WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal + CMS “comparison chart”

For those of us who want to build powerful websites without having to worry about all the coding, and technical aspects of it, there are three main options.

WordPress, Joomla and Drupal have established themselves as the leaders for online content management systems. There’s no need to look for another CMS as those three are the most popular ones (great features, easy to manage, secure & free to use).

Drupal_Joomla_WordPress

 

To be honest, they are all incredible systems, and can make creating a website quick and easy, no matter how little one knows about computers and technology. Even, better – they are all open-source with means they are all FREE to use.

Choosing which system to use can be difficult, but it is an important choice to make. For most people, once they’ve started with one, they won’t want to change, so let’s take a few minutes to review each of these three content management systems to see which one is right for you.

 

Quick overview:

  • WordPress – Best pick for beginners, works well for small to medium sized websites, blogs and stores.
  • Joomla – Great for e-commerce type of sites, but require at least some level of technical coding.
  • Drupal – The most difficult one, but also the most powerful CMS.

CMS Comparison Chart

Comparison chart of WordPress, Joomla & Drupal

… and now for the more in-depth review

WordPress

WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system. It started out as a platform exclusively for blogging, but has grown and advanced significantly over the years. Today, over 40% of sites using CMS’s are using WordPress. In addition, over 60 millions websites are using WordPress which shows just how popular it is. WordPress offers many advantages to those looking to create a website or a blog, including the following:

  • Easy to Install – Many web hosting companies (also Bluehost) offer automatic installation of WordPress sites, which means you can have a new site up and running in well under five minutes. Even with manual installation, you can create a new site in less than a hour.
  • Customizable – WordPress has significantly more plug-ins, themes and other customizations available for it than any other CMS. This is largely because it is the most popular, so the designers of these items almost always create them for WordPress. You can also create a blog with WordPress.
  • Free – WordPress is free to install and use for anyone who wants it. There are thousands of free plug-ins and themes available to choose from. In addition, there are also paid premium themes and plug-ins, which some people will want to use, but they are not required, especially not for beginners.
  • Community Support – With millions of people using WordPress, there are a lot of people out there to help you through any problems you may have. Several websites are set up by users offering free support to other WordPress website owners. If you have some time, you can check out their support forum where contributors can help you within minutes. Awesome, right?

Of course, WordPress isn’t perfect in every way. Some common complaints about WordPress are that if the site grows to large, it can require significant server resources to keep up. The framework of WordPress is also difficult to change, so those looking to make back-end changes to their websites may have some trouble using WordPress.

These concerns are much more significant for sites that start getting hundreds of thousands of visitors per day, at which point a more robust server may be required to run the page. However, for a beginner, this is probably the most suitable platform to build a site.

 

Drupal

Drupal is the second most popular content management system available today. It is a fully open source program, which many people prefer, especially those who are more technically minded.

The Drupal platform is extremely powerful, and is less resource intensive than that of WordPress. Drupal can be set up for anything from a simple blog to a content portal used by large corporations. Some of the most significant benefits to Drupal include the following:

  • Technically Advanced – Drupal is the most technically advanced of these three content management systems. It doesn’t use nearly as many system resources as WordPress, so people won’t have to worry about upgrading to a more expensive hosting option as quickly.
  • Improved Performance – Drupal pages typically load more quickly, and have faster response times than those made with WordPress or Joomla. Of course, as you add in plug-ins and make other changes, this can quickly change.
  • Customizable – Drupal is easy to customize with many different plug-ins, themes and other configurable options. For those with sufficient programming knowledge, it is possible to edit even the root files of the program, making it the most flexible of the three content management systems.
  • Free – You can download the Drupal software for free, and install it on your own hosting server. There is no option to have a website hosted on Drupal servers, however, so you will need a web hosting available to run the site. You’ll also need your own domain name, which typically costs some money.

Drupal is the most powerful content management system out of the box, but with that power comes some additional difficulties for the website owner.

Having at least basic knowledge of HTML, PHP and other common web programming languages is highly recommended for anyone considering using Drupal. You don’t need to be an expert, but being able to troubleshoot error messages, and identify problems with coding will be a significant benefit.

If your website grows beyond a basic blog or small business page, you’ll likely require some technical support to run it properly. If you don’t have those skills yourself, that may mean you need to hire someone, or outsource the support of your page. Another potential concern is that since Drupal requires some in depth knowledge of the programming and technology behind it, finding support can be more difficult. If you run into a problem, you may have to pay someone to log on and help you fix it.

 

Joomla

Joomla is often thought of as the compromise between WordPress and Drupal. It is a powerful content management system, which can run smoothly on most web servers without any problems. It doesn’t require the same level of technical experience to run as Drupal, but it still offers many of the extra features. Like Drupal and WordPress, Joomla does have a lot of plug-ins and themes available to choose from, so you can customize your site to look and function in any way you desire. Other reasons people choose Joomla include:

  • Social Networking – This is perhaps the biggest benefit of Joomla. Of the three, Joomla makes it the easiest to create social networks. Social networks can be a powerful asset for many sites, and with Joomla, you can have one up and running extremely quickly and easily.
  • Commerce Sites – If you want to set up an online store; that is also very simple with Joomla. While it is certainly possible with Drupal and WordPress, Joomla makes it faster and easier, and has more native support for these types of things.
  • Not too Technical – Joomla has, in many people’s opinion, found that middle ground between the ease of managing a WordPress website, and the power of a Drupal site. Most people will be able to run a great Joomla site without any significant technical support, though there may be some issues which you’ll need to reach out for help on.
  • Help Portal – Joomla offers a great help portal for asking questions and getting technical support. It isn’t going to be as fast or extensive as the community based support pages of WordPress, but it is quicker (and cheaper) than technical support most people get for Drupal.
  • Free – Like Drupal, Joomla is free to use on your own web servers, but there is no option to have it hosted for free like WordPress offers.

