Recently Team Cloudways decided to go to the Facebook WordPress Community to discover their pain points and expectations for WordPress. Since we know that the time of the WordPressers is precious, we decided against taking the traditional route of floating a questionnaire to individual users. Instead, we opted to go to the two Facebook groups and directly connect to the WordPress users.
To make things interesting we decided to offer a prize for the most insightful and interesting answers — $100 worth of Cloudways Managed WordPress cloud hosting Credit.
Anatomy of the Contest
We started by shortlisting the most active Facebook Groups for WordPress users. Fortunately, the number of groups was sufficient enough to get some really good answers. In addition, we were hoping that since most of the WordPressers are active on Facebook, they would also like to participate in the contest.
We were pleasantly surprised by the responses of Facebook Group admins. We contacted two groups (FreelancersTools and WordPress.) and they agreed to post questions and in fact, they were very helpful in advising us about the dynamics of their groups.
Being a WordPress user, what improvements you would like to see in the WordPress core, plugins, themes and hosting providers?
We started receiving responses as soon as the group admins posted questions. Reading all the wonderful answers was a delight. However, choosing the winning entries was a real challenge.
After prolonged deliberation, the Facebook group admins selected the following responses as winners.
A function within the WordPress panel to choose your own login-url. That would prevent a huge payload of attacks.
As much speed as you can possibly squeeze out of everything.
Integrated cookie message option, that also includes styling options for the bar, text, button colors and various style effects.
Integrated and preferably automated gzip compression.
A cleanup in the plugin repository. Plugins that are clearly abandoned and have few active installations must be removed. They pose a security risk, that doesn’t need to be there.
I am expecting demo.diywithwp.com type things, where we can experience themes and plugins before buy.
Other Responses from Group Members:
Drag and drop(page builder), speed, security, etc.
Plugins with no Hackable codes, Speed, good free editor.
Core: Almost every user optimizes a WordPress site by installing caching plugins. What, if common settings can be included in the Core.
Themes: A decent Multi-purpose theme.
Plugins: A request to all plugin developers, kindly keep your plugins updated. Those who are abundant can be removed from the Repo.
Hosting: A proper WordPress staging environment.
Automated notification to users that a plugin they have installed has been removed from WP repo – with a link to an information page that states the main reasons for this, a level of severity if this was related to a vulnerability and, optionally, links to alternatives.
Core: Expecting basic security features to come bundled. Hope they at least add honeypot feature to log in, comments etc native forms so the spam/bot attacks can be minimized to the certain extent.
Themes: I only expect optimized code for better performance & compatibility with great products like page builders, cpt plugins like acf, pods etc…
Plugins: I want to request the authors to be careful with whom they are selling their plugins to & not jeopardize the site security of all the active users. Worst Case: Display Widgets Plugin!
Hosting: Staging, Roll Back, Performance & Security << Not a want anymore, it’s a basic need.
Plugin like Visual composer should get free and nulled theme or plugin with hack free code. As far as hosting is concern shared hosting provider should take properly precaution because a single loop hole cause a lot trouble for all the users on that server. Properly cache system should be install with the core files and addition will be recommended.
I’d like to see some (common sense?) standards for the more common things.
For example, if we used arrays to define the scripts and styles to be enqueued then that array could have a filter on it. Sure you can dequeue but doing something only to undo it is _for me_ counterintuitive.
Along the same lines, a standard for folder structure. Is there really an advantage to each theme/plugin putting its same e.g.) scripts and styles in a different place.
It’s like getting a car and the steering wheel could be in the back seat, or under the spare, or on the roof, or in the glovebox.
A Lot of plugins and themes don’t offer auto update. We have to manually download and upload which is kind of a headache. Even worse when dealing with multiple clients. Even worse when doing on a non cPanel based dashboard. I’d love something by which we can upload the file to place and all those plugins and themes update automatically instead of uploading everywhere once. This will save a lot of time.
Plugin that would give you from which php file the html code that u select is generated. Am I understandable?
Core: A central notification center in wp-admin.
