WordPress is great, when might I need Laravel?

Written by Jonny in Technology

developers working at desks

Back in 2020 we introduced a new framework, Laravel, into our tech stack as a way to help clients solve more complex problems than we felt WordPress would be able to. So, 4 years on, how has it been shaping up? 

While WordPress remains the go-to content management system for most (43% of websites), the rise of more robust frameworks like Laravel has opened up a new world of possibilities for both businesses and developers!

If you’re considering Laravel over WordPress for your 2024 web projects, our expert developer, Ralph, is back to share his insights on navigating the WordPress vs. Laravel decision.

The changing tides: WordPress and Laravel in 2024

Since the dawn of time (give or take) WordPress has been the go-to choice for building websites, blogs, and smaller web applications. Its user-friendly interface, expansive plugin ecosystem, and content management capabilities make it a natural fit for many projects. We have always been huge WordPress fans, and we don’t see that changing anytime soon, but, as web applications become increasingly complex, there’s a growing need for more flexible and scalable solutions.

That’s where Laravel comes in. This powerful PHP framework has seen a surge in popularity amongst developers in recent years. Laravel’s focus on elegant syntax, robust architecture, and developer productivity make it a really appealing option for building custom, enterprise-level web applications.

“We love WordPress and the simplicity it brings to so many of our clients’ web projects,” says Ralph. “But we’ve also found that there are times when a more robust, bespoke solution is needed – and that’s where Laravel really shines.”

When to choose Laravel over WordPress

So, when might you need to consider Laravel over our trusty WordPress platform? Here are a few key scenarios to mull over:

1. Complex functionality and custom requirements

If your web project requires extensive, highly-specialised functionality that goes beyond the capabilities of off-the-shelf WordPress plugins, Laravel could be the better fit. Its modular structure and extensive ecosystem of packages allow developers to build tailored solutions from the ground up.

“We’ve worked with clients who had very specific data processing needs, complex business logic, or the need for a scalable API,” explains Ralph. “In those cases, the flexibility and power of Laravel enabled us to create the perfect solution, rather than trying to shoehorn it into WordPress.”

2. High-performance and scalability

As your website or web application grows in traffic and complexity, performance and scalability become critical factors. Laravel’s architectural design, support for asynchronous processing, and built-in caching mechanisms make it really well-suited for handling high-volume, data-intensive applications.

“WordPress is great for many use cases, but if you’re building something that needs to scale up to handle thousands of users, complex computations, or real-time data processing, Laravel could be the better choice,” says Ralph.

3. Developer productivity and maintainability

For developers who value a streamlined, organised codebase and efficient workflows, Laravel’s emphasis on developer experience can be a game-changer. Its expressive syntax, robust ORM, and powerful CLI tools help developers be more productive, write cleaner code, and maintain complex projects over time.

“With Laravel, we can create web applications that are not only powerful and scalable, but also a joy to develop and maintain,” Ralph notes. “The framework’s architectural patterns and tooling really empower our team to work efficiently and deliver high-quality solutions.”

Bridging the gap: Combining WordPress and Laravel

Of course, the WordPress vs. Laravel debate isn’t always a binary choice. And actually, many of our clients have found success in taking a hybrid approach, leveraging the (considerable!) strengths of both platforms.

“We’ve seen a growing demand for solutions that combine the content management power of WordPress with the custom functionality and scalability of Laravel,” says Ralph. “This hybrid approach allows us to give our clients the best of both worlds – a visually appealing, SEO-optimised website powered by WordPress, alongside a robust web application built on Laravel.”

And this is a scenario we come across a lot; the WordPress installation handles the marketing-focused website, while the Laravel application manages the more complex, data-driven features and functionality. The two can be seamlessly integrated, providing a cohesive user experience, and making your life so much easier! 

FAQs: Navigating the WordPress vs. Laravel landscape

Q: Is Laravel better than WordPress?

A: We don’t have a favourite child! It’s too simplistic to say that one is “better” than the other, because they serve different purposes. Laravel is a powerful PHP framework for building custom web applications, while WordPress is a content management system (CMS) primarily used for creating websites and blogs. The choice between the two depends entirely on your specific project. 

Q: When should I choose Laravel over WordPress?

A: You should consider Laravel over WordPress if your project requires:

Q: Can I use Laravel within a WordPress website?

A: Laravel is not directly integrated into the WordPress core, but you can absolutely combine the two platforms by building a custom WordPress theme or plugin that leverages Laravel’s capabilities. We love this hybrid approach as it allows you to harness the strengths of both frameworks, giving you a content-rich website powered by WordPress and a robust, custom web application built on Laravel.

Q: How do the costs compare between WordPress and Laravel?

A: Obviously costs can vary significantly depending on your individual needs. But, it’s fair to say that WordPress can be more cost-effective for smaller, content-focused websites, with hosting and plugin costs often being lower. Naturally, for complex, custom web applications, the development costs for Laravel will be higher, because they need the specialised expertise of amazing devs like Ralph. 

Ready to explore your options?

Expanding our offering from just WordPress has enabled us to meet the demands of increasingly complex and bespoke app build client requirements, whilst still harnessing the power of WordPress and utilising the great PHP skills we have in the team. So whether you need a content-rich website, a scalable web application, or a combination of both, our team is here to guide you every step of the way.

Drop us a message today, and let’s talk about how we can leverage the strengths of WordPress, Laravel, or a hybrid approach to bring your project to life. 

The Author

Jonny Vaughan

Founder & Technical Director of 10 Degrees. Jonny's day to day focus is on determining the best technical solutions for our clients, driving technical innovation and leading our sustainability agenda.

The 10 Degrees Team

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