Open source wars: Wordpress vs Drupal vs Joomla

Wordpress vs Drupal vs Joomla

Every IT person, developer, and programmer has an opinion when it comes to the various open source content management systems out there. It often comes down to functionality and ease of use, but even then the lines are often blurred and there is rarely a clear-cut victor. WordPress vs Drupal vs Joomla – which is really the king of open source CMS?

Our friends at Devious Media tackled the question and did a comprehensive breakdown, putting each CMS under a microscope to answer the most important questions to help people make a choice. For us, the choice is clear, but blogging is not the only thing important in the internet world. Other functionality traits need to be considered.

Click to enlarge.

Wordpress vs Drupal vs Joomla

(via: Canonsburg PA Mercedes)

Written by JD Rucker

+JD Rucker is Editor at Soshable, a Social Media Marketing Blog. He is a Christian, a husband, a father, and founder of both Judeo Christian Church and Dealer Authority. He drinks a lot of coffee, usually in the form of a 5-shot espresso over ice. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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  • for me drupal is the hardest to learn compare to wordpress and joomla the last row describing it good

  • Thank you for the infographic, although I could argue a few points, it’s a starting point.

    Regarding monthly unique visitors to the main site, did you compare with or Seems to me it was the former. Hope you can clear that up for us.

  • Robin, I’m sure it’s .com – which means that the numbers are skewed as the domain itself is home to millions of blogs.

  • Derrick Knight

    I found this chart to be an interesting compilation of information, but I am concerned that it is very easy to take many of the statistics out of context and therefore make an bad decision as to what platform to adopt for your specific needs. There are clearly strengths and weaknesses for each of these platforms making each of them ideal for specific site requirements.
    When making a platform decision, shouldn’t site developers be examining the requirements of the site first? For example, if a site had a requirement for a single author informational site with only self contained information, then WordPress would be the least expensive solution (from all of the metrics identified above). However, if a site required multiple authorship of content, document approval processes/workflow and external data sources, then WordPress would quickly become a likely non-starter and potentially far more expensive to even attempt to implement where much of that functionality already exists in Drupal and Joomla!.
    Of the metrics that were provided, it leaves the reader with the impression that like characteristics were being compared. For example the average setup/customization costs have no explanation. The fact is that sites with complex requirements will require higher setup/implementation costs, regardless of what platform you are using. If I try and push the complexity limits of WordPress, I assure you that you can have implementation costs that approach or exceed those in Drupal where the foundation for those features are already provided in the base platform, with a more stable environment as you don’t need to do many “tricks” to layer features that are not integral into the core architecture.
    It would have been nice to have a category that describes general strengths of each platform to better guide the initial platform decision process.

    Again, I think this is a great starting point, but do not believe it achieves the objectives outlined in the beginning of the article.

    So, what would be useful for a client who is trying to figure out where to begin on the platform and partner to engage in for their project?

    1) Put together an internal team to define requirements composed of someone representing your target customers, your marketing team and your IT organization.
    2) Define specific, prioritized project requirements (not just layout, but sources of content, who will own and approve content)
    3) When interviewing companies, look for reference clients who have similar requirements to yours and TALK TO THOSE REFERENCES. Ask what worked and what could be improved upon. Ask lots of questions about functionality that they could or couldn’t implement and why. If a company being interviewed starts telling you about limitations of the platform, move on to the next company. They may be stretching their “favorite” platform outside of the capabilities it was designed for.
    4) Establish regular (weekly or more frequently) meetings to gain updates. Be flexible on the agenda, but have key metrics that are updated at every meeting to ensure that progress is being made.


    • Derrick: WordPress has an issue with multiple authors?

      What are you talking about? We’ve run sites with dozens of authors on WordPress with no issues. Yes, there is an approval process which works out of the box.

      No development costs are much lower on WordPress as there are a core set of plugins which work out of the box and are completely cross-compatible so all you need to code are bridges and tweaks in most cases.


