WordPress is an incredible platform on which to build your next SaaS. It’s been around (what feels like) forever, has a huge community of developers, is well understood, has tons of themes and feature plugins and uses a battle tested tech stack.
However, building a SaaS on it is not the same as building one from the ground up using something like Laravel or Node-JS+React+whatever.
In fact, building a SaaS with WordPress can sometimes seem more daunting – especially when you might not have prior experience attempting to build something from scratch without it.
The most difficult aspect is how most plugins and themes are built – many are not ready for operation in a SaaS environment. So we spend some time tweaking them so that they work well for what we need.
But you know what else is even more difficult?
Building it all from scratch.
WordPress comes with one incredible advantage unmatched by virtually anything else out there – the thousands of feature plugins that exists for it. These plugins make GREAT starting points for your SaaS.
And, even if you end up having to do extensive customization to one or more of them, it’s likely still a LOT less work than starting from scratch!
Typical Development for a SaaS
Let’s say that you’re building a membership SaaS. To build this, you will need all the following features that already exist as plugins in WordPress:
- User roles and security including login, 2FA and more
- The membership features itself
- Blogs and blogging tools for our customers
- Help desk (membership sites should have some formal way to render assistance to their memberships)
- Discussion Forum
- Page Builder
- Form Builder
Do you really want to build all that from scratch? Especially when all of it already exists in WordPress?
You could, of course, integrate your custom-written SaaS with any of the many other SaaSes that offer those services. But then, your cost to provide the services to your customers will sky rocket since each 3rd party SaaS you use will require (likely hefty) subscription fees as your customer base grows. And they will be nowhere near as convenient to customize if it turns out you need to do so.
Thus, a WordPress based SaaS is very very attractive and usually well worth the effort compared to building from scratch.
WordPress is Stable & Mature
It has been around and maintained for almost 20 years – one of the longest running content management infrastructure systems out there.
Given its installed base (which keeps growing), it’s likely to be around for at least another 20 years.
Will any code you create from scratch be designed to last 20 years?
Incredibly Well Supported
Just about any major (and most minor) software stack supports or integrates with WordPress. Additionally, it is well understood by hundreds of thousands of developers. If you need software development services for it, you have an abundance of choice!
WordPress has thousands of plugins (and themes) with deep functionality. They all offer a great starting point for whatever functionality you need.
Whether you need an LMS, Booking System, CRM, Customer Support System or something off the beaten path – chances are that there is a plugin out there that you can use as a development starting point.
WordPress has more users tearing apart its code looking for security issues than just about any other platform – by multiple orders of magnitude. With that kind of scrutiny, silly security issues don’t exist for long.
Most other platforms likely have tons of undiscovered issues because they just don’t have as many folks looking at them.
A WordPress based SaaS (WaaS) automatically includes a certain level of tenant isolation that isn’t usually included in your standard built-from-scratch SaaS. This helps your future customers by making it easier to secure each tenant/customer, load balance high-volume tenants/customers by making it much easier to move them new servers; and backup and restore individual tenants (sometime many SaaSes can’t do today!)
Multiple SaaS Deployment Option
You also have three different architectural deployment options to choose from:
- Standard Sites
- Multi-tenant Sites
Each has its advantages and disadvantages. But, at the end of the day, it’s the flexibility of the platform that allows it to even give you a choice.
- 100% open-source
- Strong support for multiple languages and locales
While for some users WordPress might not immediately just to the top of mind as a platform to build a SaaS on, once you start to dig into it the advantages quickly become quite clear.
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