There are many reasons for that. While plugins makes it a lot easier to add advanced functionalities to a website, it also causes pain sometimes. There is a debate in the web development over WordPress plugin vs custom development.
Web design agencies all across the world use both techniques to develop website for their clients. Both methods have their own pros and cons and the best method would vary based on the context of the use and requirements.
Here is a short guide about a few factors you should consider before you decide between WordPress plugin and custom development.
Ability to Customize
We can find myriads plugins to add almost all functionalities to a website. Although they are useful, most of the time, plugins can’t be uniquely appropriated to the website. There is a limit to personalize the plugins the way we want.
On the other hand, we have the flexibility to design the website and add features any way we want and achieve any result in the custom development. Of course it takes lots of time and money but worth it due to the freedom it gives.
Plugins make it easier to make changes in the website. This makes it easier for website owners or admins without technical knowledge to make changes in the website.
For example, if you have plugins for gallery on your WordPress website, you can make changes in the gallery by using the WordPress dashboard.
It is not possible when the gallery is created by custom code. In such cases, you need to dig deep into the code and change the code to make changes in the gallery. This is both time consuming and expensive.
Cost of Development
Writing custom code for a website is very expensive. It also requires the help of a developer to make the changes to the website which adds to the cost.
There are thousands of great plugins available for free as well as premium plugins for lower price and it is not very difficult to find a good plugin in most cases. Therefore, it is great to go for plugins if you could find a plugin perfect for your need and appropriate to the website.
Security of the Website
Some of the plugins available in the WordPress repository are not completely secure. Using less secure plugins can make your site vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
There is no need to worry about the security of the website when it is custom developed. The coding is done by your agency and therefore no need to worry about the secret codes that make the website vulnerable.
Plugin or Theme Updates
When there is an update available, you would have to update your plugins and theme to make your website more secure. One problem with the update is that, it might break your website. It is usual for WordPress websites to have a clash between the code in different files after updating a plugin or theme. This may cause severe problem on your website depending on the type of functionality the plugin adds.
Note: You should always backup your website before you update a theme or plugin on your website. This way you can always go back if you face any issue after the update.
There is no need to update a custom code unless you want to make changes in the way it works. This reduces the risk of breaking your website unexpectedly.
The custom code written by your agency can be edited quickly in case there is an error after updating the theme. If it is plugin, it would take hours for the developer to find out the reason another few hours to fix it. Sometimes it can be days.
The custom development gives the developer a lot more control over the website which makes it easier for them to fix it. It can be good in such cases.
Reduce the Page Loading Time
One of the major reasons for slow loading of a WordPress websites is the use of plugins. Plugins contains lots of documents and send many HTTP requests. There would so many script files, css files and various frameworks. This decreases the page speed of your website significantly.
When you go for custom development, you would have only the bare minimum code. This reduces the pages sizes, number of HTTP requests and ultimately the page loading time.
Rich Featured Plugins
It would be impossible to replicate the features available in some of the big plugins. For example, it would take years to hand code the features provided by plugins like Yoast SEO or WooCommerce. When there are popular plugins like this, it is always recommended to use them instead of going for custom development. Most of the developers can’t achieve it or it would take a long time to code the features these plugins provide.
When You should do Custom Development
Most of the developers don’t recommend using plugins to add core functionality of your website. When the plugins are failed to load, it may affect the website. It shouldn’t happen. You need add all features of websites like gallery and contact form to be hand coded. This makes the pages load faster and improve the overall performance of the website.
You should also add the facility to change the contents on the website using the dashboard.
When use Plugin
You can use plugins for website analytics, SEO and other external activities. Therefore, the failure of plugins may not directly affect the actual website. You can also use big and popular plugins like WooCommerce to add features to your website because it would be hand code such features provided by those plugins. Moreover, plugins developed by big players are always ensured that it would work with most of the good themes out there and so there is less chance of code clash while updating theme or such plugins.
Custom development reduces the chance of clash of codes in the plugins and theme. Moreover, it ensures a smooth performance of the website but with the cost of more time, effort and money.