Stack Overflow Survey Respondents Still Rank WordPress Among the Most Dreadful Platforms

Stack Overflow, a Q&A community for developers, has published the results of its 2018 developer survey. The survey was held between January 8th through the 28th and includes responses from 101,592 software developers from 183 countries across the world. This is nearly twice the amount of responses compared to last year’s survey.

Last year, WordPress was the third most dreaded software platform behind Salesforce and SharePoint. This year, WordPress has improved in the rankings and is the sixth most dreaded platform. Respondents found Windows Phone, Mainframe, Salesforce, Drupal, and SharePoint to be more dreadful.

WordPress is the sixth most dreaded software platform
WordPress is the sixth most dreaded software platform

Despite making headway, WordPress has consistently ranked near the top in Stack Overflow’s survey for most dreadful platform. Asking developers why is probably akin to opening Pandora’s box.

JavaScript was once again the most popular technology with HTML, CSS, and SQL following closely behind. Among the various JavaScript frameworks and libraries that exist, Node.js is the most commonly used followed by Angular and React.

The survey introduced a few new topics this year, including questions about artificial intelligence and ethics. When posed with a hypothetical situation in which a developer was asked if they would write code for unethical purposes, more than half of the respondents said no. Also of note is that less than half of the respondents say they contribute to open source.

There are a lot of interesting data points in the survey. I encourage you to check out the results and let me know in the comments what sticks out to you.

Updated 3/14/2018 Corrected to say that WordPress has improved in the rankings and is therefor, less dreadful than before.

19 Comments


  1. For me this is not at all surprising. WordPress has been one of the most robust and flexible platforms when it comes website management. And it is very easy to understand, hence one does not need any technical training when and if they start using it.

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  2. My biased guess is, that thanks to Gutenberg, this is going to radically change. Ie. back the first three places in the ranking.

    Code stopped being poetry in WP for quite some time.

    cu, w0lf.

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  3. I think there are still so many developers who turn up their nose when someone mentions PHP that we’ll probably continue to see WordPress in the top dreaded.

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    1. Well, there also is the issue with sphaghetti code then and now: In the past, nasty functions where the enemy. Now, its excessive overuse of any kind of fancy language feature, like traits, interfaces, namespaces and so on.

      Some more complex plugins tend to be next to unreadable because of that.

      So I totally understand, that, esp. when you’re coming from a diffferent background, one might loath WP a lot.

      cu, w0lf.

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  4. Reading other percentages of the survey make the importance of the survey almost laughable.
    A bunch of hobbyist with very little coding experience say a platform is dreadful?? Somebody really cares??

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    1. You’re reading the survey incorrectly. The hobby question is whether users of stack overflow also code as a hobby, ie they code outside of work as well. 20% of the respondents only code for work.

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  5. Gutenberg is going to break so much and cause so much pain from end users that have no idea why their site is breaking. I predict WP will be forked this year when that rolls out for those that want to stay away from it.

    Contrary to what many people try to tell you, WP is not at all easy to set up for the average user. Heck just to start you gotta immediately install 3-4 plugins just to get WP to acceptable levels of performance… security, speed/caching, backup, spam control, etc.

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    1. I’m not debating whether or not WP is easy to set up for the average user, just observing that it seems a little shortsighted to claim this is in any way due to a lack of backups, spam control and/or caching in core.

      If those were part of core, you’d see as many or more people complaining (including myself) that I was bound to those features. Backups? I run those on the server, why would I want WP doing that? Caching? Same thing.

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    2. @Joe “Contrary to what many people try to tell you, WP is not at all easy to set up for the average user.”

      Right. So why do people like @Hazel Kumar continue to make wildly misleading comments like “it is very easy to understand, hence one does not need any technical training when and if they start using it”?

      It’s bizarre how dedicated some people are to misleading others into thinking WordPress is cheap and easy to use and maintain. Why is that? Misleading people about WordPress, hurts, not helps, the WordPress community.

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      1. Maybe they’re talking about different things? Joe is speaking of setting up WordPress, whereas Hazel doesn’t specify and may be referring to the post set-up use of WordPress.

        You know Scott, people with different views to yourself should’t just be casually branded as being “misleading”. I can’t see anything in what Hazel says, bearing in mind it’s a personal point-of-view, that is misleading or, indeed something that “hurts” the WordPress community.

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      2. @David Artiss

        Are your “opinions” not heavily influenced by the fact that you’re a “WordPress VIP Happiness Engineer at Automattic” and that you provide “front-line support to VIP business customers”?

        What do you know about small businesses and entrepreneurs using WordPress? Probably 99% of them are unable to build a proper business website using WordPress. They must seek out and pay someone who specializes in WordPress (which is what I recommend, so that should make you happy, but for some reason doesn’t). Are you aware of different facts?

        I also didn’t “casually” brand someone as being misleading. Matt Mullenweg has also said that WordPress is too complicated and too expensive for most people (or words to that effect). Do you also disagree with Matt?

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      3. My 2 cents,
        WordPress is easy to install if you know how to do it.
        The basic user even if they do know how, probably shouldn’t or wouldn’t know how to do it and follow proper best practices.

        So if that’s the standard you’re setting then yes, it’s not easy to setup.

        But, please expand on your 99% can’t develop a proper website with WordPress. What is your credentials for making such a extravagant claim ?

        Are you comparing WordPress with Squarespace, Wix, or Shopify ?
        Or, are you comparing it with Magento, Joomla or Drupal ?

        Regardless though, could you please highlight the difficulties in WordPress. Or is it simply that you would like to remove the middle man (developers and agencies ) and have the user alone “develop” their sites ? Is that the issue ?

        Again though if you don’t like WordPress so much, there are other options, you don’t HAVE to keep using it.

        The only thing you really have to do is breathe.

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      4. @Digamber Pradhan

        Why are you so protective of WordPress? It doesn’t care about you. It’s a program with no feelings. And like I pointed out to @David Artiss, Matt Mullenweg also believes WordPress is too complicated and too expensive for most people (or words to that effect). Do you disagree with Matt?

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  6. Probably stems from the fact – based on the survey stats – that most of the developers are MS fanatics assimilated into that borg, and PHP ranks nine in the languages, which means most don’t know much of anything about writing code in PHP, and thus, WP – being the most widely used Web content deployment system in use – is entirely foreign to said members of said borg.

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  7. Unfortunately most WordPress Designers don’t use it in a smart way. They just throw websites together so they create long term problems for their clients.

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  8. This has been largely due to the popularity of WordPress, which attracts a lot of new users as well as developers who are novice to the platform. If there is proper awareness to keep the themes and plugins updated and the use of strong passwords avoids a lot of trouble. Things are improving ever since auto updates have been turned on by default.

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  9. Do note that while WP has lower position in the rank this year, this is mostly due to more choices added this year and some of them taking higher spots.

    The actual percentage of people who ranked it dreaded is nearly identical to last year and shows no improvement.

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  10. In the real world of web development, (outside of the rainbow land of WordPress)..

    Developers from all fields like to hate WordPress.org sites.

    So that’s nothing new.

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