WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal – Which is the best CMS for you?
WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal – Confused about which one to choose for your website or blog? Let us compare the three in detail so that you can yourself determine which one best fits your requirements.
Choosing a Content Management System for your website? Not sure about which CMS is the best choice for you? With so many options available this can be a very confusing decision to make. Needless to say, it is also the biggest decision since it will build the foundation on which your website would run. In most of the scenarios, the choice of the CMS that works is different for different systems. Amongst other things, it depends upon your website goals, technical proficiency, budget and other constraints. In this article, will compare 3 of the most widely used Content Management Systems and help you choose one that fits your requirements. Read ahead for a complete WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal comparison.
Content Management System: How to choose one?
If you are gearing up to build a website for business or blog, you might be overwhelmed with the number of Content Management Systems available. You may have a requirement to setup a simple blog, a small business portal or a social network website. So your expectations from the Content Management System will also change accordingly. The most important point is to not select a CMS just based on its reputation. You need to make sure that the features the CMS offer align with the goals and what you want to achieve with the website. The most widely used Content Management Systems and the ones we are going to compare are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.
With covering around 27% of websites, WordPress is the clear market leader, with over 50 percent market share. Joomla and Drupal are next behind WordPress with around 6 and 5 percent market share respectively.
All three Content Management Systems are open-source and free to download and use. Each is different with its own array of features, capabilities, and customization support. They have a lot of common features, but also have their pros and cons. In this article, we have done a WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal comparison of various factors. You are sure to figure out in the end that just one of these fits best for your requirements.
WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal Comparison Chart
|Manual Installation Time||5 minutes||10 minutes||10 minutes|
|Features||Easy to use for beginners. Added support for creating custom sites with plugins||Useful for creating robust CMS sites||Has powerful taxonomy features and the capability to classify and manage complex content|
|Downloads||140 Million||63 Million||15 Million|
|Free Plugins and Themes||45K +, 4K+||7K+, 1K+||34K+, 2K+|
|Performance||Handles traffic well. Needs better hosting plans for higher traffic||Needs tweaking to avoid quick resource consumption.||Loads more quickly with faster response times.|
|SEO||Excellent SEO (but with SEO plugins)||Basic SEO requires additional tweaks||Good SEO|
|e-commerce||Yes with WooCommerce plugin.||Yes, extensions like Virtuemart are available for managing products and content||Yes for older versions. Drupal 8, does not support a stable E-commerce module yet.|
|Support||Presence of a strong community of users. Help on Official support forums, documents, handbooks, WordPress codex, stack exchange. Option to get paid support due to widespread reach.||Has a large and very helpful community. There is extensive documentation, third party resources, paid training etc. Difficult to get affordable expert help.||Has an active community of fans and users, extensive documentation, support forum, mailing lists, user groups, etc. Offers the Drupal Marketplace to connect users to developers and tech companies offering Services.|
|Upgrades||~40 days||~36 days||~30 days|
|Best Used for||Simple, easy to manage websites like Blogs, news sites, small, medium sized websites||Any type of website which needs a CMS||Complex sites as its API is very strong|
To help you understand better let us look in detail at the primary comparison factors.
All the three WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal offer a similar installation mechanism with slight differences. All of them need basic information from the user like:
- Database name
- User id
Most users feel that WordPress is the simplest install. Let us look at the Pros and Cons for each.
- Minimal install interface and a quick installation process.
- Hides information needed from user behind 2 stages of installation.
- Due to its popularity, most of the hosts have made it painless to install WordPress and get started. Many offer dedicated WordPress hosting and include a preinstalled version of WordPress.
- Hosts offer WordPress installation using cPanel with a few clicks.
- Does not let the user do any extra configuration during installation.
- Provides additional options for installation.
- Preview of the configuration before installation starts.
- The requirement for installer folder deletion for security.
- Most hosts offer installation through cPanel requiring no technical knowledge.
- Not many hosts offer Joomla specific hosting.
- Though complex, the process is now evolved to make installation simpler.
- Most hosts with cPanel offer Drupal installation with a single click.
- Most users feel the installation is complex and lengthy.
