There has been a debate for a while now over which content management system (CMS) is better: Joomla vs WordPress vs Drupal – Which One is Better?. Although all three CMS are good, we’ll look into each content management system and give you a better overview of each platform’s pros and cons.
This article will compare WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal to find out which one is the best choice for you.
Note: The WordPress considered here is WordPress.org, and not the WordPress.com hosting service.
You can check the guide on the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com.
Let us look at these CMS a bit before diving into the full scope of our copy.
It initially started as a blogging platform in 2003 and is now a multi-purpose content management system that powers about 41% of all the websites on the Internet (including a lot more than just blogs!).
Joomla was launched in 2005, and is the second most popular content management system behind WordPress, powering around 4% of all the websites on the Internet and holding 5.4% of the content management system market.
Drupal has been around for even longer than WordPress, though it lacks WordPress’ gaudy market share. Originally launched in 2000, Drupal powers 2.3% of all websites and has a 4.6% share of the content management system market.
Common in WordPress, Joomla and Drupal
You already know that all three are CMS and have a lot of things in common in terms of technology, philosophy, and community. Let us look at some features that make them the same
- All three (WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal) are free and open source software licensed under GPL.
- They all support MySQL as their database management system. Although, WordPress mainly supports only MySQL, while Joomla and Drupal support other database management systems.
- They are all written primarily in PHP.
- they all use themes and templates for visual appearance of sites, and plugins, modules, or extensions for extending features.
- As open source software, they are all community-driven projects.
- Both WordPress and Joomla are self-hosted, open-source content management systems that have been around for well over 10 years.
We have seen some of their similarities and now we will look at what makes them different and unique in many aspects.
Differences between Joomla vs WordPress vs Drupal
You probably remember the song by back street boys that says ” What makes you diferent makes you beautiful” and this is applicable here in how we use Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal to build websites. After reading this post, you will be able to make the best choice on which CMS to use for your website development.
1. Ease of Use and Beginner Friendliness (Level of Expertise Needed)
We looked at this from the angle of a beginner and some mid-expert level web designers. You will agree with me that ease of use is the most important factor for the majority of users.
Almost all WordPress hosting sites offer one-click installation that is pretty easy for anyone to do. WordPress also comes with a five-minute install demo. With all these, it becomes very easy to start your blog or website in minutes without the expert knowledge required.
The post-install user experience of WordPress is way better than Joomla or Drupal. The user sees a simple well laid out a user interface with the menus to create posts, pages, or start customizing appearance and themes.
The installation process for Joomla is very similar to that of WordPress. Most shared hosting providers also offer one-click install packages for Joomla but not so for some of the hosting companies in Nigeria.
With so many menus to click on the Joomla dashboard after installation, you will agree with me if you have used it before that it is overwhelming when compared to WP.
Some lovers of Joomla CMS said it is because the Joomla platform is more robust and effective than WordPress but I say it is efizzy (Packaging)
You can easily download and upload the package and run the installation script. In most cases, it is not easy to use for a first-timer or beginner as the post-installation experience is somehow difficult. You may easily find how to add content but certain changes like changing appearance and adding non-content elements are tough to do for a beginner.
Drupal interface is incomprehensible for most casual users (and many developers!), at least at first glance. This isn’t an opinion – Drupal itself has a usability page that says, in reference to the Drupal authoring experience:
In general, people expect a much richer user experience around content creation than Drupal offers, much of the functionality that people consider standard for a CMS is simply missing.
Drupal’s installation is similar to both Joomla and WordPress. Simply
Drupal also offers distributions. These are pre-packaged Drupal bundles with modules and configurations to create specific types of websites.
2. Use of Themes and Addons
Interestingly, the three CMS come with themes and plugins / modules so as to enable the extension of features and appearance of the software.
Themes control the appearance of your website and how it looks to your users. Plugins or Modules are like apps for your CMS.
With WordPress, it is easier for users to change their site’s appearance using themes. WordPress comes with a few default themes pre-installed.
Whenever you wish to change the theme, just go to the Appearance link on the dashboard and install free WordPress themes from the official WordPress.org theme directory.
Apart from free themes, you will find many more premium WordPress themes developed by third-party theme shops like Astra Theme, Elegant Themes, and many more. These premia (paid) themes come with premium support options.
A major satisfaction WordPress users have is the use of plugins. There are more than 58,000 WordPress plugins available for free in the official WordPress plugin directory. You can also buy premium plugins that come with paid support provided by plugin developers. Check out the list of must-have WordPress plugins that enhance your WordPress website.
