Category: CMS
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The question of WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal has been the focus of many online discussions.

In the CMS comparison debate, each camp is usually convinced that their choice is the best.

Content management systems have become very popular.

They have given everyday users the ability to create and manage high-quality websites without being a web developer. Consequently, they have helped start countless new businesses, careers, projects and information outlets.

posting activity

From many options out there, WordPress, Joomla and Drupal have emerged as the most popular. Together they cover about 71 percent of the CMS market. Therefore, when starting a new website, you will most likely choose one of them.

Which one to pick?

All three do the same thing: Enable you to build and manage websites. All of them are also open source and thus free to use.

What criteria should you use to make a choice?

To help you reach a decision, in this CMS comparison we will give you a detailed breakdown of all three content management systems and their strengths and weaknesses. We will compare important markers like:

  • website cost,
  • ease of use,
  • support,
  • ability to customize,
  • performance,
  • security,
  • SEO and more.

While this won’t settle the WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal debate once and for all, it aims to help you make an informed decision about which system to use for your own project or website. Before we get into the actual CMS comparison, let’s first get to know the CMS a little better.

Three of the Best Open Source CMS – Facts & Figures

Before getting into how these CMS differ from one another, let’s take a look at some background information and statistics. That way, you have a better idea of what you are dealing with.

WordPress – The Dominating Force

wordpress logo

WordPress was first released in 2003. Its principle technology is PHP with an SQL database in the background. In recent years, like many other sites on the web, JavaScript has been becoming more important. This is especially obvious from projects like Calypso and the upcoming Gutenberg editor.

Since its inception, WordPress has undeniably had the best run of all available content management systems.

cms comparison wordpress vs joomla vs drupal google trends

On the CMS market, it is the big fish in the pond with a market share of 60 percent and climbing. Additionally, it will soon run a full third of the entire Internet. WordPress recently crossed the 30 percent threshold for usage overall. Based on Internet Live Stats that means about 560 million websites run on WordPress. It also makes WordPress the fastest growing CMS of the last eight years.

wordpress cms of the year 2010 to 2017

The latest version (4.9) alone has been downloaded over 90 million times. Among its users are some of the most well-known websites. From the New York Times over TechCrunch to Forbes – many big names out there choose WordPress to power their online presence.

wordpress notable users

Joomla – The Runner Up

joomla logo

Joomla! (as it is correctly spelled) was established in 2005, as a fork of another CMS called Mambo. The name derives from Jumla, a Swahili word meaning “all together”. This refers to its nature as an open source project maintained by a community of volunteers.

Joomla is the second most popular CMS on the web. Its market share On the CMS market is 6.3 percent, it powers 3.1 percent of all websites on the internet. This translates to roughly 58 million websites. In overall, it has been downloaded more than 93 million times.

Like WordPress, Joomla is based on PHP and an SQL database. Other characteristics are also similar, such as the division into a front-end (the visible part of the website) and back-end (the administration area). You will learn more similarities below.

Drupal – The Choice of Enterprise Websites

drupal logo

The third contender in our CMS comparison has been around longer than the other two systems. Drupal’s first version came out in 2001 and by now it is the third most popular solution for building websites. Its overall market share is 2.2 percent, which means that about 41 million websites run Drupal in the background.

What’s interesting to see is that this system is especially popular among bigger websites. Among the one million most popular sites, it is actually more popular than Joomla. We will talk about the reasons for that further below.

Drupal is also the most technically advanced CMS of the bunch. Like the other candidates, its main technology is PHP and it is also an open source and community-run software project.

WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal – The Big CMS Comparison

Now that we know a little more about the systems we are talking about, let’s compare them. What follows is the big showdown of the content management systems.drupal vs joomla vs wordpress

Cost and Expenses

An important consideration for building a website is how much it will cost. Something that all three content management systems in our CMS comparison have in common is that they are open source and completely free to use. Be aware that creating a website still comes with expenses, even if your CMS is free.

For one – unless you have a server at home, you need to pay for hosting. Depending on which type of hosting you use, prices will differ but hosting is still a fixed expense. You will also need a domain name (learn how to pick one) which comes with additional costs.

This applies to all three CMS and is relatively even for all of them. They still vary in costs down the line.

WordPress

The most likely additional expenses for WordPress are premium plugins, themes and extensions. While the CMS offers a lot of free stuff (as you will learn soon), for some things it’s still necessary and makes sense to spend money. This is especially true if you are running a professional website.

For example, WooCommerce, the most popular e-commerce solution, is itself free. However, extensions such as new payment gateways and other features need to be bought on the official marketplace. Prices range from $29 to $299. This type of business model and pricing is quite typical for the WordPress sphere. There are also a bunch of free extensions.

wordpress premium extensions

Another cost factor can be a professional help that you might need to implement more complex things on your site. Due to the popularity of WordPress, such services are readily available and affordable. Hourly pay on sites like Upwork vary greatly but you will easily find someone within your budget.upwork

In overall, WordPress is a great option to build a website on the cheap scale. Keep in mind that the platform tends to be a little more resource hungry than the other two candidates. For that reason, this might increase your hosting cost as your site grows.

Joomla

The expenses of running a Joomla site are similar to WordPress. The software itself is free but you will likely have to spring for premium templates and/or extensions. Prices on the official directory have about the same range as for WordPress.joomla extensions

Since Joomla is a little more complex than WordPress, the likelihood that you will need professional help is higher. Because of market forces (less supply, higher demand), this might be a little harder but it’s still doable. The price range for development work is about the same compared to WordPress.

Drupal

Drupal was made for fast performance. Consequently, it is less hardware hungry than its competitors which is good news for server costs. You might need some premium themes that also cost about the same as for the other two platforms.

On the other hand, unless you are a developer yourself, building a website with Drupal pretty much guarantees that you will have to pay somebody. It is by far the most complex solution on this list and not suitable for beginners. For that reason, development costs almost certainly need to be part of your budget.

Of course, you can also choose to dig into the system yourself. That way you are trading time for money. Depending on how valuable your time is, this can be a good or a bad investment. Learning Drupal yourself will most likely greatly prolong the launch of your site.

Ease of Use and Beginner Friendliness

User friendliness is one of the main selling points of content management systems in general. They have enabled the less tech-savvy to create websites without having to have to have coding skills. For that reason, usability is an important decision factor, especially for beginners. Thus, it has to be a part of any CMS comparison.

WordPress

Ease of use is one of the biggest strenghts of WordPress and one of the main reason for its success. Setup is quick and easy and is called the 5-minute install for a reason.

Additionally, many hosting companies (e.g. Bluehost) offer one-click install options for WordPress. This makes creating a website no more complicated than submitting an online form.

The WordPress user interface is very simple. It offers less options than your Facebook news feed and you can achieve most things with simple mouse clicks, such as updating your site. The latter is also very important for WordPress security.

wordpress dashboard

Content creation is super easy as well. If you can use a normal word processor, you can create posts and pages with WordPress. The process is intuitive including adding images and other media to your posts. WordPress also lets you embed content from many external services with a simple copy and paste.

For more complex layouts, there are page builders. These enable beginners to create and modify the look of pages with a graphic interface rather than coding. All of this also makes it simple to teach WordPress to clients.an example of a page builder for wordpress

Joomla

In terms of complexity, Joomla is somewhere between WordPress and Drupal. If you are a moderately technical person, you should be able to get into it quite quickly.

Manually installing Joomla is also similar to WordPress. Simply download the software, upload it to your server and run the installation script (check our detailed guide). Many hosting providers also offer one-click installs for Joomla.

Aside from that, the CMS also provides a graphic interface to add and manage articles, media, menus, extensions and change settings.

joomla dashboard

Here, too, page builders are emerging to help beginners implement more complex layouts without having to code. Joomla also comes with one-click updates. In overall, the CMS offers more functionality out of the box than WordPress but is consequently also more complex.