Many Joomla users love Joomla because it is powerful, yet easy to use. Joomla has done an excellent job at combining the benefits of WordPress and Drupal, and adding in some great features of its own. It has been growing in popularity over the past several years, and it is likely to continue to do so. Joomla seems to have found a big market of people who are ready for something a little more powerful than WordPress, but easier to manage than Drupal.

 

Making your choice

Fans of each of these three content management systems will argue fiercely that the one they prefer is the best option out there.

The fact is, each situation will require something different, and taking the time to look at all your options is the best way to go. For those looking to set up a small, personal blog, or a website for their small business, WordPress is likely the way to go.

If you’re setting up a site which you believe will grow rapidly from day one, and require extensive features for the users, Drupal may be more in line with what you need. Joomla is great for those somewhere in the middle, or anyone looking to add social networking to their pages.

It isn’t an easy choice to make, but if you take the time to look at your specific needs, and have an honest look at your own technical abilities (or your willingness to pay for technical support), you can make the right choice.

 

Is it possible to migrate from one to another?

If you feel you’re on the wrong content management system for your specific needs, it is possible to migrate from one to another. In most cases, this can be done fairly easily without too much hassle. Of course, whenever making major changes to a website like switching CMS’s, it is important to make sure you have the time and expertise available to help you through any problems you happen to run into.

 

My favourite is WordPress…

I’ll be honest. I like WordPress. My own site (the one you are currently reading) is also built on WordPress. As you can see, it doesn’t look bad at all. I really like the fact that it’s so easy to add new content, it has security updates, there are tons of free plugins and layouts I can choose from and I can easily change and tweak basically anything I want to without needing to know much about CSS, HTML etc…

If you are just starting out, go with WordPress. Once your website is big enough (tons of posts and truckloads of visitors), it’s perhaps time to move onto more robust system, such as Joomla or Drupal, but it’s not essential.

 

What experts say?

I had a chance to exchange few emails with professional web developers from big agencies who have built websites with WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.

I asked them one simple question:

“What is the best CMS (WordPress, Joomla or Drupal) for a beginner?”

“I would have to say that if I was mentoring a beginner I would suggest WordPress. WordPress seems to have a vibrant community.

They have brand recognition with people outside of the technical market. There are a lot of plugins for WordPress. But, unfortunately, creating your own themes from scratch with WordPress will require a reasonable knowledge of PHP. Second would be Joomla. Third would be Drupal. Drupal is just too complex. It is the best of the three. But it has a steep learning curve that most would not be able to handle.”

Marcus Neto from Blue Fish Design Studio

 

“That’s a great question. If you ask me, it would have to be WordPress, hands down, no contest. With most hosting providers providing one-click installs of the database and main WordPress files, all you have to do is log in, pick a theme, and fill out information. Some themes are more advanced, like the ones you will find on Themeforest, but for beginners, WordPress really isn’t that difficult to set up.

If you can fill out a form and click a few buttons, you can set up and run a WordPress site. Writing articles and placing images in each post is intuitive, and if you need more functionality, there are millions of plugins out there that you can install and have up and running in minutes. WordPress is quick, easy and requires no real knowledge of web design or web development. Even the advanced themes can be set up by a novice if they are good at following instructions. WordPress have my vote by a mile!”

James George from Creative Beacon

 

“For beginners, I would definitely lean towards WordPress being the one which will most likely satisfy the needs of the individual. Of course, it always depends on what your endgame is – what purpose the site is meant to serve. Seeing that WordPress provides great SEO out the box and has a bunch of easy-to-use plugins and themes, as well as the fact that WordPress is infinitely easier to update and maintain than its competitors, I feel that WordPress provides the most complete solution for a beginner looking to build a new website.”

Mark Atkinson from Red Giant Design

 

Have you made your choice? If so, you can start building your website right away. I’ve put together following guides:

P.S. If you get stuck while setting up your website, get in touch with me and I’ll get back to you as I’m currently offering free consultation and advice via email.

P.P.S. Want more reading? Go and check this article: How WordPress took the CMS crown from Joomla and Drupal

Comments? Leave the below.

