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Ruby on Rails or WordPress: who, what, when?

There are two different languages our developers use to create website and web-based applications: Ruby (for Ruby on Rails) and PHP (for WordPress), however how do you know which one is going to be used for your project? What is the difference and should you even care?

What is Ruby on Rails?

Ruby on Rails is a comprehensive framework that allows you to build pretty much any application you can think of. It is a natural choice when building a system that handles a lot of data or for more functional capabilities. If you also require extensive reporting on the data within your application, Rails is the way to go.

For many of our clients, we use Rails for building a bespoke application to solve a particular or unique business problem. These applications can involve many steps, processes or actions that integrate closely with many third-party services.

Some of our own projects using Rails include the premises compliance app, iAM Compliant, and US based education providers, LogicPrep.

However, some of the most popular web applications in the world are built using Ruby on Rails including AirBnB, Groupon, Goodreads, Basecamp, Twitch and Slideshare to name just a few!

What is WordPress?

Most people nowadays have already heard of WordPress, as it is a well-known software for building websites and a popular host for personal/business blogs.

WordPress is written using PHP and is an easy to use, versatile content management system (CMS). Apparently almost 30% of all websites in the world currently use WordPress!  

Now, without starting a war between our Rails and WordPress developers, it is widely agreed that general content/marketing websites are better to be built using WordPress rather than Rails.

WordPress is much simpler for clients to upload their own content, blog entries or make text changes themselves. The pre-designed CMS has been created to be a straightforward publishing platform, whereas with Rails, it would be much more time consuming and costly to build this from scratch.

We’d usually suggest using WordPress for content sites that are primarily about visitors only consuming content or interacting with the website in a simple way. For example, filling in a form, or buying a product.

We’ve created WordPress based websites for a large number of clients including Team Bath, University of Bath Blogs and Mr B’s Reading Emporium.

Popular websites across the globe using WordPress include: The Walt Disney Company, Mercedes-Benz, BBC America, Reuters, The New Yorker and many more.

Can you use both Ruby on Rails and WordPress?

For some of our clients you may find that a combination of both Ruby on Rails and WordPress has been used. This is usually the case when a client requires a content website as well as a complex tech product.

For instance: iAM Compliant’s ‘marketing website’ is built using WordPress so that regular blog posts can be uploaded, whereas, the ‘app’ part of the system (where a customer can log in to their account and record a large amount of data about their premises) is built using Ruby on Rails.

Why should I even care which is used?

Frankly, you don’t have to worry about which is used. We have plenty of experience in making the best call and are happy to help you figure those out.

The decision of which language to use will always be made on a case by case basis. It can entirely depend on the lifecycle of a project, how much support you may need once the build is complete, and any other tech choices you may have.

We will discuss your project with you first to understand all of your ideas and work out the best way to make your idea a reality.

If your website needs a refresh, or you have a great new digital idea, come in for a chat or drop us a line via We’d love to meet you!