Drupal

The Drupal installation works the same as for the previously mentioned CMS. Additionally, the CMS also offers so-called distributions which are the Drupal version of the pre-installed extensions and modules. They make it easier to start building certain kinds of websites.drupal distributions

Drupal’s admin area offers a lot of customization options from the get-go. This gives you a lot of control over your site. Unfortunately, in the past, it also meant that the Drupal interface was the most complicated. Yet, in recent time there have been efforts to simplify it.

drupal dashboard

Aside from that, Drupal is the most technically advanced solution of our CMS comparison. That also means it requires a working knowledge of PHP, HTML and other programming languages to make any meaningful changes. This includes updating your site, which often requires you to make code adjustments to make existing components compatible with the new version.

Consequently, Drupal comes with the steepest learning curve and requires the most knowledge. As you can imagine, this also makes it hard to hand a site over to the clients.

Support Architecture

One thing paid solutions have going for themselves is that they offer a defined and central point of contact. If something is not working, you know who to talk to. Open source solutions, which by definition have no single owner, don’t have that. For that reason, it’s important that they put other support structures into place.

WordPress

One of the advantages of using WordPress is that you become a part of one of the largest online communities in existence. Consequently, there are abundant opportunities for support.

The official support forums are well frequented by volunteers who are eager to help for free. The CMS also offers lots of documentation in form of the WordPress Codex, developer documentation and handbooks.

wordpress codex

There is also a wide network of blogs published on the topic (such as this one) so you can usually find solutions to your problems posted online. The aforementioned freelance developers and agencies offer paid support when necessary.

Aside from that, you also have the option to go for managed WordPress hosting. When you do, your host takes care of all the technical parts of your website. That way, you are able to fully concentrate on creating content and marketing your site.

The platform itself is also well maintained with regular updates coming out every three to four months. These bring new features, improvements and security measures to keep your site a well-oiled machine.list of wordpress releases

Joomla

As the second-largest open source CMS on the web, Joomla also has a good support structure in place. The first address is the official help portal. You can ask questions and receive technical support there. The community is not as big as for WordPress but you can still get replies quickly and easily.

Aside from that, you can dig into the documentation, sign up to mailing lists and even swing by a dedicated IRC chatroom. Similarly to WordPress, there are third-party resources such as blog posts and paid trainings online. Professional services from developers are also available.joomla documentation

As for technical maintenance, Joomla is updated more frequently than WordPress. In general, there is a new minor version every one to three months. Major releases come out only about once a year.

Drupal

Drupal also comes with a regular update cycle. Users can expect a new version every few months.

drupal update cycle

If you have technical difficulties or questions, you can rely on the community support in the form of documentation, support forums and user groups. The community is active and welcoming even though it’s smaller than Joomla or WordPress groups.

Site Customizability

The ability to customize websites built with a CMS (and the CMS itself) is paramount for users. The systems serve a highly diverse user base and need to be able to accommodate many different cases. Therefore, additionally to a solid core product, they have to offer ways to extend and modify it.

WordPress

Customizability is another advantage of the WordPress platform. There’s almost nothing that you can not change. Even the built-in options allow you to make sweeping design and functionality changes. From the admin panel’s color scheme and site design to custom menus, widgets, background images and header images.

wordpress customizer

Additionally, there are almost 55,000 plugins and several thousand themes only waiting to extend your site. Whichever site purpose or functionality you have in mind, there are likely already specialized themes and/or plugins for it. That’s not even including the numerous premium offers.wordpress plugins

Child themes give you the ability to modify almost anything on your site in a safe way. That way you can completely make it fit your needs.

In short, WordPress can be molded into any type of website you want.

Joomla

Joomla also has a theme and plugin ecosystem in place to add new features to your site. They also have many more different types of extensions:

  • Templates — These are the same as for WordPress themes. Templates handle the look, feel and layout of your website including the back end.joomla templates
  • Components — Modify parts of the page body and have their own menu items in the Joomla back end.
  • Modules — The equivalent to widgets. They add search forms, breadcrumbs and other page components.
  • Plugins — These are event handlers that only execute under certain conditions, such as to block parts of the content.
  • Languages — Pretty self-explanatory, more on that below.

What’s different about Joomla is that there is no central directory for themes. Instead, users need to find their own trusted sources.

For components, modules and plugins, you can use the official directory. At the time of this writing, it contains almost 8,000 Joomla extensions, searchable by type, category, tags, compatibility and more.joomla official directory

Unlike WordPress, not everything on the directory is free. A good chunk is made up of paid extensions. Also, not all components are compatible with all Joomla versions. Yet, the same can be said about WordPress plugins that are no longer maintained.

Drupal

Drupal is all about building custom websites. For that reason, it comes with a lot of built-in customization options. You are also able to edit files directly and customize almost anything you want. Consequently, as a developer, there is very little that you can not customize.

Additionally, like the other CMS, Drupal is also part of a healthy ecosystem. It offers 40,000+ modules and more than 2,600 themes to add functionality and design options to your site.drupal integrations

Due to enforced coding standards, they are also basically guaranteed to work together. That’s something that is not always true for WordPress plugins and Joomla extensions. Their installation is a lot more technical than with the other two CMS.

Site Performance

Page loading times matter both to visitors and search engines. Your site can have an award-winning design and the most valuable content but if it doesn’t load within a few seconds, some people will never wait to see it.

This is especially true on mobile devices, which have overtaken desktop computers in usage numbers. For that and other reasons, performance needs to be a crucial part of any CMS comparison out there.

statcounter mobile desktop usage

WordPress

Performance is often cited as one of the weak spots of WordPress. It’s true that its focus on providing backward compatibility and supporting older versions hold it back a little in this regard. At the same time, it’s partly because of the popularity of the platform.

While WordPress may be the least scalable of the three CMS on this list, it can still power large-scale websites with sub-second page loading times. As with everything, you need to know what you are doing.

mashable notable wordpress user

First of all, there is the aforementioned WordPress managed hosting. If you opt for it, your provider takes care of the heavy lifting of site performance like caching and even site updates. That plus proper site maintenance (meaning not going crazy on the number of plugins) will already produce a quick loading site. Aside from that, there are many more things you can do to speed up WordPress.

The WordPress platform has also shown that it can successfully handle sites with thousands of pages and millions of monthly visitors. The notable users’ section should already tell you lots about its capabilities.

Joomla

Joomla has a good reputation concerning performance. Part of the reason is that it has performance-boosting functionality built in. For example, you can enable caching and Gzip compression from the dashboard. It also comes with plugins to make it even faster.joomla performance plugins

Aside from that, it’s up to you to take the usual measures like minimizing plugins and HTTP requests, optimizing images etc. to make your site load quickly. There is also some Joomla-specific hosting, but it’s not nearly as common as for WordPress.

Drupal

The third option tends to be the system that produces the fastest-loading websites. That’s because Drupal is less resource intensive and demanding on the server. This makes it easier to support thousands of pages and simultaneous visitors. Consequently, Drupal is extremely scalable, which explains its popularity among larger websites.

It also has extensions to add caching and other things to make sites even faster. Keep in mind that just like the other CMS on this list, it can be bogged down if you don’t know what you are doing.

Website Security

Any website owner is aware of the inherent risk of running a website. Those who are not, learn that quickly! Spam and automatic hacking attempts are our daily bread. While a lot of the burden for safety lies with the hosting provider, your chosen CMS also needs to be able to deal with it.

WordPress

In the past, WordPress has gotten a lot of bad press when it comes to security. Some of it is deserved.

However, the perspective is also a bit skewed. Due to its popularity, WordPress also offers a bigger target for hackers. With such a wide user base, there are many more opportunities to try your luck.

Aside from that, by now WordPress has gotten its act together. One example is that all WordPress sites running version 3.7 and up now apply maintenance and security updates automatically. Therefore the WordPress core product has never been safer. Current security problems are most often related to third-party plugins, not the CMS itself.

Aside from that, one of the biggest weak spots for WordPress security is the user. Insecure login information and websites that have not been updated are among the chief reasons sites get hacked. For that reason, it’s your own responsibility to educate yourself (for example on how to move WordPress to HTTPS) and do the best on your part!wordpress login

Joomla

Joomla also places much of the burden for keeping your site safe on the user. While the community reacts to vulnerabilities and creates patches, the application of the security is up to the individual user. It doesn’t happen automatically, yet you can do it from your back-end.