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115 Responses to “WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal + CMS “comparison chart””

  1. Great comparison. I’ve used WordPress and Joomla in the past – both are awesome. Now I’m going to try Drupal as well.

  2. I’m somewhat newbie at web development and I just came across this site on Google while search on how to build a website. It’s pretty cool that there are those content management systems available like WordPress. Glad I don’t need to code everything from scratch 🙂

    • Askin if you want to do anything descent with web development you will have to learn code. Otherwise your sites will be full of compromises and not be able to provide custom functions – one of the strengths of opensource cms. Programming is a learning curve and you need html, css, php at a minimum if you want to go down wordpress/joomla/dupral path. You also need to understand the DOM – BUT you can start just by putting something together using base templates – then over time you will learn becuase you will soon want functionality. Then you find appropriate plugins and modify accordingly. Be carefull on the quality of plugin – its like buying things on ebay. Look at the publishers review popularity etc and you will be fine.

      If you dont want to code and only care about pictures and text you might as well just use wix/squarespace. If you want to do anything that provides real web and add functionality to your site the open source are king. Thats why most companies in the world use open source – incredible diversity, you can host it how you want (super fast if you like) – you are not tied to the limitations of wix/ss and you use open source you actually OWN your website and you can move it wherever you want.

  3. I’ve been using Joomla for 5 years to build small to medium sized websites. I started building sites with WordPress since in December, 2013. I find WordPress a lot easier since content is more page-by-page. I do however miss the benefit of module positions above and below content areas in WordPress. Seems to me you need to know a good deal of PHP to build custom page layouts.

    • You can also place widgets anywhere you want to, it doesn’t have to be in header, footer or sidebar.

  4. I started coding HTML back in the 1990s, got lazy when I discovered Dreamweaver and got even lazier when I discovered PHP nuke, followed by Mambo and then Joomla. I only ever tried Drupal once and decided it was too much to learn yet another one.

    WordPress in those days was hopelessly inadequate, which gave it a bit of a bad reputation as a CMS, but nowadays it’s all I use. As a developer it’s not about the purity of the coding, it’s about the end result – something I can teach to my clients without causing them a headache, and something that I know will get supported by the wider open source community.

    I still code my own HTML, PHP and CSS, but why make extra work for myself when the job is already half done?

    My advice to anyone new is to get off the free templates and go hunting for some of the incredibly flexible paid stuff… that’s where the customisation fun really gets interesting.

    • I really enjoyed using Joomla on specific project. It sounds like you went from Joomla “down/back” to WordPress. Why was that?

      • I love Joomla – it’s a great platform to build sites with. WordPress, however, is much more user-friendly and has a bigger community around them. This means more designers, developers to work with + the client would be more happier with a WP site than with a Joomla site.

  5. WordPress is best pick for beginners, no doubt about it. It’s easy to use and learn. I’ve heard a lot about Joomla -planning to give it a try as well.

    • WordPress is indeed the best for beginners. You can try Joomla too – it has a bit steep learning curve, but if you know how to manage WordPress, Joomla shouldn’t be a problem either…

  6. Very good article! I’m using Drupal and it’s pretty good, but I am thinking that WordPress is much more better for a Beginner.

  7. I have been playing with Joomla over the last 2 years and am quite advanced there but wanted to give WordPress a go.. though not a beginner really anymore. I have been reading a gazillion of these types of articles to compare these three and unlock the advantages to get a good overview. Thanks for explaining, this is probably the first article I have read that added real value, liked the practical advice from design studios too. Thanks. Maybe upon reading this, I’ll stick with Joomla 😉

  8. When I was learning web development, I started with WordPress too. It was very easy to learn it because it has super easy one-click-install, easy to customize, to get technical support, to get themes, etc.

  9. Would like to Thank you for Simple yet Superb evaluation of 3 power CMS (WordPress, Joomla and Drupal).
    One can go to his own requirements and choose wisely.

  10. Those that prefer Joomla… you have obviously never worked on a magazine type site for a big publisher, that has an enormous amount of content. With multiple addons to make half of it work. We are about to do a complete overhaul for a company that has content dating back to 2002. Joomla couldn’t even hang with WordPress today, and that is bad.

    • Well, the funniest things starts when you need to sort/filter/search/calculate tons of data. Return deserialized content that you found by id, when useragent ask for it, isn’t big deal. 🙂 I really don’t like way how wp saves data to database. Magazine websites often have very simple conception, that could be build with raw php in few hours.

  11. The biggest part of the decision is if the entire ecosystem of the CMS fits your needs.
    WordPress has ALL you need in its core. So you can start working on it from day ONE.

    Joomla is somewhat more abstract in its philosophy, making it a bit more hard to follow for the new user. Especially the way it uses menu items to make things work, which is rather counter intuitive. Things should be content oriented and not revolve around some abstract element.

    Drupal seems a bit more straightforward in that it allows you to organize abstract pieces of information in classes, and use them however you like. It lacks however the core elements to allow you to start using it day one (No wysiwyg, no file uploading and so on) and you have to do lots of homework to find what modules you actually need.

    Personally I am using Joomla most of the time. I am using it since before it was called Joomla (Mambo anyone?) and have learned to work with it quite well. One issue is that they switch major versions often, making upgrading a chore for long living sites and modules/plugins/components/templates.
    For WordPress, I have no extensive experience, but I like the SEO and article centric approach. I would not use it for non-article sites though.
    For Drupal, once you find a setup that works for you it is very nice, but you need to spend some time actually designing your needs, which tends to make non-technical people and people on a tight schedule bored.

  12. “Of course, WordPress isn’t perfect in every way. Some common complaints about WordPress are that if the site grows to large, it can require significant server resources to keep up.”

