The Jamstack, will it supplant Wordpress?
The web being the web, there are always opinions on which tool is better, which language superior or which hosting model future proof. The main argument for hosting appears to be traditional CMS (eg Wordpress) vs static sites and headless CMS (eg Netlify). A gentleman's barter was made between Matt Mullenweg and Ohad Eder-Pressman, with Eder-Pressman asserting that the JAMStack will be the dominant architecture by Sept 2025, overtaking Wordpress who currently host over 35% of the top 10K sites.
Netlify is great and I am happy with my overall switch to using a static site generator, Eleventy in my case. I am even more happy with how simple it was to switch to Netlify, they've done a great job there. However, one thing that caught my eye was the cost model. Yes, Netlify offer's a free tier with generous free usage on bandwidth and builds. More than enough for my current needs (as well as all but my most outrageous possible future needs!). But if my site gets spammed or just incredibly popular and I surpass those limits, I will get charged. I have no way of auto disabling the site once a limit that might cause a charge is broken. This is not good. They don't have my card, but will send me a bill and turn off the site if I don't pay up. The chances are this will never happen, but if it does, I will leave. I don't like nasty surprise bills, I want to know how much, exactly, I will pay each month: nothing in my current tier. What is more frustrating though, is that even the paid tier only has soft limits, after which you get charged extra and no way to auto stop this.
Now I know Eder-Pressman is one of the guys behind Stackbit and not Netlify. But I think the wager misses the real reason for Wordpress's success. It isn't about the technology stack used, rather for me they are:
- Wordpress.org is open source and can be downloaded and hosted anywhere with little effort. It can also be modified if needed.
- Wordpress.com offers the ability to blog, for free, for ever with unlimited posts and bandwidth. No worrying about what happens if you get popular, or suffer a DDOS attack.
Sure Wordpress has its limits - 3GB storage whilst plenty is not great. But from a blogger's perspective that is something I can control. However, I cannot control how many people view my site and I don't want to end up with a significant bill because for some reason a couple of posts of mine took off.
So to my prediction:
The Jamstack will not challenge Wordpress until they have a free forever, unlimited bandwidth and builds, fully managed, one-click and your live service as well an open source option equivalent to Netlify and/or Stackbit.
The Jamstack might even win the bet, because most of the top 10k Alexa sites probably have a dedicated dev team to manage the technical aspects. But to capture the long tail that is a Wordpress stronghold, they will need to offer that truly free, as in beer, service.