So, you’re setting up your own website – congratulations! But don’t celebrate just yet. First, you’ve got to find the ideal content management system (CMS). There are 3 main players on the market: WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. While WordPress is the leader on the market, all 3 have their intrinsic advantages and disadvantages.
It’s up to you to decide amongst them. But to make an informed decision, you must first have all the relevant information at your disposal. Here is the battle for the best CMS: WordPress vs. Drupal vs. Joomla, may the best CMS win!
- There are a lot of plugins at your disposal
One of the biggest advantages WordPress offers is that there are thousands and thousands of plugins available in the WordPress repository. You can find pretty much anything you need there, and most of them are free of charge, too. Especially when you’re a beginner, that can make a real difference.
- It’s easy to understand and learn
The other thing that places WordPress at the top is the ease of use. That is particularly important for those who are not well-versed in coding. It takes a grand total of 5 minutes to download and install WordPress. While there is a learning curve involved, it’s not as steep as the other content management systems.
- It is highly customizable
Another PRO for WordPress is that it’s customizable. You can play around with the design and it’s usually very easy to add things in or take them out. A lot of WordPress plugins are created on a drag and drop basis, so it’s easy as pie to customize your own website, no professional web designer or coder required.
- It may require some added costs
One of the things to be aware of is that the basic features of WordPress are free of charge, because it’s open-source. That being said, there may be some added costs involved. That’s especially if you want special features installed or you need certain extensions. That can drive up the cost of setting up your website.
- The features are a bit basic
Truth be told, the features on WordPress are a bit basic. You can’t expect much from something that’s free. But as mentioned earlier, this may drive up the cost. If you want to make up for the lack of elevated options in terms of design, for example, you will need to invest in some fancier features.
- Not all plugins are updated
A lot of the plugins are indeed free and there’s a lot to choose from. But not all of them are that great. In fact, a lot of them haven’t been updated in years. They can also have vulnerabilities and bugs that can put your website in danger.
- It comes with lots of options for customization
The thing Drupal has working for it is the wide range of customization available, for all of your features. Your developer can play around with it, but there are also thousands of themes and modules available for design and functionality purposes.
- It supports lots of types of websites
Unless what you’re looking for is a basic blog or simple eCommerce site, WordPress or even Joomla are not your friends. If what you need is a high-quality website (or several different types of sites) then Drupal is what you should be looking into for your CMS. It supports more websites, at a higher quality level.
- It’s fast
Drupal is so complex because it’s made to be extremely fast. Especially when you’re putting together a brand website or an online store, that will be a major advantage. Your customers will not wait more than 3 seconds for a page to load. From that point of view, Drupal is your best bet.
- It’s technically complex
The same thing that is its main advantage can also be a massive disadvantage. Yes, Drupal is complex and offers a lot of benefits to the user. But it’s also much more complicated to set up. That means that there is a higher chance that you will need to hire someone to help you, thus adding to the cost.
- It has a very steep learning curve
Because it’s way more complicated, that means setting it up is also more difficult. While WordPress can be learned more easily, Drupal may give one a hard time. It’s going to take more effort to get the hang of it, and more time spent setting it up. If you’re working on a tight schedule, that may be a major disadvantage.
- You need to make your own updates
As with other content management systems, updates with Drupal are not automatic. You will need to personally take care of it and make your updates manually when the time comes. That can be a real pain, especially if you’re a busy person, but you haven’t hired someone specifically to be in charge of your CMS. The good news is that updates are available regularly.
- It’s excellent for social sites
One thing that helps Joomla stand out is that it’s got excellent support for social. A lot of what you need for user-generated content, forum-based sites, or memberships is already present, so you can make full use of these features. In addition, you also benefit from extensions that help out even more.
- There is an official help portal
Open-source content management systems can be tricky to figure out when something goes wrong. It’s no different for Joomla. That’s why the official help portal can be a tremendous advantage. The forum isn’t as active as the WordPress one, but you should be able to receive a response quickly enough.
- It is updated often
Joomla is a leader when it comes to maintenance. You can expect frequent updates with it. A big update comes every year. But in the meantime, there are smaller ones being released regularly (about 1 to 3 months). You’re covered from that point of view.
- It’s not the best for SEO purposes
WordPress has a big plus when it comes to SEO. That’s where other content management systems may fall short, in comparison. While Joomla is perfectly good concerning SEO support, it’s not quite as good as WordPress, so that’s a few points deducted.
- You’re in charge of your own security
Like a lot of types of open-source CMS, Joomla does not offer any kind of built-in security. That means that you will need to take that upon yourself. That’s an extra responsibility (and cost!) that you may not want or may not be able to afford, so it’s certainly something to consider.
- It can be difficult for beginners
Joomla is fairly similar to WordPress when it comes to installation and general complexity. However, it is a tiny bit more complex. That means that it offers some better features, but it also means it’s a bit more difficult for a beginner to come to grips with it.
What’s the bottom line?
As you can see, there is not one content management system that is the best in all areas. The best choice depends entirely on the type of website you are putting together and what your priorities are.
You need to sit down and determine what you are trying to achieve and what might help. Do you need the site to be super fast? Does it need to look amazing? Is the eCommerce functionality paramount for your business?
If you’re looking for something that is beginner-friendly, then WordPress is your top pick. If performance is the most important for you, then Drupal is the clear winner. If what you need is something in the middle both in terms of performance and complexity, then Joomla is the ideal choice.