If you’re thinking about your next website then the first hurdle is going to be choosing the right CMS. In this blog, we’ll explore the primary differences between WordPress and Drupal. However, you might also find the following useful:
It’s worth noting that this comparison is for WordPress.org, there is another version of WordPress called WordPress.com – to learn more check out our blog: What is WordPress.
At a glance
Established in 2003, WordPress is the most popular CMS, with 53% of the market share. Commonly misconstrued as a blogging platform, WordPress has come on leaps and bounds since its early days and is now the platform of choice for individuals looking to spin up a site quickly or small and medium-sized businesses looking for a robust solution.
Some examples of popular sites built using WordPress include:
Launched just a few years earlier in 2001, Drupal has always been a serious contender in the CMS world with 3.8% market share, placing it third in the rankings for the most popular platform, significantly lower than WordPress but this can come with its benefits, which we’ll get into later.
Some examples of popular sites built using Drupal include:
It’s a common misconception that WordPress is insecure. At its core, WordPress is just as secure as every other CMS. Its open-source nature means that it’s more open to lower quality, vulnerable themes and plugins. As WordPress’ user-base is primarily DIY-ers when these plugins or themes are used, they pose serious security threats resulting in the platform’s bad name. Check out our blog to learn more about WordPress best practice for security.
Due to its reliance on developer knowledge, Drupal has a considerably smaller user base which means there’s less likelihood of installing malicious third-party plugins (security through obscurity). Therefore, it’s often the choice for larger corporations with bigger budgets working with Drupal agencies.
Both WordPress and Drupal are self-hosted, which means that you or your web agency are responsible for hosting your website, storing files, backups and implementing updates. Consider which hosting provider you use as this will impact not only the cost but also security, scalability and speed. Check out our blog where we explore the different website hosting options available.
It’s free to download and install both Drupal and WordPress. Domain names and hosting are where the additional charges come in. Both platforms offer customizability in the form of themes and modules or plugins, which can also impact the cost. However, the biggest differentiator is that, if you hire outside help, Drupal will be more expensive as a result of there being fewer developers trained in the platform.
Ease of use
WordPress is exceptionally intuitive and user-friendly, which is why it’s the perfect platform for beginners. It also has a vast global community which means that new features and plugins are regularly released, and there are lots of helpful forums and how-to-guides on the internet.
It’s a misconception that Drupal is hard to learn. However, while it does have a steeper learning curve, it’s not as complicated as it might seem although you will require at least some basic development skills to customise your website. We wouldn’t recommend taking on a Drupal build internally unless you have an experienced Drupal developer. Otherwise, you might be wasting time and money on something you’ll struggle to finish.
WordPress is all about themes and plugins, of which it has thousands that are both free and priced for you to choose. Their extensive library of choice is updated regularly by developers from all around the world, meaning that it’s easy to find a plugin to fulfil your requirements. Whether you want to improve search engine optimisation (SEO) or to enhance your website’s security – there’s a plugin for everything.
Similar to WordPress, Drupal has lots of extensions (their version of plugins) for customisation, but this is best left to an experienced developer as if you’re a DIY-er you might find this challenging. All in all, you can achieve maximum customisation with Drupal, but you’ll need someone that knows what they’re doing to deliver some of the most basic functionality.
WordPress releases regular updates and bug fixes, all of which can be done relatively quickly without impacting your live website. It’s essential to keep up with both the WordPress core and plugin updates for your website if you want to maintain functionality and security. This entire process is pretty non-invasive and done in the background without the need to make any drastic changes to your website. Although it is worth giving your site the once over following any updates as it might cause a plugin to look or behave differently.
Due to its more enterprise-level nature, Drupal updates are more like versions. As a result, when the latest one is released, you’ll need to migrate your website. This can be a little more intrusive, as the versions often include dramatic updates. More often than not these version migrations revolve around a re-design. It isn’t essential, however, to migrate to the latest version straight away.
Learn more about the importance of website maintenance.
Choosing the right platform for your business
So, WordPress or Drupal? Both CMSs are robust solutions in their own right, so there is no right or wrong answer. Instead, it’s essential to consider your business objectives and what it is you’re trying to achieve. The best CMS will ultimately be the one that fits your budget, technical specifications and, more importantly, is fit for purpose. We’ve put a few simple scenarios and solution examples below for you to review:
- If you’re looking for a website, you can build yourself with no external input: WordPress
- If you’re looking for a website that you can outsource for the build but then maintain and update internally: WordPress
- If you want a website that, if required, can be picked up either internally or by another agency: WordPress
- If you’re looking to get a website to the market quickly: WordPress
- If you’re looking for a robust and sophisticated solution: Drupal
- If you’re building a complex website with multiple languages and you want the flexibility to update various content sources in one place: Drupal
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