Themes & Plugins: Significantly increased use of the WP REST API.
Hosting Providers: Documentation dedicated to common WP issues in their unique environment.
90% of the WordPress users install cache plugin of their choice. I would like to see an advanced built-in cache mechanism in the core.
I would like to know if a plugin that I installed from the repository hasn’t been updated in 2 years…
Since there are many page builders (free/paid) available and it most of the time confuses users how to choose among them. Therefore, I would like see an integrated page builder in the WordPress Core.
Post Contest Feedback
We personally contacted the winners through email and asked the actual reason that made them comment on the following questions:
- What was the actual pain point for mentioning your opinions?
- How was the contest?
I’m not sure what I’m asking for here but there must be a way to improve the management of the process of building a dev site and moving it into a live environment.
It seems impossible to build a complete site, all up and running, tested and working before pressing a “go live” button.
For example, you can’t set up SSL because the domain has to point to a live site, plugins such as Akismet, FB and Twitter feeds, require APIs that use the real domain, WooCommerce wants the real domain name etc. OR am I missing something?
I think considering the number of security issues in the last years (specially last year), apart of security plugins, WP core should inform users critical issues in their particular sites (which require a WP update) or plugins installed that should either be removed or updated due to critical issues. It would be perfect critical updates (WP or plugins) could even be automated.
That would help to keep a safer Internet.
I.e.: recently there were legitimate plugins being hijacked and used for crypto mining. Most users unless they follow the WP news didn’t know they had broken plugins.
As a plus, it would be great WP-CLI commands could be much easier for developers to implement so more plugins base provide a command line option. I miss that mostly in security plugins but there are more other kind of plugins that could benefit.
Other Responses from Facebook WordPress Community
We did not want to make this contest limited to the winners’ feedback only, which is why we personally asked the same question to the other group members and included their valuable feedback in this article.
I think WordPress could be improved for new and beginning users by making it more intuitive to set up a site. WordPress’ power and flexibility also contribute to it having a relatively steep learning curve. Post, pages, menus, themes, etc. There’s a lot to learn about. I like the approach of software that has a “beginner” mode and then and an “advanced” mode. I could see the WordPress admin area benefiting from something like that.
1) WordPress market no more same as 5 years back. Presently, there is too much competition between many plugins and themes of the same category. So, it is necessary that buyers get full hands on the product before they purchase to check if given plugin or theme is according to their need or not.
Ivica Delic once posted about DIY with WordPress Testing Platform on FreelancersTools. I was just amazed to see this type of thing exist on the net and it was a perfect solution to my pain point i.e. test drive of WordPress-focused products. There are limited products as of now, but if promoted, many developers will use it to give a test drive of their products to targeted users. So, I think my pain point related to WordPress is pain point of many and I hope in 2018 that something like DIY with WordPress Testing Platform comes up well as a solution.
2) I am very happy to be part of all worth WordPress group on Facebook. I didn’t think of being a winner, I just mentioned what I wished in 2018 in WordPress domain. In fact, many others would have wished after seeing my comment. ?
1) My main reason for submitting my answer to the contest is to hopefully encourage users to provide more options in terms of WordPress security. I work with WordPress for a living, and I know many fellow developers, who are concerned about the growing number of massive attacks on WordPress installations worldwide. It’s not like nothing is being done to address this threat, but a few more simple integrated countermeasures would go a long way to secure our efforts as developers, not to mention our customers. That is my reason for suggesting that the possibility of changing the default login URL should be integrated into WordPress. I don’t see any reason why this feature should rely on external plugins, nor should it rely on programming knowledge?
Additionally, my reason for suggesting integrated Gzip compression is simple: why not? For many websites, Gzip is a vital part of reducing load times, which benefits everyone. Today it requires either a few lines of manually inserted code or a plugin. So why not integrate it in the core, when basically every website will benefit from it.
