WordPress or Joomla? In this piece, we’ll help you get to grips with both platforms. We’ll look at how they’re similar and what makes them so different so that you can make a more informed decision about which CMS is best for your business.
Before we start comparing the two, we know the first step for any business is ensuring you choose the right platform for your business and therefore you might 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.
WordPress is the world’s most popular platform, with 53% of the CMS market share. It’s also renowned for its content marketing capabilities, having been established initially as a blogging platform in 2003. This makes it a natural choice for those looking to focus on content.
Joomla is ranked second by WhatCMS with a 4.7% market share. Established just two years after WordPress in 2005, Joomla’s user base is primarily avid developers with experience in PHP and HTML, making it better suited to those using an inhouse developer or companies specifically wanting to use a Joomla agency.
Both platforms have been used to create beautifully designed brochure websites with extensive capabilities, and both are capable of very similar results. It’s just the how where things start to get a little different.
Both platforms are naturally secure. The addition of plugins and themes (WordPress) or templates and extensions (Joomla) can cause vulnerabilities if they’ve not been built with security in mind. To avoid this, be sure to have a developer check over any third-party applications before installing these on your site. You should also consider specific security plugins and extensions for your respective website to add that extra layer of protection and be sure to keep up with software updates to avoid any unwanted vulnerabilities.
WordPress and Joomla are self-hosted; this means that you or your website agency are responsible for hosting your website. This comes with a sense of responsibility, as you’ll need to manage updates, files and backups – also the hosting provider you choose can impact speed and security. Speak to your website agency to see if they can provide a hosting service, or we can recommend WP Engine for WordPress. We’d also recommend speaking to a Joomla exert about which hosting provider is best for that platform.
Both WordPress and Joomla are free to download and install. You’ll need to connect a domain name and find a hosting provider, which is where additional costs can arise. Apart from this, the only other costs involved are one-off fees for add-ons or themes/templates and potential development (design and build) costs if you outsource your project.
Something to bear in mind if you do choose to outsource your project; Joomla development agencies are harder to come by, which means they’re more expensive. If you’re opting for WordPress, try to steer clear of freelancers unless they have a strong portfolio and client recommendations – low costs usually means low quality too.
WordPress is the platform for DIY-ers, and a large percentage of its user-base are those just starting out. The WordPress interface is relatively intuitive and is fairly self-explanatory for first-timers. WordPress also has a huge global community, so if you are having difficulties, you can usually find the answer with a quick Google search and a helpful forum or how-to guide.
Joomla is a little more developer-focused, which means it has a much steeper learning curve but, again, there is lots of useful documentation available online to help you.
Due to its sheer popularity, WordPress has more plugins and themes than Joomla. However, they do both offer high customisation at a design and development level. With a good team of development experts, you can achieve just about anything if you strip the CMS right back – but we wouldn’t recommend this without a skilled developer.
If you’re looking for multi-lingual, then both platforms can facilitate this. WordPress has a plugin called WPML, which is available with a one-off payment or with an annual subscription. However, with Joomla, this comes out-of-the-box, so no addons or extra fees are required.
As with any piece of software, both platforms require regular updates to their core files and any third-party plugins, extensions or themes. In fact, it’s essential that regular maintenance is carried out for security and performance purposes. With WordPress, this is a pretty straightforward process that shouldn’t cause any interruptions. We recommend keeping your site and any third-party extensions kept regularly updated – if these are left un-maintained it can cause more development issues further down the line which can result in hefty fees.
So, WordPress or Joomla? The truth is that there is no right or wrong answer. You need to consider your digital objectives, what you’re looking to achieve, and how you want to go about it.
We do have some further advice to bear in mind. If you are looking to outsource your website, then we believe WordPress is a more sustainable solution; mainly because more agencies specialise in the platform. Therefore 1) it will be cheaper but 2) if things don’t work out it’ll be easier to get another WordPress partner to pick up the site and continue working on it for you. With Joomla’s popularity declining year on year, we’d be concerned that those using the CMS will risk investing in a stagnant platform with an ever-smaller pool of development support to choose from.
However, to help you make a decision, we’ve popped a few example scenarios for you to consider:
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