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Why Banks Should Rethink WordPress

The transition from WordPress to a more robust platform might seem daunting, but the rewards are worth it. This article aims to give you the much-needed heads up about the potential issues with WordPress, ultimately assisting you in making an informed decision.

Dan Bowen

Dan Bowen

Founder + CEO
Published: April 30, 2024
Last Updated: May 07, 2024
(Web Design/Web Development)
Why Banks Should Rethink WordPress

When you're choosing a content management system (CMS) for your bank's website, you might be tempted to opt for WordPress. After all, it's one of the most popular platforms out there. However, is this really the best choice? Let's dig a bit deeper. WordPress, albeit its popularity, is freighted with several vulnerabilities that could pose significant risks for a banking institution. Issues like dependencies on plugins, outdated PHP software, snail-paced site speed, and a not-so-smooth admin experience can make WordPress less than desirable. 

Exploring the Security Vulnerabilities of WordPress for Banks

Exploring the Security Vulnerabilities of WordPress for Banks

As an institution dealing with sensitive financial information, a bank must prioritize the security of its digital infrastructure. As you may already know, WordPress bears significant security risks. In fact, Over 70% of WordPress installations are vulnerable to hacker attacks. These risks range from bots and brute force attacks to backdoor intrusions. Unfortunately, WordPress sites frequently find themselves in the crosshairs of malicious actors. 

One of the pivotal factors contributing to the security vulnerabilities of WordPress is the dependence on plugins. WordPress relies significantly on plugins for enhanced functionality, but these plugins often open the door to various security threats. Often, outdated plugins or those not properly maintained by their creators become loopholes that hackers exploit. They can lead to SQL injection attacks or the loss of sensitive information. This dependency on plugins is ultimately a significant risk for banks, threatening both their digital security and business reputation. 

But it's not just plugin vulnerabilities that make WordPress a risky bet for banks. The administrative experience of WordPress leaves much to be desired, especially from the perspective of a banking institution. The backend of WordPress is not particularly intuitive or user-friendly, and this can lead to mistakes and oversights that may risk security. Should a bank choose WordPress as its CMS, it must invest significantly in training its staff adequately, or else face the dire consequences of user error. 

Banks also need to keep several steps ahead in terms of technology, and WordPress doesn't make this easy. Many WordPress sites still run on outdated versions of PHP, putting them at risk of security breaches. Outdated software creates vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit with ease, leading to the loss of critical data and damaging an institution's reputation. Also, slow site speeds due to bloated and inefficient code can also hamper the user experience, making WordPress a less-than-ideal choice for a bank’s CMS requirement. 

As a remedy, banks should consider moving away from traditional CMSs like WordPress and adopt a headless CMS. A headless CMS offers a more flexible, scalable, and secure framework that allows your web content to be delivered to any device. This approach not only mitigates the security risks associated with WordPress but also enhances the user experience substantially by improving the site speed and overall performance.

Dangerous Dependencies: The Risks of Relying on WordPress Plugins

Dangerous Dependencies: The Risks of Relying on WordPress Plugins
The Danger of 3rd Party WordPress Plugins

Let's talk more about the inherent risks involved in relying heavily on plugins. While they do offer highly convenient functionality and customization options, there's a darker side to them. Using a large number of plugins can often invite vulnerability. Let's consider an instance: an often-used plugin is suddenly found to have a major security loophole. All websites using this plugin, which in case of some popular ones, could be millions, are now at risk of malicious exploits. Thus, banking websites, where security is of paramount importance, cannot afford such risks.

This risk is further compounded when we take into account that plugins can be written by just about anyone. While this has some advantages because of the diversity in solutions, it also means anyone with malicious intent and decent coding skills can create a plugin, introduce a vulnerability, and wreak havoc on unsuspecting users.

It’s also worth mentioning that plugins can slow down a website considerably, which can detract from the user experience and negatively impact the bank’s search engine ranking. A slow bank website can prove disastrous, frustrating users and potentially driving them to look for better, faster services.

