Toptal is a marketplace for top WordPress web developers, engineers, programmers, coders, architects, and consultants. Top companies and startups choose Toptal WordPress freelancers for their mission-critical software projects.
Alexa has over 15 years of experience in designing and developing websites. She focuses on WordPress, Shopify, and React to create a variety of projects, from simple landing pages to sophisticated storefronts and progressive web apps. She has been called a “mad scientist,” but don’t worry; she has lovingly left the purple comic sans and lime green backgrounds in the past.
United StatesToptal Member Since November 28, 2016
Brian loves solving problems with WordPress. In his previous career, he was a high school and college English teacher, which is where his love for relationships, personal growth, and strong communication skill originated. His professional passions include non-profits and educational organizations.
United StatesToptal Member Since February 20, 2017
Scott has written hundreds of WordPress themes and plugins. He specializes in 3rd-party API integrations, including Mailchimp, Cloudflare, and Shopify. He is experienced in leading technology teams, is a seasoned public speaker, and has presented at WordCamp Portland and the Google campus in Seattle. He is an active technology writer and has been published on A List Apart and CSS-Tricks many times. Scott is also a former infantry officer in the US Army.
Brett has nine years of web development experience with the past six years spent honing his skills with WordPress plugins and themes. He's an expert in WooCommerce and is the author of the Simple Sales Tax plugin, a popular sales tax compliance solution for WooCommerce. Brett understands the importance of excellent communication, prides himself on producing high-quality code, and is comfortable working solo or as part of a team.
Donald has over 10 years of experience in the WordPress and WooCommerce industry. Working with various business models, he's provided solutions that fit requirements and budgets. Donald has experience collaborating as a valuable team member for enterprises and being a self-managed only-developer for startups. While working with Donald, clients can expect less back and forth, to-the-point answers for requirements, straightforwardness with task feasibility, and a solution provider and executor.
With over a decade of industry experience, Petar has transitioned from PHP and WordPress to focus on Node.js, Next.js, and React. Petar is known for his adaptability and quick learning and stays current with tech trends. His mastery of modern technologies enables him to develop efficient, scalable web applications for the digital era.
Nicolae is a web developer and designer from Transylvania with 10+ years of hands-on experience in WordPress under his belt. He delivered reliable custom themes, plugins, and websites for clients worldwide; he has worked for over four years at an advertising agency and has served as a WordPress.org Theme Review team member. Nicolae follows industry standards to deliver fast-loading websites that convert visitors.
Ammar is a versatile full-stack developer with over 10 years of experience in WordPress themes and plugins and is adept in WooCommerce and Shopify for eCommerce solutions. He's skilled in React, Next.js, and no-code technologies like Bubble.io, Webflow, Airtable, and Typedream. Ammar's work, featured on ThemeForest and WordPress.org, encompasses global agency projects and innovative product releases.
Carlos is fanatic about Internet and communication technologies and finding ways to help people solve daily problems. He has a host of experience building web and Android applications, and always aims to deliver the best possible user experience.
Jason is an experienced web developer with a broad range of both professional and personal technical achievements. He is the founder of Tough Space Consulting, a cloud-based business software consulting company that has helped a number of clients become more efficient and save money by improving their internal business processes. Jason is a strong team player, yet at the same time enjoys taking on personal challenges.
WordPress developers come in two distinct flavors: those who implement third-party themes and plugins to build websites and others who code custom solutions. This guide clarifies the differences between the two profiles, enabling you to identify the best WordPress developers.
... allows corporations to quickly assemble teams that have the right skills for specific projects.
Despite accelerating demand for coders, Toptal prides itself on almost Ivy League-level vetting.
Creating an app for the game
Building a cross-platform app to be used worldwide
Leading a digital transformation
Drilling into real-time data creates an industry game changer
Tripcents wouldn't exist without Toptal. Toptal Projects enabled us to rapidly develop our foundation with a product manager, lead developer, and senior designer. In just over 60 days we went from concept to Alpha. The speed, knowledge, expertise, and flexibility is second to none. The Toptal team were as part of tripcents as any in-house team member of tripcents. They contributed and took ownership of the development just like everyone else. We will continue to use Toptal. As a startup, they are our secret weapon.
Brantley Pace, CEO & Co-Founder
I am more than pleased with our experience with Toptal. The professional I got to work with was on the phone with me within a couple of hours. I knew after discussing my project with him that he was the candidate I wanted. I hired him immediately and he wasted no time in getting to my project, even going the extra mile by adding some great design elements that enhanced our overall look.