Aside from that, there are also extensions to increase your website’s security. The Joomla documentation also offers a security checklist. It covers everything from hosting over setup and administration to recovering from a hack. To secure your site, this is a good place to start.joomla security checklist

Drupal

Security is one of Drupal’s strong suits and the CMS is very safe out of the box. Should a vulnerability be discovered, you will hear about it on the official website. Patches will follow quickly.

Aside from that, Drupal offers extensions to make your site safer. For example, there is a module that creates security reports inside the back-end. This helps you spot and deal with any site weaknesses.

drupal security review

Drupal has also seen its share of trouble, especially in 2014 when an SQL injection vulnerability led to a number of websites being hacked. Still, it usually lives up to its reputation.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is one of the main concerns for many site owners. Search engines are still one of the most important sources for generating traffic. While Google doesn’t care about which CMS you use as long as it delivers content in a way they can understand, the ease of being able to take care of SEO matters for you as a user.

WordPress

WordPress’ search engine optimization is pretty good out of the box with features like custom URLs and SEO-friendly markup. That’s probably part of the reason why it was endorsed by important people at Google.

WordPress takes care of 80 to 90 percent of (the mechanics of) search engine optimization – Matt Cutts (former head of web spam at Google)

Additionally, plugins like Yoast SEO give you complete control over every aspect of SEO and immensely help with creating optimized content. We use it for every article here on Website Setup.wordpress yoast seo

With mobile SEO becoming more important, WordPress has seen a big push towards responsive design. By now, every theme accepted into the directory needs to adjust to mobile devices by default. There are also plugins to support Google Accelerated Mobile Pages.

wordpress responsive design

In short – in terms of SEO, WordPress has got you covered!

Joomla

Doing SEO in Joomla is slightly messier. It does have solid functionality like URL rewrites (to include keywords in your page and post address), meta descriptions, title tag optimization and even metadata like noindex and nofollow out of the box. It is more complicated to implement than with WordPress. Especially beginners might struggle with it.

Aside from that, there is an extension available to give you extra capabilities. In overall, Joomla is considered less SEO friendly than WordPress.

Drupal

SEO best practices are also very much built into Drupal. For example, there is a built-in caching for fast page loading times (search engines care about that) and meta tags.

The platform also has extensions to further improve your SEO – for example, an SEO checklist or XML sitemap module. Funny enough, there even used to be a Drupal version of Yoast SEO. By now another plugin is available under that address but you can still see it in the URL.

Aside from that, there are plenty of mobile responsive Drupal themes to make sure your site looks good on phones and tablets.

Translation and Localization

Companies and websites are operating in an increasingly international market. For that reason, they need to appeal to visitors from different areas of the world. The ability to localize and translate your content is a crucial feature in any CMS comparison.

WordPress

WordPress has been making a push in the direction of localization in recent years. Thanks to measures like global translation day, the platform is now available in dozens of languages. Each user can also choose the language of their back-end — perfect for multilingual teams.

install wordpress in your language

Aside from that, WordPress has built-in functions to help developers make their themes and plugins translatable. There are also a number of excellent plugins to translate website content, including WordPress Multisite. The latter lets you build a network of websites from one installation, each with its own language if necessary.

Joomla

Localization and translation are something where Joomla shines. It has translation packs available for many languages.

joomla language packs

Additionally, there are language extensions that allow users to translate the admin area in the back-end. Joomla also has default capabilities to handle multilingual content so you can start creating content in another language any time.

Drupal

Drupal has been translated into many languages with different levels of completion.

drupal language packs

Consequently, you are able to run your website in your own language and can also install more languages. Multisite is also available with Drupal.

Aside from that, the ability to translate content is part of Drupal core. There is no need to install extensions to do so.

Team Collaboration

Few websites are one-person projects. Especially in the commercial and news sector, there are often whole teams running each part of a website. Consequently, the CMS has to provide the tools to work together effectively.

WordPress

To ensure effective team collaboration, WordPress offers different user roles and capabilities out of the box. That way, you can give people on your site only the abilities they actually need. If the default roles are not working for you, plugins like User Role Editor allow you to create custom solutions for your site.

user role editor

For collaborative content creation, the WordPress editor offers revisions to track changes. In addition to that, there are a number of plugins to enhance your editorial workflow. Among them are Edit Flow and Editorial Calendar. The aforementioned language options make it a great option for international teams.

Joomla

The Joomla platform also comes with different access levels and permissions. Like WordPress, you can also see your content’s history to track changes over time.

Aside from that, there are plenty of extensions for task management and workflow improvements as well as plugins to control access levels for other users.

Drupal

Drupal also offers collaboration tools. Even though the platform doesn’t have predefined user roles, it allows you to make your own and control permissions for each user individually. While its main focus is not blogging, there is still a revision tool to work on content together with other authors.

Types of Websites You Can Build

As should be apparent by now, all of the systems discussed in this CMS comparison share features and capabilities. This is to be expected as they have the same goal after all: Letting people create and manage websites. Each of them has areas where they shine and types of websites they are especially suited for.

WordPress

Even though WordPress is now a fully-featured content management system capable of powering any kind of website, its roots are in blogging. For that reason, it does this part extremely well.

If you want to build a blog or make blogging central part of your marketing strategy, WordPress is the way to go. It has all the necessary features out of the box from post archives to taxonomies to a commenting system. While the other candidates of this CMS comparison can also be equipped with blogging capabilities, WordPress takes some extra steps.

E-commerce is another strength of WordPress. Not only is WooCommerce the most popular WordPress e-commerce extension, but it also runs almost half of the online shops on the web.

cms comparison woocommerce market shareJoomla

Joomla, on the other hand, is the CMS most capable of creating social networks. It has a lot of built-in functionality for membership sites, forums and other ways to enable user-generated content. There are also extensions to further increase its capabilities in this area.

Joomla also excels in the area of e-commerce with many extensions and templates for the purpose.

Drupal

As mentioned, Drupal is the most scalable CMS of the three. For that reason, it’s the best to build large, custom, enterprise-level websites. It can also power community platforms with multiple users, online stores, social networks and publishing sites.

WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal – Expert Opinions

Do you already know which CMS to choose? In case you are still on the fence, we reached out to some experts in this area to weigh in on the CMS comparison.

Here are their replies:

Travis Totz, Modern Tribe Digital Agency:

We have had experience in all three CMS platforms and used to work on all of them throughout our long history. Honestly, over time we simply found that when it came to Drupal and Joomla projects, within roughly six to nine months after completing big builds our clients would come back for more training whenever an editor/stakeholder moved on. However, when it came to big WordPress projects, users just seemed to figure it out. This is a huge advantage for beginners. The usability and enormous community adoption was also great for us as an agency, as well as users just starting out.

WordPress has been our favorite CMS for many years because of those aspects as well as many others. We’ve built many enterprise-level solutions within WordPress and it’s hands-down been the best platform to build on top of for our team. Tribe has been able to integrate some really amazing technologies within WordPress and it’s flexibility shows — not to mention all of the opportunities that the WP REST API now allows us to take advantage of.

Jenni McKinnon, WP Pros(e):

I’ve been a web developer for over 18 years and I remember the blogging craze well when it first started. I tried out Drupal, WordPress and later, Joomla. I decided early on that I would focus on WordPress.

Still, I have evaluated all three platforms at least a few times as updates rolled out for each of them over time. After each review, I decided to stick with WordPress and there are several professional reasons for it.

Since WordPress is backed by a strong open source community, there are vastly more options and plugins available. Of course, there’s a learning curve to use the platform. But, it has proved to be well worth it considering that in the long run, it’s a lot more efficient and nearly effortless to develop with WordPress while also achieving professional and incredible results.

CMS Comparison – Which is the Right One for You?

WordPress vs Joomla! vs Drupal

Open source content management systems have been a force of change on the web. They have enabled scores of people to build and maintain their own web presence. Over time, WordPress, Joomla and Drupal have emerged as the most popular.

As PHP-based open source projects, these three systems have a lot in common of how they approach building websites. At the same time, there are a lot of differences, making them ideal for different target groups. For that reason, this CMS comparison is less about what is the best CMS generally but more about which one is the best for you and your purposes.

