A soaring skyscraper must be built up on a solid foundation. The same principle applies when it comes to building a website. As such, it is of paramount importance to determine a suitable Content Management System (CMS) for your site.
Standing out among the pack are the two shining stars: Drupal vs WordPress. Each has its own loyal subset of customers, a long list of credible websites it powers and each comes packed with robust features and functionalities.
Apparently, Drupal and WordPress both have their ins and outs. Hence, choosing an impeccable platform is mission impossible. Instead, you need to make sure whether the platform you opt for can provide you with everything you need.
For those who are wavering, you may find your answer after reading our in-depth comparison of Drupal vs WordPress. In this article, we’ll help you cover:
- An overview of Drupal vs WordPress
- All the pros and cons of each platform
- Final verdict on which solution you should go with
Drupal vs WordPress — Overview
Drupal vs WordPress, both are self-hosted, open-source CMSs written in PHP. These two CMS solutions have been home to millions of websites, holding a valid place in the world of CMSs.
Before digging into some more nitty-gritty details, let’s have a quick overview of the two leading players in the industry.
This year 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of Drupal. Originally created to serve as a small site that stored information for a group of students at the University of Antwerp, Drupal has rapidly evolved as a popular open-source framework. Since its inception, this CMS solution has been widely embraced for its great degree of flexibility and customizability.
It is, at the time of this writing, powering about 600,000 websites on the Internet. While it’s true that Drupal is not as popular as its competitor WordPress, it is currently home to many high-profile websites. 7-Eleven, Puma, The Economist are some great examples
WordPress was initially released in 2003 as a blogging platform and quickly became a top-notch choice when it comes to creating a website. With the impressive figure of over 28 million live websites, WordPress is considered the crown jewel of the CMS world. Some well-known names that have their websites running on WordPress are Bloomberg, Spotify, SoundCloud, and far more.
There are two versions of WordPress: WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
- WordPress.com: The hosted version. It’s free and needs no external hosting or external domain name.
- WordPress.org: The self-hosted CMS. The platform itself doesn’t cost you anything, but you will need a hosting account and maybe some efficiency-enhancing features which often come with a price tag.
In this article, we will delve into the self-hosted, open-source version — WordPress.org, to be easier to compare with Drupal.
Ease of Use
Drupal: Ease of Use
Compared to WordPress, using Drupal involves more of a learning curve. Even for users who have prior experience with other CMS softwares, building a Drupal site can also be a stumbling block. This is due to the fact that Drupal is mostly designed to act as a blank slate to be customized on all levels.
However, its user interface is not as complex as you imagined once you understand the multiple drop-downs but this surely takes some time to get familiar with.
In general, Drupal still heavily relies on custom coding to make your website look and operate the way you wish. Thus, if you want to build a more custom-looking and custom-operating website, you may need to work with the command line interface.
WordPress: Ease of Use
On the contrary, ease of use can be touted as one of the primary reasons why WordPress stays top of mind with users. It only takes some minutes to install, and even newbies can easily figure out how things work in a heartbeat.
Its simple clean-cut interface provides a user-friendly dashboard, quick blog creation options and drag-and-drop functionality through third-party page builder plugins. With this being said, WordPress is an ideal choice for non-tech savvy users whose businesses are small to medium-scale.
When comparing the pricing of Drupal vs WordPress, it’s quite hard to predict the final cost regardless of which platform you are using. The cost will vary as it strongly depends on what type of website you want to build and what features you want to be entailed.
Nevertheless, this estimated cost breakdown below will give you a good idea of how much you have to pay.
Just because the software itself is free to download, however, doesn’t mean that it’ll be completely free to run your website with this platform. In fact, you still need to purchase the followings:
- Domain name ($10/year)
- Drupal hosting fee (from $4/month)
and some extras like
- Paid theme (from $20/month)
- Plugins ($0 — $1000)
- Developer fees ($40/hr).
Similarly, WordPress is free to download and use. Nevertheless, to get your site up and running, you will need to incur some basic costs like:
- Domain name ($12/year)
- WordPress hosting fee (from $3.95/month)
- Security (from $50, on-going or on-off charge)
- Developer fees (from $50/hr).
Due to the open-source nature, WordPress also greatly depends on customization themes and plugins. And most of these efficiency-enhancing features come with a price tag:
- Paid theme (from $30)
- Plugins ($0 — $1000).
While Drupal requires more time and effort investment, it’s truly a powerful platform on which you can build some very complex capabilities, especially when it comes to content manipulation.
Drupal Content Management
Drupal allows its users to display various types of content at a level that WordPress does not. Under the hood, your content can be based on the core types (article, basic page, book page, poll), or you can rename, configure and change as your site needs dictate.
For instance, you can add multiple content types with different sections, headings and other multimedia elements such as video embeds, case studies, white papers, webinar recaps, etc.
WordPress Content Management
Meanwhile, WordPress only has three default content types named posts, pages and media. While posts and pages are exactly what they sound like — to create and publish content, media is where you can store and organize images, videos, PDFs and the like. WordPress’s media allows drag and drop uploading, automatic image resizing and editing, and a visual gallery for management.
WordPress’s simplicity in this regard can also be a shortcoming, as it doesn’t provide many ways to re-use existing content differently. This means there’s a limit on which type of content you can create.