    I run a 2,500 page site on WP with very few problems. I converted it from Joomla due to the battle of upgrading every time a new version appeared. I do not have those problems with WP. Migration from one version to the next is easy.

    I use a plugin to clean the site regularly, the database under WP will grow very large unless it is correctly managed and cleaned. I have no problems with speed providing I properly maintain the site.

    WP for me every time unless it is a small site when i use good old HTML.

    • Thanks for chiming in, David.

      I completely get you. I’ve also couple of sites that have 2000+ pages and they run perfectly well on WordPress. Though, sometimes you may need a bit more robust server for hosting such a big site.

  13. When I went to school I learned HTML/CSS and became educated with Adobe suite. Once I started doing websites on the side for clients, I learned quickly HTML/CSS wasn’t going to cut it alone.

    That being said, I enjoy using WordPress. My first client, I’m redoing her website (it’s all HTML/CSS/JS) in WordPress. Why? Because the accessiblity for my client’s to login to their website and change or edit information as needed.

    What does this mean for me? I’m not receiving emails or phone calls to change minor textual details on their website. While there’s the chance they will learn WordPress well enough to not need me, the overall value comes from giving them the freedom of their website. Which is my end goal — aiding small business owners to make an online presence for themselves and be able to CONTROL that presence.

    As I go, I’ve heard a lot of things about Drupal…and I’m curious. Maybe after I finish this batch of projects I’ll give Drupal a shot. Thank you for the fantastic information!

  14. I found a good comparison in this post. I have been using WordPress since 2009 and I have tried Joomla and Drupal as well. It seems that most of the internet marketers are using WordPress too.

    • Darman, WordPress is indeed one of the most famous website platforms among many professional internet marketers. I think it’s probably a lot more easier to manage than Drupal/Joomla.

      Thanks for your thoughts,
      Robert

  15. This is by far the best information I’ve read about CMS, this helped me so much . Thank You

  16. I usually avoid reading a whole lengthy article but I honestly have started reading all articles available on this site. Good Work , Robert ! Thanks for sharing such pretty knowledge ! 🙂

  17. Very nice article which cleared my mind – I’ll going to start with WordPress 🙂

  18. I’m planning to start a real estate review site which basically helps people decide on which location in the city suits them best to buy / rent a house. I’m currently still trying to decide on which platform to use in building the site. I intend the review pages to look something like Wikipedia pages, and then the property listing pages to look something like regular real estate pages.

    I have a clear picture of exactly how i want the site to look, and am also good with HTML, CSS and javascript/jquery but don’t know anything on PHP. I would like you to please advice me on which platform to use as i currently can’t find a wordpress template that suits my intended look.

    • Hi Tamuno,

      It seems like really solid business plan you have. Have you checked themeforest.net yet? There’s plenty of review type of premium themes that could help you to put up something really solid. Another way is to hire someone from peopleperhour.com

      Third option is to start learning WordPress development – editing themes isn’t very difficult, but requires some research – http://themeshaper.com/modify-wordpress-themes/

  19. Great article, thanks to the author and all people posting their experience here.
    An important fact to consider is the site’s manager. So even if i prefer joomla as a developer, I mostly suggest WordPress just because I know the client will be able to manage his website easier later on.

    • Stratos, great point!

      With WordPress you do have the ability to leave all the management to the client as it’s just so user-friendly.

    • Kip, no problem 🙂

      Let me know if you have any other questions/concerns.

      – Rob

  20. Can’t agree more … WordPress is the best (so far). Even my own blog is running on WordPress.

    Maybe because I played WordPress since I was still at Junior High School..

  21. Glad I found this site – it helps. I have a question. Between WordPress and Joomla, which would be the best choice for me to create an initial site and then easily clone it to other sites to give the same look and feel but different branding, as completely different sites and domains?

    • Hi Steve,

      It’s probably much easier to clone WordPress than Joomla, but both are doable.

      Hope that helps

  22. Great article! I first tried WordPress, but I like Drupal more. Drupal is indeed more difficult to use, but more my cup of tea.

    • Yes, Drupal is much more difficult than WP or Joomla, but… it has endless posibilities. There is no limit with this CMS.

  23. Hi! Great post! Right to the point!

    I am researching providing a CMS to a foundation with members and event ticket sales and donations. It needs to be easy to use for the small staff of the foundation. One thing I haven’t really found in any of the reviews I have read of WP, Joomla and Drupal as how it handled that kind of site. As far as I can tell, WP has no real database functionality, so Joomla and Drupal would be better I think.

    I have been developing sites with HTML/CSS for years and just started working with WP and am making a commitment to that platform for general site development(although I have to admit I am having a hard time with the blog-centric platform)

    What are you thoughts? Joomla or Drupal? I have zero experience with either.

    Cheers!

    • Hi Chip,

      The site you are describing seems a bit complex, thus I’m suggest you to use Drupal for this project.

      Robert

  24. Hello Rob,

    Thanks for the excellent writing. It was polite, professional and full of gentle advice. I am surely going to try Drupal but NO to Joomla for now.

    But Rob, what books would you recommend me to buy for me to gain the knowledge. Have you got a list of recommendable books? Please hit back…..

