Posted on Mar 26, 2014

How to Understand CMS: Drupal vs Joomla vs WordPress

How to Understand CMS: Drupal vs Joomla vs WordPress


Getting your website design online doesn’t need to be a tricky decision. There are three big contenders in the modern CMS (Content Management System) battle. It goes like this: Drupal vs Joomla vs WordPress. So which CMS is best?


The answer to that is that it depends. There are two things that you need to consider when you are deciding:


1.      Your level of technical knowledge and the amount of time you have to devote to learning how to use the system.

2.      The type of website that you are building.


It’s similar to choosing a pleasure boat in the waters. If you want to have some fun over a sunny weekend in a bay or harbor, your best choice would be a jet ski or small speed boat. But if you want to go to the Caribbean, a jet ski would be impractical. Instead you’d choose to pilot a larger cruiser.


The larger cruiser will take longer to learn and you’ll need to develop additional skills. But those skills are not terribly complicated and are within the capabilities of most people.


But if you wanted to sail a yacht across the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean, you’d need to learn a lot of new skills. And you would need to spend a long time gaining experience and quite literally learning the ropes.


These different kinds of boats can all be likened to one of the three CMS’s:


WordPress – The Jet Ski


WordPress is the most widely used of the three platforms. In fact over 40% of the websites on the internet are built with WordPress. Examples include the New York Observer and Forbes.


WordPress is the best option for those with limited technical knowledge and people looking to build small to medium-sized websites.


Advantages of WordPress:


·         Easy to use – it is the most user friendly of the three and requires the least amount of time to get up and running

·         Good SEO – it has good native SEO capabilities plus this can be improved with free plugins

·         Plugin availability – there is an active and diverse developer community so there are plugins for everything, and most of them are free

·         Customizable – with a little bit of CMS and HTML knowledge websites are easily customized

·         Templates – there are loads of templates to choose from

·         Multiple authors – handles multiple article authors easily

·         Flexible – can be a blog, ecommerce store, brochure website or anything else you can think of


Disadvantages of WordPress:


·         Security – it is a victim of its own success as it is often a target for hackers. Extra plugins or services to boost security are usually required.

·         Plugin compatibility – the security issue has knock-on effects in terms of plugin compatibility. When WordPress issues an update (usually to plug a security hole), plugins can stop working like they used to

·         Design limitations – they are minimal limitations but they exist and will affect some people

·         CMS capabilities – it can handle tens of articles per week, but several hundred will become a headache


Joomla – The Small Cruiser


Joomla is a step up from WordPress both in terms of difficulty and power. It is used for sites like IHOP and Harvard University. It is ideal for mid level websites.


Advantages of Joomla:


·         User friendly –  most people will be able to pick up the basics quickly

·         Extensions – there are lots available and many are free

·         Templates – a lot of templates (equivalent to a WordPress theme) are available

·         Powerful – it is good at handling large numbers of articles


Disadvatages of Joomla:


·         Learning curve – it is not as difficult to learn as Drupal but there is a learning curve and it is steeper than WordPress

·         Not good at SEO – installing extensions helps, but it is still not as good as WordPress or Drupal

·         ACL (access control list) is not as good as Drupal – ACL is the ability to give specific users specific permissions on specific pages


Drupal – The Yacht


Drupal is ideal for big websites with lots of pages and lots of users. This means hundreds of thousands of both – or more. It is used on sites like Warner Bros and The White House.


Advantages of Drupal:


·         Flexible – it can handle everything from simple blogs up to huge websites with thousands of pages

·         Great for developers – it is built to be tailored

·         Good for SEO – has abilities even with the basic installation

·         Powerful – it can handle big websites and remains stable even when dealing with high volumes of traffic


Disadvantages of Drupal


·         Steep learning curve – a fair amount of technical knowledge and ability is required plus a great deal of time

·         Module availability – most of the good modules (equivalent of plugins or extensions) cost money

·         Lack of themes – there are not many good themes compared to Joomla and WordPress


The CMS that you choose for your next website build will depend on your level of technical knowledge and what you are building. The choice comes down to the easy to operate jet ski (WordPress), the slightly harder to pilot but more practical cruiser (Joomla), or the ultimate yet complicated sailing yacht (Drupal). Happy sailing!