us a message and we will clarify together with you which CMS is best suited for your project!