Paul Fenley, Director
K Dunn & Associates
The developers I was paired with were incredible -- smart, driven, and responsive. It used to be hard to find quality engineers and consultants. Now it isn't.
Ryan Rockefeller, CEO
Toptal understood our project needs immediately. We were matched with an exceptional freelancer from Argentina who, from Day 1, immersed himself in our industry, blended seamlessly with our team, understood our vision, and produced top-notch results. Toptal makes connecting with superior developers and programmers very easy.
Jason Kulik, Co-Founder
As a small company with limited resources we can't afford to make expensive mistakes. Toptal provided us with an experienced programmer who was able to hit the ground running and begin contributing immediately. It has been a great experience and one we'd repeat again in a heartbeat.
Stuart Pocknee , Principal
Site Specific Software Solutions
We used Toptal to hire a developer with extensive Amazon Web Services experience. We interviewed four candidates, one of which turned out to be a great fit for our requirements. The process was quick and effective.
Abner Guzmán Rivera, CTO and Chief Scientist
Sergio was an awesome developer to work with. Top notch, responsive, and got the work done efficiently.
Dennis Baldwin, Chief Technologist and Co-Founder
Working with Marcin is a joy. He is competent, professional, flexible, and extremely quick to understand what is required and how to implement it.
André Fischer, CTO
We needed a expert engineer who could start on our project immediately. Simanas exceeded our expectations with his work. Not having to interview and chase down an expert developer was an excellent time-saver and made everyone feel more comfortable with our choice to switch platforms to utilize a more robust language. Toptal made the process easy and convenient. Toptal is now the first place we look for expert-level help.
Derek Minor, Senior VP of Web Development
Networld Media Group
Toptal's developers and architects have been both very professional and easy to work with. The solution they produced was fairly priced and top quality, reducing our time to launch. Thanks again, Toptal.
Jeremy Wessels, CEO
We had a great experience with Toptal. They paired us with the perfect developer for our application and made the process very easy. It was also easy to extend beyond the initial time frame, and we were able to keep the same contractor throughout our project. We definitely recommend Toptal for finding high quality talent quickly and seamlessly.
Ryan Morrissey, CTO
Applied Business Technologies, LLC
I'm incredibly impressed with Toptal. Our developer communicates with me every day, and is a very powerful coder. He's a true professional and his work is just excellent. 5 stars for Toptal.
Pietro Casoar, CEO
Ronin Play Pty Ltd
Working with Toptal has been a great experience. Prior to using them, I had spent quite some time interviewing other freelancers and wasn't finding what I needed. After engaging with Toptal, they matched me up with the perfect developer in a matter of days. The developer I'm working with not only delivers quality code, but he also makes suggestions on things that I hadn't thought of. It's clear to me that Amaury knows what he is doing. Highly recommended!
George Cheng, CEO
As a Toptal qualified front-end developer, I also run my own consulting practice. When clients come to me for help filling key roles on their team, Toptal is the only place I feel comfortable recommending. Toptal's entire candidate pool is the best of the best. Toptal is the best value for money I've found in nearly half a decade of professional online work.
Ethan Brooks, CTO
Langlotz Patent & Trademark Works, Inc.
In Higgle's early days, we needed the best-in-class developers, at affordable rates, in a timely fashion. Toptal delivered!
Lara Aldag, CEO
Toptal makes finding a candidate extremely easy and gives you peace-of-mind that they have the skills to deliver. I would definitely recommend their services to anyone looking for highly-skilled developers.
Michael Gluckman, Data Manager
Toptal’s ability to rapidly match our project with the best developers was just superb. The developers have become part of our team, and I’m amazed at the level of professional commitment each of them has demonstrated. For those looking to work remotely with the best engineers, look no further than Toptal.
Laurent Alis, Founder
Toptal makes finding qualified engineers a breeze. We needed an experienced ASP.NET MVC architect to guide the development of our start-up app, and Toptal had three great candidates for us in less than a week. After making our selection, the engineer was online immediately and hit the ground running. It was so much faster and easier than having to discover and vet candidates ourselves.
Jeff Kelly, Co-Founder
We needed some short-term work in Scala, and Toptal found us a great developer within 24 hours. This simply would not have been possible via any other platform.
Franco Arda, Co-Founder
Toptal offers a no-compromise solution to businesses undergoing rapid development and scale. Every engineer we've contracted through Toptal has quickly integrated into our team and held their work to the highest standard of quality while maintaining blazing development speed.