      WordPress custom site with recipes and additional image posting and advanced community features: $3500 for CSS and programming.

      Same site in Drupal, CSS and programming: likely around $10K and much longer development period.

      Both estimates leave out the visual designer and site architect who costs $4 or $5 in both cases.

      Ongoing maintenance costs are much lower on WordPress.

      I can buy the argument on a really high end ultra custom site in the $50K and up category. Even then you’d get better value for your money in WordPress.

      Someone replaced a WordPress WPMU network we were running with a Drupal network. Our WordPress network had about $30K of development in and maintenance costs of about $1000/month. The Drupal replacement cost $1,000,000 up front and had about $15K of maintenance/ongoing development costs per month. This particular client could afford to do things less efficiently but most can’t. The users still complain about Drupal in comparison to WordPress.

      We had our own go at WordPress vs Drupal vs Joomla. It’s more fun crossing swords with Drupal as at least it’s a relatively close contest.

      • Derrick Knight

        With respect to the multiple authors, you are correct, I should have been more specific as I meant multiple authors with different roles/security profiles. Most large community sites will end up with various roles that each of the authors will be taking on, along with an approval process for content review, etc. The structure to support that is part of the core architecture for Drupal, where it is a series of plugins for WordPress that inherently was not built in from the beginning and is done by non-core community developers. I agree it can be done, but it wasn’t “built” to do that.

        My point was not to pick on either WordPress, Drupal or Joomla! as none of them are the perfect choice for every project. Each platform has inherent advantages and disadvantages that should be considered in the very early planning stages of any project. As a result, the “cost” of implementing a site will vary greatly based upon the proper choice of the underlying platform.

        A simple analogy would be that I can buy a Ford Fiesta because I am told how economical it is to operate, but if my requirement is to do a 1/4 mile in 8 seconds, it CAN be done, but it is going to cost me a lot of money to do it and it is going to be difficult to maintain when it is done. Likewise, I Ferrari is really expensive to purchase and maintain if I just need to go to the grocery store once a week.


      • WordPress has better approval systems than you give it credit for.

        Administrators can do anything.
        Editors can do anything edit and publishing related (but not weblog management).
        Authors can publish their own posts (most of the time) but not affect others.
        Contributors can contribute but have no publishing privileges (out of the box).

        Complex three step (sub-editor, editor, copy editor) workflows are more difficult but two step (upload by contributor, edited and published by editor) are built right in to WordPress.

        KISS makes the world go round. Web is not print (you can always fix the typos later).

      • Stewart Tate


        Just read your post at the link mentioned above and I have to say I’m amazed you would reference a review that is SOOO biased towards Joomla.  Even after multiple people pointed out the errors in your reviews you failed to acknowledge them.  Instead of respecting the views of the people commenting on your post, you continue to berate them. It’s clear you do not like to be wrong and cannot even acknowledge that fact when all the evidence contradicts your statements.  It is posts like that which do not help the progress of the various open-source platforms out there.

    • Mybutt

      …$ays the Drupal developer.

    • Anonymous

      you are talking about things that 5% of the population needs. 95% of sites have one or two developers, a few thousand dollars for creation, and, if they are lucky, an IT (or pseudo-IT) that knows little to nothing about web development. 

      most businesses don’t need a robust website, nor do they need the expandability, most companies would be willing to start their webdevelopment over if they ever “made it big”

      This article’s statistics speaks to the vast majority of developers who are going to build their first CMS website.

      • Derrick Knight

        Maybe you could provide your source for understanding the breakdown of what the population as a whole needs? The article was discussing a comparison of CMS’s, not what the logical choice would be if you had virtually no skills, budget, resources or real requirements of any kind. If that is the criteria, then agreed, there would really only be one choice and you would just build your site using the capabilities you get without really defining any requirements.

        The original posting provides great information. The point of my comment was that there is no single, universal solution. If you are focused on tangible business goals, you need to begin with those goals, identify the requirements for the end solution and then identify a platform that can meet those goals.