2) The contest was interesting to follow although I wish more people had replied it. It’s interesting to see, what’s on other developer’s minds in terms of WordPress’ future path. I especially liked the suggestion about integrated caching. The cache plugins in the repository vary a lot in terms of quality, usability, compatibility and update frequency. Having this integrated into the core could prove beneficial in many scenarios.
I would very much like for three things for WordPress:
1) Implement a comprehensive caching strategy. For example, have tags that can work with Varnish for caching widgets, sidebars, and pages, out of the box. A way of defining page, sidebar, list, loop and so on as a cached element, and as much as possible auto-configured and purged.
2) Composer to be the only autoloader used, and for themes and plugins to use it rather than their own thing, even if they are not loading external classes.
3) Common components. Taking composer to the next level where we have one composer.json file that loads plugins or themes with their dependencies.
Better inter-compatibility between all WordPress components (WordPress core, plugins, themes) as well as improved (issues-free) WordPress updates processes
The option to change the back-end login URL when you set up WordPress. It’s a well-known vulnerability yet they (the developers) have never taken care of such a simple threat, so you have to do it every time you install WordPress!
A moving “Update” button (or one also at the bottom), so you don’t have to continually scroll all the way to the top of the page to save every time.
I would love the day WordPress drops support for outdated versions of PHP and starts aggressively recommending latest PHP versions. This would help developers write better code and users have faster, more performant and secure websites.
WordPress is no longer meant only for blogging. In fact, I’m amazed by how some big premium themes lack on that aspect.
Anyway, I think WordPress is pretty good as it stands. It is one hell of a powerhouse and I’m yet to find a project that I can’t do in WordPress with the help of plugins.
But of course there can only be improvements. 3 little things come to mind are speed, search, and menu building, for example.
For example, it really matters where you chose to host your website and what theme and plugins you are going to use. Of course that not uploading 5000 x 5000 PX images helps too. That is why I’m a happy camper since I moved to Cloudways a year ago. Of course there are some hiccups, but the benefits outweigh anything that had come up.
But still, some improvements within WordPress itself could be done and it would be greatly welcomed.
I really don’t like the way search works in WordPress. I have the feeling that it simply is not that good and end up using some plugin for something that should work right off the bat.
Finally, one of the greatest drawbacks is the way we have to build menus. It’s fine if we have 5 or 6 menu items. But when that number adds up its gets wonky and mistakes can easily happen.
The thing I would like to see happen most is simply a successful integration of the new Gutenberg Editor into WordPress core. This is something that could have an overarching impact on the success (or lack thereof) of WordPress moving forward. So, I think it’s really vital for this integration to happen somewhat seamlessly.
As far as plugins and themes go, I would love to see them all play nicely with the new Gutenberg Editor. If this is the future publishing experience of WordPress as a whole, all plugins and themes will have to work well alongside it or users are going to have bad experiences and move towards Wix, Squarespace or other solutions. We need to make sure all areas of the WordPress Community are working together to bring a unified experience to our user base that simply works.
I would love to continue to see hosting providers continue to focus on both security and performance for WordPress websites. It’s clear that some companies like Cloudways are at the forefront of this push but I would like to see a more comprehensive drive towards fully managed WordPress hosting so people aren’t investing thousands in a website and putting it on $10 hosting. It’s like buying a Tesla and running it on gasoline. You can technically do it but it doesn’t make much sense.
Starting with WordPress itself, I am still a newbie, but I feel the need to have better control over the appearance of the “back office” in order to make it more simple to my clients to work on it as content editors.
Regarding plugins, I believe in a new pricing model, more similar to the revolution implemented with the low prices by Apple in their iOS App Store. That would apply to the “Themes Store” also.
It is rather interesting as of now we have 3 themes that are used by serious designers (we can debate what that is… :)) which are GeneratePress, Ocean and Astra (all pro versions of course) and then we have a million of industry-specific themes. On top of that all we have Elementor, a zero code tool that allows traditional graphic designers like myself to aspire to make good looking websites. ? Its kind of a web design democratization tool. And it is taking the WordPress world by storm.
So I believe industry-specific themes will probably undergo a big crisis unless a master marketplace surges to implement that pricing revolution.