Therefore, if content management is your priority, you can go for Drupal or turn to another brilliant alternative named Joomla.
Joomla allows you to repurpose the previous blog as a page, an event or an article. With Joomla, you can also utilize multiple templates for different pieces of content. Meanwhile, WordPress only allows one specific theme for all types of content. You can check out our in-depth comparison of Joomla vs WordPress for more insightful analysis.
Themes & Plugins
Here is the area where Drupal vs WordPress markedly diverge.
Drupal Themes & Plugins
Currently, Drupal users can easily access the robust library which offers more than 35,000 modules/plugins and over 2500 eye-catching themes. For as much of a blank slate as Drupal is designed to be, there’s no need for you to overly rely on either themes or third-party plugins.
You can always add and customize any plugins to your webpage, all by yourself. The process, however, is way more complex than that of WordPress. Therefore, you either need to master coding knowledge or afford to hire a professional developer to complete the task for you.
WordPress Themes & Plugins
The core popularity of WordPress lies within its humongous theme and plugin repository, which has over 58,000 free and paid plugins and nearly 4000 themes. Basically, you are able to find any plugins that meet all your logistical, technical, and marketing needs.
Also, WordPress’s themes are considered its unique selling point because they are generally elegant and tidy yet feature-rich and mobile-responsive. Apart from those prefabricated themes and plugins, you can modify them or create your own to meet your specific needs regardless of your technical expertise.
Both Drupal and WordPress are for blogging rather than eCommerce purposes out of the box. However, both have plugins that support online businesses.
Drupal eCommerce Support
In terms of eCommerce support, Drupal provides its users with Drupal Commerce. Unlike other full-fledged eCommerce platforms, Drupal Commerce is mostly developed as a clean slate.
This means, essentially, that Drupal Commerce provides basic eCommerce attributes and options for integration and expansion. But overall, it is meant for further coding and customization.
With Drupal Commerce, you can create and personalize your online store, sell and ship your items as well as manage the whole process of your online business.
WordPress eCommerce Support
Similarly, with WordPress, you have to install an eCommerce-specific plugin such as WooCommerce to kick off your online business. WooCommerce boasts a simple clean-cut interface and possesses a varied set of powerful built-in features. Up to now, WooCommerce is the most widely used eCommerce solution with 4,414,537 live websites, taking up approximately 23,5% market share.
Although Drupal vs WordPress are both relatively secure CMS softwares, security-related problems may still arise depending on how websites are extended and customized. Let’s see how Drupal vs WordPress stack up in matters of security.
Drupal is home to some of the most high profile websites on the planet, meaning it has to store extremely sensitive information. In fact, Drupal’s edge is high security, majorly because it depends less on third-party plugins. As a result, there’s less worry about hackings.
WordPress’s worldwide popularity is actually a double-edged sword. Its popularity has led to the growth of a robust ecosystem of resources, including both technologies and an active community that can give you a helping hand whenever you need.
The problem is, this same popularity also means that WordPress is the equivalent of a jackpot for hackers. As already happened in the past, such exploits could affect millions of WordPress sites.
Another security issue with WordPress stems from the susceptibility that is created when non-verified 3rd plugins are uploaded. As WordPress offers a myriad of extensions, it’s impossible to ensure that every plugin employs proper safety standards and remains compatible with newer versions of the platform.
On the whole, Drupal sites are less vulnerable to malicious codes as well as less of hackers’ target. Thus, Drupal surpasses WordPress in this security department.
While Drupal is the older platform, it has a smaller community due to its focus on more technically savvy users. Despite its limited size, the Drupal community is quite knowledgeable about the platform itself and capable of giving you insightful responses to almost every question. Hence, there might be no need for you to seek for answers in FAQ threads.
Apart from that, Drupal users can always turn to professional services and Drupal training for assistance. There are individuals and organizations providing Drupal-related services including installation, design, hosting, module development, site building, and support.
With the largest user base, WordPress users are able to find a wealth of advice and tutorials from a vibrant community of peers, developers in a heartbeat in case unwanted contingency happens. Also, you can come across a huge truckload of multiple texts, video tutorials, guidelines compiled by other system users.
Or else, if you need more dedicated support, you can pay to hire WordPress experts, who can solve complex technical issues for you.
Ultimately, choosing the proper platform is the very first crucial step to create your own website. This decision-making process is starkly not an easy feat and you’re the only one who can decide which solution suits you best.
If you’re searching for a software with an enormous degree of flexibility and customization capabilities, Drupal is a suitable choice. Nonetheless, by the same token, you have to put in a great deal of effort to set up and operate your Drupal site on a day-to-day basis.
Or if you prefer to set up and manage your webpage with less technical knowledge, we would recommend you choose WordPress. Even if you’re a newbie just dipping your toe into building a website, working with WordPress feels like a breeze. Then, if you wish to taste the flavor of eCommerce, you can install WooCommerce and try selling some items.
Hopefully, when you have reached these final lines of this Drupal vs WordPress comparison, you have already determined which CMS is the best fit for your unique blend of resources, objectives, and personnel.
If you’re currently using Drupal and you would like to migrate to WordPress or vice versa, LitExtension is always at your service. Our automated migration tool ensures 100% uptime and data security, and all SEO rankings are preserved.