    Kindly,
    John

    • Hi John,

      What books do you have in mind? Web development, design, WordPress, Drupal or something else :)?

  25. Hi Robert.

    Thanks for the great comparison. Do you have any information about Social Engine and how that compares with the big three? Like what is it that SocialEngine allows you to do but none of the others can and vise versa?

    Kyrosh

    • Hi Kyrosh,

      I haven’t personally tried Social Engine, but I might test it at some point and write a review about it. Is that something you’d be interested in?

  26. Hi Robert,

    Your evaluation of the site really puts me in the right track. I appreciate your time and effort. I am using Joomla before and switched to WordPress for the ease of use. I am a noob on web development and started learning html and css 2 years ago. At this stage of my journey to web development. I havent read anything like your article that puts a non-bias evaluation for the 3 CMS. As of this moment, I am trying to completely redesign a website which I’m carefully planning. With these evaluation. It helps a lot on how I will plan things. I may still go with WordPress for wide community support.
    Thank you!

  27. Hi Robert!

    Great job in comparing the 3. I stumbled upon your post using “WordPress vs Joomla” keyword. I’ve created a new blog to guide beginners and intermediate alike and I’m actually thinking of doing some kind of video animation using the topic but since you’ve got a great comparison here, can I ask a favor? Can I make this post as one of my bright sources in doing the animation? I’m talking about this kind of animation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dw64myUo4MY but will focus on the WordPress vs. Joomla (and probably vs. Drupal). I’d be willing to share it to you once done.

    Thanks!

    • Hi Jojo,

      This is a great idea. Let me know once it’s finished – I might add it to the post 🙂

      Cheers

  28. Hi, I’m a seasoned WordPress user and have used it to build a number of sites over the years. I’ve just taken on a contract working on content for a site which someone (in their wisdom) has chosen to write in Joomla. He’s not a coder and the site looks dreadful, the content management is a nightmare (though I’m sure it’s possible to make this easier for the user, the interface is confusing and nothing like as easy as WP). I’m currently trying to persuade them to migrate the whole thing for WP….. luckily there’s not much content on there atm! So far I hate Joomla and love WP 😉 F

    • If you are a seasoned user of either CMS system when you look at another, it is bound to be difficult and confusing as you have no knowledge or experience of it.

      I could easily say the same thing about WP as I have used Joomla for 8 years and know my way around it but WP is an unknown to me.

  29. My first website is using WordPress, it’s very easy for a beginner. Joomla is more difficult to understand. For some people maybe need to be taught to understand Joomla system. I haven’t tried Drupal, though.

  30. Hi Robert

    I have previous experience with WP with blogging and I’ve also used a template to modify to m needs but what I’m currently looking into is more of a non blog functionality of the site which would just use sub-pages. What bothers me is that I plan to use this page for business if it happens in the future and am not sure weather WP can provide something like that. I don’t mind coding but I’m not exactly too experienced with it. I’m wondering if you have any experience with migrating from one platform to another. What is the process there if it’s needed in the future?

  31. Great Article Robert, appreciate your help. I learned Angular.js, Bootstrap and D3.js. I would like to build website for a start-up. Can I integrate these languages with any of these platforms (WP, Drupal, Joomla). If I cant use any of these platforms, what is your best suggestions to build a food-delivery service business. Thank you!

    • Majji,

      You can add different languages to WordPress – that shouldn’t be an issue.

  32. Hi Robert,

    Great article! I’m still confused which of the 3 platforms to use though. XD

    I am planning to create a website where users can buy and/or sell stuff online. Can I use WordPress or is it better to use either Joomla or Drupal? I will try and play around these platforms over the weekend to help me decide but I’d like to hear your opinion too.

    • Sorry for late response, but go with WordPress. If it’s too complicated, then you can try Shopify as well. Both of them are great.

  33. Stumbled across this when doing a search for WordPress vs. Joomla. I currently have a movie review website which has become a pain to maintain in Joomla, with the updates, security issues, sometimes hard to manage modules, etc. where I usually end up hiring someone to do the updates and fixing hacks.

    Question: Is there anything on the user end that requires them to update the WordPress back-end when a new version is released (like Joomla does)? How is the security of WordPress for malware, hacks, etc.? Also, in a perfect world, if all of my site’s reviews and blog posts were live and happy, it would probably be around 4,000 pages. Is that too much for WordPress?

    Reading comments here make me want to throw in the towel on my Joomla site, which has become a monster.

    • Hi Linda,

      Great questions. I’ve built some sites with WordPress that currently have 5000+ active pages. So managing a “review site” with WordPress shouldn’t be a problem.
      About security – just make sure your themes and plugins are always up-to-date, in that way there shouldn’t be anything to be worried about.
      Updates – WordPress lets you know when new update comes, so ideally you’d just need to press one button “Update WordPress” at the WP dashboard and it’ll take usually 30 seconds to fully update.

      Hope this helps,

  34. Why waste your time with Joomla and Drupal when you can build any kind of website with WordPress – it has thousands of plugins out there. I’ve played with all the platforms, but I always use WP when I want to do create something more serious. However, I suggest everyone to learn HTML and CSS too.

