The Blog of Someone Who Builds Things on the Internet

I google how to do things, then post the answers here cause I'll probably forget. Maybe someone else finds it useful.

Why I moved from Wordpress to Bolt CMS

Published November 22, 2020

Well, I'm sure I'm not the first person to write about leaving Wordpress and I'm sure I won't be the last. At the end of the day, you gotta do what works for you, and Wordpress just wasn't working for me anymore. While I dabble in MIS solutions for businesses (and in my day job I exclusivly deal with an ERP development), most of my consulting work deals with setting up fairly basic informational websites for businesses. Most of these companies usually want to be able to change some content and they also want to post a blog, or updates, or similar.

For years, Wordpress fit the bill. It was easy to install on shared hosting, and easy to explain how to use it to clients. Also, because although I'm happy to provide ongoing support, most of my clients were set it up and forget it projects, so when something went wrong, the solution for them is easy to find using Google because of Wordpress' popularity.

However, over the last few years, I've noticed Wordpress has required more and more ongoing maintenace. I think the cause of this is its reliance on plugins. There's a plugin for everything out there, and because of that I would say the most sites I've worked on in the last few tears have no less than 10 plugins. The problem with this is all these plugins have different update schedules. Basically everytime I sign into a site, there was something to update, and you never know if the update will break anything. On top of that, plugins get abandoned all the time, so they don't keep up with changes to the core.

Anytime there's a problem with a client site - or even worst, a new client is looking for support with an existing site - I dread having to debug. Wordpress also hasn't kept up with modern coding standards, the code is a mess. Is it a plugin? Is it a core issue? Clear out a few hours, you'll never know how long it's gonna take to treack down the issue, but I guarentee it'll take longer than an hour.

Also, I'll be honest, the quality of plugins just isn't there anymore, and I hate the freeimum model that has taken over the plugin library. My clients backends started to look like a magizne site from 2007 - ads to "upgrade to pro" everywhere.

So I decided to move on. I started looking for a new CMS I could setup for new clients. Here were my requirements:

  • Installable on shared hosting, so PHP and MySQL
  • A backend with a solid editor, and easy to understand content flow and relations
  • Customizable post types
  • Solid image support
  • A decent templating engine

So, with all that in mind I went to DuckDuckGo, typed in CMS and dove in. Found the usual suspects on all the lists: Wordpress, Joomla, Druple. Pass on all. Its been at least 5 years since I used Joomla or Druple, but it didn't take long for me to realize these are way to complicated for what I need, those are enterprise level CMSes and all my clients don't need the amount of features they offer. After browsing a bunch of reddit posts, someone recommended Bolt CMS.

Never heard of it before so I took a look over their Docs. After about 45 seconds, I was sold. Why? Their powerful ContentTypes. Easily configurable from yaml files, you can create and spec out pages, blog posts, pages for team members, pages showcasing past project, etc. I loved it. This was exactly what I needed. A lot of people don't know this, but Wordpress supports multiple content types, but it's a pain in the ass, and you guessed it, you have to use a plugin to expose the system to define the types. It is just so easy to define a new section in Bolt. Support for different templates with various content blocks, easily defined. Mark up a field in the yaml file, throw in a block placement with Twig, and refresh your page - good to go.

Since I started using Bolt a month ago, on top of moving my personal website from them, I've retrofited two client websites from Wordpress to Bolt. Both times it only took me a few hours, and not once have I had to write any PHP. Using Bolt's powerful [ContentTypes](, I've been able to do everything I needed: FAQs, support docs, image galleries, etc. All those little things that usually take the most time when building out a site.

It's not all roses and unicorns though. I have had some issues getting Bolt to work with Docker for testing (honestly they've just overcomplicated their Docker Compose) and using Composer and shared hosting is always a little tricking. Might write some words about the issues I've had there and how I got over it.

Anyways, TL;DR if you build basic websites for clients and you've been using Wordpress, you should take a serious look at Bolt CMS. Highly recommend it.