WordPress Stack I Use

Last updated on
Mar 24, 2024

When building a website with the self-hosted version of WordPress, you have a total freedom over the stack you want to use. From hosting, theme, to plugin. I have been using WordPress for a quite long and have tried countless WordPress products.

In the past, I once used cheap hosting services, nulled plugins (what a shameless), to nulled themes (oh my god). But lately, I realized that I might wouldn’t be in the current state without passing those stupid moments.

After all, without bad experiences in the past, you won’t be able to provide a wise advice to others. So in this post, I will share some WordPress products that I currently use and why I use them.

But first, let’s start by what do I use WordPress for.

Shortcuts:

👨‍💻 What do I Use WordPress for?

I have been using WordPress since about 2010, when I was still in college. Not for professional purpose yet. Just to express what I felt in the form of writing in my free WordPress blog (on WordPress.com).

In 2012, I decided to make money online by building self-hosted WordPress blog to sell affiliate products of Amazon. I used a super cheap local hosting service at that time. Since then, I have tried countless cheap web hosting services for my blogs, only to grumble about the performance.

Currently, there are 5 WordPress blogs that I manage (I have a team, by the way).

In addition to creating blogs, I also use WordPress to create other website types for my clients. From e-commerce websites to portfolio websites.

🤔 Which WordPress Products I Use on My Websites?

As I stated above, I have been making money with WordPress since 2012. From creating affiliate blogs to creating websites for clients. There have been countless WordPress products I tried.

But lately, my go-to products and services for every WordPress website I create are:

🌐 Hosting: Rocket.net

Rocket.net is the hosting service I currently use for my WordPress websites. Including the one you are currently reading. I switched to Rocket.net from SiteGround in late 2023 for one major reason: performance.

To give you an overview about my sites’ performance after moving them to Rocket.net, you can take a look at the following screenshots. Or you can test it yourself here.

FYI, I don’t use any performance plugin for my websites. At all. However, I still make some optimization such as using a local font and disabling unnecessary features like WordPress emojis. But, not too much.

Before switching to Rocket.net, the average performance score of my website was always about 60 to 70. Even if I have made some optimization like I mentioned above. So, switching to Rocket.net is one of the best decisions I have made in my career and I think it’s great for a long term.

Some key features I love about Rocket.net are:

  • Built-in CDN and cache
  • Scheduled backups
  • Advanced security
  • Simple dashboard
  • Built-in file manager

🙋 Is Site Performance Really That Crucial?

Absolutely. Visitors will easily get away if your website takes long to load. Even if it is just in milliseconds.

Site performance is even more crucial if you build a website for a client. Or your reputation is at stake.

If you use a cheap hosting service for your WordPress website, you will end up wasting your time optimizing your website. Or even worse. You will be forced to install an extra optimization plugin, which costs you more money.

So, don’t waste your time and energy on a cheap hosting service!

If you don’t like Rocket.net, some hosting services that also capable of delivering excellent site performance are:

I have tested all above services before settling to Rocket.net 🙂

👕 Theme: Divi

You need to spend $89 each year to use Divi (or $249 for lifetime membership option). Looks pricey. Isn’t it?

But wait. Can you recall how many websites that I currently manage? 5!

Which is pricier? $199 or $89?

$199 is the amount you need to pay per year for 5 websites if you use Elementor. While $89 is the price you need to pay per year for 5 websites if you use Divi.

If you want it, you can even install Divi on as many WordPress websites as you want, with only a single subscription license. That’s why I always recommend Divi to anyone wanting to create multiple WordPress websites.

Divi is far from perfect. I know it. It is not a better option in terms of features when compared to Elementor, Bricks, or even Breakdance.

But with Divi, at least I can:

1️⃣ Create the Core Pages Easily

In this context, the core pages refer to the main pages on your website. Some pages count the core page are homepage, about page, and contact page.

The Divi theme comes with a built-in visual page builder — called Divi Builder — to make it easy for you to create the pages on your website. Same as Elementor and other page builder plugins, Divi Builder also comes with features like a drag-and-drop editing experience, advanced responsive editing, and ready-to-use page templates.

Divi Builder has 39 design elements by default, but you can add more by installing Divi-specific plugins like Divi Pixel and Divi Essential. Divi has an open ecosystem just like WordPress itself.