  35. Thanks for a very balanced comparison between the three CMS platforms. I have been searching for a new income stream after the corporation I worked for closed it’s doors in November 2014. I’ve battled to find suitable employment and WP sounds just the ticket to go independent. My background is in graphic design/pre-press field, although I’m not a graphic designer, I worked closely with a team. I have also edited the backend of a couple corporate sites but I was not the author of these sites.

    I would like to know if it is possible to have, on a small WP site, one page that is for “members only” but the rest of the site is public?

    I may take up your offer when I get stuck on my site. (Lastly, although system spell checkers are getting better, they do not correct errors like the incorrect spelling of “too” as in “too many”. If one mistypes “to” instead of “too”, spell checker will not correct this. My apologies for any spelling errors in my response, it was typed on a mobile device.)

    Thanks again for the balanced comparison.

    • Hi Kevin,

      Creating a membership site on WordPress is doable (some content is available, some are strictly for paid members). Just search for “membership WordPress plugin” on Google.

  36. Hello,
    I would like to have a website for a small-town newspaper. It doesn’t have to be complicated–I don’t want to be CNN or The New York Times, but I would like to be able to post daily articles, photos, and videos (such as events, interviews, etc.).

    I’ve read the article and a bunch of the comments and it sounds like I could use WordPress. I’ve tried working with Joomla but I just found the learning curve to be pretty high even though I have been around computers for 30+ years (anyone remember bulletin board service? Amber screens? yeah!). I have never worked with WordPress but I’m willing to try. Is there any way to tell what platform a site is using? Does anyone know of newspapers which are using WordPress or Joomla or Drupal, etc.??

    appreciate any feedback.

    • Hey Gloria,

      I’d use WordPress for small newspaper. It makes editing/adding content pretty easy and there’s not a big learning curve like Joomla.
      You can also add comments section, social sharing buttons etc – everything should be rather easy. There’s also free “magazine” themes for WordPress.

  37. I’m thinking of making a website and I’m a musician/artist. At some point in the near future I’d like to be able to sell my music and my art on the site. Is wordpress a good choice for that? I’d also mention I’m a complete beginner, but would like to make the site myself so I can maintain and update it regularly.
    Thanks

    • Hi Jovis,

      Great question, but a simple answer to you would be WordPress. Especially if you want to maintain/add content by yourself.

      R.

  38. Drupal is more secured than WordPress or Joomla. It is much popular for its security features. Moreover the security updates make a Drupal websites less penetrable by the hackers.

    • This is true, but if you keep your WordPress and Joomla up-to-date, then you shouldn’t have any problems with hackers. WordPress usually updates itself automatically – which is pretty awesome feature.

  39. Great article. Very helpful. I’m a newbie and was headed down the Drupal path however after reading this I think WP is definitely my best bet. In a scenario where a website grows substantially with a lot of organic traffic (i.e. 1M UV per month), can WP handle this kind of traffic? Are there special considerations to take when configuring WP at the start to ensure it can handle this kind of high volume more easily?

    • Hi Dave,

      1 Millions visitors / month is a pretty large number, but I’ve built sites with WordPress that have more than 5M UV per month and it’s nothing “too much” for WordPress. The only thing you’d need to do is opt in for more advanced and expensive hosting (Dedicated or Cloud) – which should be able to handle the high volume of visitors and traffic :).

  40. Great article! Glad I found this site as it’s helped answer many of my questions.

    How do the three CMSs compare in terms of

    1) SEO and ability to tap into organic search traffic
    2) building mobile responsive sites
    3) integration with Google Ads

    Thanks

    • Hi Curtis,

      Great questions, I’ll keep it short, though:
      1) Best for SEO? I’d say WordPress as it has a free plugin named Yoast which does pretty much everything to make your site super seo-friendly. However, the RAW code which is being used on WP makes it a little less search engine friendly, though it’s highly compensated by the free Yoast plugin.

      2) WordPress – without a doubt.

      3) WordPress – You just need to copy your Adsense code and paste it inside the page/post.

  41. I’m a beginning programmer and I’m wanting a site that will allow me to host my own codes and eventually customize the site myself, but I keep running into sites that build the website for you and don’t let you modify much. Would any of these eventually allow me to have an entire site that is self-coded?

    • Hi Amanda,

      I guess you were talking about so called “Website Builders” – which are indeed, VERY basic and limited. If go with WordPress, Drupal or Joomla – you can truly edit, design and build the sites from scratch. You can tweak the code and customize pretty much anything.

  42. Very helpful article. I am considering switching from WordPress to Drupal for a couple of sites. Has anyone any experience of how difficult this would be?

    • Hi Jon,

      I’ve done few migrations from Drupal to WordPress, but from my experience – it’s pretty hard. You’d be better off by hiring someone legitimate to do the migration for you. However, it’s doable 🙂

  43. I’m planning to choose a web development career and I don’t know which stuff to learn & execute. Joomla, WP or Drupal? Which one has more potential clients?

    • WordPress has the biggest market share, thus you’d get more clients by going with the WordPress route.

  44. I spent hundreds of hours coding my first site and finally started getting the hang of it. Then I needed to build a WP site, and even though it went much, much faster, it was still a bit confusing to me simply because it was so different.

