Advertisement
  1. Business
  2. WordPress
Business

WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal: CMS Comparison Guide

by
Length:MediumLanguages:

If you are on the verge of creating a website for your small business, knowing where to start might seem overwhelming. Most small business owners usually want a website where they can update the content without having to call a web developer every time, so a Content Management System (CMS) is a logical choice.

When it comes to CMS's, there are three major players: WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. In this CMS comparison guide, we take a look at each of the three platforms, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each, along with some tips on how to choose the right CMS for your small business website.

CMS Comparison Guide Choice
CMS Comparison - Which one is best for your business? 

Brief Overview of the Top 3 CMS's

WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla have a lot in common in terms of technology, community, and philosophy. All three of them are open source software which means they are free to use. They all have some great features, are built on PHP and use MySQL as their database management system. Finally, all of them use themes/templates for visual appearance of sites and have plenty of plugins/modules that can add extra functionality to your website.

While these popular CMS's are similar in many aspects, they also have some major differences about what is included in the core software. They differ on how each system handles plugins and themes, how they deal with security, and other differences which have a large impact on users, and how you'll build your website. 

This CMS comparison chart points out the key differences:


WordPress

Joomla

Drupal

Homepage

www.wordpress.org

www.joomla.org

www.drupal.org

Ease of use

Doesn’t require technical experience. The interface is intuitive. A simple website can be set up in a matter of minutes.

Slightly more complex to use. Interface can seem a little intimidating for a novice user. Needs a little time investment to get familiar with the platform and the terminology.

Requires the most technical expertise out of the three. While the interface is easy when it comes to adding content, it’s not so straightforward when it comes to changing appearance.

Features

Powerful enough for developers and designers to create custom sites, while at the same time being easy to take over and use for the end-user.

More geared as a community platform with strong social networking features.

Powerful taxonomy features, has the ability to categorize and organize complex content.

One-Click Install

Yes

Yes

Yes

Available Themes

2000+

1000+

1800+

Available Plugins

45000+ plugins

32000+ modules

7000+ extensions

eCommerce

Yes with WooCommerce

Yes, extensions for managing products and content

Yes, and No - Drupal 8, the latest version, does not support a stable e-commerce module yet.

SEO Friendly

Excellent SEO

Basic SEO, requires additional tweaks

Good SEO

Mobile Friendly

Yes

Yes

Yes

Speed

Can handle traffic well but requires better hosting plans as the traffic grows.

If not tweaked properly it can consume resources rather quickly.

Typically loads more quickly, and has faster response times than websites made with WordPress or Joomla.

Now let’s examine each of the three platform in more depth.

1. WordPress

WordPress is the most popular CMS. Over 30% of all sites that use a CMS are running on WordPress. It started out as a simple blogging platform but has grown quickly into a CMS capable of handling complex websites such as TechCrunch and Time Inc.

WordPress has many advantages for small business owners looking to build their own website. Some of those advantages include:

  • Easy to Use - Most hosting companies offer one-click installation of WordPress and even a novice user can install it, choose a theme, and have a website running within five minutes. The dashboard is easy and intuitive and requires no technical knowledge.
  • Free - WordPress software is open source and completely free to use.
  • Customizable - With thousands of themes and plugins available, you can create any type of website you need, and because WordPress is so popular you can find plenty of designers and developers who can create a custom website for you.
  • Community Support - Once again, due to its popularity the number of websites who have WordPress-specific tips is large, and their own support forum is filled with WordPress experts who can answer your questions in a matter of minutes.

WordPress is not perfect. There are some disadvantages that come with it such as:

  • Larger, more complex sites can quickly become resource hogs and require a hosting plan upgrade.
  • It's API is not very user-friendly which means the core of WordPress is difficult to change so those looking to make back-end changes to their websites will probably run into some issues.

When it comes to learning WordPress, there are hundreds of websites that provide tutorials on all things WordPress. From basic how-tos to explaining WordPress themes to WordPress security tips - you can find a tutorial on almost anything.

Apart from that, you can also ask questions on WordPress StackExchange and get an answer to your problem fairly quickly.

As far as the design goes, there are free themes and plugins available in the official theme and plugin repository. While free themes may seem great at first, you will soon realize they are all rather limited in design and functionality. 

Marketplaces like ThemeForest offer plenty of premium, high quality WordPress themes that are packed with multipurpose features and creative designs that will make your website stand out. 

Avada is one of many popular premium WordPress themes on ThemeForest:

Avada WordPress Theme on ThemeForest Envato Market
Avada WordPress Theme on ThemeForest (Envato Market)

Here are more top WordPress themes: 

WordPress is a great choice for starting your business website, especially if you're including a blog or additional functionality.

2. Joomla

Some consider Joomla as the middle ground between WordPress and Drupal. It’s a powerful CMS which can handle complex websites rather well and yet it doesn’t require as much technical knowledge as Drupal. Joomla powers websites like Harvard University and Linux. It still offers plenty of features such as:

  • Social Networking - Joomla makes it very easy to create social networks which can be a powerful asset for many sites.
  • Commerce Sites - Setting up an eCommerce website is a lot faster and easier with Joomla than it is with Drupal and WordPress since Joomla has more native support for it.
  • Not too Technical - While Joomla requires a bit more technical knowledge than WordPress, it's still approachable for people with beginner level web development experience.
  • Help Portal - Joomla offers a great help portal for asking questions and getting technical support. It’s slightly less extensive than the community-based support pages of WordPress, but it is quicker (and cheaper) than technical support most people get for Drupal.
  • Free - Like WordPress, Joomla is free to use.

