What are the differences between Drupal, Joomla and WordPress? And which open source content management system (c.m.s.) is best for you and your organization? If you ask us what are the most popular Content Management Systems at the moment, we answer: “Joomla, Drupal and WordPress”. But which of these Open Source content management systems is best?
WordPress vs. Drupal vs. Joomla.
WordPress started as a Blog System. It is therefore focused on basic functionalities: publishing articles quickly and easily. Within a few minutes you have a WordPress site online and you really only have to worry about writing content. WordPress does not have many options from the ground up and this is the power of WordPress. A webmaster who is used to Drupal, looks for options in WordPress that are not there and a webmaster who is used to WordPress, has to get used to the many options and settings in Drupal.
The WordPress backend.
Thanks to the plugins that you can download for WordPress, you can still provide your website with functionalities such as forms or overviews. WP offers developers the opportunity to create and promote free plugins with paid upgrades.
Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress, has a clear vision. In short, it comes down to: less is more. The additions to WordPress in recent years have therefore not been really shocking or innovative. They are mainly aimed at ease of use.
This has the advantage that WordPress works out-of-the-box and that almost everyone can have a nice website set up within a few hours. It is not without reason that more than 75% of the content management systems on the internet are based on WordPress.
WordPress is best used for: Blog websites, simple corporate websites and magazine websites.
WordPress is less suitable for: Websites where visitors must be able to create an account in which different roles must be linked. (Think of a community website / intranet / extranet / customer portal). The core functionality of WordPress is not extensive enough for this. In practice, you are particularly constrained when you want to give specific roles specific rights. Think of a customer portal where customer X is not allowed to view the invoices of customer Y.
WordPress is very easy to use. Because WP does not offer many options from the base, management and maintenance is easy. Setting up a WordPress website is also relatively simple for the developer as long as the editor or owner of the site is not too demanding. Especially the extensive range of plugins, paid or free, offers you the option to expand the website quickly and easily.
Drupal is mainly characterized by the many options that are directly available in the system as standard features. Think of functionality for defining fields for content yourself or setting up roles for users with their own rights. These are seen as the “core” of Drupal.
The Drupal backend.
Drupal can also be expanded via modules and these work in a different way than the plugins with WordPress or Joomla. Within Drupal, the modules form smaller parts that integrate with the c.m.s.. The modules often depend on other modules, which has the disadvantage that you have to install a lot of them. But due to the strong integration and smaller amount of code, the quality is generally better. The combinations also provide endless possibilities. Compare it with a Duplo (Lego for very small children) and technical Lego. On its own, a technical Lego piece cannot do much, but when you combine it, a new function is created. That is why Drupal is sometimes also seen as a framework because it can do more than a “normal” c.m.s. In addition to the versatility, it is also the stability and scalability that makes large organizations choose Drupal. The developments in recent years around Drupal clearly show that the needs of these large organizations are being looked at more.
For example, the new version of Drupal, version 8, has a completely different code structure, in such a way that developers without Drupal knowledge can start more easily. The aim of the makers of Drupal is to appeal to the higher segment in the web industry in particular, a sector in which people often create completely customized websites.
But the strength of Drupal is and remains the versatility of the c.m.s. As a client, you get the feeling that your website is completely customized and exactly fits what you need. While the developer can use ready-made modules that integrate well into the c.m.s.. A role for an external editor who only has access to documents in the ‘financial’ category? Or create an overview in which you show products and with filters gives the visitor the opportunity to select products based on price, weight, category or name only? No problem with Drupal.
Drupal is best used for: corporate websites, magazine websites, customer portals, community and intranet websites.
Drupal is less suitable for: In principle, Drupal can be used for all types of websites. If the person who has to set up the website does not have much experience in developing websites, then Drupal with its many options may be too much of a good thing.
Drupal is in terms of ease of use: Diverse. Drupal is extremely easy for those who enter content. Drupal is much better tailor-made for an editorial team. However, for someone who needs to build in functionality, Drupal has a steep learning curve. Due to the modular construction, the possibilities are endless and it takes time before you have enough experience and skills. Think of the technical Lego comparison. You first start with Duplo, before you are ready for technical Lego. Unfortunately, we see that a lack of knowledge of Drupal ensures that one decides too quickly to add custom code or to reprogram an existing module.
Started as Mambo in 2000 and later renamed Joomla, is the oldest of the three c.m.s. For a long time, the disadvantage of Joomla was that the interface was rather cluttered, but with the arrival of Joomla 3, the interface has been greatly improved and it looks a lot clearer and more professional.
The backend of Joomla.
Although Joomla was not always perceived as ideal, the interface looked very friendly. This has convinced many users to give the system a chance and get to know it better. Joomla has gathered a large community around it and despite the strong decrease in Joomla websites, there are still many Joomla fans.
Joomla is not distinct enough from WordPress and Drupal. And promoting distinction is one of the best marketing techniques. So, that was probably one of the reasons for its decline in market share. People either want a simple c.m.s. (WordPress) that is set up quickly or an extensive c.m.s. (Drupal) without restrictions. Joomla is actually a bit in between. That’s why some consider it neither fish nor fowl. What also doesn’t help is that there is no captain on the ship.
Dries Buytaert reigns at Drupal and Matt Mullenweg rules WordPress. At Joomla however, the model is democratic and the core developers as a group decide what to do. This often leads to a compromise and not always the best solution. An example of this is the update policy. Joomla 1.0.x went to 1.5.x, then 1.7.x to be followed by 2.5.x. Not only is there no logic in the version numbers, but each new version had major consequences for website owners while adding significantly little functionality to Joomla.
Joomla is best used for: Corporate website and magazine websites.
Joomla is less suitable for: Websites where visitors must be able to create an account to which different roles must be linked. (Think of a community website / intranet / extranet / customer portal).
In terms of ease of use, Joomla is: Average. The interface looks friendly but some parts are a bit illogical and require some explanation and getting used to. As a website developer, the learning curve is similar to that of WordPress.
The similarities of WP, Joomla and Drupal.
- Web design – The look and feel of the website is determined by the html / css of the theme or template. The c.m.s. has no influence on this.
- Ease of Use – When it comes to item entry, the systems are not much different. This is because with all three c.m.s. it is possible to use your own WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor. The WYSIWYG editor largely determines the ease of use when it comes to posting or editing an article. Commonly used editors are TinyMCE and CKeditor.
- Speed - All three systems are based on the same techniques where caching makes a big difference in the loading time of the website. Since Drupal, Joomla and WordPress enable all three caching (whether or not via a plugin) there is not much difference in this area.
- Findability – All three systems have from the base or via plugins more than enough possibilities to optimize the website for the search engines. Good URLs, page titles, sitemaps and meta tags can be created by default in Joomla, Drupal and WordPress.
When choosing a c.m.s., consider carefully what functionality is necessary for your website. Do you want a brochure-like website, a simple corporate website or a blog website? Then WordPress or Joomla are fine systems. Do you want a more extensive corporate website, for example with a customer portal or an online magazine with more options, such as forms or downloads? Or should users, editors, members, customers, employees be able to log in and be given certain rights or options? Then Drupal is the better choice.
Do you have questions about WordPress vs. Drupal vs. Joomla? Feel free to ask them below in the comment section. Last but not least, if you need more information then I would like to ask your attention for an excellent article on the same subject, written by Sunita Rai. You can find it here.