    Now I’m building a site (only my third) for a charity organization. It will need a space for donations, mobile flexibility, some kind of integration with social networking, and some way to have it in two languages (yikes).

    Any thoughts on which would be best?

    I dread needing to learn another way to build a site, but if needed, I’ll force myself to learn Joomla or Drupal.

    Thank you for your helpful site!

    • Hi Kelli,

      Seems like a big project 🙂 I’d go with WordPress, though. Probably because it has tons of free themes to choose from. They are mobile responsive, too. Adding a donation button shouldn’t be a problem, either.

  45. Lot’s of useful information here. Thanks very much for a very helpful article.

    I am working at updating a commercial website originally created by a different developer in Joomla. I was wondering if I should think about converting it over to WordPress or Drupal. Based on your article, because of the sales orientation and the fact it’s already in Joomla, I think I’ll stick with Joomla.

  46. This is a really great article and made it clear for me what CMS is right for our organisation. Thanks a lot for taking the time to put this all together. Much appreciated.

  47. Robert, this is a very nice article.
    I’m currently using WordPress to try and create a site for our church, it is a good platform indeed. Before WP I ran Joomla, got it to be somehow complicated, I’m happy with WP, will be trying Drupal soon.

  48. I am surprised at how relevant this article continues to be, from 2014 to 2016. I was a journalism student and learned things like blogger and wordpress. In fact, my experience with myspace helped me understand wordpress. Then I got a job working on Joomla! You’re right — wordpress is far easier for a beginner or someone who only knows a little about web design. Luckily, I bought the Joomla! 3 book, which was helpful. I was also able to use a free month of support. Between that and my remote web developer, I got most of my questions answered. I wouldn’t recommend Joomla for SEO, though, unless your website is up to date and you have the right plugins!

  49. Thats a good article. After reading this i have decided to give it a try and create one for trial purposes. I hope to have fun, increase ability to create websites and succeed when created.

  50. Hi

    I use both Joomla and WordPress.
    I’ve noticed that the administrator menu in WordPress got bigger and bigger. I Can understand why some plugins are located under tools, other under adjust, and other get its own menu in the left sidebar. In joomla you don’t have that kind of caos.

  51. Excellent information in this balanced comparison. I also love your generosity in the comments section in responding to specific inquiries. I’ll now add one of my own. 🙂

    I’m biased towards WordPress for the size of the ecosystem and usability of the backend. However, performance has been an issue on some sites (I’ll consider upgrading the hosting plan) and think this might get worse when increasing traffic and, perhaps especially, adding multi-lingual/localization support. I’d love to stay with WordPress, but do I need to admit that I may have outgrown it (and consider Joomla)?

  52. Thanks for a very helpful comparison between the 3 CMS.
    I have been working with Joomla for over 10 years and I’m definitely biased. But I have worked on a couple of projects with WordPress, mainly to see what all the fuss is about. While working on my most recent project in WP, I came upon this article while searching “why would anyone prefer WordPress over Joomla” .
    This is what I have found much better in Joomla compared to WordPress:
    – Language management is very intuitive, even part of it is built in. There are also overrides that the user (my client) can manage from the admin side. In WordPress I just learned that if a template isn’t language ready, you need to look for all the possible variables in the code and then compile a language file. In Joomla each component has their own language file right in PHP, which is friendlier to modify by the developer or the overrides I mentioned before.
    – The plugins, templates (themes), and modules have always been installed from the admin. In WP you can now install some of those, I guess, so I’d have to fully try that part out to compare it.
    – Multiple templates (themes) for different pages
    – Customizing modules per page is very intuitive. Some people don’t like the menu logic that Joomla is based on, but it ends up being very helpful when you want to customize a site more in depth.
    – WP is more abstract. Even with some visual tools where you can hack a few things, but it’s not as organized as in Joomla. Joomla modules are a very organized way to visualize those chunks of content.

    I’ll keep working a few more projects with WP, but it seems to me like it is built to use as is, because customization is not very friendly or intuitive even for someone who has some PHP and CSS knowledge. Maybe I’m missing something? I’ll let you know what I find out…

    • Hi Maleli,

      Thanks for chiming in. I guess that Joomla has some advantages over WordPress in some parts of it, but for beginners I still think it has a bit too big learning curve. I’ve used WordPress for quite some time and adding new blocks, changing the layout etc is pretty simple by tweaking the CSS & HTML. But then again, when I started out – it wasn’t so easy. I’m not saying that WordPress beats Joomla – that’s not true. But from a starting point of view, I think that WP would be better choice.

  53. Hi Robert,

    Thanks for publishing this post. I’m a wordpress developer for more than 3 years now and I can say it’s user-friendly and flexible. I come to this article because I also want to try and learn coding with Drupal.

  54. Reading your article, WordPress seems to win out, however I have gone for Drupal 8, my website will be a purely personal project, so no timescale, I actually want to learn a lot more of the technical side so I’m hoping Drupal will fit the purpose, I also expect my site eventually to be a bit more complex than the average brochure site, I certainly want the potential flexibility and speed.

    Are there limits to how many pages you can have? I can see my site hitting 4,000 very quickly, I also want 2-3 databases running, one will contain 58,000 entries, this will be a research based site.

