WordPress versus Drupal versus Joomla

The selection of the right content management and technology platforms for your website project are of critical importance for many reasons including:

  • The cost of ongoing development
  • Speed and security
  • Technical support
  • Ability to keep up with a changing Internet landscape e.g. rise of social media, cloud computing, new services
  • Your ability to directly manage the site and generate new content

In this article I will try to use some simple logic to reach conclusions about a preferred CMS (Content Management System), rather than getting too hung up over features and technical issues. I believe that technical decisions should be driven by business requirements rather than the other way around.

There are quite a few different CMSs out there, but simple business logic says to go with the main-stream ones that are well supported by active communities, have the largest installed base, and are under active development. This means WordPress, Drupal and Joomla.

What are the main differentiating features of each of the three CMSs?

Until relatively recently WordPress was regarded as primarily a blogging platform, and mainly suited to the development of fairly simple websites. This is no longer the case. The development of sophisticated themes, and a vast array of plugins for SEO, social networking, PHP integration and just about anything else, mean that WordPress is now easily customizable right down to page or post level.

Importantly the latest version is also extremely easy to keep up to date, just click on the ‘Upgrade’ button that appears on the top of the dashboard whenever a new revision becomes available. (Backup first!)

Drupal is regarded as the best CMS for community style, membership sites. It is more complicated than WordPress, but easier to customize than Joomla. Like Joomla and WordPress there are hundreds of plugins and themes.

Joomla has an extensive list of plugins and themes, and a great support community.

Now here’s the point. WordPress has now leapt ahead of Drupal and Joomla in a number of significant areas. These are:

  • Ease of upgrade, one click, this also helps with security
  • Absolute ease of adding plugins and changing themes
  • Rapid AGILE development
  • Huge installed base means significant development momentum
  • Previous difficulties with customization are no longer relevant owing to extensive plugins, sophisticated themes and PHP integration
  • Very easy to add and maintain content

I would choose WordPress unless there are very specific reasons not to, if only for the additional security, huge support base, and ease of content management.

Ask your web developer which CMS they intend to use. It it’s not one of the ‘big three’ ask why. Web designers/developers sometimes go for lesser optioned CMSs to ‘keep it simple’ for their customers. If you are the customer, it is easy enough to learn how to manage content in WordPress, and you may as well have all the power of a mainstream CMS.

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