To help you make that decision, let’s quickly summarize the above:

  • WordPress — Beginner friendly and allows you to get started quickly. Even without any coding experience, you can still build a highly functional website suitable for large amounts of traffic. The WordPress platform is customizable, secure, SEO and mobile friendly, easy to localize and collaborate on as well as easy to pass on to clients. It also has by far the largest community and ecosystem but can be a challenge to scale.
  • Joomla — If you are looking for a middle ground between out-of-the-box power and user friendliness or a good option for social networking and e-commerce, Joomla might be the one for you. It has a steeper learning curve, a smaller ecosystem and is less SEO friendly. It’s still a very solid option used by big brands.
  • Drupal — Finally, if you are aiming to build huge sites with extensive features and unlimited customizations, Drupal may be the way to go. It offers a lot out of the box and is built for performance. At the same time, it is absolutely not suitable for beginners. For that reason, you either need the budget to hire a developer or the time to learn the ropes, including coding.

While we here at Website Setup like WordPress (since our site is based on it), the choice is up to you. You need to take a look at the features and capabilities of each CMS and then decide which is most suitable for your particular project, site or needs.

If we can help with that somehow, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Leave any questions in the comments section below. We’d be happy to help!

Where do you stand on the WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal debate? Anything to add to our CMS comparison? Questions, comments? Please let us know in the comments section below.


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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

    • Like Paul, I have coded for many years and the only experience I had with WordPress was basic blogging many years ago. Seeing the new features I think I’m going to try WordPress again and build an ecommerce sight with it this time. And thanks, Robert for the great CMS comparisons and advice. If I need something more, I can always transition over to Joomla later.

    • Thanks Paul. Your story matches mine to a T. I’m considering putting a very large informational website, that has been growing for more then 20 years into CMS. I took the same path as you and have used WordPress for years now. I am a little concerned about the size and amount of visitors, and if WordPress can handle it the traffic. I think, after reading this comparison and your comments that I will stick with WordPress and maybe look into buying a template, I’ve always used free templates, and maybe trying out a well suited paid one is what’s really going to make the difference here. Thank you Tammy

  4. 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…

  5. 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 😉

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

    • I agree with you Dimitris, the one thing that has irritated me for the longest time with Joomla is how it is menu-centric, and as such has lead developers to create ‘hidden menus’ to assign extensions to pages. Many extensions have addressed this problem over time, but is a shame that the core has always remained centered around the menu structure. If it wasn’t for this flaw, I would vote Joomla ahead of all other platforms 100% of the time. It’s not difficult to work around this issue, but is something that should not have to be ‘mended’ when setting up a site.

      Perhaps Joomla 4 will address this.

    • This is a great succinct comparison. The fact that Drupal “allows you to organize abstract pieces of information in classes, and use them however you like” is a key property of Drupal that many comparisons don’t mention. In Drupal’s terminology, this is accomplished through Content Types with Fields (classes), and Views (queries).

  10. “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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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

  13. 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 ! 🙂

  14. 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/

  15. 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.

  16. 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..

  17. 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?

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

  18. 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!

  19. 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

  20. 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?

  21. 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!

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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?

  26. 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!

  27. 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.

  28. 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,

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. Wayne E. Stiefvater

    I am building a genealogy website and have found a good program to display all of the typical genealogy templates, and it will be linked from my website. But the website will also contain a large number of databases of the information and photographs I have collected, that will all be searchable.

    Your excellent comparison didn’t mention which CMS would be best for a website containing a large number of databases, but I believe one of the commenters said that WordPress didn’t handle databases well.

    One other thing, can multiple templates be used in one website, e.g. one for the home page and others for different linked pages, each with tweaks in the CSS?

    Many thanks!

    Wayne

    • Hi Wayne,

      Sorry for late reply – somehow missed it. Anyways, better late than never :).
      May I ask how many databases of information does it include? I think WordPress IS powerful enough to manage it, but you could also look for Drupal & Joomla.

      And yes, you can use multiple templates on one website, for different pages. I’ve been doing the same thing and I haven’t encountered any problems so far.

      Cheers,
      Robert

  34. Hi Robert,
    I am the designer/webmaster of our corporate website which now needs to be redesigned to be responsive. The current site was done in Dreamweaver using CSS and is approx 140 pages. The home page is unique while the rest of the pages follow one of a few different layouts. The majority of the pages consist of large amounts of text, small photos with links to hi-res images, and links to PDFs. There are a couple of pages that have nothing but links (one in particular has hundreds of links to all the other pages, the documentation, and hi-res images). Some pages have tables for comparing the features of a product line.

    After reading a little about Drupal vs WordPress, I am under the assumption that a site of 140 pages probably is too large for WordPress (everything I’ve read said larger sites tend to slow down quite a bit in WP). However, I really am not excited about the learning curve required for Drupal. I can stumble my way through troubleshooting any problems I have with CSS, but that’s about the limit of my coding capabilities.

    We’ve thought about outsourcing the initial redesign but due to the number of edits we do to the site, it would have to be maintained by us (me). So again, it can’t be created with something only a developer can use.

    Any thoughts on which would be a better choice?

    Many thanks!

    • 140 pages for WordPress? That’s not much. I know sites that are built on WordPress and have 3000+ pages…
      If I were you, I’d go with WordPress – especially when you say that you need something that can’t be created with something only a developer can use…

  35. 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.

  36. 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 :).

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

    • 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 🙂

  39. 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?

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. It took me a few months before I made a decision of my own. I am a developer, I do understand codes well, so I could see what is “beneath the hood” of these CMSs. WordPress used procedural language too much and that was the main reason I was leaving it aside. Joomla and Drupal are much more OOP, so they seemed to me as much bettter options. However, the things have changed (among else, I started to look at procedural PHP more positively) and now I opt for WordPress. The main reason was availability of sources for development – in terms of books, articles, video-tutorials, etc. The book I’m using as WordPress development source is 450+ pages thick. A number of top tutorial sites offer a vast amount of videos that teach you virtually everything you need to know. Drupal is doing fine here as well (but not that fine as WordPress), while Joomla is, unfortunately, left way behind (and now I’m migrating one of my sites from Joomla to WordPress). All these CMS’s are based upon PHP – so the question of security, actually, equally addresses all of them. At last, yes, users like much more the CMS that offers them an intuitive way of dealing with things. However, as a developer, I like when I am offered to maintain the site’s content as well – if they pay for that. 🙂

  44. 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.

  45. 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!

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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)?

  49. Thanks Robert for the great information and advice. I’m a musician and somewhat of a savvy computer guy that has been shying away from building my own website because of the potential learning. However, your article/site has motivated me to at least begin here WP. As I go….I can grow, but this appears to be a great start for beginners such as myself. Thanks!

  50. Hi Robert,

    Thank you for sharing this content – I am on the brink of starting to setup a website for an e-commerce store but was going back and forth between WordPress and Joomla.

    The main reason for this indecisiveness was that at this point, when we are just starting up the store, we just don’t know what pace it will grow at and whether we will need to make a switch from an easy-to-use CMS to a more robust / e-commerce friendly CMS.

    After reading your article, I am swaying a little more towards wordpress. Once again, thanks for sharing.

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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?

    • This is where Joomla shines; Look into Joomla overrides, they can be applied to components, modules and templates without touching a single Joomla core file. This in itself, is the reason we build 95% of our client websites in Joomla.

  56. 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.

  57. I have been using WordPress since 2012 and have always been curious to use either joomla or drupal, reading further onto the post, I realized how much I’ve learned using the templates and customizing everything around. I’m no expert but I can sure get my way around some coding if I really had to. Still it’s difficult to switch ?

    Thanks for the read.

  58. I just wanted to simply thank you for such a comprehensive and enriching, yet simple to understand for a beginner such as myself.

    From all the comments and readings I went through, I see that WordPress can be the right choice, however since i am going into eCommerce and social networking, i would also take your word for it and go towards Joomla as many more also recommended, but to be honest i was very stressed and indecisive , untill i was luck enough to read what you had to say.

    Thank you tons 🙂

  59. Robert, thank you for this informative article. We are in the process of a new start-up service business and have been getting quotes on someone building us a site. This article helps provide us with the understanding of why there may have been such a disparity in cost. That being said, I have not only heard MANY stories but have also experienced issues with website developers. Will you recommend the best way to find a reputable company to build a customer brochure website? Thanks you!