When it comes to the disadvantages, Joomla has its own set of downsides, them being:

  • Learning Curve - While not too technical, Joomla does require some time investment to get familiar with the platform.
  • Limited SEO - While it does have some basic SEO capabilities, Joomla requires extensive work to achieve the same level of search engine friendliness as WordPress.

When it comes to learning Joomla, aside from their own help portal, you can find plenty of tutorials in their documentation. The Envato community also has useful Joomla tutorials such as an overview of Joomla CMS, how to build a social networking site, and how to modify Joomla templates.

On the design side of things, Joomla has less themes and modules than WordPress but that doesn’t mean you are out of luck.  You can find plenty of premium, high-quality Joomla themes on ThemeForest, such as the best-selling Kallyas Joomla theme shown below:

Kallyas Joomla theme Envato Market
Kallyas Joomla Theme on ThemeForest (Envato Market)

3. Drupal

Drupal is the second most popular CMS, powering 8% of the websites who run a CMS. It’s extremely powerful and less resource intensive meaning it’s the most suitable for large and complex websites. Sites running on Drupal include University of Oxford and The Weather Channel. Some of the advantages of Drupal are:

  • Flexibility - With almost 2000 themes and over 7000 extensions, Drupal is easy to customize. And considering you can edit the core files with relative ease, it’s the most flexible out of the top three CMS's.
  • Improved Performance - Websites built with Drupal load faster than those built with Joomla and WordPress.
  • Free - Just like WordPress and Joomla, Drupal is free to use.
  • Community Support - Support is available at drupal.org, as well as Stack Exchange and many other sites.

Unfortunately, as powerful as Drupal is, it does come with its own set of disadvantages, the biggest one being:

  • Steep Learning Curve -  If you need more than a basic blog or small business website, you will most likely need technical support which means you will need someone to create the website, the modules, and provide support along the way.

If you are looking for a few tutorials to get you started with Drupal then our tutorial on Drupal is a step in the right direction. Once you know what Drupal is, you might want to check out how to implement a business theme using Drupal.

And if you are looking for a quality Drupal theme, look no further than ThemeForest. With 394 premium themes to choose from, you are guaranteed to find the perfect theme for your Drupal website no matter which niche you are in. The InnoCompany Drupal theme is one of the best-selling on our marketplace:

InnoCompany Drupal Theme
InnoCompany Drupal Theme on ThemeForest (Envato Market)

How to Choose the Right CMS

There is no doubt that all three of the content management systems offer great advantages. And if you take to the internet in the hopes of finding a definitive answer, you will run into fans of all three content management systems claiming their preferred CMS is the best one.

This, of course, won’t make your decision any easier so how do you tell which CMS should you choose? Do you pick WordPress, Joomla or Drupal for your small business website?

Unfortunately, there is no universal answer. The fact of the matter is, each business and website are unique and each situation will require a different solution.

Joomla is better suited for mid-sized websites or those who want social networking and community-oriented websites.

Drupal, on the other hand, is the most logical solutions for large, complex websites which require extensive features and scalability.

For those looking to set up a simple website for their small business, WordPress is likely the way to go.

Another thing you have to consider is your technical abilities. If you aren’t tech-savvy, then WordPress is definitely the best choice as it’s the easiest to setup and use. If on the other hand you have some technical abilities or you are willing and prepared to pay for someone to handle the tech side of things for you, then Joomla or Drupal might be more up your alley.

What if you make the wrong choice?

It is possible that you will pick a CMS and later down the road realize you made a mistake. In most cases, migrating from one CMS to another is fairly easy nowadays. Bear in mind, however, that in order to properly migrate your website from one content management system to another you will have to put aside some time and be familiar with the process to make sure the migration goes over smoothly.

WordPress vs Joomla! vs Drupal: Decision Time

When it comes to content management systems, WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are the most popular solutions. All three of them offer some great advantages such as community support, different themes to provide you with a nice looking website, plugins and extensions that allow you to add extra functionality to your website and all three of them are free to use on your own hosting plan. However, they each come with their own set of disadvantages.

If you are just starting out, WordPress is probably your best option. It’s easy to use and there are plenty of WordPress themes to help you get started. All that considered, however, Joomla! and Drupal are good options as well, and provide a bit more flexibility if you like to get your hands dirty in code. And of course, we have lots Drupal templates and Joomla! templates available here too, that you can use to start your site with.

Making a choice is definitely not easy so you have to bear in mind what is the main purpose of your website, what your overall budget is, as well as your own level of technical expertise, or your if you plan to work with a professional web developer

This CMS comparison guide gives you a few critical points to consider, links to important CMS resources, and where to dig in deeper to make your decision. 

Advertisement
Advertisement
Looking for something to help kick start your next project?
Envato Market has a range of items for sale to help get you started.