Remember we said they all come with themes. Joomla also comes with templates and extensions. There are awesome extensions you can use in creating an eCommerce store and managing email.
It is a bit tough to get the right or desired templates and extensions on Joomla compared to WP as they are limited in number.
It does not offer the luxury of a default feature to search and install extensions or templates from the administration area. Though, there is an extension that permits you to add the “install from web” feature for extensions. But for templates, users will still have to manually search the templates and then install them by adding their URL.
This is no different from Joomla as the users will have to exit their site, search for the module and theme they want to add, then locate the project’s zip file URL.
Then they can enter the URL in the Modules or Themes page to install them.
Modules are provided to enable you to do your work on the site but it is limited when compared to WordPress.
3. Support Options
Support is very important in any online business. All three offer ways for you to get help if you’re having issues:
They have a strong community of users. You can find WordPress help on official support forums, docs, handbooks, codex, Slack channels, WPBeginner Engage Facebook group, and almost all sites and forum on has helpful hints about web design and development. They have a support section on their official website.
Joomla has a very helpful community. There is extensive documentation on the Joomla website which is a valuable resource for beginners. For more interactive support, users can join forums, mailing lists, user groups, etc.
There are third-party resources, paid training, and development agencies that can be helpful through their resources to help people.
Finding affordable expert help is a bit difficult for Joomla unlike in WordPress. To Hire a developer or expert for Joomla development, troubleshooting or assistance can cost way more than WordPress.
Drupal has a very proactive community of fans and users. You will find all the community support options for Drupal just like WordPress and Joomla. There is extensive documentation, support forum, mailing lists, user groups, irc chatrooms. All good places to get advice and free help.
Drupal tries to connect users to developers and companies offering professional Drupal services. You may find them in Drupal Marketplace.
Drupal developers are very expensive when compared to WordPress.
Top Choice: WordPress
This I consider very important in any online business. Security is a mandatory factor when choosing a CMS for your website. As long as you have a website, you are vulnerable to security threats.
WordPress as popular as it is is also the most targeted by hackers. However, WordPress is built on very secure code, and it responds to security vulnerabilities very quickly.
WordPress also has an auto-update mechanism that allows WordPress websites to automatically update when there is a new security patch.
You can strengthen the security on WP sites with automated backups, two-factor authentication, and other WordPress security best practices.
Joomla actively responds to any security vulnerability and is very quick to patch it up. However, maintaining a website and installing updates is still up to the user.
There are extensions available to backup your Joomla site. You can also strengthen your Joomla site’s security by following the same best practices as WordPress.
Drupal takes a very serious approach to security. They publish security vulnerabilities on their own site as they are discovered and patched. There is a perception that Drupal is more secure because you don’t hear about Drupal sites being hacked as often, but that could be because it’s not as popular as Joomla or WordPress.
Winner: Tie – All three follow proper security standards.
5. Localization & Multilingual Support
Most beginners would probably be looking for a CMS that can handle multiple languages or has support for different locales and languages.
WordPress does an excellent job of offering a good platform to build a multilingual site. It does not support multiple languages out of the box, but there are some excellent plugins that permit you to easily create a WordPress multilingual site.
Do you know that WordPress is available in more than 57 languages?. New languages can be installed with just a click from the WordPress admin area.
Most popular themes and plugins are also available in multiple languages. Theme and plugin developers are actively seeking help to translate their packages into other languages.
All these efforts make WordPress a great platform to build a non-English or multilingual website.
Joomla comes with features capability to handle a multilingual website without installing any extension. Simply go to language manager, add a content language and start creating multilingual content on your website.
Translations are also available for the admin interface in many languages and can be easily installed from the admin area.
Drupal comes with built-in support to handle non-English or multilingual sites. You will need to enable locale and content translation modules. After that, you can add site and admin interface languages from Drupal’s configuration section.
Best Choice: All three of them support multilingual sites and are available in multiple languages.
We can see from the post that all three CMS are wonderful to use. Although, Drupal and Joomla come with many more built-in features than WordPress.
When considering the ease of use, plugins, and themes with higher global community WordPress beats them. In a bloggers group I belong to, discovered non-developer users find it much easier to build with WordPress than Joomla or Drupal.
With over 55,000 WordPress plugins, you can add just about any feature or build any type of website that you like (without writing code).
Overall Best (Champion): WordPress
How to Do I Get Started With My Favorite CMS
No matter which you choose: WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, you definitely need a domain name and website hosting. We have a post on website hosting that is the best in the world. The beauty about using these top CMS software is that all top web hosting companies support them.
We hope this article helped you compare WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal, to know the best CMS for your site.
Read also: SEO & its importance