January 19, 2019
10 min Read
Choosing the right CMS for your new website is incredibly important. If you’re building out your first site, then you’re probably going to be using a CMS to help design and manage your site.
But, which CMS is the best for you?
Drupal and WordPress are two of the main players in the CMS world, together taking up over 60% of the market.
Each has its own dedicated online community and a loyal fanbase. Plus, both Drupal and WordPress power some of the largest websites in the world.
Generally, WordPress is easier to learn and has a larger community, but beyond that how do each of these tools compare?
Below we’ll see how WordPress and Drupal stack up against each other. Keep reading for answers to the following questions:
Choosing between Drupal vs WordPress can be a tough decision. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you’ll be equipped to make the right choice for your new website.
And if you want to give them a test drive, both of them can be set up in just 1 click on all our website hosting plans!
One of the main reasons to use a CMS is to make building and managing your site way easier. The rise of content management systems allows anyone to build a good-looking, functional website without any technical skills.
Below you’ll learn just how easy Drupal and WordPress are to use, and which one comes out ahead in our WordPress vs Drupal showdown.
If you’re using a beginner friendly host, then you can install Drupal pretty easily. Within the backend of your hosting environment, you’ll have the option to install a number of different CMS, including Drupal.
Drupal also has various installations called distributions. You can choose one of these instead of a blank Drupal installation if you know the type of website you’re going to create.
Once you’ve installed Drupal on your host you’ll have a variety of customization options at your disposal.
But, at this point, the learning curve begins to accelerate. Beyond very basic site customizations most of the additional changes require you to know how to program in PHP, HTML, and various other languages. If you can’t program yourself, then you’ll need to bring in a developer at this point.
Even things like keeping your site up to date require technical knowledge as you’ll need to adjust the code to ensure every element of your site is compatible with the new version.
One of the main reasons WordPress is so widely used is because it’s incredibly easy to set up and use.
You can install WordPress on your host in a matter of minutes. Most hosting environments offer a simple one-click install that’ll walk you through the process of installing WordPress.
Once you have WordPress up and running you’ll be greeted by the intuitive dashboard.
This is your home base where you’ll install themes, plugins, create content, and update your site.
All of your theme’s customizations are handled from the ‘Appearance’ tab. Plus, if you want to make building your site even easier you can always install a drag and drop builder like Beaver Builder or Elementor.
Creating content is a breeze. If you’ve ever used a simple word processor, then you’ll feel right at home.
Adding posts and pages is as simple as writing directly into the editor, dragging images in, and clicking publish.
If you want to make building your site as easy as possible, then go with WordPress. Not only can you install WordPress in a matter of minutes, but the intuitive dashboard makes it easy to install themes, plugins, and create content.
With Drupal you can do a lot, assuming you know how to code. The installation process is simple. But, once you start customizing your site you might run into issues if you don’t have any technical skills.
So, your site is built out, you’ve uploaded your content, and it’s live on the internet. But, your work isn’t over yet.
Beyond building your site for the first time, you’ll still need to do regular updates, troubleshoot any issues, along with things like optimizing your site for SEO.
Below we see how each platform stacks up.
Keeping your Drupal site up to date can be difficult if you’re not a developer. You can’t update Drupal from within the UI itself. So the task should probably be done by an experienced developer.
But, beyond the difficult update process, Drupal does do a good job with SEO. The CMS is built with SEO best practices in mind, like built-in coaching. Plus, you’ll find a variety of extensions that can further enhance your SEO like, Yoast SEO.
The community behind Drupal is very supportive and helpful, but it’s much smaller when compared to WordPress. It also seems that the community is generally filled with developers, instead of beginner users.
WordPress makes it easy to update every aspect of your site. From your theme to plugins, and even the WordPress core. Everything can be done in a few clicks all from the WordPress dashboard. It’s important to keep every aspect of your site up to date, as this will help to avoid any security issues.
But, beyond ensuring your site is always running the latest version, you probably have other concerns too, like traffic.
Luckily, WordPress is pretty well optimized for SEO right out of the box. Plus, you can install plugins like Yoast SEO, to take your optimization offers even further.
Finally, no matter what issues you run into, whether that be plugin conflicts or you want to add a certain feature to your site, you can always lean on the massive WordPress community.
Overall, WordPress makes it incredibly easy to manage and update your site. While the easy SEO integration and supportive community make it a no-brainer for those building out their first sites.
Drupal does have great SEO abilities and an engaged community, but the difficult update process makes it very hard for beginners to reliably update their sites.
Having a fast loading site is an absolute necessity if you want to both rank in the search engines and delight your visitors.
You could have the most beautiful site in the world, but if it takes too long to load your visitors won’t stick around to see it.
Below we take a look at what each platform does to ensure peak performance.
Drupal can help to produce very high performing and fast loading websites. A big reason for this is because the CMS isn’t very resource intensive. This allows for lightning-fast server communication and faster response speeds.
Plus, this makes it better equipped to handle websites that have thousands of pages. You’ll also have the ability to add more extensions to improve performance even further, like enabling website caching.
One of the biggest drawbacks of WordPress is its speed. That isn’t to say it can’t be fast, but a lot of webmasters don’t end up optimizing their website the right way. If you know what you’re doing, or even take time to implement WordPress performance best practices, then you can end up with a very fast website.
