We are developing an international social network, which we anticipate having many functions: p2p direct thread messaging, profiles with photo galleries, p2p sales with ability to take a small service fee, a databse of users searchable by 15-20 different criteria, and users in multiple countries. We have a prototype but in our efforts to improve/expand usability, we've had developers try to sell us on Wordpress builds and also other developers warn us against Wordpress (with BuddyPress) in favor of scratch or closer to scratch-build systems with Elgg or Drupal (sp?) as parent platforms. Thoughts on this? Thanks!
I have over 20 years of IT experience in .NET, Java, PHP, Cloud Computing, Mobile etc. I would strongly suggest to stay clear of Wordpress. No doubt, over 60% of all websites run on WP. But make no mistake, these are merely blogs and are mostly hit by spammers from across the world. Yes, there are WP plugins to secure your website but again, you can do only so much. Slowly but steadily, you will start adding in WP plugins which may not be compatible with WP or even with each other as these are developed by different companies/developers. Where do you go then? Also, if you are planning to scale your social network then definitely, you need to build a custom solution to have full control what you plan to do. You will definitely feel that may be WP gives you a head start of say 10,20, 30% of functionality already built in. But again, in the long run, flexibility and control trump all these gains. Let me know if you need any other information.
As someone who created a membership network with most of the features you mentioned using WordPress as the backbone, my thoughts are 1) WP is usable for a small number of users (we have fewer than 300) and 2) WP is probably not the best solution for a larger number of users.
Although WP is working for us at the moment, it is not without headaches. We're using integrations with WooCommerce/Stripe to process purchases, Ultimate Member for membership level management, searchable user database, direct messaging, bbpress for a forum and several other integrations.
One challenge with our WP environment is the unreliability of plugin updates, or if plugin authors discontinue support. Another challenge? The backend interface for admins isn't the most helpful without a combination of plugins to manage permissions and make reports available.
Please let us know what platform you choose, because I'm at the point where I need to consider another solution as well!
Well I would like to suggest you to create your social networking website in PHP (MVC Framework) because it is gives you Full control in term of functionalities. You have no restriction as you can do any thing. MVC framework is very good for very custom websites with unique functionalities and it's best for dynamic websites in long run rather than Word-press.
If you need any assistance then please let me know.
Lydia, I have built a very similar e-commerce marketplace/social network using a "from scratch." I have also used Wordpress and built something pretty similar in a 10th of the time. Additionally, I was looking to build my own niche network a year or so ago and did a bit of research.
If you have cash free flowing then, in this case, because of the potential custom features you may want, building from the ground up (although Drupal BTW is basically another Wordpress CMS) is a good way to go if you plan on adding a lot of very custom functionality. What you mention above isn't really custom functionality though and there are a number of pre-made social networks out there beyond BuddyPress.
While I LOVE Wordpress for many reasons and in most cases, would recommend that route at least for starters (you can always upgrade...) I found Buddypress clunky and lacking.
Also, as mentioned below, if you need to get up and running ASAP, and have a proof of concept with actual customers so you can get funding to build what you REALLY need, then I would use whatever tool gets you there the fastest while doing what you need well.
Since the features you need are pretty basic and will be included in almost ANY out of the box social network you have many choices out there. There is actually a social network consultant online called http://cmscritic.com (https://www.cmscritic.com/8-great-social-networking-cms/) I would get with him as he has a very strong knowledge of all of the various options available to you as well as a site that includes reviews of all the different networks available. It is quite thorough.
Personally, after a lot of research, I found Social Engine to be one of the most "open" and unique networks, but to each his or her own.
If I can answer any more questions to this effect, please reach out.
You should ask yourself the question: do I need a CMS in the first place? If you want to scale your project in the future I'd rather avoid any generic purpose CMS in the first place; moreover you don't need a dashboard to maintain the website, you'd rather use a serious set of tools for front end and backend development which not always conciliate well with the not so flexible architecture of CMSs (npm and gulp for example). Ask yourself the question: did fb, google plus, twitter, LinkedIn rely on any of these CMS? Well, the answer is no. If you believe in this project, think about the internal quality, invest a little bit more in the early stage and go for a custom solution.
A wordpress site is okay as long as you need it as a proof of concept to test the market. You need a custom made product to suit your specific needs post that phase. It will require some investment of time and money to get the product you envision.
Consult someone with technology background to explain all Software development life cycle phases to you.
I'd say stick with the prototype's architecture. You're already on that road and switching might cost your 🕒 and💲 that could be spent on getting product market fit and building the business.
An ancillary thought: if whoever built your prototype is not a contractor AND are a cofounder/executive in your company, they should know the answer to this.
Absolutely do not use wordpress or drupal we have been there and done that and it is not scaleable at all for social media and new and innovative features.
Actually your quote is the ultimate answer. "Honey beats Vinegar". Using any CMSs like WordPress (BuddyPress), Drupal or similar is nothing more than a vinegar. They does the job to an extent but never provides a sustainable solution that meets your business objectives. Custom development using PHP MVC frameworks such as Laravel, Symfony or similar (Honey) is more sustainable as it helps you define the architecture that meets your short term as well as long term objectives.
All the best with NOMAD!