Most of the websites you see on the Internet are powered by one of these three content management systems (CMS) - WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal. These are the most popular CMSs, and although they are very similar in certain aspects, they differ significantly in others.
If you're about to create a website, you need to choose a CMS that suits your goals. A proper CMS will help you develop and manage the contents of your website without any knowledge of web design or programming. You don't need to be an HTML or CSS guru to build a great website because of the easy-to-use nature of the modern CMS. However, you'll need to dive into some technicalities to make a perfect choice of CMS for your website. In this post, we'll help you out.
Tl;DR: Which CMS Should I Choose?
- Drupal is an ideal CMS for everyone who needs the most powerful and secure system. It is a complex CMS that is best suited for intermediate users. Still, the community around it is vast and supportive, ensuring the user experience with Drupal is nice even for beginners.
- WordPress is easy to set up, so it is considered very accessible for inexperienced users. However, it has a weak core code, and the system is prone to frequent hacker attacks.
- Joomla has a particularly friendly admin interface and suits those who need to manage tons of content. On the other hand, there are not many customizable options for features and functionality, and most of the useful plugins are paid.
Now, let's dive deeper into the details.
Drupal, WordPress, Joomla: What's different?
WordPress is likely the easiest CMS to use. It offers pretty straightforward options for customizing the design and functionality of a site. The dashboard interface is straightforward, so even non-technical users can effortlessly manage content within this system. You still need to understand some basic things to perform more advanced administration work, including proper system setup. A lot of more advanced features aren't available out-of-the-box and can be found only in third-party plugins.
Joomla is considered a bit more demanding when it comes to technical knowledge. While a non-developer can build a good-looking website, its admin panel is not that straightforward, and for better customization, you might need some experience in PHP. For content creation and editing, Joomla offers an easy-to-use WYSIWYG text editor.
Drupal offers more complex website customization and content managing features, but it makes the system a little tricky for newcomers. The installation process of Drupal is relatively simple, but the setup experience for beginners can be a bit complicated. For example, its dashboard offers a lot of control, but its interface might seem a little confusing for casual users. The Drupal content editor is amazingly functional, but yet again, is not very user-friendly. However, in 2020, Drupal launched an initiative to improve Drupal's user experience to enhance content creation and site builder tools for Drupal 8. So Drupal is becoming a more user-friendly tool for beginners to interact with.
When it comes to security, Drupal has the best reputation. Because of its comprehensive security, many governments and global organizations that need truly secure websites choose Drupal.
According to an annual report by a website security service Sucuri, in 2019, WordPress users accounted for 94% of infected websites, Joomla users for 2.5%, and Drupal users for just 1.28%.
This data doesn't mean that WordPress isn't a reliable CMS, though. It is pretty secure if it's set up correctly. The thing is, being incredibly user-friendly, it attracts more non-technical and inexperienced users, who are more likely not to update the system regularly or install vulnerable third-party extensions. Plus, the popularity of WordPress attracts hackers accordingly.
As for Joomla, regarding security, it is similar to WordPress except that it's not that popular, so it might not be the main focus of hackers' attention.
According to an annual report by a website security service Sucuri, in 2019
Variety of Themes and Addons
There are two types of addons that go beyond the out-of-the-box features: they can add new functionality or change the website look.
So let's compare the numbers of official extensions of all three platforms. (There are also a lot of addons from third-party sources).
- Drupal uses modules (functionality) and themes (design). Its official directory lists 47,915 modules and 2,980 themes.
- WordPress uses plugins (functionality) and themes (design). Its official directory lists 59,437 plugins and 8,963 themes.
- Joomla uses extensions (functionality) and templates (design). Its official directory lists 5,949 extensions. There's no template directory on the Joomla official website.
Consequently, it might be easier to find a reliable addon for a site customization if you use Drupal or WordPress.
Community and Support
The Drupal community is one of the largest open-source communities in the world. It has been active since 2001, and now it includes more than 1 million members. The community is proactive and extremely supportive. There are a lot of technically advanced community members who maintain extensive documentation and answer questions on forums. Drupal also offers various tutorials and user guides.
The WordPress community is although large but inconsistent. There are a lot of beginner users in it and far less experienced ones. This means it might not be that easy to get help from fellow users. But official support forums are available, as well as user guides there and documentation. On the Joomla official website, one can find main documentation, user forums, and tutorials for beginners. Its community is quite big, plus there are third party resources and helpful yet pricey paid training.
We've discussed some of the most important differences between the three popular CMSs - Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla. All three have their pros and cons to consider. Here's a summary in one table for you to grasp the main points.
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