WordPress vs. Orchard CMS

I have had this website for about a year now. For the most part, I had this site up as more of an online portfolio/resume sort of thing. But about a month ago, I decided to start blogging. And since my then-current website wasn’t designed for blogging, I had a few options:

  1. Look for a CMS that enabled me to migrate easily
  2. Write up a simple CMS of my own

Bravely, I decided to go for option two. But then, after writing only a couple of modules, I came across the Orchard CMS, an open source project backed by Microsoft and written completely in ASP.net MVC3!  It was simply impossible to resist.

Orchard CMS

Backed by Microsoft

Microsoft backing at the least, signifies that it is a serious project, and has slim chances of all-of-a-sudden going on limbo. It may also mean some funding, which could relate to good support base.

ASP.net MVC3

This is the biggest selling point if you are a developer working on the Microsoft stack. You could treat this as any other CMS and deploy it unchanged, get a good deal of editing control via Web Matrix or simply pick on every minute detail by exporting it as a VS2010 solution. As simple as that.

Flexible Layout

The custom module/pluggability option gives you a lot of flexibility in creating custom types, placement and such.

After only a few weeks of Orchard though, on Wednesday, yet again, I found myself installing the good-old WordPress. Don’t take me wrong, Orchard was a great experience and I think it is a wonderful project to explore and play with. But at the end of the day, it comes out as too much of a great “project” rather than being a great CMS.

WordPress

Speed

The speed of wordpress is unmatched. Orchard was simply too sluggish, and perhaps too “programmatic” for a blog. Almost everyone I asked to review my website complained of its speed.

Plugins

WordPress has a wealth of plugins, literally for everything you would need on your blog. Orchard, not so much. And even the ones that exist aren’t very mature. And like I said before, it is great to download those plugins and tweak them yourself but then again, it becomes too much of an experimental project, rather than a practical blog plugin. I needed to put a lot of code into my posts and I struggled to find a proper plugin that could enable syntax highlighting/code formatting. In wordpress, you will struggle by finding too many options.

Theming

WordPress also has a plethora of themes – both free, and premium. If you are a DIY kind of person, there is plenty of documentation on how to write WP themes. I am more of a get a base, then tweak the **** out of it kind of person, which works great as well! If you are into MVC3, Orchard is pretty cool too, as it uses the Razor View Engine and is pretty easy with work with. But as existing available theme options, there aren’t much.

Hosting

WordPress needs PHP and MySQL support for hosting, which is available pretty much on 99.99% of regular hosting services. Orchard CMS requires an ASP.net (IIS) hosting service with support for .NET 4.0+ and MVC3, which isn’t the most common hosting service. I bought a service from WinHost just so I could host Orchard. But after reverting back to WordPress, I was glad that WinHost also supported PHP/MySQL. I can’t say with certainty that the case would have been as simple had I bought a hosting for WordPress and then decided to switch to Orchard.

All-in-all, after giving the Orchard CMS an honest try and sticking with it for almost a month, I would have to say that as a practical and effective blogging engine/CMS, WordPress is still one of the best out there. Orchard has some awesome features and nifty ideas, but it just does not cut it when compared to WordPress. For a ASP.net MVC3 aficionado however, the case may be a bit different.

Even though the “WordPress v Orchard” might be a topic that has been beaten to death, I thought I would put up my personal experience from the standpoint of a person who wasn’t necessarily looking to test them out. I hope this helped. 🙂

Tags:
Blog Comments

Good information here Utsav, i have been playing around with the orchard project for about a month now and I must say it has a clean and simple ways for both users and developers

Definitely! I will myself continue to fiddle with Orchard even though I have chosen WordPress for now. Orchard is also relatively young compared to WP, so I am hoping there will be good things to come 🙂

Nice comparison Utsav. I think Orchard is currently quite flexible and is being built as a CMS, whereas WordPress has matured into one from a blogging platform. I think community is a big factor in weighing up these CMS’s too.

In time, I can see Orchard surpassing WP because it will have the support of some big players. We’re currently developing some kick-ass themes and modules for Orchard, so maybe we can persuade you to change your mind!

Thanks Andy. You are on the spot there — I, too have very little doubts that Orchard, given the time will evolve into something very big and powerful in the world of CMS. I have not given up Orchard altogether, just picked up WP for ease of use and pluggability for the time being, while still fiddling around with Orchard myself. 🙂

This is a excellent web site, might you be interested in doing an interview regarding just how you designed it? If so e-mail me!

best part about your blogpost is your own feedback after using orchard for couple of weeks and your return to wordpress. Any regrets so far? Did you ever think of switching back?
I find wordpress way to complicated for rapid development and design. Things work in the end however it seems to take too much time to get there. In orchard or even blogengine.net everything seems a lot faster in terms of customization.

Well Orchard is always nicer for a .Net developer as in the freedom you get. On the other hand, WordPress is so much more mature. So I guess it really depends … use of Orchard for a simple blog like this out seemed like overkill, as I really don’t have the time to go in and tinker around and could do well with lots of mature apps and themes.

Leave a Comment