- Dec 01, 2016
- by Brad Litwin
Setting up a website has never been easier. In fact, the real difficulty may be picking the right Content Management System (CMS) to power it.
The good news is that there are at least three great open-source CMS options to consider, all sharing one trait in common: you can use each to power virtually any type of website. Knowing this, reaching a decision becomes a matter of digging into the details to determine which one fits your needs the best.
In this article, we’ll look at three CMSs: Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress. We’ll talk about their strengths, weaknesses, and the types of users that would benefit the most from using each. It’s time for a showdown!
The platform has a powerful set of core features including content authoring, high security standards, the option to add on modules, and themes. Drupal also prides itself on its scalability and modularity, which makes it an excellent choice for most (if not all) types of websites.
Drupal’s Key Features
- Uses fewer system resources than its competitors, which matters from a performance standpoint.
- Easily customizable, thanks to its collection of modules and themes.
- Fully responsive right out of the box.
- Offers extensive Application Programming Interface (API) support.
- Offers advanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) functions.
Ease of Use
To put it bluntly, Drupal is not a beginner-friendly platform. Depending on the scope of your project, you will probably need at least some basic knowledge of HTML and PHP.
Drupal is also renowned for its learning curve, which doesn’t necessarily make it a bad CMS, but means it’s more targeted towards users with basic web development skills.
Who Would Benefit From Using Drupal?
This platform offers a powerful set of features for users with basic web development knowledge. It is generally thought to have the steepest learning curve of the three solutions in this article, but the effort to get it up and running can be worth it.
If you’re working on an enterprise-level website (or require high security standards), Drupal is second to none. Its performance is also fantastic, which makes it a good all-around choice. The only question is, can you commit the time to learning how to get the most out of the platform? If so, by all means give it a shot – otherwise, there are two more platforms to look at.
Where Drupal is sometimes considered to be a bit too advanced, and WordPress has a reputation for its ease of use, Joomla offers something of a middle ground.
The platform comes with an enthusiastic community that is happy to guide newcomers along and answer any questions they might have. Furthermore, you also get access to a wide variety of extensions and templates (which is a common theme among open-source CMSs).
Joomla’s Key Features
- Offers a built-in caching function for faster loading speeds.
- Offers native support for multilingual websites.
- Enables you to tackle basic SEO tasks without the need for any third party extensions.
- Comes with a versatile menu creation tool.
- Users can edit their websites from both the front and back ends.
Ease of Use
As we mentioned earlier, Joomla offers an excellent balance between Drupal and WordPress regarding ease of use. Its dashboard might not be as friendly as WordPress, but it is clean and straightforward.
Beginners will appreciate handling SEO tasks without having to learn how to use any third party tools or extensions, as well as the capacity to edit their websites from the front end – which is a boon to visually inclined users.
Who Would Benefit From Using Joomla?
If neither WordPress nor Drupal seem like a good choice for you, you should take a look at Joomla. It offers more features than WordPress out of the box, and it doesn’t have the steep learning curve that you get with Drupal.
On the other hand, if you’re a more advanced user who considers the functionality of Drupal a bit overkill, you’ll appreciate Joomla’s customization potential.
WordPress needs little introduction. It’s by far the most popular CMS, powering over 25% of all websites nowadays. The platform has historically been thought of as a blogging platform, but these days, it can do so much more than that.
Out of all the platforms we’ve covered so far, WordPress boasts the largest library of plugins and themes. In fact, we would be willing to bet you can find a plugin for virtually any function you can imagine – give it a shot!
WordPress’ Key Features
- Intuitive administrative dashboard.
- Simple blog post and web page creation and management.
- Simple built-in comment moderation system.
- Can be used to power multiple sites from a single dashboard.
- Available in over 70 languages.
Ease of Use
At first sight, WordPress doesn’t seem as feature-packed as its competitors, but it has two aces up its sleeve. Firstly, it’s simple to use. Secondly, it’s backed by a massive community ensuring you can always find the help and tools you need to make your site better. Whenever you run into a problem using WordPress, you’re usually just a Google search away from finding dozens of tutorials and tools to fix it.
Furthermore, WordPress is so incredibly popular that a lot of web hosts offer plans tailored specifically to the platform. That means you get better performance and advanced features to improve your experience.
Who Would Benefit From Using WordPress?
WordPress is an excellent choice for users that want the fewest number of headaches possible when working on their web projects. It’s remarkably simple to use, and it can power pretty much anything you want to build.
It may not be as secure as Drupal or offer as many features as Joomla out of the box. However, WordPress is definitely the easiest CMS to get started with – given a little work you can secure it and access the vast plugin marketplace to enhance the in-built functionality.
As far as we’re concerned, WordPress is the best option for most users and projects. It’s flexible, easy to use, and it provides a selection of free and premium plugins and themes that Drupal and Joomla just cannot match. However, that’s not to say the other CMSs we discussed aren’t solid options for certain users and projects either.
Let’s take one final look at them to help you make an informed decision:
- Drupal: An advanced platform with an emphasis on security and performance, that’s ideal for enterprise-level projects.
- Joomla: A robust CMS that mixes many of the benefits of its two competitors with a manageable learning curve.
- WordPress: A good all-around platform that’s particularly well-suited to users who don’t have very much technical knowledge.
Image credit: Pixabay.