If we look at the minimum knowledge needed to learn the 3 Content Management Systems then WordPress is easy and intuitive. Drupal and Joomla have a slightly higher learning curve.
- Easiest CMS for beginners. Easy and intuitive. There is a very small learning curve for beginners.
- There is no coding knowledge needed. You can design complex pages with no coding skills using Page Builder plugins.
Approachable for people with some web development experience. It is possible to setup a website without much technical support. For more complexities, you may need professional help.
- Though it is not too technical, Joomla does have a learning curve though not steep. It is not as complex as Drupal but will take more time to learn than WordPress.
- Moderate Learning Curve
- Requires moderate technical expertise. Major updates require considerable effort.
- Ease of Use
Ease Of Use
Most web developers wish to be able to deploy simple sites without much effort. The foremost requirement, they look for in a Content Management System is that it should be simple and easy to use. Let us look at WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal comparison from the ease of use that each offer.
- Most simple to use.
- Massive user and support community to find help and tools. Non-technical users can quickly deploy simple sites.
- Midway between Drupal and WordPress.
- Provides straightforward capability to edit websites from the front end. This is also a boon to visually inclined users.
- Its dashboard might not seem to be as friendly as that of WordPress.
- Provides features capable of producing the most advanced sites. Ease of use is increasing with every release.
- Requires most technical expertise to create a basic website. It is more directed towards users with at least basic web development skills and knowledge of HTML and PHP.
The 3 Content Management Systems vary in the features they provide. WordPress is easy to use for beginners with added support for creating custom sites. Joomla is useful for creating robust sites that need CMS. Drupal has powerful taxonomy features and the capability to classify and manage complex content. Let us look at the specialised functionality provided by each.
- Intuitive and simple administrative dashboard, content creation and management and comment moderation system.
- Can power multiple sites from a single dashboard.
- Available in over 70 languages.
- Customization and extensibility with themes and plugins.
- Needs advanced plugins for advanced features.
- The built-in caching function which gives faster loading speeds.
- Built-in support for multilingual websites.
- Versatile menu creation tool.
- Website editing from both front and back ends.
- Limited functionality since customising individual pages and categories is not simple.
- Advanced functionality and many more features than WordPress and Joomla.
- Powerful components like taxonomies, content types, blocks, views etc.
- Advanced users and developers.
- Support for rapid prototyping and multi-site configuration.
- Extensive Application Programming Interface (API) support.
- Easy to integrate with many third-party sites and shipping services.
- For beginners, using advanced features can be an issue as technical expertise is needed.
Plugin and Theme Availability
WordPress provides thousands of plugins and themes to add more features to your websites. Joomla and Drupal have a lot of built-in advanced features. Let us see what they offer in additional Plugin and Theme availability.
- Huge plug-in library. WordPress has the most plug-ins, themes, and customizations.
- With over 45K free plugins and thousands of more premium plugins, WordPress is very flexible.
- Searching and installing themes and plugins can be done from the dashboard itself.
- The numerous third-party plugin and themes, many of which might be insecure, is a cause of the numerous security vulnerabilities in WordPress.
- Joomla has 5 different types of extensions – Plugins, Components, Modules, Templates, and Languages. These extensions provide different levels of power, capabilities, and functionalities.
- With no official templates directory, it is more difficult to find the right theme.
- The number of templates and extensions is not high as for WordPress.
- Does not allow users to search and install extensions or templates.
- Drupal provides two ways to extend its functionality: Modules and Themes. There are over 20K modules and 2.4K themes.
- The number of built-in themes is limited. For a new or original design, you will need to hire a good designer.
- A third-party ecosystem is not as varied as others.
- Users need to leave their site to search for a required module or theme.
The increasing user base of a website also increases the number of signed-in users to be managed. These can be content editors, subscribers, corporate users on a company network etc. The 3 Content Management Systems – WordPress, Joomla and Drupal provide different user roles and capabilities.
- The default WordPress provides 2 categories of users – front-end users like website visitors and the back-end users, who manage content or administer the website.
- There are five default user roles built into WordPress, and they all share a common interface, though with permission to access different options and abilities.
