Which CMS should you choose for your website: WordPress, Joomla or Drupal?

When you want to build a website, one of the trickiest decisions is: which Content Management System should I choose? WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are the most popular open source systems. All three have been developed using PHP and MySQL and are supported by a large community. And yet, each one has its distinctive features. So, which CMS is best suited to your project?

1. WordPress: perfect for blogs and online news and magazines

Wordpress CMS choiceWordPress is not as powerful and versatile as Drupal or Joomla, but everyone is able to use it. WordPress is particularly suited for multi-author sites.

Ideal for: blogs, simple corporate sites, online magazines and news sites.

 

Advantages

  • Since WordPress was originally developed as a blogging platform, it has many blog features, like quick article posting. Text can be just copied from a Word document, which is impossible to do with Joomla or Drupal.
  • It is extremely easy to install on a Linux hosting package, but you can also use a ready-to-use WordPress hosting package.
  • The CMS is easy to maintain, and you or your hosting provider can install updates very easily.
  • If you have any questions or problems, you can count on the support provided by a large community.
  • WordPress has the largest number of plug-ins for all sorts of features, and countless themes for the lay-out.
  • Many themes have been optimised for mobile use.
  • With special plug-ins, you can also use WordPress for e-commerce purposes.
  • Use e.g. the WP-SuperCache plug-in to improve your website’s performance.
  • WordPress's architecture is extremely SEO-friendly.

Disadvantages

  • Due to their great popularity, plug-ins are frequent targets for hackers.
  • Updates may break some plug-ins.
  • An excessive amount of content makes the site slower when traffic peaks (>100,000 daily visitors).

2. Drupal: the largest number of options, but requires technical knowledge

Drupal CMS choiceDrupal is best for those who want a robust professional CMS or those who need to work with huge amounts of data and who are looking for maximum security and stability. So, this solution is clearly for large websites – for small websites and beginners, Drupal is just too much.

Ideal for: Corporate, magazines, community, intranet websites.

Advantages

  • Drupal is the most powerful of the three CMSs. It uses fewer resources and is the most advanced at a technical level.
  • Pages load faster, and there is a quicker response.
  • You can add extra features via modules that you can combine endlessly. However, an excessive number of modules may make the site slower.
  • Drupal is the most flexible CMS; you can even change Drupal’s root files.
  • It is the most secure of all three systems and is therefore used by different government agencies.
  • It can handle anything from single-page sites to large sites, and is perfectly scalable.
  • Caching will improve the site’s speed and performance even more. For this, you can use Memcached, APC, Varnish, etc.
  • Pressflow is a special Drupal fork, which combines popular extensions, including tools for better performance and scalability.
  • Drupal is perfectly suited for creating users and assigning roles and permissions to them.
  • Drupal is extremely stable, even when traffic peaks.
  • Drupal’s architecture is entirely SEO-friendly.
  • With the Drupal module Panels, you can change a web page’s interface using the drag and drop feature – something that WordPress and Joomla deeply envy!

Disadvantages

  • Drupal requires some basic knowledge of HTML and PHP and a steeper learning curve than WordPress or Joomla.
  • It is a little more difficult to find support. If you want to have something programmed, you will probably have to spend a larger amount of money, as skilled Drupal developers are fairly scarce.

3. Joomla: a fair compromise

Joomla CMS choiceJoomla is suited for developers who want to build a site with structural stability and content, but that comes with an intuitive interface. If you want an ordinary website with standard features, like a blog, a forum, a static or dynamic front-end, you should definitely go for Joomla. Joomla is also ideal for small to medium sized web stores.

Ideal for: corporate websites and magazine websites.

Advantages

  • Joomla is perfectly suited for e-commerce sites.
  • Joomla’s core features can be improved using various extensions: components (mini apps that deeply alter the Joomla installation), plug-ins, templates, modules (to add smaller features like dynamic content, RSS feeds, a search feature...) and languages.
  • Special extensions for e-commerce applications allow you to manage your products and content from one place.
  • Joomla is very social media-friendly.
  • The CMS is not too technical and has (out of the box) a user-friendly admin control panel.
  • You can use JotCache for faster page loading speeds.

Disadvantages

  • The marketplace for modules is limited.
  • There is a learning curve for Joomla too; it is not as steep as with Drupal, but it is steeper than with WordPress.
  • Joomla does not really offer SEO support.

Overview

 WordPressDrupalJoomla
Founded in200320012003
Latest updatev4.5.3 (15/07/2016)v8.1.7 (18/07/2016)v3.6 (12/07/2016)
Average update frequency42 days51 days36 days
Total of all sites (1)24,3%2,1%2,8%
Total of all sites with a CMS (1)58,7%5%6,8%
Popular sitesTechCrunchThe White HouseGuggenheim
CNN Political TickerThe EconomistLinux
Ideal for:Blogs and news sites, e-commerce sitesAdvanced sites with multiple users,  web storesE-commerce sites, social networking sites
Usability level
Installation in 10 minutes

Technical knowledge of PHP and HTML required

Easy to install, knowledge required to develop
Can be changed via:Themes > 3.000 Plug-ins > 39.000Themes > 2.000
Modules > 31.000
Extensions > 7.000
Multiple authorsYESYESYES
Users and rolesNoYESYES
OK for large sites?
OK for small sites?
PriceFreeFreeFree
DemoDemoDemo
Websitewordpress.orgdrupal.orgjoomla.org
DownloadDownloadDownloadDownload
Support ForumForumForumForum

(1) Source: http://w3techs.com/technologies/overview/content_management/all

Do you plan to set up a web store? In a next blog post, we will help you choose a CMS for your web store.