Drupal vs. WordPress, both are great content management systems (CMS) but which one is right for you? We get asked this question all the time, so we decided to assist you in your quest of answering that question. In this post, we will break down all the pros and cons of each platform so you can make the best decision for your business or organization.
Let's start with a brief introduction to both platforms.
WordPress is a free, open source content management system (CMS) and the most popular in the world. After its launch as a blogging platform in 2003, it quickly became a popular choice among individuals and organizations when creating a website. WordPress now powers about 33% of all websites on the internet and is known as an easy and user-friendly platform.
WordPress offers a variety of third-party plugins to help you manage your website, create content and increase functionality. An intuitive dashboard provides easy navigation on the back-end of your website allowing users to move about with little trouble.
Originally launched in 2000, Drupal is a free, open source content management system that was launched as a message board by its creator Dries Buytaert. Drupal now powers 2.3% of all websites on the internet and controls 4.6% of the (CMS) market. The Drupal system was constructed with flexibility and customization in mind.
Because of the emphasis on being agile, the streamlined platform was labeled for more experienced users and coders than for beginners. Becoming more user-friendly has been a major emphasis with the release of Drupal 8. This release included many features that help increase functionality for beginners, experienced users, marketers, and developers alike.
There is no doubt that Drupal is more complicated when compared to Wordpress, but that complexity is what provides its advanced functionality. Drupal uses modules to assist in expanding functionality and offers over 39,000 modules to choose from as well as over 2,500 themes. Drupal also better organizes large amounts of data and content more efficiently than WordPress assisting with overall website speed. With that said, customizing Drupal themes generally requires the assistance of a developer to create custom coding to fit an individual's needs.
WordPress also provides increased functionality and flexibility, but they rely heavily on themes and plugins to do so. With over 5,000 themes and more than 53,000 plugins, there are endless possibilities available to WordPress users to increase customization. The strength of WordPress comes in its ease of increasing functionality by simply installing a plugin, this is also the platforms largest weakness. As those plugins may cause a security risk to your website, but we will cover more about platform security later.
There is no advantage given towards one content management system (CMS) over another in search engine optimization (SEO), although there are slight differences between the two platforms.
WordPress offers a variety of plugins that will assist with the different aspects of SEO. One of the most popular is the Yoast SEO Plugin. With the Yoast plugin, you can easily control titles, meta descriptions, sitemaps, target keywords and other aspects of on-page SEO. Speed is also very important to SEO ranking factors and to assist with increasing page load speed you could use a plugin like W3 Total Cache, this plugin is one of the best-known WordPress caching plugins. But with the addition of each new plugin, there is a possibility that there may be a conflict with another plugin causing a malfunction.
Drupal, on the other hand, has a bunch of SEO capabilities built-in. Out of the box, Drupal allows for customizable meta tags, title based URL nodes and has caching as a native feature. Drupal also supports RDF (resource description framework) the foundation for the semantic web. Drupal offers many modules to help increase SEO capabilities as well. A few examples, would be the XML Sitemap Module, Redirect Module, Alternate Hreflang Module, and the Yoast SEO Module that is also available for Drupal.
Both WordPress and Drupal are equally as secure at their core, but security is one of the biggest differences between the two platforms. One of Drupal’s best attributes is its security. Drupal provides enterprise-level security and in-depth security reports. Making it a popular CMS for governments, financial institutions and organizations around the world.
WordPress itself is very secure, but the platform's vulnerabilities are within the third-party plugins. According to a recent survey conducted by Wordfence, plugins accounted for about 56% of all entry points used by hackers. When proper security measures are taken WordPress can be very secure, but because Drupal is less reliant on third-party software it is the more secure platform.
WordPress can be installed in minutes and even a beginner can start to understand how to move around quickly. The intuitive interface provides a user-friendly dashboard, WYSIWYG editor, quick blog creation options, drag-and-drop functionality and thousands of themes and plugins to help non-programmers build out their website with little to no coding needed. There is also a ton of resources available online such as forms, videos, blogs and websites. All dedicated to teaching others how to use the WordPress platform.
Drupal, on the other hand, can be challenging for beginners or even novice developers to get up and running. Drupal isn't hard to use, but it can be hard to learn. The user interface is also easy to navigate once you understand the multiple dropdowns and how they are organized, but this takes some time to get used to. While Drupal platform also has themes and Modules to help increase functionality there can be a lot of custom coding needed to make your website look and operate the way you would like.
Neither Drupal or WordPress are designed for eCommerce out of the box, but both have modules or plugins to help meet the need of websites who have online stores. WordPress has WooCommerce for websites on their platform. WooCommerce is the most popular of the two eCommerce add-ons running more than 30% of all online stores. WooCommerce is easy to use, UX friendly, and boasts a modern clean interface with pre-installed payment gateways.
Drupal has Drupal Commerce, powering more than 60,000 websites with endless versatility and scalability options. Drupal Commerce is easy to use, allows for content and products to live seamlessly and integrates with payment providers from all over the world. It is also modern and clean, provides great user experience, integrates with social networks and provides unlimited design freedoms. Plus as an added benefit of being on the Drupal platform, your organization and your customers’ data is safer with Drupal Commerce.
Website personalization allows you to create customized user experiences for visitors to your website. This is a very powerful tool when properly used in conjunction with fully developed user personas to generate more leads, sales, and memberships. For Drupal, the Acquia Lift platform gives you the ability to segment your audiences using up-to-the-minute data to deliver your visitors their preferred content and experiences at the right time to increase engagement. Acquia’s machine learning and data collection allow your website to drive engagement, conversion and loyalty.
WordPress has a few plugins that boost engagement and help to deliver personalized experiences. One of the most popular is the If>So Dynamic Content plugin. This plugin allows you to add or replace content according to the visitor’s profile and interaction with the site. The plugin also allows for configurations to pages, posts, widgets and is fairly simple to use. Although this plugin offers a lot, it is not as robust or as powerful as the Acquia platform and does not utilize machine learning and data collection capabilities.
Both WordPress and Drupal are open-source platforms and have large online communities dedicated to them. If you run into problems, are looking for advice, or just want to learn more about your chosen CMS, most answers are just a Google search away. Most cities have Drupal meetups where users can go to meet, talk Drupal and learn. They often include presentations by senior users. As well as forums, blogs and websites dedicated to learning the Drupal platform.
WordPress also offers workshops and groups where fellow users can learn more, talk and become part of the WordPress community. WordPress also generally has more information available online via websites, youtube accounts and blogs dedicated to learning more about the WordPress platform than Drupal.
The cost of a website is ultimately based on the specific needs and wants of a business or organization. Simply put, the more custom features and complexity your website requires the more it will cost to build and maintain. This is true with both Drupal and WordPress. The best way to find out what kind of cost you are looking at is to speak with a professional company. Describe what capabilities you are looking for and what kind of future functionality would be needed as your website grows and expands.
I know you were looking for a clear victor, but the question of which is better WordPress or Drupal can only be answered by framing the question itself differently. The real question is, which is a better option for the specific needs of the website, I am building? Only by asking this question will you be able to understand which CMS is actually right for your website.
Here at Unleashed Technologies, we create award-winning, personalized web experiences with both Drupal and WordPress. So, if you find yourself still in need of some help to solve this puzzle, please let us know. We’ll set up a time to learn about your websites needs and provide a professional recommendation based on our experience and expertise.