    • Hi Dana,

      ‘Brochure Website’ seems like a fairly easy thing to do. If you want to hire someone, I think you can find legitimate freelancers from codeable.io & peopleperhour.com. Give it a go and let me know how it goes 🙂

  60. 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

  61. 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!

  62. 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.

  63. 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…

  64. 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!

  65. Thank you for the concise, well-informed and -written article. Even though I found what I came for (WP seems best for me), I’ll now read your other articles!

  66. Thank you Robert for the information, it is really helpful and so are all the comments from the posters. I was asked to come up with a tool to help our internal tech support team to manage their communications to the users of our software and to host our knowledge base and documents. Being a .NET development shop I first tried Umbraco, but steep learning curve. Then a developer suggested MediaWiki and you have to be a sys admin just to get it to work. Since I’m a Rackspace customer I found they already had rapidly deployable instances for WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. So I did some research on your site and others and did some personal reflection and admitted I am a beginner and so have chosen WordPress. For others out there, just because a tool is the “best” doesn’t mean you should select it if you don’t have the skills to use it. Start with baby steps.

  67. Hi, I want to incorporate advertising spaces (banner, sides etc – images, not text or Adsense etc) into my blog/site, from what I can gather WordPress doesn’t allow this in its free version, is that correct? Does Joomla make this possible? Thanks for your help ?

    • You’re probably right. But why don’t you set up a self-hosted WordPress blog/site?
      Here’s my guide: https://websitesetup.org

      Doesn’t matter if it’s Joomla, Drupal or WordPress. If it’s self-hosted you can add affiliate links, ads etc.

      Hope this helps.

  68. Thanks for putting in the time to research and write about this (and being objective). This was exactly the information I needed.

  69. I have worked with all three and my final choice is Joomla:
    – It has the best template system in this group and setting frontend for high performance is easiest here
    – It has large enough community with plenty of trully free plugins
    – best built in features that come with vanilla installation

    WordPress takes second place just beacuse of it popularity and huge community. It would be my best choice if plugins for this cms aren’t that damn expensive. You have to pay for everything here. Big minus for this CMS is that it doesn’t have built in multilingual features and that you have to pay, again, for plugin that enables it. WP is also slowest CMS in this group.

    Drupal. I have worked once with it and in the end I didn’t like it. Maybe because I am frontend developer / web designer and I got spoiled by Joomla’s features. This CMS is clearly made for backend developers. It is fastest in this group and it was made to work great with Git.

    Final words:
    If you are beginner – choose WordPress
    If you are web designer / frontend developer – choose Joomla
    If you are backend developer – choose Drupal

    All best,
    Vladimir Jovanovic
    @vlasterx

    • Vladimir, your sentence “it doesn’t have built in multilingual features” about WordPress answers the main question that I still had about that CMS. If that’s not built-in, then definitely it’s a major drawback which should have been mentioned in the review. Unlike for the main product, I can imagine that the quality of plug-ins (intrinsic, longer-term evolution, support…) is difficult to assess/predict. As a beginner who needs creating a multilingual site, would it then make sense to use WordPress and pay for some plugin (which one?) right away or is it worth the effort to go for the slightly less-easy-to-learn Joomla instead?

  70. Robert,

    Great comparison! I’m new at this, and I really didn’t know anything about Joomla or Drupal except that they were WordPress competitors. I found your post while doing research for a prospective client whose current site is on Joomla. I’m planning on recreating the site on WordPress with what I hope they will agree are updates and improvements. If they were to agree to my redesign, what are the options for migrating the content from Joomla to WordPress? They don’t have a huge amount of content, but it would still be nice to migrate as much as possible.

    Thanks for your support!

    Mark

  71. Thank you for your article.
    What would be best choice to build Memorial Website?
    (e.g. forevermissed.com or memorialwebsites.legacy.com)

  72. I’ve been developing using WordPress for only 4 months, and I must say I am impressed. At the moment I am also adding Drupal to the list, but it seems that Drupal is quite far from WordPress in its simplicity.
    Also, because i CAN code myself, I see no reason at the moment why anyone in a similar position to mine would ever want to switch to a different CMS. Maybe in the future I will think differently.
    Thanks for the info!

  73. Hi Robert –

    Thanks for your comparison, I have been administrating a small Joomla site for one of my clients. Joomla was my first CMS and I am starting to get into WordPress. Coming from Joomla, I find WordPress lacking in customization features, but that could be due to my inexperience with WordPress. I think your analysis of WordPress and Joomla is spot-on (I have no experience with Drupal).

    An FYI, you mention in your article that Drupal and Joomla are both second behind WordPress, just wanted to bring that to your attention.

    Happy writing! Look forward to reading more of your articles!

  74. Thanks a lot for putting this site together. It is by far the best information I have found comparing WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. I am an intermediate in web development with knowledge of HTML, CSS and some php. I am interested in building a dating site that can hopefully attract a large number of users in the long run. I have been thinking about the direction to go regarding creating the site. I don’t know if I should built it from scratch which requires a long and steep learning curve or if I should use a CMS. I have a few questions with regards to that if you don’t mind:

    1. Is there any benefits to building such a site from the ground up versus using one of the CMS?
    2. If using one of the CMS is the better way to go, which of the three would you recommend as the best option for a dating site?
    3. Can I monetize a CMS website with a free theme? in other words, if I create a website with a free theme, is it ok if I make money from it or should that only be done with paid themes?

    I know that is a handful, but I would appreciate hearing back. Thanks a lot in advance.

  75. An excellent article, which has essentially confirmed my own experience. I started with Mambo not long before it was ported to Joomla. I continued with Joomla as my CMS of choice for myself and clients. In 2003 when WordPress was first released (by that name) I started using it for basic blog only sites, and Joomla for all other CMS sites. Fast-forward to 2016…

    Pretty much every client I work with, we end up running with WordPress. I ditched Joomla around 2008 when I got totally fed up with the massively time-consuming and convoluted manual process for updating modules and plug-ins. WP already had updating of plug-ins built in. No need to manually compare version numbers with the repository website, then download, and upload any discovered updates. I’ve not looked back, until now. I thought I’d see what was available for out-of-the-box open source e-commerce solutions for Drupal and Joomla. That’s when I found this article, where you (the developers you quoted) have totally confirmed my views on the this comparison.

    Looking forward… I can see I’ll be sticking with WordPress (and WooCommerce, when e-com is needed) for the bulk of my clients. Magento is occasionally tempting (have done a few e-com sites with it) but the simplicity and low-cost extend-ability of the WooCommerce -WP duo seems to come out tops in most usage scenarios clients bring my way.

  76. Great information! Thanks. I’m getting my website back up and running (after a year-long hiatus) and needed to know what was out there and what folks were using. I’m going to go with WordPress for now, but may try Drupal if I get frustrated with WordPress’ limitations.

  77. Hi Robert.

    Thank you for the detailed post, and for answering almost every comment. It is very nice of you, and much appreciated.

    Since no one addressed the elephant in the room, I’m going to do it: security.

    WordPress users seems to deal with hacked websites as a sore thumb. Slightly painful, a nuisance, but nothing serious. Clean it, disinfect, put a bandaid, explain that it was an accident, and wait for the next one.

    Dealing with security in WP is like a devilish game of whack-a-mole. Each plugin is a new hole in the website, and its practically impossible to run a WP website without a dozen plugins.

    The careless way WP users say “just search for a plugin with your magical keywords” worries me. And its “ease of use” attracts the lazy type of devs, who will jury-rig something in place and hope for the best.

    Sucuri, a security company, have a very active cadre of researchers, and a fantastic blog. Take a look at the blog, and you’ll see the astounding amount of WP vulnerabilities uncovered each month, a good part already in use in the wild.

    And last but not less important, take a look at “WordPress VIP” to see what is the true cost of WP security (hint: from 5000/mo).

    So, WP can be very powerful for content heavy and SEO optimized websites (albeit a server glutton), but it is not for the faint of heart, or wallet, and it definitely is not for beginners, unless a hacked website is of no consequence to the image of your business.

    Cheers.

    • Excellent point Jonathan. If you run an ecommerce site or any site that stores financial or user identifiable information, you should think seriously about security. There are liability and credibility issues involved. Personally I am going debating Joomla or Drupal for a large CMS site.

