Compared with wp-cli

Comparison made at end of April 2012, updated December 2012

WP-CLI is a worthy effort that is still being developed: It has similar goals to WordShell – the aim is CLI WordPress management.

WordShell scores over WP-CLI in the following areas:

  • WP-CLI requires PHP 5.3, whereas WordPress only needs 5.2.4 and so WP-CLI is not compatible with most WP sites. Only a third of WordPress websites support WP-CLI (December 2012).
  • Because of its architecture, WP-CLI must be installed and run on the same filesystem as the site being operated on. It does not operate over FTP, FTPS, or SFTP.
  • WP-CLI lets you work only on one site at a time. No updating akismet on 100 sites unless you type 100 commands.
  • WP-CLI loads the WordPress install and runs within it. This means that if your webserver is down, or if your WP install is broken, then you’re stuffed. WordShell has been written to assume that your WP install could be broken and need repairing. (e.g. If you update to the latest WordPress and your site goes down and you want to immediately roll-back, then WordShell can do a file-system roll-back; whereas in such a situation WP-CLI cannot even run any more).
  • WP-CLI does not have any backup of version management features. No monitoring of custom modifications and patches, no rollbacks of upgrades that had bugs or went wrong. If anything breaks, you get to keep all the pieces.
  • WP-CLI is written in PHP; you cannot run it from a machine without PHP installed. WordShell runs in bash and PHP is an optional extra.

WP-CLI is free, which is a bonus. Plugin authors can also extend it by providing new commands (if these get popular, we might add an interface to call them). But we’re confident that the advantages of WordShell will save you immensely larger amounts of time than WP-CLI. Note that many of the above disadvantages are due to WP-CLI’s design choices; some of them cannot be fixed without a total re-design.

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