Or, if you decide to use WordPress managed hosting, then your site will be lightning fast, as you’ll be running on a server environment completely optimized to your site.
Essentially, WordPress can offer incredible performance. But, if you do things like use too many plugins, have a poorly coded theme, and fail to properly optimize then loading speed and performance will suffer.
Drupal is probably faster right out of the box. It’s definitely a more lightweight CMS. However, setting up and configuring your site to reach its performance potential will be more difficult.
WordPress can either deliver millisecond loading speeds or end up taking what seems like a century to load. It all depends on the webmaster, the host, and if you’ve properly optimized your site. The good news is, even total beginners can easily optimize their WordPress sites for performance, as it typically just takes installing and configuring a few plugins.
No matter what kind of site you’re building you want it to be secure. Now, nothing on the internet can ever be 100% secure. Instead, your goal should be to try and achieve the highest level of security possible.
Below you’ll learn how each platform handles security and which one is actually more secure.
Over the years Drupal has earned a reputation for being one of the most secure content management systems available. It used to power the White House website, and other government websites, so you know it has high-security standards (fun fact: they switched to WordPress).
Drupal has had its share of security issues in the past, mostly SQL injections, but issues like these have been quickly patched.
One thing is certain, Drupal takes security very seriously. Now, there are a smaller number of sites running Drupal and has a smaller theme and plugin marketplace, which makes it less susceptible to hacking. But, it’s security standards are still extremely high.
The WordPress core is very secure. However, the prevalence of third-party plugins and themes creates more security holes.
Also, since it’s an extremely popular CMS it’s much more likely to be exposed to security threats. In fact, WordPress is actually the most commonly hacked CMS. Don’t let that scare you though.
You can overcome these security vulnerabilities. Hacking typically occurs due to webmaster oversight or using an outdated version of a plugin, more so than vulnerabilities in the CMS itself.
With WordPress, you’re dealing with a massive ecosystem of plugins and themes, so there’s gonna be a greater chance of installing a plugin or theme that’s poorly coded.
However, by keeping WordPress security practices in mind you can reduce the chances of any security vulnerabilities.
Overall, Drupal has less of a chance of getting hacked. This can be contributed to two things. First, they hold a smaller market share so the chances of Drupal sites being targeted is much smaller. Two, there’s a smaller plugin and theme ecosystem, which is where most security holes arise.
WordPress can be very secure, but only if you take the proper steps to protect your site. Like you learned above, the WordPress core is incredibly secure. But, failing to properly vet your plugins and themes can leave your site open to risk.
You’re probably not a professional web developer, which means you’re going to be using themes and plugins to build out and customize your site.
What you want is a flexible CMS that allows you to build the site of your dreams, and easily add features, without any previous coding knowledge.
Below we see how flexible and versatile each CMS actually is.
Drupal customizations are handled through extensions and modules. Similar to how WordPress does it through themes and plugins.
As a result, you can heavily customize your Drupal site. However, these customizations can be more difficult to implement unless you know how to code. Most of these extensions have to be located, installed, and set up on your own, and it’s not as intuitive as WordPress.
Typically, this is why you’ll see Drupal sites that are very unique, as most are custom built by experienced developers.
There’s also an existing module marketplace that will let you integrate features into your site like Yoast, Twitter, Shopify, and more.
WordPress has a massive selection of plugins and themes. The core of your site will be built using a theme, while additional features will be added through plugins.
You’ll not only find a huge free plugin and theme library, but there are also premium versions of most themes and plugins as well. The premium versions are typically higher in quality, pack an additional feature-set, or have expert support.
No matter the type of site you’re trying to build you can do so with WordPress.
If you’re a beginner and want a to have more control over the design and feature-set of your site, then WordPress is the way to go. Drupal has a pretty steep learning curve, so if you want something unique you’re going to have a difficult time.
But, if you do know how to code, then Drupal can be a solid choice as you’ll be able to customize your site however you see fit.
Drupal offers you top-notch security, along with in-depth content customization options, and solid performance.
Here are some of the biggest advantages that Drupal offers:
WordPress truly shines in its flexibility, ease of use, and its large and supportive community.
Here are a few of the chief advantages that WordPress offers:
Choosing the right CMS is an important step in the future of your website. Choose the wrong CMS and you’ll be on an uphill battle from the very beginning.
Overall, Drupal is a solid CMS. It’s equipped with a lot of features right out of the box and is optimized for performance and security from day one. It is very flexible, but it does have a very steep learning curve. If you don’t want to spend time learning to program, and instead want to build out your site as fast as possible, then consider using WordPress.
WordPress is a very intuitive and easy to use CMS. Although you can build out very large and heavily customized websites (like Mashable), it still remains highly accessible to beginners.
By finding the right combination of plugins, selecting a solid theme, and choosing a high-quality host you’ll set yourself up for success. Plus, since WordPress is incredibly popular you’ll find a wealth of tutorials and support information to help you hurdle any issues that come up.
In the end, WordPress wins out in our WordPress vs Drupal comparison.
Now over to you. What CMS do you prefer, and why? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.