  78. Thanks for great comparison. When I started to pick up MVC framework between WordPress and Joomla to build a demo site a few years back, I landed on Joomla as it seemed super easy, and there were tons of modules ready to use. After so many years, the site has grown up to 10M users. I’m glad to choose Joomla since first day.

  79. Thank you very very much for the wonderful article with great presentation. I would go with WordPress for now and eager to switch to Drupal once I got enough knowledge.

  80. You claim that WordPress is the easiest of the 3 but I find WordPress more difficult to use than both Joomla and Drupal, I just really can’t wrap my head around it. There are too many buttons, links etc on the side bar and I think that’s the problem. Just like Windows 8 with its BIG buttons it thinks we are all babies and haven’t a clue what we are doing!

    • Hey Mark,

      In some parts I have to agree with you. But in reality, WordPress is by far the easiest for beginners. Most folks aren’t able to install Drupal/Joomla properly, while installing WordPress is just super-simple.

    • I agree with you Mark but the rest of the world does not agree with us. Somehow people think WordPress is easy but I always get confused. I am not claiming Joomla or Drupal are easy either – they have their nuances for sure.

  81. Thanx Robert…clean, clear and concise advice that I easily understood. I’ll start with WordPress and go from there. I appreciate your efforts…b

    • Hi robert,

      I started with coding, and then once i met someone who told me about joomla, but unfortunately i didn’t find really interesting.

      With busy life, a lot more important thing to learn everyday, i wasn’t just in mood to learn Joomla.
      But when i met WordPress, One night was enough, I could have access to the coding, and i could get a any design of theme and get my hand into the code, take of what i don’t like, and add what i want, and i can really say, word press is not just for beginners, but also for professionals. I don’t know what i can not do with WordPress.

      I’m not working With Caspio, and was just able to create any sort of Web App Caspio + WordPress in an hour. What more, you got some PHP knowledge you can definitely buit your plugin putting in what functionality you would like, build app, not a static website but a dynamic one.
      I actually working on creating a full reporting Web App using word press, endless possibility.
      i don’t know anything Drupal, sound interesting, but not time for that, nowadays where Everything moves quickly.
      A successful CMS is nowadays is resumed into making it powerful and useful for both beginners and advanced user. Road to easy tool is the key to success.

      With WordPress you can set up a powerful Social Network, Powerful E commerce, just about Any Application mixed with other technologies such as Caspio.

      To Beginners, i advice WordPress, to Professional wanting to make their life easier, spending less time on big project, WordPress, and just touch the codes and adapt everything your need.

  82. Hi Robert!

    Thanks for the detailed comparison and very informative article. I have only worked on WordPress and need to dive into Joomla just to get my hands dirty.

    Thanks for your research. You saved me a lot of time bro.

  83. Hi,
    This is a very useful review and comparison between the biggest CMS available in the market.
    Personally I prefer Joomla! I think it is right in the middle for ease of use and complexity to build something great.

  84. Interesting comparison, I would have to argue that while WordPress is definitely good for beginners and has an easy UI and short learning curve, it also is technically advanced, giving users the ability to completely change a theme’s appearance and functionality.

    Technical users can totally customize the look and feel of a site by altering a child themes css or creating a completely custom theme on their own. Developers can also create custom-coded page templates that can perform any functionality giving technically advanced users total flexibility with CSS, HTML, PHP, Javascript, etc.

  85. Great Overview and non bias about each CMS. I have used all 3 and Joomla is by far my favorite. As an app framework it is insanely powerful and can do so many things. If you are building a portal that needs functionality Joomla is a great place to start. WordPress is definitely easier to empower a laymen user for making content and self managing a site. Joomla is OK at this but most people prefer WordPress.

  86. Came across the article and like the content. I have been doing things the hard way for some time using things like bootstrap now. For me, every time I tried WordPress or Joomla, frustration led to a quick install. My difficulty less in not being able to make the fine adjustments that i like. By working the code myself,it may take a few hours or a few days but the outcome is perfect for me. I usually use Brackets for the live preview to speed things along. Im going to give Drupal a try after reading this article. I only hope it goes better.

  87. Thank you, thank you and thank you. I went to multiple sites trying to find a simple explanation of the differences between Joomla and WordPress. Ugh….they were either sales pitches or so wordy that I left the site more confused than when I started. Great article!!!

  88. Hi! Thanks for the article.
    I’ve built two eShops and one photo site on Word Press. It took me about two hours to set up last one.
    Now I’m curious enough to build a landing page on Joomla.
    Word Press is the best for beginners, no questions!
    Cheers. Vic

  89. I’ve been a WordPress user for quite a long time now, having done 3 websites using this CMS.

    However, I am forced to try different CMS. Reason? It’s extremely easy for hackers to access the files and infect them. I have been fighting constant hacker attacks for a few months now and I am tired of it. I’ve tried everything, followed all the WP guides etc. I’ve literally spent days trying to tighten the security systems to protect my web. But none of these work, they keep leaving Backdoor and I am unable to stop it. Each time the site has been cleaned, it came with double power. I really hope that switching to Joomla will help, although that means I need to make the website from the scratch again.

    However, as I said I have other webs with WP and they’ve never been attacked. It’s hard to say whether I recommend WP or not – if it wasn’t for the attacks, I would probably never leave WP as I am not a pro user, just maintaining my own business.

    Just remember, WP is an easy and user-friendly system and so it is easy to attack.

    • WordPress is notorious for bot attacks. To stop these attacks from happening you have to lock down your site considerably. If your site is for US viewers only, I’d consider even blocking whole countries, blocking proxies from accessing your site, blacklisting known bot threats, protect against some DDOS, brute force, etc. You can also configure the site to block failed login attempts, change the wp-login to another url, and any attempt at hitting the wp-login page will blacklist the IP of the attemptee immediately. You can try WP Security, WordFence, and a ton of other plugins to handle these features for you. You should also add recaptcha and a honeypot to your site for all forms, both default and custom forms. Security for WP out of the box is horrible. If a stream of bots get a hold of your site, you cannot stop them unless you set up security for the above as well as get a host that can filter some of the issues for you. wpengine.com is good at this as well as many other services, but they are very expensive.

      I’ve done WP security hardening for many of my clients, but is a separate fee I always charge in addition to the full development life cycle (prototyping, design and development) and hosting setup. WP security, if done right will work great. But it is not something that can be done quickly and then you’re done with it.

      Sorry to hear of your troubles with WP security. You aren’t alone.

      Joomla would treat you better, but there are injection flaws in Joomla depending on the type of extensions you install. But the hacks are far less with Joomla because it is much better with security out of the box. And if you go the route of Joomla, check our RSJoomla Firewall. Works wonders at security hardening.

      I’ve developed Joomla sites that are 5-8 years old, high profile, and have never been hacked despite many thousands of attempts over the years.

  90. Hi Robert,
    After using Joomla for about 3 years, I’ve decided to give WordPress a try. But I have a question for you: We have a Company Manual wuth 500 individual documents (mostly PDFs) and I was wondering ifvyou had any suggestions how to approach this in WP. Any special plug-ins to consider? Any special strategies?
    Thanks!

  91. This is a good and fair post. I have used all three, but do most of my development in Joomla. I find the core function of Joomla to be more flexible than WordPress, particularly with modules. You need a plugin for WordPress in order to restrict widgets from certain pages. The issue is not that you cannot gain the function, but that you need a third-party plugin to do so. If the creator of that plugin stops development, you have a vulnerability, whereas with the core continues to be developed. So even though there are 30000+ WP plugins many stopped development years ago and are a liability.

    Which leads me to another point, the WP plugin directory cannot be filtered by compatible version. I only want plugins that have been developed for a longer time and are continuing to be updated. I have to search through pages in order to get to the right plugin if one even exists. In Joomla ED, the ability to filter and sort are much better. Even the “new” directory for WP gives no better function.

    You also cannot create a hierarchy in WP pages and posts as you can in Joomla. I have sites that have several hundred pages, the categories and nested categories in Joomla make the management easier.

    I agree, if you don’t know what you are doing and just pay $50 to get a nice WP template and slap some content up there, WP is all good. But for custom development, it’s a real drag, way more time intensive than custom development for Joomla, maybe even more than Drupal because of the lack of flexibility.