Headaches for Admins: The Frustration of Managing WordPress 

Headaches for Admins. The Frustration of Managing WordPress.
The Admin Dashboard is Built for Blog Management, Not Website Content.

For the administrators tasked with managing the site, WordPress can often prove to be a less than ideal choice. There is a significant learning curve involved, which can be particularly daunting for those without a background in website development or coding. In spite of numerous plugins available to enhance the admin experience, it still falls short in providing an inclusive and easy-to-manage platform. Updates, backups, and security checks need to kept up manually which can prove to be an ar taskdu.ous In the hectic world of banking, where every second counts, this can lead to unnecessary stress and wasted time. 

The Curse of Outdated PHP and Slow Site Speed 

Banking organizations need to deliver fast, efficient online services. This can prove challenging with WordPress, due to outdated PHP and slow site speed. PHP is a scripting language that WordPress is built on. Unfortunately, even with recent updates, PHP can pose significant performance and security issues. WordPress recommends using the most recent version of PHP, yet a significant percentage of WordPress sites still run on older and slower versions. This poses two significant problems: slower performing websites, and more importantly for a bank, potential security vulnerabilities. 

A Better Alternative: Going Headless 

For banks, a safer and more efficient alternative to WordPress may be a headless CMS. A headless CMS is a back-end content management system where the content is separated from the presentation layer. This allows for faster content delivery and security, reducing the risk of common attacks such as Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) and SQL injection. You can choose security-focused hosting services tailor-made to support headless CMS, which can take a lot of burden off the shoulders of your IT and security teams. Ultimately, the whole process becomes more streamlined, secure and scalable, a much-needed feature in the banking industry.

Headless CMS also provides significant benefits in terms of site speed and performance. Despite WordPress offering its own speed optimization plugins, these often add to the existing complexity, which can actually lead to slower loading times. Conversely, a headless CMS delivers content via API, resulting in faster load times and enhanced user experiences. And let's be honest, bank customers appreciate efficiency and swift load times in their online transactions. 

Moreover, a headless CMS such as Payload CMS or Craft CMS offers an excellent alternative for administrators. Administrators often complain about the clunky and cumbersome experience of managing WordPress installations, particularly when it comes to managing multiple plugins for various functionalities. This is all too common in a banking environment, where plugins might be used for everything from customer chat widgets to transaction processing tools.

With a headless CMS, administrators are relieved from the plugin nightmare. They enjoy a smoother and cleaner interface that allows them to focus on managing and delivering content more efficiently. This seamless administrative experience can result in driving growth and engagement, rather than constantly coping with functionality issues.

And let's not forget about a fundamental weakness of WordPress – PHP. To put it simply, PHP is an outdated technology. Especially when you compare it to the modern, cutting-edge technologies that a headless CMS employs. Sticking with WordPress means maintaining an outdated PHP version which is riddled with unpatched vulnerabilities that can be heavily exploited by hackers. Transitioning to a scalable, reliable, and secure backend framework provided by a headless CMS, like Node.js or Python, should feel like a breath of fresh air.

Therefore, for banks seeking a performant, secure, and comprehensive content management solution, headless CMS presents a more agile, seamless solution over traditional WordPress installations. In a world where online dominance and impeccable customer experience is paramount, it just might be worthwhile to leave WordPress behind and take a leap into the future with headless CMS.


In conclusion, while WordPress has its strengths, it might not be the ideal CMS for a bank. The open-source nature that makes it popular also lends itself to constant security threats, hence the need for constantly updating for new vulnerabilities. Its reliance on plugins can also make them a potential risk factor, along with the frustration of outdated PHP and slow site speed negatively impacting user experience. 

For a banking institution concerned with providing top-tier online services, security, and a seamless admin experience, it's time to look towards more robust and optimized solutions. The headless CMS offers the perfect alternative, accommodating modern content management needs with greater efficiency and control. As the digital landscape evolves, banks must too, embracing the tools that will enable them to deliver an exceptional digital experience in a secure environment.

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