There are thousands of content management systems in the market, with everyone claiming to be the Best CMS. Drupal vs WordPress are leading content management systems, but WordPress has gained more popularity over the time.
Drupal vs WordPress both are used to manage and publish content and both are based on same technology stack PHP and MySQL.
If you need a website with few pages and limited ability to update content, then you should go for HTML website, but to update content on web pages in future can be very hard as you will need some sort of technical knowledge.
If you go with a CMS, then you will have the ability to update content frequently. A CMS will allow you not only to make changes to your existing web pages but also you will be able to create new pages rapidly.
So what exactly makes them so different? To answer this question, there are a number of things to consider before making any conclusion.
Drupal vs WordPress: A Gentle Introduction
WordPress and Drupal both are great CMS (Content Management System) and ideal for the different type of websites depending on user’s needs.
Both are Free, have a large range of plugins or modules to add extra functionality, have a large number of developers community and both of them are Open Source.
But WordPress and Drupal both differ on the bases of different points. Your individual website needs will play a role in which CMS makes the most sense for you.
Before we dive into more details about both CMS, let’s have a quick intro to both CMS.
WordPress is no doubt the most widely used CMS over the globe. WordPress powering almost 59% of the websites on the Internet and growing rapidly. For people with limited technical knowledge and for small-medium websites – WordPress might be an ideal choice. Here are the few advantages which WordPress offer out of the box.
- Simplicity: WordPress needs the least amount of technical knowledge to get a website up and running. WordPress is simple enough that a person with little knowledge can start a website using WordPress. By following a learning curve any person can become a WordPress developer which will enable to create WordPress Themes and Plugins.
- SEO Friendly: WordPress is SEO friendly and there is a large number of SEO Plugins available to get your website ranked in search engines.
- Plugins Repository: There are over 55 thousands plugins on WordPress Repository, most of them are free. Any newbie user can install WordPress plugins with a single click.
- Flexible: WordPress provides a great foundation for building any type of website with any complexity.
WordPress is used by some of the very powerful and authoritative websites like :
Drupal is an ideal CMS for heavy traffic and a large number of pages based websites. Drupal handle websites with thousands of pages very well and that’s why some developers consider Drupal as a CMF (Content Management Framework) not as CMS (Content Management System).
Drupal powers over 4.0% of the whole internet websites, quite less than WordPress.
Drupal standout from other CMS in the market based on following features.
- Developer-Oriented: Drupal is a CMS for developers from developers. It is tailored for high skilled developers with a solid background in the development field.
- SEO Friendly: Drupal websites rank very well in search engines and provide out of box solution for search engine optimization.
- Powerful: Drupal is designed to handle large or enterprise level websites. Drupal has proven itself for large traffic and scalable websites.
- Flexible: Drupal provides enough features to handle from a single blog to an enterprise level application.
Like WordPress, Drupal also power some of the well-known and biggest websites like :
Drupal vs WordPress: Market Share and Trends
As mentioned above, WordPress dominates the whole internet with over 59% of websites while Drupal has only over 4%. Which tell us the whole story of popularity based on numbers.
Looking at the Google Trends, we can see that both CMS has a rise in popularity and now kind of in a slump. Also, it shows that WordPress has more user searched on Google’s Search Engine than Drupal which reflects the above market share we discussed.
WordPress vs Drupal: Which One to Choose
Let’s dive into more details of both CMS and compare them side by side.
1. User Experience
User Experience plays a vital role in the success of any website, no matter website’s frontend or backend.
From frontend perspective, a website should be user-friendly, not complex and easy to grab information. User Experience can be a deciding factor when it comes to Drupal vs WordPress.
WordPress has been known as an ideal platform for beginners and intuitive user interface. With a little bit of HTML knowledge, you can create amazing posts and pages in WordPress.
WordPress’s text editor makes it easy to write long posts or pages just like any word processor.
WordPress also offers some amazing SEO plugins from developer community which make it a lot easier to write search engine optimized content.
If you have very limited knowledge of website development, there is no point in choosing Drupal.
Drupal’s backend is a lot more complicated than WordPress’s user-friendly interface.
Drupal was developed by the developers for the developer. In the latest release of Drupal 8, a lot of improvements have been made to make it user-friendly, however, a high level of technical knowledge is required to manage backend and any future updates.
2. Flexibility & Customization
WordPress is very flexible in term of making any changes or adding extra functionalities. WordPress has the ability to create user-friendly layouts to customize even every single post or page.
There are thousands of plugins and themes available, both free and premium, which you can use to define your website look and feel by adding extra features like SEO, social media, custom post types, content builders and security.