Last but not least, hosting! After starting with a traditional cPanel hosting company I changed to cloudways a few months ago and never looked back. Simpler, more transparent, cheaper, blazing fast and I could go on and on. I would just like cloudways to have a more simple way to staging and the world would be an almost perfect place. ?
As a WordPress user, I want less bloat and faster core. Leave new features as plugins and focus on streamlining and improving existing core functionality. Leave core as lightweight and flexible as possible, and let plugins handle all the great new features. Emojis for example. Why on earth was that not left as a plugin? Now I have to install a WordPress-Emoji Disabler on every site. Bloat! Likewise with bigger stuff like Gutenberg Editor. It should have been left as a plugin to give everyone way more choice and flexibility. Bottom line: make WordPress core lightning fast and leave all the tricks and bloat up to plugins. The way WordPress was meant to be!
It would be great for performance if WordPress themes and plugins load assets with conditional logic to avoid serving extra bytes at all pages.
For improvement in WordPress security, there must be an option to choose Custom Login URL in WordPress settings.
There must be definite fix in WordPress core for preventing spam comments.
WordPress should send follow-up comments replies via email to our visitors.
To avoid extra DNS lookup cost, there should be a way to allow loading of Gravatar and Emojis images from own domain.
The ability to have a plugin that can save all currently installed plugins and settings. Etc. Then when creating a new app, this plugin can restore all settings. Even better all theme settings too.
What I’ve noticed though in Facebook and other online forums is that you have an on-boarding of thousands of new sites and users a day and each one has to go through the same “fire drill” and solve the issue of backups, security, contact form and child theme. Those 4 are good examples of functionality that could be in core. Some feel that the variety of hosting platforms makes this difficult, but it is was a feature of WordPress then I imagine that hosting providers would make sure those features work, and for what it is worth, many plugins manage to make it work.
Hosting providers need to plan on being current with PHP, database versions, etc. The good ones are, but there are too many that are not, and that is slowing WordPress from using newer versions. Also, segregating sites and accounts better so that hacks cannot easily spread seems to be something that I see mentioned. My sense is that hosting is a difficult and pretty thin-margined business, so having a clear value proposition is important to justify the cost. Cloudways does that well by positioning itself between shared hosting and a VPS.
Honestly, I learn from vendors and users. This may come as a surprise, but I am mostly self-taught and I come from Drupal land. I know nothing about VPSes, containers, VMs in the cloud except that they are possible. I really miss Drupal Views and Panels when working with WordPress. I can’t often figure out how to do simple things like put two widgets side by side some of them will improve with Gutenberg Editor.
The improvements I would like to see in the Core are related to performance and removing antiquated features. There are plenty of Core tickets related to performance bottlenecks that exist in the Core, which I believe should be a high priority as WordPress becomes even more prevalent and needs to be scalable.
I would love to see hosting services to provide their customers with very useful tools for diagnosing and improving performance like Cloudways do!
As a performance specialist, to diagnose problems I often require SSH access, powerful command line tools and the ability to install software on the server so I can get detailed information to analyze.
When hosting providers have these tools and flexibility it enables me to help my clients far more easily and saves them money too!
Powering more than 29% of websites in the world, WordPress has become an obvious target for hackers. I would like to see security enhancement in WordPress core, such as blocking malicious URL requests, anti-brute force attacks, file integrity checker. Users should be alerted if vulnerabilities are discovered in the plugins/themes they installed. I would like to see more hosting providers supports WordPress hosting recommendations (PHP7.2, MySQL5.6/MariaDB10, HTTPS).
A way to easily disable Gutenberg using a filter in WordPress core lol.
P.S. Feedbacks are always valuable that could help WordPress Community all over the world. Therefore, you should not forget to post your feedback in the comment section below!
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Mustaasam is the WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways - A Managed WordPress Hosting Platform, where he actively works and loves sharing his knowledge with the WordPress Community. When he is not working, you can find him playing squash with his friends, or defending in Football, and listening to music. You can email him at email@example.com