  • Sebastian Leitz

    Nobody seems to know Contao 🙁

  • Agree with the last 3 metrics. 😀

  • probably, my favorite article so far when it comes to wordpress, joomla and drupal comparison.

  • Great article! Would love to see the raw data. 😛

  • Anonymous

    Joomla is the best of all three worlds for me in my experience.

    I’ve developed in Drupal, WP and Joomla for many companies, news organizations and so on.

    In designing and developing, I found that the site managers implementing content to the site(s) are key. Take account the learning curve in these three products. Joomla has been the choice for clients as it’s level of difficulty is moderate compared to Drupal. Now WP seems a tad wimsicle where its robustness doesnt compare to Drupal.

    WP is nice for smaller projects, small businesses but even that can be debatable, but Drupal and Joomla offer more as a developer. Ultimately, With Joomla 1.8, u can pretty much do all of what Drupal 7 and WP have to offer. It gives site managers great ease in learning to use the product while providing great features.


    • I agree. The reason why I use WordPress is because it focuses on the users, not on the site managers or on the designers. Ultimately, when designing and installing a site, 99% of my maintenance time will be spent on dealing with what users do, and for that, WordPress is difficult to beat — although a very personalised Drupal backoffice which gives users just the options they need is a compromise (and possibly a good strategy as well!).

      Of course, for developers wishing to develop as much as possible from scratch, and caring little about what users are going to do (specially if it’s a site where nobody will have access to the backoffice; a typical example being a social networking site, for instance), I guess that Drupal would be the better choice.

    • Anonymous

      if you have a job as IT admin for a single company, yeah, I’d go with Drupal or WP, but like Gwyneth said, WordPress is about the USER. for those of us who have a small business that wants a website, one that we DON’T have to keep helping them update, WP is the way to go.

      Sure Drupal and Joomla offer more to the developer, but how often do you actually have to use it? 

  • why would google adwords for Drupal be double the other two if it is so bad?

    i have only used Drupal for the last 3 years and find it very easy to use and flexible – sure I could say the same for the others if I was to have used them as much.

  • Nice Infographic.  I would like to see how DotNetNuke, the largest Microsoft stack open source CMS also compares.  My guess is somewhere between Joomla and Drupal KPI wise.

  • Anonymous

    We’re taking Google Sites to new heights and I hope to see it here among these mainstays soon. If you thought Google Sites was just an intranet, think again. It perhaps the easiest to use and has great potential. Google has been throwing updates for it every moth and I would expect this Internet giant to dominate the scene when a sort of “Google Sites 2.0” breaks through.

  • ok, great! WordPress is the best cms-bloggin platform, but Durpal and Joomla! are not only blogging-platform. Can i use a wordpress for ecommerce site?! Or use it for a webchat!? Uhm i think not.
    Why this comparison? Drupal and Joomla are a cms for other goal, and not for only bloggin.
    I suggest a next comparison: Win7/iOS/Fedora15 who is better to develop a free software?!
    Forgive me for my errors! =)

    • You said, “Can i use a wordpress for ecommerce site?! Or use it for a webchat!? Uhm i think not.” May I ask “why not”? A lot of people do, you know…

    • Anonymous

      uh what? I’ve made some great ecomm stores with wordpress, and who still does “webchat”, though there are plenty of IRC plugins for wordpress.

      Win7/iOS/Fedora15 who is better to develop a free software?
      Ummmm, what? since when does Operating systems have anything to do with developing software? Frameworks have nothing to do with OS (other then if they work on it or not). 

  • Design Indaba

    I love rock climbing!!!!!

  • Jape

    This review is just what I was looking for, and just what I expected based on sites my peers and I have developed. I feel that it’s fairly unbiased, and that this comment box doesn’t miss TOO many keystrokes on my 2.1ghz dual-core.