You can give the Divi Builder a try for free in case you are curious about how it feels to edit a page with it. Or you can read my Divi review to learn more about it.

2️⃣ Create Custom Templates

Divi has a theme builder feature that you can use to create custom templates for header, footer, single post, and archive pages (tag and category). All of the parts on this website (except the header) are created using this feature. With this feature, you have a full control over the design of your site parts.

Theme builder itself is a crucial feature for me as I always create a custom template for single post (blog post) for every website I create. By creating a custom template for single post, I can add any element I want, including a floating CTA button on review posts as shown below.

The theme builder feature of Divi supports display condition in case you want to create multiple templates for the same part, which I also impement in this website.

I have two different templates for single post. One for regular posts (view example) and another for review posts (view example).

The theme builder feature of Divi allows you to create custom templates for the following site parts:

  • Header
  • Footer
  • Single post (blog post)
  • Single page (page)
  • Archive pages (tag, category, author)
  • Search results page
  • 404 page

3️⃣ Create Forms

Anytime I need to create a form, I don’t need to install an extra form builder plugin as Divi already has the form elements on its visual builder. There are even two form elements you can use. One to create a contact form and another to create an email opt-in form.

You can even integrate your form with services like Mailchimp, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, to MailPoet.

I also use the feature to create a form on my contact page.

4️⃣ Write Blog Posts Conveniently

One of the Divi features that I like is the ability to customize the Gutenberg editor. The feature is quite useful to me as my regular activity with my WordPress websites is to write blog posts.

In Divi, you can set the width of the editor per your preference.

You can also customize other Gutenberg editor elements like title text (font weight, size, and so on) and body text.

🔌 Plugins:

I only have two plugins installed on this website. This is another reason why I use Rocket.net and Divi. I can achieve many things with them.

I don’t need to install an optimization plugin to make my website load faster. Similarly, I don’t need to install a form builder plugin to create a form. And many other things.

Here are the plugins I have on this website:

1️⃣ Yoast: For SEO

As a blogger, search engines are the primary traffic source to my blogs. And to make my posts show up on the first page of search engines, I need to optimize them. Yoast is my option for this need.

It has a super handy content analysis feature to make sure every post I write is SEO friendly before I publish it. Apart from it, Yoast has all the essential features for SEO, including:

  • XML sitemap
  • Schema markup
  • The ability to add meta description
  • The ability to add custom SEO title
  • Internal link suggestion (requires upgrade)

If you love using generative AI, Yoast also has a feature to generate meta description from your blog post.

2️⃣ ThirstyAffiliates: To Manage Affiliate Links

As you may know, I sell affiliate products to earn money from this website. There are several affiliate programs that I join.

To make it easy to add an affiliate link to my blog post, I use ThirstyAffiliates. I can instantly add a link to a blog post without login to the dashboard of a certain affiliate program to coply the link. The plugin adds a menu item to the Gutenberg toolbar aimed at adding a link.

The menu item from ThirstyAffiliates to add a new link in Gutenberg.

Another reason why I use ThirstyAffiliates is to anticipate when one of the affiliate programs I joined to switch to another affiliate platform. In a such a case, I don’t need to edit every single article in which I have added the affiliate link to. Instead, I only need to edit the affiliate link via the ThirstyAffiliates dashboard.

ThirstyAffiliates allows you to manage your affiliate links in categories, just like blog posts. Unless you want to unlock its analytics feature, you can use ThirstyAffiliates for free. Just like Yoast.

📝 Summary

The self-hosted version of WordPress is still and always the best solution to create a professional website for those who don’t have adequate programming skill. Even if you are a skillful web programmer, using WordPress to create a website can speeding up the website creation process. Plus, you can utilize its CMS feature to create blog posts to gain organic traffic from search engines.

When you use the self-hosted version of WordPress to build your website, you have a full control over the stack you want to use on your website. From the hosting service, theme, to plugins. Being an old WordPress user, I have had chances to try some WordPress-related products in past.

If you are new to WordPress and want to create a professional website with it, here are the stack I recommend, in which the reason I have elaborated above.

  • Hosting: Rocket.net
  • Theme: Divi
  • Plugins: Yoast, ThirstyAffiliate (for affiliate blogs only)

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Aliko Sunawang

Aliko is a professional blogger and web creator. He has been blogging with WordPress since 2012. In his spare time, he loves going out to take some photos.