  92. I have tried all 3 CMS’s and WP is definitely the most user-friendly of the 3. For me, Drupal (7x) is a nightmare. A person shouldn’t have to spend a day trying to figure out how to make a slider work on the front page without having to code one into the theme but I have. I installed a slider module which required other modules and libraries to be installed and then I spent some time adjusting the views setting and am yet trying to figure out where to upload and place the image files. It’s a nightmare! On a static web page or through WP I’d have this done within minutes. I’m a web developer of 18+ years – I work with PHP, CSS, HTML, XML, ASP.NET (VB & C#), Python, Java, MySQL, Rails, PERL, JavaScript and many of its frameworks and libraries so I’m not in the least bit dumb when it comes to web technologies, but I have to admit that Drupal did a fine job of making me look stupid. First of all, I find “Views” to be totally unnecessary. Every module and extension should be a simple plug-n-play and have its own configuration page like those we see for WP. Second, a lot of modules, themes, and extensions are out-of-date and not maintained by their authors leaving them broken or useless to current updated versions of Drupal. WP has its share of inactive developers as well but not as many as those for Drupal. Plus you’re likely to find more than one plug-in of the same type for WP whereas the mods for Drupal are limited.

    I’m not quite sure why people think Drupal is a more powerful system than WP. WP is extremely flexible as both a CMS and blogging system and as indicated in this article, it is the most popular of the 3 which indicates that it is the first choice of professional developers and beginners alike. Most business clients don’t want to wait a month before their website goes online. WP makes it possible to get the website up and running and full of content much sooner than a month. If you’re going to spend time creating a website, that time should be spent adding content and not so much for configuring the website, its theme, and its modules.

    I recently installed Drupal for my company website but now I’ve changed my mind. I’m going to remove Drupal and go with WP. I’ve tried Drupal a few times in the past but kept replacing the installations with either static HTML/PHP/.NET based websites or with WP. I have no patience for trying to figure out how to get certain mods working in Drupal.

  93. I find the term “user friendly” to be a bit misleading. I know when people use it, they basically mean “easy to learn” however, after coming up the Joomla learning curve to a point where I know it very well, I find it gives me a lot more configuration choices than WordPress. As a user, I want that power, and therefore Joomla is ultimately more “user friendly” by my definition. I admit however, not everyone needs all that power.

  94. Created my first website on WordPress two years ago and immediately realized that this is exactly what I was looking for, namely the most important: you are no restrictions, great opportunity, own boss.
    Previously created websites for various services, like umi cms, was not happy, solid limits, pay more money and remove the restrictions obdiralovo. After payment and the removal of restrictions found that there that promise the settings are scarce, primitive.
    It just so happens that the word “WordPress” I came across on the Internet more often than Joomla. Two years ago I started to study WordPress and immediately created the first website. Never regretted about the made choice. Only positive, on a 5+.
    With Joomla is not familiar so close with WordPress, but I can confidently say is a great engine.
    Which is better wordpress or joomla? This is the same as the comparison – which is better Xiaomi or Xiaomi? Which is better Nokia or Nokia? I think that both deserve a rating of 5+.
    Sincerely, Kladproraba.com (works on WordPress) 🙂

  95. Phillip Parcheminer

    I am looking to start as a writer, but, I am at the very early stages. I have been working on writing a book for several months, now. However, I am thinking now of how to get myself out there as a writer. I spoke to my mentor from college, and, he mentioned blogging. I am not sure what the difference is between a blog and a website are, they both, seem the same to me. Also, I have heard more of websites and it is easier to get info for this. Any advice between the two? I think creating a website is as good as a blog, but, for the purposes of writing, am not sure.

    • If you’re just going to write and are not technical, go with WordPress. You won’t regret it. Joomla and Drupal require more of a technically inclined person to set up. Don’t waste your time with that.

  96. Thank you for your time and generosity!! You’ve sold me on WordPress. I have had two websites on ieasysite for years (using Webeasy). It was cumbersome and I have avoided updating my site, for years. It is TOTALLY out of date!! You have me motivated! I am going to take the wordpress plunge and create a new website based on your guide! So…here I go!! Thank you!! Nicole : )

  97. WordPress shouts it’s the best.
    Joomla is the best!

    I’ve made sites with Joomla and WordPress. WordPress needs a lot of plugins to become functional. From that moment WordPress isn’t simple anymore. It lacks configuration options you simple need for a website. And a lot of plugins aren’t updated anymore.

    Joomla gives out-of-the-box the most power to create any site you want.

  98. I’m surprised magento is not mentioned, whilst obviously an e-commerce platform it can be used in a different way, and with a few mods can run WordPress alongside fairly well! I have worked mainly with WordPress and find it easy to use, and I am not a developer! With online tutorials adding widget areas and even simple plugin creation is possible, after reading this I am tempted to try the others!

  99. I have until relatively recently only used WordPress. WordPress is great for simple content websites, think blogs and / or articles. If you want to customise or specialise to a reasonable degree, then WordPress is not great. That’s not WordPress’ fault, it’s just that it’s designed for basic sites (and indeed, like you said, that’s what it excels at).

    I agree with Marcus Neto that for beginners, WordPress is the best. But remember there are two versions of WordPress. WordPress.com is even better for beginners than WordPress.org. WordPress.org is less secure than WordPress.com, mostly because all the updates are automated (i.e. plugins are updated for you, as is WordPress). I recently had one of my sites hacked (only a minor hack, with a slight text change), this was because I had a 2 month old version of WordPress, that I hadn’t got around to updating. If you’re busy, and your website get out of date, they can be easily hacked. This won’t happen with WordPress.com. It is possible to set up automatic updates for WordPress.org, however automatic updates can go wrong… your website can go down due to a damaged database etc. I feel WordPress.org needs a lot of babysitting… if you’re designing a website for someone, you would need to charge them for maintenance, gone are the days where you can just create a website and leave it alone!

    I’ve recently started using Drupal. I’ve been amazed by how easy it is to customise it. So for example a property website could easily have a search tool created… doing this in WordPress.org felt like a hack.

    Advantages of all systems, is the amount of themes and plugins that are available, but again in WordPress.org, I found writing plugins far harder, than writing Drupal plugins, even though Drupal is allegedly more difficult.

    So security and maintenance are huge issues, as are backups of web files and databases. Also what about SEO? WordPress is good for that pretty much out of the box and has SEO plugins. I haven’t learned about Drupal SEO yet.

  100. Just a web designer..

    Unfortunately wordpress security is all the time under fire. Since v3.9 it’s not that big hassle, as WP by default has an enabled automatic update function. The problem stays with hundreds of WP websites based on older versions, which won’t be updated in the near future. Second thing are vulnerable extensions. Just by using a prepared URL, getting the content of config files through a hole in popular extensions might become a nightmare.
    We’ve host for quite some WordPress websites can say, that there’s never too many security steps. Just by using additional extension, bloggers might raise their website security by filtering many popular, automated attacks.

  101. Just came across this comparison article, which I found to be a helpful first stop in my search for a new CMS. I am part of a team that runs a City government website, which is currently self-hosted using a proprietary CMS. We are thinking of making the switch to one of these open source CMS solutions, and have heard the names above tossed around for awhile. Considering we are not a small company, but a “large” organization, with web pages in the thousands, and file assets in the tens of thousands, which option do you think is a better fit? I’m still personally hoping to find a solution that offers the ease and friendliness of WordPress, which I’ve dabbled in outside of work, even though we need something powerful and customizable. I can write HTML/CSS with relative ease, and our IT department can probably handle the PHP and JS, but the most important thing for us is the UX for our CMS userbase, who are typically familiar with only word processing software and social media site UI.

  102. I have been using wordpress for around 4 years and I think it is pretty awesome.

    The worst think I dont like about it though is the default wp_cron system.

    But I still prefer wordpress. Im planning to try out drupal locally. It seems interesting

  103. Hi,,This goes for comments as well: Are you talking about wordpress.com or wordpress.org…they seem very different regarding what control you have on the finished website..thanks

    • Hey Rich,

      We’re talking about WordPress.org here 🙂
      WordPress.com is too limited service to name as “CMS”.