    Mark

    • Hi Mark,

      Joomla is pretty flexible, I don’t think you’ll run into troubles when you are having 10-50k pages. Good luck with your site and let me know how it goes.

  55. I think one thing about Joomla that get’s overlooked in these comparisons is the ability to do frontend editing. Yes, I know you can log in to WordPress, you the admin menu is displayed atop the page, but when a user edits the page/post and clicks update, they remain in the admin section of WordPress. Regardless of which CMS a user is on, the backend is terrifying to basic users who just want to make updates/changes. With Joomla’s frontend editor, any user can log in on the frontend and make edits to the page they are currently viewing. Clicking the save button simply directs the user back to the page they just edited. Newer Joomla versions even allow users (with permissions) to edit modules, all without ever having to navigate the Joomla Administrator section, which, in my experience with users, is the most overwhelming aspect of content management.

    Don’t get me wrong, I recommend WordPress to my clients as well, but only if the project is simply enough for it. Anything that begins to require additional functionality/complexity, I generally find myself going to Joomla.

    Another constant concern with me for WordPress is the amount of plugins available and sometimes required to make a site function. If WP updates and plugin does not, there is now a security hole a users website. The more plugins installed, the more potential for security exploits.

    As long as the user manages their CMS and keeps it updated, it’s hard to go wrong with either.

    • Hi Andy,

      Thanks for chiming in. I think you’re right about the vulnerabilities, but if you keep WP plugins/themes up-to-date, you don’t need to worry about it. Also, WordPress has an FrontEnd editor, too – WPBakery Visual Composer.

  56. Very nice article!

    I’ve done fairly extensive PHP coding, and I’m wondering if any/all of these CMSs allow the user to insert his or her own PHP in pages?

    • Yep. You’d need to edit core .php files which can be done via FTP or WP Dashboard editor.

  57. Ray, I don’t agree with you on that. You can find so many great plugins, but if you need to build something custom you can always use for example freelancer.com to hire a developer to help you. My opinion is that you do not have to learn coding to build a great website with WordPress.

  58. My website is currently in Joomla but a very old version (1.5), my website designer says I really should upgrade because this old version is technically vulnerable to hacking. I would like to know if this is true. Also although he does websites in Joomla and WordPress he says Joomla is much better for organic SEO do you agree with this? My website is relatively small but I want to start linking it to my newsletter, write more articles, link to social media etc and generally give it an overhaul so I need to decide whether to stick to Joomla – but just upgrade or whether to change to WordPress, any advice?

    • Hey Claire,

      #1 Yes, it’s wise to keep your CMS updated all the time. Doesn’t matter if it’s built on WordPress, Drupal or Joomla. Everything should be regularly updated. As far as I know, updating Joomla is quite easy – https://docs.joomla.org/J3.x:Updating_from_an_existing_version (Make sure you backup your site before)

      #2 SEO – I could be wrong, but each platform has its own cons and pros. WordPress code might be slightly hectic for great SEO, but they do have those handy SEO plugins that make your life much easier. I’m sure Drupal and Joomla are better ‘code wise’, but at the end it doesn’t matter that much (based on my experience).

      #3 It’s up to you. If you’re not satisfied with your current site, I’d wise you to try WordPress (it’s pretty easy to add social buttons, newsletters, blog posts etc.)

      Let me know if that helps,
      Robert

  59. Thanks.. Actually, I did not know anything about CMS so far and it was a revelation that we can get a website up and running in a few hours time. Thanks for putting out all the options available.. I am going to browse around and then come back to your site again. Thanks for this great help!

  60. Eh, so basically Drupal is the hardest of them all! I was wondering what these platforms really mean’t since I’m only a WordPress user. Thanks for sharing though, it helped a lot.

  61. Alhough I have 6 + years experience with font end development, I have very little experience with back-end development. My mentor always taught me to hardcode what I needed, and to try not to “re-invent the wheel” so to speak.

    Lately I’m starting to become more aware of my lack of skills regarding back end development, which in turn has lead me into researching a CMS system that I can take with me as my skills grow. I’m not the most technically minded but I never turn down from a challenge. More than likely I’ll probably end up going with Drupal but WordPress has got me curious about it’s so called ‘ease of use’.

    That being said, typically the more easier something is to use, the more draw backs you will run into down the line which is why I’m being steered towards Drupal.

    For someone that has no experience with CMS systems, but has a strong will to learn what would be your suggestion? My objective whilst asking this question is to avoid any drawbacks I may run into in the future; for example with, e-commerce stores, blogs, personal portfolios, media plugins, mobile/app development etc.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated, I look foward to your responses.

    • Hi Lewis,

      I think your best bet would be WordPress. It has the biggest market share, it is the most popular and my clients absolutely love it. During my web developer career I’ve built sites with HTML, CSS & PHP. I’ve tried Joomla and Drupal. But nothing has ever come close to the flexibility that WordPress offers…

  62. Hey, Robert. Thanks for sharing such a detailed and informative article.

    WordPress is my choice of CMS. Drupal which is a framework and a CMS both can help you build some serious website and Joomla can help make you create a social networking website that can do wonders for you.

    The choice for selecting WordPress is that it is the easiest to use and community is huge. It is just a users perspective that what CMS to choose from. I will say all three are very good in their own way. Cheers!