Greg Kimball, Co-Founder
How to Hire WordPress Developers through Toptal
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How much does it cost to hire a WordPress developer?
The cost of hiring a WordPress developer depends on a great deal of factors, including your location, a developer’s level of experience, and whether their expertise focuses on applying tried-and-true third-party solutions to build and maintain your site or in coding custom solutions. As a point of reference, ZipRecruiter lists the average salary for a WordPress developer in the United States to be $124,218 as of August 8, 2023.
How do you hire a WordPress developer?
Consider your project needs. Draft a problem statement in which your needs are divided into common versus custom. Clearly state your problem, without bias toward a particular skill or tool to address it. Write a clear, concise job description that is based on the problem statement. Provide your hiring manager with carefully selected WordPress developer interview questions to ask candidates. Source, interview, and assess candidates.
How high is the demand for Wordpress developers?
WordPress powers 43% of the world’s websites—from blogs to online stores to web forums, including sites with and without a known CMS. The statistic is even more impressive when considering that, among websites with a known CMS, WordPress’ market share bumps up to 65%. Accordingly, WordPress developers are in high demand.
How are Toptal WordPress developers different?
At Toptal, we thoroughly screen our WordPress developers to ensure we only match you with the highest caliber of talent. Of the more than 200,000 people who apply to join the Toptal network each year, fewer than 3% make the cut.
Our talent matchers are experts in the same fields they’re matching in—you’ll never deal with recruiters or HR reps. They’ll work with you to understand your goals, technical needs, and team dynamics, and match you with ideal candidates from our vetted global talent network.
In addition to screening for industry-leading expertise, we also assess candidates’ language and interpersonal skills to ensure that you have a smooth working relationship.
When you hire a WordPress developer with Toptal, you’ll always work with world-class, custom-matched developer ready to help you achieve your goals.
How do I find great WordPress developers?
WordPress developers are not only exceptional CMS admins, but also expert PHP coders capable of building their own plugins from the ground up, while expertly optimizing your site for back- and front-end development experiences.
WordPress developers are also equally skilled at building SEO-friendly websites using visual builders such as Divi, Elementor, and WPBakery.
Scott is a WordPress and UI developer with 12 years of experience. He is an expert at writing WordPress themes and plugins, and specializes in third-party API integrations, including Mailchimp, Cloudflare, and Shopify. He has led a technology team at Bootstrap and has presented at the Google campus in Seattle and at WordCamp Portland 2018.
Accordingly, hiring managers who recruit and employ CMS professionals must keep up with the perennially high and steady demand for the best WordPress developers.
This hiring guide explores the specific attributes that will help you to identify the ideal WordPress developers to support your project, whether by implementing third-party solutions or coding custom solutions. You will also find tips for writing effective job posts and navigating the interview and assessment processes.
What attributes distinguish quality WordPress Developers from others?
If a savvy WordPress user can build and support a website without any coding experience whatsoever—and they can—then what is a WordPress developer? While some define a developer as a professional who codes, there are members of the development community who are open to a wider interpretation of the word.
WordPress developer/site manager (site manager)
Builds sites by installing and configuring third-party themes and plugins.
WordPress developer/engineer (engineer)
Codes custom solutions and extends third-party add-ons to deliver reliable, high-performance apps and websites that are scalable and easy to maintain.
While the specific tasks executed by site managers and engineers sometimes differ, the following skills are germane in all WordPress development:
Theme and plugin installation and customization – A site manager is well-versed in the extensive WordPress third-party product landscape, recommending, installing, configuring, and customizing themes and plugins to deliver common features that adroitly represent your company online. An engineer is best suited for projects that call for something custom—a unique design, a complex API integration—any feature that’s not available off the third-party shelf. They investigate the history behind any request for a custom theme or plugin, avoiding the implementation of any solution that could paint the project into a corner and hinder future growth.
Front-end performance – A site manager relies on third-party tools to deliver a satisfying user experience. An engineer has demonstrated experience in extracting a high level of performance—for both desktop and mobile devices—scoring between 90% and 100% on Google’s Core Web Vitals user experience metrics tool.
Back-end performance – Because they’re reliant on third-party tools to deliver the project specification, a site manager has little control over back-end performance. An engineer uses WordPress’ caching methods, when appropriate, to store resource-intensive operations so they don’t have to be repeated on every page load. An engineer also uses performance tools like New Relic or Query Monitor and can articulate how they have applied such tools to solve or prevent performance issues.
