WordPress versus Drupal: A Comparison Guide
Is WordPress the only content management system (CMS) you can use to build a website? Of course not, because it has several competitors. Today we’re going to see how one of them, Drupal, stacks up against WordPress in terms of ease of use, plugins, security, and more.
WordPress and Drupal user statistics
Before we get into the factors that can help you decide whether you should use WordPress or Drupal for your site building needs, let’s take a look at who uses each platform as it is.
WordPress is by far the champion in terms of popularity, as W3Techs found that it is used by 42.6 percent of all websites. This gives it a 65.2% market share among content management systems, making it the most popular in the world. Not too bad for a CMS that started as a blogging platform in 2003. On the other hand, Drupal is only used by 1.4% of websites, giving it a market share of 2 , 2% of the CMS. This despite being three years older than WordPress.
What are the biggest names using each platform? On the WordPress side, you have powerhouses like Mercedes Benz, Sony Mobile, The New Yorker, University of Washington, and even Whitehouse.gov. Entities using Drupal include the Dallas Cowboys, The Economist, the State and University of Colorado, and Nasa.gov.
Read: Best WordPress alternatives.
WordPress and Drupal features
What are the most important selling points for WordPress and Drupal that would make someone choose one over the other when building a site? Here’s a quick rundown for each.
Benefits and features of WordPress
The fact that WordPress is so user-friendly is one of the main reasons why so many people choose it for their development needs. Non-developers may have an easier time building a site with WordPress than with Drupal, and this shorter learning curve attracts many people to the platform.
What about extensibility? If you want to expand your site’s capabilities without paying or training for custom development, WordPress makes it easy for you with its large communities of third-party plugins and themes. As long as you choose the right plugins, many say you can achieve the same things on WordPress as you do on Drupal.
Affordability is another strong selling point for WordPress. Not only are WordPress developers often more user-friendly to hire than their Drupal counterparts, but you also get more out-of-the-box solutions that can help you save on development costs.
Finally, the popularity of WordPress has allowed it to build a massive following. With its global community, you will have an easier time finding help for any issues that arise since WordPress is used by so many people.
Read: Joomla and WordPress Comparison Guide.
Benefits and features of Drupal
So, WordPress is easy to use and extend, plus it’s more affordable and offers tons of support. What about Drupal?
Its selling points start with increased flexibility when it comes to custom content types and views. Speaking of flexibility, Drupal has more with its taxonomy system. This can be useful if you have to manage tons of content.
With Drupal, you get multilingual features out of the box, compared to WordPress, which requires third-party plugins. Finally, Drupal gives you a more extensive access control system that allows you to create new roles and modify permissions as you wish. With WordPress, you are limited to five primary user roles.
WordPress vs Drupal: A Deeper Comparison
Now that you see the main selling points of each CMS, let’s take a closer look at specific categories, such as ease of use, security, and more.
Ease of use
Which is more user-friendly: WordPress or Drupal? WordPress wins this department hands down, because even beginners can jump in to creating a fully functional and aesthetically pleasing site without much of a learning curve. Even if you’re not too tech-savvy and have little coding knowledge, you can take an afternoon to build a site with a plethora of niche-specific themes.
WordPress has an intuitive interface. Pair it with its WYSIWYG editor and you can do a ton of work with little effort.
Like WordPress, Drupal offers themes that can help you get started with the site building process. However, most of its top sites use highly custom themes or feature custom coding. As such, you can expect to pay a pretty dime for a developer to help you do the same if you don’t have the experience to do it yourself.
Combine this need for customization with Drupal’s interface which isn’t too beginner-friendly and even some developers friendly, and it’s no wonder that WordPress is the winner here.
Chances are, you want to expand your site’s capabilities in terms of aesthetics and functionality, so that it looks good and feels good. You can manage the aesthetics through themes on both platforms, while WordPress plugins and Drupal modules will manage functionality.
Considering that WordPress is so popular and has a huge community of followers, it’s no surprise that there are more options here. There are over 58,000 plugins at WordPress.org and over 8,000 free themes, and those numbers increase when you add premium selections found all over the web. Drupal offers more than 47,000 modules and just under 3,000 themes. Without doing big math, it’s easy to see who’s the winner in this department.
Is WordPress continuing its winning streak over Drupal? The answer is no, because Drupal is more secure. This doesn’t mean that using WordPress to build a site will leave you completely exposed, as the platform itself is secure. The main problem comes from the substantial third-party ecosystem which can open it up to problems.
Most WordPress attacks come from plugin vulnerabilities. So if you are concerned about security, be selective about which extensions you install and make sure they are constantly up to date.
On the other hand, Drupal’s security is one of the main reasons why many government institutions have made it their CMS of choice. Not only is it less under attack than WordPress, but it also posts frequent security reports to keep its customers up to date with what’s going on. This increased transparency can bring peace of mind to a developer who places great importance on security.
WordPress vs Drupal: the verdict
After considering all of the above, which CMS is best suited for your website building needs: WordPress or Drupal? The real answer to this depends on your needs, as it’s impossible to say that a CMS will always be the best choice. As such, you will likely need to answer this question on a case-by-case basis, as not all sites are created equal and can have very different requirements.
What will be likely be the best choice for most people? WordPress, since it is user-friendly, makes it easy to build an eye-catching site that is fully functional, easy to expand, and has a massive community that can offer free or paid help if you need it.
However, if you have a project that needs to handle a ton of data, requires flexibility, and will require customization, Drupal may be your best bet. Just be aware that if you go the Drupal route for such a project, you will either need to be an experienced developer yourself or you will need the money to hire one.
Read: Squarespace versus WordPress: Compare Features.