      • Dear Robert
        Have enjoyed yours and visitors comments. I am looking to an e commerce page to sell a tool item. And I am tending towards Joomla.
        Regards
        David

  104. I’m new but the website I’m planning would have a significant message board component. I want to build an interactive experience versus one way static page communication.

    From what I’ve read Joomla is the correct option. Does it have strong plug-ins like MBB for message board functionality and integrated log-in capability? Guessing a book on Joomla is in my future :-/.

  105. I used Joomla since V1.0, but it became outdated and no longer supported (PhP, MySQL) versions) by my web host provider.
    I then decided to try WordPress and had started a bunch of different forums, and not even a day
    later a robot took them ALL over and put a ton of ads on each forum. In all due fairness, this was
    four years ago.

    How do you get around this?

    I am tempted to try WordPress again, but I don’t want the same issues, so I am leaning again to
    Joomla and just skipping having ‘forums’ (which are not important to me anyway, they would have
    just been fun to have).

  106. I am beginner, and have no knowledge of HTML CSS or PHP whatsoever. But driven to set up my website. Read all that you written up here and wanting start off with WordPress as you suggested. Let’s see what will come up. Wish me luck!

  107. I just started learning drupal. Read the concept behind it, pretty much a developer mindset.

    Like what you have explained, wordpress and joomla are built for specific purpose in mind. Therefore, both won’t be as flexible as Drupal. For non-technical user that just want to start writing a story right away after installation, wordpress is the choice (as I remember 5 years ago). I think this is the most influential factor why wordpress is so popular. Because most of CMS user are personal blogger or something like that.

    Drupal is powerful CMS to develop a custom web or even application with endless possibility. But I don’t know for this kind of generic CMS, whether it’s good to build a high-performance web application with a very complex database schema. Because of course, the relationship between data inside its database won’t be a straightforward relationship. Not like specific application which built from scratch.

    I think the limitation of drupal is because it is generic, at some point, you will end up busy optimizing the drupal system itself rather than the logic behind the application itself. That’s why most of big application with big resource and team would likely to create their application with specific purpose from scratch. But yeah I’m still learning Drupal, so my view might change in the future.

  108. Awesome article on differentiating WordPress, Drupal and Joomla. I personally like WordPress as it is easy and quick. Also, there are so many big companies websites running on WordPress like Airbnb, etc. There is no doubt that any beginner should go with WordPress.

  109. Great feedback and very useful information. Thanks! The best comparison I’ve read. I am a user of WordPress and I love it. Now evaluating Joomla and your report has given me better clues. It would be nice to see a demo of the CMS. I’m worried about how easy Joomla will be to update information for a non-techie user!

  110. Excellent article Robert. I have some knowledge of all three CMS systems, for security and extensibility reasons I am biased toward Joomla or Drupal. For none-complex CMS sites that do not store financial or user identifiable information, WordPress makes sense.

  111. Nice article for beginners. I am trying my hands for the first time on UI/website.
    I have been a backend developer for last few years.
    I had an idea of creating a internal web portal (to be used on intranet) which contains the following:
    – workflow
    – role based access
    – DB connectivity for read/write

    Can you please suggest me the best option which would be easy to use and pocket friendly.

  112. I need recommendation for a small web site for a non-profit all volunteer organization of about 500 members. The organization is made up of 9 geographical sections. need at least four user roles: public, members, section editors, site editors. site will have a main public area, a public area for each of the 9 sections, and a private members only area. each area will have a handful of pages.

    we’d like each section editor to have full access to their area of the site to create pages and update contents, but no edit access to other sections’ areas, or to the main area which will be maintained by the site editors (who will also maintain the members only area). none of the editors/content creators is technically savvy, most are older.

    also need a private searchable membership contact list where each member will maintain/update their own info (need custom fields). a public statewide database of available resources which should be maintainable by any of the editors. a private and public file download areas, a public calendar of events, and a members only mailing list/discussion (currently use yahoo groups)

    I will be the one building all of that. I am a software developer, but with limited knowledge of HTML/CSS and no artistic/aesthetic abilities 🙁

    I have used PHP and JavaScript in the past, but not extensively, but should be able to customize/modify code if needed.

  113. Weirdly, I find WordPress to be the hardest one to use, followed by Drupal. I started building a WP powered site but gave up and went back to Drupal and Joomla… It’s a very powerful CMS but sadly I just couldn’t understand it!

  114. I just read your page and it gives me all the information I need to get started. I currently use Serif, which is not bad and no coding is required, but I have to use the computer it is installed on to update it. Also, it has been discontinued and no longer suported. It also needs you to almost duplicate the site to make it mobile friendly. So, I’m going to go for WordPress to build a basic site and Joomla for my business since I eventually want to have it talk with my POS system and ecommerce. Thanks for this information, it got right to the point without a bunch of “fence riding.”

    • @Charles Newman, I thought WP could handle a robust e-commerce shop? The only concern I have, concern raised by a few, is weaker WP website security when compared say to Joomla or Drupal. How can you strengthen/harden security for a website built on WP platform?

  115. Awesome article! It was a very good comparison between the three CMS. I’ve already used Joomla in the past, I’m going to try WordPress.

  116. Drupal requires bunches more technical expertise (or expense, see below) than the other two. WP and Joomla can be upgraded easily and switch themes and add components just as easily. Drupal requires you to really know what you are doing to upgrade and switch things out. I suspect that is why it is used mostly by the big sites. For those of us who can’t afford to keep a Drupal expert on staff (much less several) you end up paying for an off-site service.

    • Definitely! Drupal is powerful but tricky to use, making WordPress or Joomla much better choices for beginners. Thanks for your input, Richard!

  117. Great comparison, leaning a little towards WP. I don’t know WP very well, but I do know Joomla well, and you did point out some of it’s advantages and disadvantages. I have coded a large league software based on Joomla, with a relational database structuref (of the custom data) and lots of custom queries. For something like this Joomla seems to be well suited.

    Besides that, the discussion seems to me a lot like comparing Microsoft to Apple computers. Both have their strength, both have their followers, and while Microsoft has a far higher market share, try to convince an Apple user of many years that Microsoft is better, or vice versa.

    • Hi Bernard, great analogy! There’s always going to be fans of one platform defending it to the death no matter what the facts are, while in reality there’s advantages and disadvantages to everything. It’s good to try out new platforms when you have the opportunity, never know what you may find 🙂

  118. Hi,
    Thank you very much for your posts. It definitely gives a little bit idea about what CMS to choose.
    I am new to building a website, however, I have an idea about the website that I wanted to create, which might need some customizations, which I am not very sure if wordpress could provide (I haven’t give it a try yet, but I will soon).
    Can we actually transfer things we build in wordpress to other cms? Thank you

    • Hi Cindy,

      Every CMS is unique so there’s no way to reliably transfer an entire site to another platform. If you’re unsure about whether WordPress can do something then feel free to use the contact form to tell me what you’re looking to do and I could maybe point you in the right direction

  119. Hi Rob

    Thanks a lot. This is probably the most clear article about the pros and cons of the three most popular CMS. I’ve been using WP for a long time too, but to be honest, I am really tempted to give a try to Drupal on one of my sites.

    Kind regards
    Natalie

  120. excellent article! I have experience with Drupal and with WordPress. I expect to hit some of Joomla soon. I like your comparisons and tend to agree with everything. One thing that impressed me is how well you have kept this up to date with these CMSs always changing! It’s funny reading the comments though because some of them are from 2014 and make remarks that were true in 2014 then you have other people responding to them in 2017-18 and it just makes me laugh. A word to readers: Beware when reading and responding to comments because things have changed over the last 4 years.

    • Thank you for the kind words! It’s good that you pointed out that the old comments might not be applicable anymore, if anyone reading this is in doubt about something then feel free to ask when unsure. Good luck with Joomla, J.J. 🙂

  121. I’m using Joomla for more than 10 years (i’ve built more than 100 websites with Joomla) and I find it very difficult to accept the fact that Joomla is dying.
    Very little new templates, lack of updates on the extensions and fewer new extensions available.
    Meanwhile WordPress is flourishing holding more than 60% of the market share.
    Although Joomla can do the trick for most of my needs I must stop delaying and start using WordPress immediately.