Comparing Content Management Systems: WordPress Joomla Drupal

July 6, 2020

We’re finally at the tail-end of 2019! For most businesses, this period is best used to run some standard reports, analyse cash flow, plan content strategy for the coming year, and evaluate the systems in place. Stepping up to invite a more successful 2020 would also include reviewing existing CMS and seeing whether it’s still aligned with the growing goals of the company.

More than understanding the basic features a content management system has or needs to have, understanding CMS has a lot to do with observing different systems and selecting the best fit for your brand. This means holding a proper review or comparison of different systems.

In a previous article, we looked at content management systems that are built specifically for Ecommerce. In this list, we are comparing yet another batch of content management systems that are widely utilised by “normal” websites, namely:

  • WordPress
  • Joomla
  • Drupal

Without any further ado, let’s jump right into it!

Comparing Content Management Systems: Is It Necessary?

More than understanding what a CMS is, there’s another essential question you need to answer; that is, if it’s necessary to do a comparison.

If you want a more unbiased view, then of course, it is!

A comparison of the systems, especially for non-technical people, can be daunting. However, it’s the first vital step to creating a process that allows your team to work more efficiently. One way of doing this is ensuring that the system in place matches not only your company’s goals and needs but the team’s expertise as well.

Content Management Systems: Best CMS for Creating Normal Websites

We use the term “normal” loosely here to differentiate from Ecommerce-focused content management systems. For this list, we look at the three giants in the industry, giants that you’ll surely consider when starting a new website. These are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. These three CMS covers a cumulative 70% of content management system market share and are projected to fuel more websites in the years to come. In general, the three we’ll be tackling today also allow users to create, publish, manage content, and can expand enough to include additional features (native to the CMS program or downloaded outside).

WordPress

WordPress banner logo

Since its release in 2003, this leading content management system solution remains to be a (if not the most) powerful source in the market. WordPress currently powers 34% of all websites on the Internet (both websites with or without CMS) as of writing and racks up an astounding 60.4% of CMS share. What started as a blogging tool has since transformed into a powerful website builder. WordPress walks the talk and is popular among users primarily for its ease of use.

But why WordPress, really? Well for one, WordPress is highly customisable and perfect for anyone without intricate web development knowledge. It’s arguably the easiest CMS to use and caters to anyone who wants to take an active role in developing their websites. It’s as personal as it can get, and the almost 500+ sites developed DAILY through WordPress attests to its popularity and convenience.

WordPress also boasts a rich repository of themes and has a robust plugin selection that is known for its autonomy and versatility. There is a bunch of SEO hacks you can look at to amp your website’s reach and searchability, and WordPress’s Yoast SEO plugin makes certain that every content published in the system is SEO-optimised. Another winning thing about WordPress is that since it’s popular, you’re certain to get huge community support. Finally, it can handle a variety of media types so you could offer richer content that suits every business’s needs.

Joomla

Joomla banner logo

Joomla came two years after WordPress. As of November 2019, it powers 2.7% of all websites (and has a 4.7% content management system market share). It’s a CMS player that is constantly neck-to-neck with WordPress. While WordPress gets its popularity from the fact that it makes website creation and management a breeze for novice users, Joomla is more pronounced for its “developer-centred” approach to content management. Joomla’s targets are users or web developers who have basic to intricate knowledge of PHP and HTML.

Hosting Tribunal published a series of winning statistics for Joomla, which they proudly called a “potent CMS”. Although the numbers aren’t really that impressive for Joomla, many would argue that the winning qualities of Joomla rely heavily on its wins for the open-source community. For example, Joomla has won the CMS Critic People’s Choice Award for “Best Free CMS” for four consecutive years now. It also has over 20 major awards and recognitions under its belt.

Of course, awards aren’t enough to convince users to switch. After all, WordPress has established itself as a convenient, sensible option for many. Which is kinda tough to beat. What Joomla offers, however, is something comprehensive, especially for those with web development know-how.

Advantages of using Joomla include better user management, flexibility in the display of non-standard content, and native (built-in) multilingual support. Not only that, but Joomla is also pegged to be more secure than WordPress. It is able to protect the websites it powers against known vulnerabilities. It has rich extensions (their version of “plugins”) and themes for use of web developers who want to get creative.

Drupal

Drupal banner logo

The oldest of the bunch, Drupal as developed as an open-source project in 2001 by Dries Buytaert. At first glance, you could be forgiven if you think Drupal is “unimpressive”. It has a rather “plain interface” and somehow houses a “lacklustre” functionality. But as Mike Johnson of CMS Critic would soon discover, Drupal houses a wealth of free modules and intelligently designed API that offers custom functionality and first-class security.

An article from Zapier called Drupal as the “best CMS for high-traffic websites”. Like Joomla, Drupal is more web-developer friendly (read: maybe complex for simple, non-technical users). It is primarily created to build enterprise-level digital experiences and can unlock many potentials when built right by the right team.

Tim Brookes of Zapier also mentioned that Drupal takes a barebones approach to web development. This helps anyone avoid cramming in features or extensions that can potentially slow down the website. And more than anything, it’s what separates Drupal from both Joomla and WordPress.

Drupal takes the lead when it comes to plugins & extensions (which they call modules), followed by Joomla then WordPress. The support and community behind Drupal are also impressive and comes in strong with more than 1.3M community members. Drupal has a sophisticated API for developers but still retains a basic website installation and framework administration that require no programming skills.

Table Comparison of the Three Content Management Systems

To give you a more bite-sized comparison, here’s a table comparing the three content management systems:

CMS table comparison

Table 1. Content Management Systems Table Comparison

Strive to achieve consistency with the content management system you settle with! Remember, the best CMS for your brand should meet the scope of your goals as well as your team’s skills.

Comparing content management systems can be cumbersome. Hate technical mumbo jumbo? Let expert web designers and developers take the weight off your back. Grow your website with our team now!

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