I've finally moved all my sites away from WordPress, and I feel really relieved that I found an alternative solution.
My experience has been absolutely horrible both with WordPress as a platform, as well as with hosting WordPress sites.
WordPress is a mess of a platform, with an antiquated UI which actively subverted my efforts to lay out pages and posts, thus discouraging me from writing. Managing images and other files was similarly painful.
Themes are really more of a hindrance than help. Everything ends up stilted and inflexible with themes. It's hard to customise a theme. Migrating to another theme is far from simple (e.g. because of custom shortcodes). Shortcodes are a weak attempt to reinvent markup languages and probably should have never existed. The mechanism of automatically inserting line breaks is braindead, but I couldn't turn it off once I had content on the site because all the existing content would break.
Plugins are supposed to be another advantage of WordPress. However, they are awkward to setup and use, and a lot of them are simply half-arsed. I'd guess that the quality of the plugins is a consequence of the quality of the platform.
When it comes to hosting WordPress sites, I tried two providers: Page.ly and Pressable (formerly ZippyKid). Both turned out to be bad. Page.ly had issues with downtime, provisioning sites and even installing WordPress plugins. Pressable was good back when it was still called Zippykid, but it rapidly deteriorated after the name change, with multi-hour downtimes, constant DNS glitches and ineptly handled price increases.
I've also heard bad things about customer support at another WordPress hosting provider, WP Engine. So that leaves no decent options for WordPress hosting.
What did I learn from this?
When I first needed to create a site, WordPress looked like a good option compared to a static site or running my own CMS. Hosting options weren't that good either. In 2014, with Github Pages, Jekyll, Disqus and frameworks like Bootstrap the outlook for rolling your own site is much better.
I thought that WordPress had multiple things going for it:
- visual editor
- hosting options
Aside from popularity, none of these turned out to be advantageous in practice.
Consumer grade technology solutions like WordPress still fail to deliver in 2014 (and it will remain true for a number of years). Just because something is popular doesn't mean it's any good.
For a technical person, it's way better to go with a more hands-on approach and avoid all the headaches of working around the limitations of a platform like WordPress.