Last Updated on August 11, 2020 by David Bryan
An Open Source CMS Comparison – WordPress vs Drupal vs Joomla
Not all content management systems are created equal and there are dozens of choices out there when it comes to the kind of platform you use to support your digital content publication. However, the three most popular, WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, each offer significant benefits over much of their competition. According to data monitored by W3Techs, these three powerhouses of the CMS world, host almost 70% of the market when it comes to content.
So, what makes these platforms so popular and just what are the main differences between them?
Okay, so our first contender in the battle between WordPress vs Drupal vs Joomla is without doubt the big brother of this trinity and, of the 70% market share statistic, 60.6% of websites that use a content management system do so with WordPress. Whilst we are on the subject of stats, let’s get the flattery out of the way:
- WordPress powers more than 32 % of the web with traffic figures of 409 million users visiting 15.5 billion pages per month!
- WordPress.com itself receives more than 640 million visits each month.
- The latest version of WordPress 5.1 has been downloaded more than 24.6 million times. Known as ‘Betty’, the software was released on 21st February 2019 – that’s more than 13,486 downloads per hour since it was launched!
There is no doubting the dominance of the number one CMS platform but does it deserve its status, and is it truly a universal system for all online businesses?
Pros and Cons of WordPress – WordPress vs Drupal vs Joomla
The main benefit of WordPress is its simplicity and ease of use. It is a novice-friendly CMS platform and you do not need any experience of coding in order to get started. Even a total beginner can achieve a functional website without much help.
However, WordPress can also provide a more technically advanced environment for more experienced developers. Quite simply, WordPress offers flexibility as well as security, high performance and good SEO solutions.
One of the best parts of working in WordPress is the extensive community that you have access to. This makes collaboration and customisation a simple process plus offers a great deal of diversity in the development of tools and support; all of which adds up to more choice and some great cost savings. Speaking of which, running a WordPress CMS is relatively cheap and the only real expenses you will face are premium extensions and some technical support.
Being the launch platform for the popular WooCommerce, WordPress also offers great functionality for eCommerce operations.
But, one of the downsides of the platform is the fact that it is not easy to scale up your site and does lag behind Joomla and Drupal when it comes to performance metrics like site speed. Security has also been an issue in the past but this may be largely due to the fact it is a larger target. Whatever the reasons, it is recommended that you bolster the out-of-the-box security with premium add-ons.
Drupal has been around a lot longer than either WordPress or Joomla and, although it has a pretty diminutive share of the CMS market by comparison, it is the third largest system of its kind in use worldwide.
However, for Drupal, its not the quantity of websites that it powers which gives it and edge, it’s the quality.
Drupal is perhaps more technically advanced that its closest and biggest rivals and powers a lot more of the most popular websites in the world than the other two do.
Pros and Cons of Drupal – WordPress vs Drupal vs Joomla
Drupal offers more extensive features than the other two CMS platforms and is best suited for building huge sites that are required to be fully bespoke and offer more (sometimes unique) functionality.
Most importantly, Drupal is designed to deliver performance and offers superior speed, some powerfully enhanced SEO features and high security. In fact, it is this last feature which puts Drupal head and shoulders above both WordPress and Joomla.
However, the software is not for the faint of heart and does require a lot of technical expertise in order to get started and to be able to maintain the platform.
It’s a pricey but fully customisable and powerful solution which needs some serious attention to your budget to include the cost of a developer and designer to get the system set-up and running. This is not an ‘off-the-peg’ package.
The second largest (and most second most popular) provider of CMS globally, Joomla is another open source platform that is largely maintained by a community of volunteers.
Their share of the market is sizably smaller than WordPress but is still the CMS of choice for an estimated 58 million websites worldwide. The platform has been downloaded 93 million times and is similar in lots of ways to WordPress.
Pros and Cons of Joomla – WordPress vs Drupal vs Joomla
Joomla offers a kind of middle ground between the simplicity and user friendliness of WordPress and the performance of Drupal.
It’s a solid CMS platform that has plenty of big-name users who can attest to its security, flexibility and scope for customisation. Like Drupal, Joomla is also fast and comes with lots of performance-enhancing tools.
The cost of operating a Joomla CMS is similar to WordPress and is not prohibitive or extortionate depending on the size and complexity of what you are designing. Development costs can be a little more expensive simply because there is less choice but given the relative simplicity of working with the software is not generally that much more expensive.
Joomla also has a good reputation for its social networking and eCommerce features. Lastly, it’s not as SEO friendly as the other two platforms and is slightly trickier to master in this regard.
So, Joomla is not quite as straight-out-of-the-box as WordPress and does require some technical expertise to master its features.
WordPress vs Drupal vs Joomla – Key Comparison
When it comes to comparing WordPress vs Drupal vs Joomla it’s easiest to start with what is similar about them.
All three are open source platforms utilising PHP as the main architecture of their technology. They are each community driven platforms and rely heavily on the development of others to produce a more diverse market with extensions, add-ons and plug ins.
Remember, as open-source projects, this is also the pool of expertise from where you get your support from. WordPress, undoubtedly, offers the largest community but both Joomla and Drupal have active groups, forums and well-documented help files.
As for what’s different…let’s summarise with a quick recap:
- WordPress is a great CMS for the beginner. It’s easy and cheap to use plus offers the largest community of developers for customisation and support. SEO is built-in and the platform has good basic security but you can upgrade to premium features for even better solutions. It’s ideal for those on a budget and/or with limited technical knowledge but can offer challenges when it comes to scaling up. It is also not the fastest CMS option available nor has the same built-in performance features as Drupal.
- Joomla is a more scalable but easy-to-use CMS with great social networking and eCommerce tools. Offering great security and powerful performance it may be slightly harder to master and be a bit more limited when it comes to SEO but Joomla is a great middle ground if you want the best of both worlds.
- Drupal is perfect for huge sites and offers powerful features and unlimited customisation. Backed with robust security, enhanced performance and extensive SEO options, it’s an ideal choice if you have the budget and technical know-how to help support this choice.
Opace and CMS Web Design
Here at Opace, we know that choosing and designing a CMS platform is about more than we can squeeze into this small feature. Offering intelligent CMS web design based on platforms like WordPress and Joomla, we think the decision between WordPress vs Drupal vs Joomla should be one you consider with the experts.
To find out more about the key differences between the most popular CMS systems and which one is right for you, contact one of our team today.