API integration – A site manager interacts with third-party services via the paste-in, embedded solutions they expose. Such integrations are constrained by a service’s limits, which can result in a website that looks incohesive. On the other hand, an engineer knows how to write API integrations, allowing for increased flexibility and control with custom solutions.
PHP – WordPress Core is built on PHP as its primary programming language. A site manager employs the PHP server-side scripting language to enhance dynamic web development. An engineer writes PHP in an object-oriented style, using objects and classes to develop custom solutions, as well as troubleshoot and debug code.
HTML – HTML controls the formatting and definition of structures and content. A site manager applies HTML to turn designs into web pages. An engineer closely considers and chooses HTML elements, e.g., knowing the implications of using links versus buttons, to optimize features.
CSS – To manage the look and feel of a website, a site manager modifies CSS as needed. An engineer writes and organizes CSS according to the time-honored “semantic class name” approach or the emerging utility-first approach to CSS, likely aided by a tool like Tailwind CSS.
SEO – A WordPress developer—whether a site manager or engineer—can set up and train your staff to monitor tools like Google’s Search Console and Yoast, the de facto standard for improving a site’s standing with search engines.
UI/UX – A site manager ensures that a website’s user interface (UI) meets specifications and reflects defined business needs. An engineer has the experience and control to account for less obvious elements like error and success messages, hover states, and click states. Both types of developers advocate for the product’s end users, recognizing they are far more likely to adopt and use a solution that is well designed, easy to navigate, intuitive, functional, clean—and even enjoyable.
Site architecture – A site manager uses third-party themes and plugins to build a branded website that represents a business. An engineer—prior to writing production code—plans an information architecture to include all of the types of data and elements that will “live” on the site and how they will interrelate. This groundwork helps an organization avoid common maintenance and scaling problems that could occur as a site accumulates content and features.
How can you identify the ideal WordPress Developer for you?
The first step in identifying the ideal WordPress developer for your project is to clarify the specific problem or skills gap that has led to the decision to hire a WordPress developer and then decide whether a site manager or an engineer is ideal.
If your project is relatively straightforward and simply requires a content-focused website, the best WordPress developer choice is a site manager who is skilled at efficiently using tried-and-tested themes and plugins to create, fix, or otherwise modify websites. Using reliable third-party solutions is also likely to save you time and resources.
If, on the other hand, your project demands a unique design, advanced features, or specialized functionality, hiring an engineer is the way to go. A WordPress engineer develops custom themes and plugins tailored specifically to your project needs. You will have unrivaled control, flexibility, and scalability. This approach comes at a higher cost and longer development time frame. Nevertheless, if continual growth, adaptability, and/or originality are essential factors for your project’s success, an engineer’s input will be invaluable.
The following table can help you quickly determine which type of developer will work best for you:
When the budget is tight
If the project is well funded
Purpose of the website
For a website that functions as a simple marketing tool, little more than a digital business card
When the website is the essence of the business, a custom web application that perhaps houses an e-commerce or educational component
If using a templated, standardized design with a tolerance for minimal deviations
To deliver accurate branding with consistency across popular browsers and devices
When it is important—but not critical—for the site to remain accessible
If it is essential for the site to remain operational and available for use; to that end, high standards for security, performance, and stability are implemented
Role within your tech team
If support resources or enrichment through learning from the team’s senior developers are options
When there’s an opportunity to mentor junior developers
Beware that some applicants may inflate their résumés by referring to their experience with installing downloaded themes and plugins as “development.” Since the industry term “WordPress developer” includes both site managers who build sites by installing and configuring third-party products and engineers who code custom solutions, it is up to you to interpret an applicant’s experience accordingly. If you determine that your project requires advanced customization skills, it may be worth your while to invest in a more expensive senior WordPress engineer to save on costs and development time down the road.
How can you decide between a WordPress Developer or Wix Developer?
Understanding the differences between WordPress and Wix—and their developers’ skill sets—allows you to better align project requirements with the choice that will serve you best.
While WordPress and Wix development overlap in many respects, the two platforms meet different needs. The WordPress platform offers endless customization possibilities to your developer (i.e., if you can imagine it, you can build it using WordPress) and full control over SEO. In contrast, Wix is an all-in-one solution that comprises domain registration, hosting, and an easy-to-learn (yet more limited) platform.
Further, with WordPress, your company retains control and ownership of its data. Wix, however, is a black box with a closed-source CMS. A developer can export data from Wix only to the degree that it allows.
