If you are about to start creating your own website, you may be wondering which CMS (Content Management System) is the best choice. Choosing a CMS is needed if you don’t know how to code and/or just want a website up and running as fast as possible. If this is the case then there are three main options to choose from: WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.
All three are pretty incredible platforms, with WordPress being the easiest option and best for blogs, while Joomla is great for e-commerce websites and Drupal is the powerhouse, especially useful for larger websites, but it’s also the most difficult to use for beginners.
Before I get into any more detail check out the below infographic:
WordPress is, by far, the most popular CMS. It began its life as a simple blogging platform but has evolved into a powerful piece of software that nearly any website can use. It’s so popular that today over 23% of all websites use WordPress and as you can see above on the infograph, WordPress is dominating the CMS market. So why is that? WordPress has many advantages, here are some of the main advantages to using it as your CMS:
Easy to Use / Install – Most reputable web hosting services advertise and offer a “one click install” for WordPress. This makes it so that you can have your WordPress site up and running in no time. If you want more details about how easy this is to do, head over to the make a website homepage for simple, step-by-step instructions. The software itself is also extremely user friendly, making it an ideal choice for beginners.
Plugins Galore – Plugins extend the functionality of your website, allowing you to do things like add SEO capabilities to your blog, add a contact form, add security, etc and WordPress has the most plugins available out of the three content management systems.
Themes – Like with plugins, WordPress has far more themes available than Joomla or Drupal. It’s not surprising since most people are using WordPress as their CMS, thus getting many of the developers of themes/plugins to focus on WordPress, especially if they are developing premium themes and plugins.
Multiple Author Capable – WordPress excels in being able to run a website with multiple authors and multiple permissions (what the authors can and can’t do).
WordPress also has some disadvantages (nothing is perfect). One common complaint is that a large WordPress site will have to expend lots of resources to keep up with all of the traffic. This really isn’t too big of a problem since you have options to keep your website up to speed even with lots of traffic. And this is mainly a concern for those who have larger websites with thousands upon thousands of visitors a day. For beginners WordPress is the recommended CMS.
Recommended Reading: 50 Essential WordPress Plugins
Joomla is easy to use, just not as easy as WordPress. It is still a great alternative that is able to run efficiently on the majority of web hosting servers. It also offers many of the same features as WordPress, such as plugins (which are called ‘extensions’) and templates. While not nearly as popular as WordPress, Joomla still comes in second as the most used content management system. Here are some reasons why:
Not extremely difficult – Joomla can be thought of as the middle ground CMS. It’s not as easy as WordPress, but not as complex as Drupal but still has most of the same features.
Social Networks – Joomla is the easiest when it comes to creating your own social networking website.
e-Commerce Store – Another benefit to using Joomla is that it excels in enabling you to create your own e-Commerce website.
Like with WordPress, Joomla also has a few disadvantages to using it. For beginners, you will find Joomla a bit more complicated than WordPress. Joomla also lacks SEO capabilities, which will frustrate WordPress users since adding SEO functionality to their blog can be done by simply adding a free plugin. If you want that same type of SEO functionality with Joomla then you’ll need to do a ton of work. Joomla also isn’t great for websites that run multiple authors with multiple permissions.
Drupal is the third most popular content management system and it’s also the most difficult to use out of the three. Developers will love that it is powerful and open source, as well as requiring less server resources. Another benefit with using Drupal is that it can be set up to cover pretty much any website you have in mind, ranging from a regular blog to huge corporate website. Some of the other advantages to using Drupal include:
SEO Friendly – Drupal, unlike Joomla, was designed to be SEO friendly.
Very Stable and Reliable – Drupal is extremely scalable and stable even when your website has thousands of visitors. No resource straining here.
Flexibility – You want a blog, small business website, corporate website, colossal thousand+ page website? Sure, Drupal can handle any and all of that, though you will most likely need some tech skills (or be open to hiring someone who does).
Drupal is easily the most powerful out of the bunch. But what you get in power is traded off for usability. This program is not user friendly, making Drupal not so great for beginners but very popular among developers.
Which one is best for you?
There are loyal fans of each platform who will stubbornly argue why the content management system they use is best. But what’s “best” for one website might not be so great for another, so it all really comes down to what you want to build and how tech savvy you are.
If you want a small to medium sized website or blog, then I definitely recommend you use WordPress, especially if you are a beginner.
If you are envisioning a large scale website that will, eventually, have thousands upon thousands of visitors a day, and will require extensive functionality and power then I recommend Drupal. Joomla is somewhat in the middle of both, being easy to use, just not as easy as WordPress (but easier than Drupal) and being a great platform for e-Commerce websites and social networks.
What is my recommendation/favorite?
I am a WordPress guy, mostly because I like how user friendly the software is. This blog is built on WordPress and while WordPress will strain your server resources should your site start getting loads of traffic, you can still maintain a WordPress platform provided you pay a little extra. Switching over to a dedicated host, or specialized web hosting service, or using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) are just some of the ways to maintain a large WordPress blog/website and not have to switch over to something like Drupal.
Recommended Reading: How to Speed up your WordPress Blog