  • What do the cute icons on the three last rows mean? 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I used to be a big Joomla fan but after working with WordPress which I had initially dismissed as merely a blogging tool, I can’t easily justify the use of Joomla or Drupal for most sites anymore. Another key factor is that I barely have to train my clients to use WordPress but with Joomla and Drupal I can spend days of training clients who blame me for the shortcomings of the backend design of Joomla and Drupal.

  • Anonymous

    lolwut? the graphics made perfect sense to me, all 3 will get you from A to B, but a unicycle is harder to learn then a bike but a bike is harder then walking (as goes walking, hiking, and rock climbing). There is no indication of one being better then another, in terms of ease of use these comparisons are spot on.

  • Anonymous

    because this article was written in July and you commented in August.

  • Damian Henry

    I have used all 3 systems and they all have there uses. wordpress for blogging and simple websites. Joomla for more complex projects but want to stay within a simple layout. Drupal to build a full custom CMS for just about anything. I would never attempt to build a warehouse tracker in WordPress when it can be done in both Joomla and Drupal with ease. In addtion I wouldnt use Drupal or Joomla for a simple website.

  • Jane Doe

    JohnDoe (aka Troll), your tripe is a piss poor excuse for a comment. Either try to add to the conversation in a meaningful way or STFU. 

    BTW, I’m a Drupal developer on a Windows platform. Just thought I’d mention that as your opinion of WordPress and Apple didn’t offend me in the least. Your complete lack of intelligence, however, DID offend me. 

  • I’ve been using these three cms for almost 4 years now.
    And I believe WordPress is the best among them.
    Although wordpress is poorly coded compare to joomla and drupal. It is easier to understand specially for beginner developer.
    Why worry of coding? WordPress has a lot of ready to use plugins. And it is increasing everyday.
    On my opinion, WP is the best CMS.

  •  E-commerce: If you propose to have an e-commerce site, see that payment processing systems and shopping cart are properly integrated till the checkout process and they function smoothly.

  • Kevin Trye

    For many years I used Mambo, then Joomla, tried Drupal (hated it. This system is powerful, but only for hard core php geeks who love a daily challenge).

    The last couple years (since v3) it’s 100% WordPress for me, primarily because it’s 2-3 times faster to get a slick looking, high functioning website built. Time is money and the simple fact that the wordpress platform allows me to more than halve the overall design-development cost appeals to A LOT of my new clients. We spend less time with the actual coding, meaning more funds are available for website marketing and content etc. i.e. Getting traffic.

    Am also finding that the developer community is larger and much more responsive. With select plugins (like Gravityforms, Pippin etc) I can now do things that were always difficult in Joomla. The Studiopress framework means I can build a unique child theme from a PSD file in half the time of a Joomla theme (generally a day), and together with tools and advice from Yoast SEO, my WordPress sites always appear far higher up in a Google search result, in less time and effort than in Joomla (or any other CMS platform). Those websites we convert from static get a huge traffic boost, far more than my Joomla CMS sites, which took me twice as long to build.

    Just for the Google search/SEO and blogging features alone WordPress is the obvious choice. The others are just for corporates or government agencies that need a lot of back-end integration and have unlimited budgets. I’ve several of my old Joomla sites we’re converting over to WordPress to improve their seach ranking and to encourage them to ‘blog’ more which also helps traffic and sales.

    The hidden technological benefits of one CMS platform over another mean little if you’re after business results and an ROI.

  • This is great if you’re a beginner, because you can use different tools in Drupal to contain and merge different ideas. When working on a website, most programmers will look for specific modules that cannot be merged to include on the website. When you first use it, Drupal may not seem as flexible as it turns out to be. Once you learn the program, the possibilities are almost limitless. If you’re new at it, Drupal is flexible and user-friendly, yet its power provides the professional programmer with opportunity to expand ideas to new and greater levels.

  • Thomas

    I have so much hassle trying to find decent blogs, it seems most people runs them to earn some extra funds
    Added this on my Facebook, very good

  • Actually it depends on what is require, for flexibility WordPress suits well but other than to express words Joomla is best. Drupal is less preferable according to my views in comparison to WordPress and Joomla.

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