By understanding these differences, you are better positioned to decide between a WordPress and Wix developer, and can proceed to hire your ideal choice.
How to Write a WordPress Developer Job Description for Your Project
A clear and detailed job description can attract the right set of candidates. Begin with a well-crafted job title. Since “WordPress developer/site manager” and “WordPress developer/engineer” are not industry-standard terms, use titles that will be more familiar to the applicant pool, such as:
Junior WordPress developer.
Senior front-end WordPress developer.
WordPress webmaster and administrator.
When you craft a problem statement to share with candidates, describe the challenge you need to solve and use language that will make sense to someone with no context for your business or a limited knowledge of your industry. Delineate the specific project requirements for the initiative.
Finally, in this era of telecommuting, be upfront about your company’s policy and/or the engagement type. This can be simple to incorporate into the job title:
Remote full-time junior WordPress developer
On-site senior WordPress developer, temp to perm
Hybrid WordPress webmaster and administrator
What are the most important WordPress Developer interview questions?
The line that separates a site manager from an engineer is often blurry, especially in cases where a site manager does “just a bit of” coding, plugin extension, or custom theme development. Your candidate’s response to this WordPress developer interview question should reveal whether they are a site manager or an engineer:
Can you tell me about a custom plugin you have written from scratch?
A site manager’s answer may focus on their experience selecting and modifying themes and plugins that convey the company’s look and feel or extending the site’s functionality by customizing plugins. An engineer, however, should include examples of the road-tested techniques they honed through years of solving complex WordPress problems.
What are the common use cases for custom post types? Describe the best practices for creating common post types.
Custom post types offer a solution for organizing a website’s content. Custom post types are distinct from regular posts and pages. Before creating a custom post type, interview stakeholders to get a sense of how the project could evolve.
To create custom post types, a developer can write code in a plugin or child theme. They may also use a third-party plugin to provide a UI for registering custom post types.
Explain what actions and filters are. Discuss their differences, and how and when to use them.
Actions and filters allow a developer to integrate with WordPress Core, themes, or plugins without having to tinker with third-party code directly. An action allows a developer to execute a particular function (such as adding Google Analytics code) at a particular spot (like before the closing body tag). A filter allows a developer to read or change a piece of data. For example, a filter enables a developer to replace unencrypted HTTP with HTTPS links within a blog post.
Describe the steps to create a simple plugin.
To create a simple plugin, a developer begins by creating a folder in WordPress’ /wp-content/plugins/ folder. The folder’s name should be indicative of the purpose of the plugin. It should be short, ideally just a couple of words. Finally, it should be prefixed with a unique namespace, so as to avoid conflicts with any of the thousands of existing WordPress plugins that may have a similar name.
In the new folder, a developer creates a file called plugin.php. In the file’s opening DocBlock, they type Plugin Name: Abcd where, in place of Abcd, they enter the name of the plugin. Spaces are permissible in this instance. WordPress will use the file header to identify the plugin.
Explain the role of child themes.
The purpose of a child theme is to inherit not only all the built-in functionality of a parent theme, but also to safely allow for deviations from the parent. Creating a child theme allows a developer to avoid editing a third-party parent theme directly. This ensures the safety of their modifications, which will not be erased at the next software update.
How do you make a basic child theme?
To make a child theme based on a parent theme, a developer creates a folder in WordPress’ /wp-content/themes/ folder. The new folder’s name should be indicative of the purpose of the child theme. It should be short, ideally just a couple of words. Finally, the folder’s name should be prefixed with a unique namespace, so as to avoid conflicts with any of the thousands of existing WordPress themes that may have a similar name.
In the new folder, a developer creates a stylesheet file called style.css, populating it with metadata. The file header is used by WordPress to associate the child theme to that of its parent.
Optional: To inherit CSS from the parent theme, a developer creates a functions file called functions.php file to enqueue the parent theme’s stylesheet.
Why do companies hire WordPress Developers?
Businesses hire WordPress developers to build and maintain websites that represent their companies online. WordPress is the world’s most popular platform for web publishing and one of the most successful open-source projects of all time, powering a staggering 43% of registered domain names.
WordPress’ dominance in the market brings many benefits to those who adopt the CMS. The support provided by the WordPress community is unparalleled. WordPress’ versatility allows a developer to tailor your online presence to the audiences you wish to address or the specifications you choose. Whether you implement e-commerce, content management, a branded virtual presence, or a scalable and high-performance app, hiring a WordPress developer is the way to go.
The technical content presented in this article was reviewed by Mike Zeballos.