- The WordPress interface is very intuitive which makes it easy to understand. The user experience across user roles is consistent which makes it painless for users to master advanced management.
- Limited flexibility with only 2 categories of users – visitors and site managers.
- Does not provide only the binary level of User Interface like WordPress. Joomla provides traditional website visitor access, front-end and back-end editors and administrators.
- The front-end administration area makes it very easy for beginners to manage content.
- Different user interfaces as per the needs of the user role.
- The differences in the user interface for different user roles makes it less intuitive and needs additional learning.
- User roles are entirely customizable.
- Flexible user management as you can enable and disable access based on user roles.
The Content Management System’s security is another primary factor for the WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal comparison. Websites are an easy and primary target for hackers. Security attacks like cross-site scripting, script injections, zero-days, brute force attempts, distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks and software vulnerabilities will continue to try to break the security of your website. Let us see how WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal protect against the security vulnerabilities.
- Availability of best practices, options, tools and plugins to enhance the security of the WordPress websites.
- WordPress has a reporting process for core vulnerabilities and is very quick to respond and provide patch updates.
- A built-in mechanism to show updates for themes and plugins.
- The auto-update mechanism allows WordPress websites to automatically update for a new security patch.
- A large number of third-party plugins and themes is a cause of the high number of vulnerabilities.
- Very few total vulnerabilities and fewer exploits.
- Active response to security vulnerabilities with quick patches.
- Available extensions to back up the site and other best practices to follow.
- Maintaining the website and installing updates is the user’s responsibility.
- Drupal is perhaps the most secure of all Content Management Systems. Most government websites use Drupal.
- Provides enterprise-level security with in-depth security reports.
- Modules are the most vulnerable area of the CMS. However, due to the smallest market share of the three, Drupal modules are less targeted.
- Drupal’s users are technically savvy, so targeted attacks on Drupal are less.
- Security vulnerabilities are published on their site as they are discovered and then patched.
- Installing updates is not so easy.
Most of the Content Management Systems include SEO capabilities to optimise the website’s content. In terms of SEO features a WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal comparison shows that all of them need extra work or add-on modules to maximise SEO capabilities. Average users and designers prefer WordPress while programmers and technically proficient people prefer Drupal. Joomla as always is somewhere in the middle.
- Basic inbuilt SEO capabilities.
- Availability of plugins for advanced SEO.
- Option to create tags for posts.
- Can optimise permalink structures and set all metadata for pages and posts.
- Enables you to tackle basic SEO tasks without the need for any third party extensions.
- It is possible to get a high ranking in case a website is set up properly.
- Provides basic SEO capabilities. Needs extensive work to make it as search engine friendly as WordPress.
- Allows to create tags for posts, but with the use of an extension.
- Website optimisation process is not as user-friendly and not a one-click process specifically for beginners.
- Offers the best SEO capability.
- Several modules available for SEO activity and tracking of web statistics.
- It can generate customizable meta tags or title based URL nodes for a site. This feature is not available with WordPress and Joomla.
- Supports RDF and integrates with Google Analytics with advanced SEO facility settings.
- To use advanced SEO, Drupal is particularly complex for those without much experience.
In the basic version, all the 3 tools are free and all you need is a hosting service and a domain name. However, added costs come into play for added features. Let us see how WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal compares on account of the overall costs.
- For WordPress users with small websites requirements, the free version works fine.
- Thousands of free plug-ins and themes are available to choose from. This keeps the costs down for beginner websites.
- WordPress.com even provides free hosting services.
- Professional websites need premium plugins and themes which would be an additional ~$50+ accordingly.
- Joomla too gives a free version at Joomla.com
- You would need to shell out another $60+ for a premium template to customise your site.
- Premium extensions that would add more functionality would cost you more.
- There is no option for free hosting like WordPress offers.
- Startup costs are comparable to WordPress and Joomla.
- However, the startup costs in time spent configuring and setting up the website will be much larger than WordPress or Joomla.
Customization and Upgrades
The final and important aspect of comparing WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal would be the customization and upgrade of the CMS. Security being the prime one, there are other reasons also that all Content Management Systems need regular upgrades for its proper maintenance. Many users would like to make customizations to the default behavior. Other than technical expertise required what matters is the user experience involved.
