Buyer Beware: Wordpress Theme Frameworks

Almost 25% of the websites on the Internet are built in WordPress. This can be a good thing because developers are easy to find. It can also a bad thing because bad developers are also easy to find. When we say “bad” we mean developers who may not have your best interests in mind. 

Recently we discovered there are developers who may not actually be programmers and instead rely on what is called code-generators (in the WordPress world, the generator usually comes packaged in a “theme framework”). The benefit is that the “developer” doesn’t have to know how to code, but the downside is that these frameworks crank out tons of unnecessary code that is hard to read, understand, edit, customize, and migrate. They really tie the customer to the developer.

As traditional programmers, we thought we should let our customers know, especially those who might be considering WordPress, that not all developers approach WordPress the same way. 

Highgate Creative

Custom hand-coded

Pros: a fraction of the code of a theme framework, easy global adjustments

Automatically generated. 

Cons: Reams of unnecessary and impossible to decipher proprietary coding, global adjustments a headache


Requires fewer plugins because we custom code functionality specific to your needs

Requires more 3rd-party plug-ins which can be hard to maintain, add to code bloat, and pose potential security vulnerabilities. 


Traditional web coding keeps turnaround and costs down when you want to make changes on your site after the build

Difficult, costly, and limited to your original developer

User Interface

Straight-forward WordPress interface that focuses you on content, where you should be, and not structure and styling.

Complicated custom interface with an overwhelming learning curve that makes simple editing a nightmare for anyone but the


Clean, simple coding that makes it easy for search engines to index your site quickly

Bloated code forces search bots, like Google, to sift through unnecessary code for salient terms


Light, use-only-what-you-need code loads faster. Google likes fast.

All that code pre-built and code-generated themes heap on takes time to render, slowing down your site.


Few plug-ins, less code, better security

WordPress has a reputation for being hacked easily so all those add-on plug-ins increase the chances of a breach


Straight-up WordPress coding makes migration a snap

Read the reviews: migrating this type of site is a nightmare


Dedicated servers (only Highgate has access)

All sites run under an SSL certificate (“Secure”) for your user’s projection

Site monitoring software checks your sites up-status every 90 seconds


Learn more…

To learn more about the difference between custom themes vs code-generator themes, check out these articles on the pros and cons of a popular and representative framework called "Divi."

Are Divi Themes Bad for SEO?
If you use the Divi theme with WordPress, it better be forever.