How to Choose Between WordPress and ExpressionEngine CMS?

With such a large number of content management systems (CMS) available for aspiring webmasters to choose from, it can be a little baffling where to start when choosing the right CMS for your site.

The undisputed king of content management systems is WordPress - this giant claims that 27% of all the websites on the entire world wide web are powered by its CMS.Another big name in this niche is the ExpressionEngine CMS. Therefore, we have brought these two heavyweights together to assess the pros and cons of each so you’ll know which one matches your needs and desires.

The Price

How much you are willing to spend is one of the first questions to ask yourself. If you are looking to create a website/blog just for fun, then you might want to opt for a CMS platform which is free. Those with a budget at their disposal naturally have more options open to them.

WordPress cannot be beaten on price because it is completely free and open source. It also offers hundreds of theme templates and thousands of plugins at no cost to the user. Of course, there are many themes and plugins which do come with a price tag attached but you can avoid them if you wish.

ExpressionEngine is priced at $299 for the full kit. However, EllisLab, the company which developed ExpressionEngine, does offer a stripped-down version called ExpressionEngine Core which is free. This is a good place to start if you are undecided. While it’s not the complete pack, it certainly is enough to road test the product.

Ideal Usage

WordPress started out as a blogging platform. The majority of the templates designed also reflected this. While it still remains the world’s most popular CMS for building blogs, WordPress has evolved over the years, making it easier to create complete websites, yet for highly complex sites, WordPress is probably not the ideal content management system to use.

Building e-commerce and multi-themed websites are the key strengths which ExpressionEngine delivers. It comes complete with a huge set of tools, different functionalities and it is highly adaptable. Designing unique content models which source multiple channels, custom fields and relationships are made much easier with ExpressionEngine.

So, ultimately it depends on what you want to use your website for. WordPress is extremely easy to pick up the basics and within an hour you can download, install, create a blog post and publish it on the web. ExpressionEngine is also very easy to get up and running with. It’s fair to say that some prior knowledge and a web designer’s mentality is certainly beneficial to maximize each platform’s potential.


Both platforms offer excellent community support via forums, chat rooms, and video training. That said, there is far more information readily available for WordPress. This is largely due to it being the more commonly used platform, plus it is open source - which harbours a built-in community spirit.

As ExpressionEngine is a paid for product, the developer offers personalized support in the form of tickets but this service comes at a price. New customers get three months of free support, from then on, the basic developer support package will set you back $49 a month. If you are a ‘power-user’ with a plethora of sites, the Platinum Support Pack is $1,199 a month.

This kind of puts it into perspective that the CMS you choose must be fit for purpose. A big retailer running a successful e-commerce platform will not mind paying for such a service. Hobby bloggers and new business owners might not be able to afford such a luxury.

Plugins and Add-ons

Many people who do not know anything about coding rely on add-ons and plugins to provide those nifty extra features. By number, WordPress clearly wins this battle. The number of plugins available is mind-blowing. That is not to say ExpressionEngine is lacking in this department, it uses add-ons and plugins, and there are plenty to choose from.

The problem with WordPress plugins is that some tend to fight with others. For example, you might install a plugin to create tables and everything looks great, then later you install another plugin but it conflicts with the table plugin. This is a common issue which WordPress developers have to deal with. ExpressionEngine supply of add-ons/plugins is more controlled so such occurrences using its platform are far less frequent. It’s definitely a case of quality over quantity in that regard.

Some Examples

GPS technology company Garmin (https://www.garmin.com) is a great example of what can be achieved using the ExpressionEngine content management platform. Another ExpressionEngine site -nike.com-is something special, too.

TechCrunch.com and Bloomberg.com are among the big companies which run off of WordPress. Naturally, all of these are companies with huge budgets so you would expect the best. Newcasino.site is another WordPress creation and a good example of the diversity of this powerful CMS.

In summing up, both are excellent CMS. You will not go wrong with either and there is no clear ‘one is better than the other’ as they each offer greatness in their own particular area. Knowing what you want from your website will guide your decision as to the right CMS - not vice-versa.

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