WordPress provides a powerful API (Application Programming Interface) to extend the WordPress core functionality from databases to metadata.
On the other hand, Drupal offers handful amount of customization capabilities for heavy content websites. There are modules and themes available, but to use them you will need some programming skills.
Drupal’s modules and themes market are not as big as WordPress has. You will need a professional Drupal developer for extending Drupal’s core features.
Drupal is designed for custom web development, that’s why you only find the themes with limited features.
Drupal is complex in term of functionality than WordPress, but it has most powerful functionalities to fulfill your needs. Drupal’s functionalities go deeper than WordPress.
Drupal contains taxonomies, content types, blocks and view, you have to follow a learning curve if you want to excel on these features. If your website needs different page layouts or content types, Drupal has more capabilities than the WordPress.
Drupal also provide better users and permissions management as compared to WordPress.
WordPress also provides powerful functionalities to handle page layouts and content types.
WordPress has an easier interface to use all features, but if you are using Drupal you might ignore the best features of Drupal due to its complexity.
Mobile devices have changed the way people interact with the information and way of creating content. Drupal and WordPress both provide a powerful Mobile Application which allows you to create content on the go.
Performance wise mobile websites work slowly on Drupal as compared to WordPress, especially if your website is media-rich, which will have a negative effect on your SEO.
WordPress and Drupal considered as secure platforms among developers but everyone has its own opinion.
Many of the plugins that make WordPress so powerful can also open up the system to potential threats.
WordPress is secure but the fact is third parties plugins make WordPress more vulnerable.
The biggest selling point for Drupal is security. Drupal provides an enterprise level security that’s why it been used by government level websites.
In contrast to WordPress, Drupal was accounted for only 2% of the hacked websites and keep in mind Drupal’s market share is only over 4%. Being less relying on fewer third-party modules means there is less potential for a security breach.
WordPress release updates regularly which occur every few months, updates are applied automatically if you have turned on the automatic updates or you can update WordPress with a single click.
WordPress provides the backward compatibility for updates which means you don’t need to have the technical knowledge to apply updates. Any non-technical knowledge administrator can integrate the new updates and patches easily.
Drupal’s latest updates don’t have backward compatibility. That means for each update you will need an expert developer to apply latest updates and patches.
Full version updates usually result in a redesign, meaning that the content stored in the database will be migrated, but most of the code must be updated manually.
Drupal can provide anything from a single page website to a full enterprise level application. Drupal was developed to serve large traffic websites thus it can cater thousands of pages of websites without any performance issues.
WordPress was originally developed as a blogging platform. WordPress can handle a large number of pages website but it can arise performance issues which will result in slower experience.
8. Learning Curve
When it comes to which one is easy to build a website, WordPress is a clear winner. WordPress makes it significantly easier to create a website from grounds up to a fully functional website.
You can set up a niche specific website within hours by using a free or premium theme.
WordPress provides an easy to navigate interface which makes it ridiculously easy to create web pages. With the help of live customizer, you can customize a website within minutes.
Drupal is totally opposite to that, you may find some good theme for Drupal but they will have a basic structure and layout.
Drupal support custom built themes specific to your needs, you will end up hiring an expert Drupal developer to finish your website.
Drupal’s admin interface is complicated for any casual user at first glance. For example, Drupal’s editor looks like below which very basic as compared to WordPress’s editor.
Both WordPress and Drupal are free to download and setup on your domain. Still, there is a cost associated with both platforms. If you need a bespoke website tailored to your need you will need to a hire a developer at some point.
Drupal’s developers tend to more expensive as compared to WordPress, because there are fewer Drupal developers in the market and have a steeper learning curve.
A steep learning curve means development can take longer time which will cost you more.
WordPress community is bigger and there are thousands of developers available to hire. WordPress scales less easily than Drupal, meaning investing in a skilled developer or team can create an added price tag.
The large community of developers provide free and paid themes and extensions to solve your website issues without hiring an expert developer.
Who is the Winner?
While the battle between Drupal and WordPress may not have a clear winner, I leave it up to you as you need to consider what your website is about and where you want to take it to in future.
User Experience, Customization, Security, Cost and Learning Curve are all major and relevant factors in choosing the ideal CMS for your next web project.
If you are an agency and want to develop a custom design then you might need to consider Drupal because of its high security, more complexity and with more advanced features.
If you are a beginner and just want to kickstart your website in no time then pick WordPress. You can create a WordPress website in an hour.
WordPress is overall more popular, and it’s not hard to see why: it’s straight-forward, easily customizable, and simple to manage without a developer.
Do you agree or disagree when it comes to WordPress vs Drupal? Let us know in the comments!