- WordPress provides a rolling release of updates.
- Supports online updates via the admin user interface.
- Alerts whenever there is an update available. One click update is available.
- Customization of themes and plugins is available with online file editing.
- The WordPress core API is not very user-friendly. Thus the core of WordPress is difficult to change. Any back-end changes to a website might cause issues.
- Though not as good as WordPress, the upkeep is getting better with rolling updates and better backwards compatibility.
- Joomla supports upgrading the core from the backend using the Joomla update component or Update tab in the Joomla Extension Manager
- Advanced editing of themes is possible only with offline editing or with the theme builder software.
- The update method cannot be used in all cases in which case manual work is needed.
- Drupal follows upgrade mechanism of Major releases (upgrades) and Minor releases (updates).
- Easy to customise with many plug-ins, themes and other configurable options. Developers can also edit the root files directly.
- The only manual upgrade is possible which involves a certain degree of risk.
- No application support to customise themes. You will either need a new plugin to edit themes, or do the customization offline.
SaaS-based Hosted CMS
The traditional Content Management Systems like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal require having a hosting service and a domain name from domain providers. You need to get a hosting account, install the CMS on it and get it working. Many hosting services provide a one-click install but beyond that, you need to administer it yourself. These are non-hosted, traditional, open-source CMS.
A hosted CMS like wordpress.com, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace etc. are one-stop solutions. These provide different membership levels for purchase and provide hosting in the form of Software as a Service (SaaS) model. While some of these let you create one website, some of them do not have a restriction on the number of websites using the same account. What matters most is that you don’t have to worry about hosting or other technical details.
Includes basic themes and plugins for blogging. It is not a drag and drop platform but can be extended with drag drop plugins.
Website builder with more than 500 site designs available in over 70 categories. These incorporate mobile-friendly and responsive designs with a separate mobile editor and e-commerce integration.
Powerful site creator with more than 100 professional website designs.
Provides modern design templates built by their own design team. Ability to install multiple templates on a single site.
A web content management and digital marketing solution for Small to Midsize businesses. The Bitrix Site Manager offers content management, e-marketing, and e-commerce capabilities.
In a nutshell…
WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are the most popular content management systems. However new players are coming into the picture like TYPO3, ExpressionEngine, SilverStripe, TextPattern, RefineryCMS, Ghost, Jekyll, Concrete5, ModX, eZ platform etc.
Looking at the WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal comparison, all three of them offer some great advantages and their own set of disadvantages. For beginners, WordPress is seemingly the best option. It’s easy to use with plenty of WordPress themes and plugins. However, Joomla and Drupal are more flexible and also provide templates to work with. WordPress is primarily used for simple, easy to manage websites like Blogs, news sites, small, medium sized websites. Joomla is mostly used for E-commerce and social networking sites. Drupal works well for complex sites like online stores, community platform sites with multiple users
WordPress with the default themes and plugins is just a blog. To get it working as a CMS, numerous 3rd party plugins need to be installed. Technical help is needed to get it configure which is always a cost to the lay-person. Drupal in the default state is a well-developed CMS. The size is a whopping 20MB package because of being loaded with functions. However, it requires technical expertise, is not beginner friendly and is costly to configure. Joomla in the bare state is an intuitive CMS for newbies. The template development is simply due to a single file formatted with simple hooks. The extension development is very intuitive and fast due to the MVC system. A point worth noting is that all 3 Content Management Systems, when operated by people with technical knowledge, are manageable and work well. While making a WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal choice keep in mind factors such as the main purpose of your website, the budget, and your technical expertise.
TemplateToaster together with Content Management Systems
TemplateToaster is a desktop software that works with all the major content management systems. It allows you to create websites over WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Prestashop, and Magento. It provides a range of themes and templates for you to use directly. It also lets you create professional themes and templates using any of these CMSes. With TemplateToaster you need not bother about the technical details of individual CMSes. You get a common, easy to use interface over the simple and advanced features of all the Content Management Systems.
Best Drag and Drop interface to Design stunning WordPress Themes