If you’re thinking about building a website or blog, you should consider using one of the best CMS available in the market.
A CMS (content management system) helps you create, manage, and modify the contents of your website without the need for any HTML or CSS coding skills.
While WordPress powers more than 43% of all websites on the internet, it’s not the only open-source content management system (CMS) in the market. There are other popular software options available like Joomla and Drupal.
All three of them have a lot in common and many significant differences. Each one of them is a unique website builder with pros and cons.
In this article, we will compare WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal to find out which one is the best choice for you.
What are the similarities between WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal
All three CMSs were founded or created between 2000 and 2005. They’ve been around for some 20 years and are relatively mature pieces of software.
They have a few core elements in common.
Firstly, they are all open source: the software is available for people to use under a free license and it is developed collaboratively. This means that they are cost-effective – no license fees are due, and the large communities working with and surrounding these CMS platforms ensure that:
- new concepts and capabilities are introduced more quickly,
- issues that arise with the software can be dealt with more quickly, and
- reliability and security are vetted more broadly.
Secondly, they are all based on PHP as a programming language and use MySQL for database storage.
All three have developed a large community and ecosystem around themselves, which we will discuss and compare later.
Finally, they all use themes and templates to style your site or application and offer plugins/modules/extensions to complement the features you can achieve in the core platforms.
Costs and Expense Comparison for the Best CMS
Talking about the costs involved in using any of these CMS gets really tricky real fast.
Here’s the deal:
- Each of these three best CMS is 100% free in itself – you can download either one directly from the official websites in just a couple of clicks
- But there are other side costs that you have to take onto yourself
These side costs involve chiefly two things: a domain name and web hosting.
- A domain name is your website’s address on the web. This website’s domain name is
websitesetup.org. Buying and keeping a domain online costs around $10 annually.
- A web hosting setup is where your website sits and from where your visitors can access it. Good hosting starts at ~$3 a month.
Building your website on either of our three best CMS will cost the same in terms of the domain name and hosting.
One more thing…
While the CMS platforms are free to download, in some cases, users will want to extend the native feature sets of their CMS with extra modules and/or designs.
- WordPress plugins available for $0-$200
- Joomla plugins: $0-$70
- Drupal plugins: $0-$100
The same thing goes for themes – installable design packages. You’ll find:
- WordPress themes available for $0-$250
- Joomla themes: $0-$200
- Drupal themes: $0-$80
All three of the best CMS have add-ons in roughly the same price range. Ultimately, you don’t have to buy any add-ons if you don’t have the budget.
In the end, if you intend to get only the bare minimum, your bill is going to be:
- $10 (domain name) + $3×12 (hosting) = ~$46 a year
How good are they for Search Engine Optimization?
Key SEO factors, like page load times (through caching techniques or Content Delivery Networks) or schema.org implementations, can be managed in all three CMSs.
WordPress offers excellent SEO functionality through the market-leading Yoast plugin. Extensions like EFSEO for Joomla provide similar features, yet don’t seem to be able to match Yoast’s powerful functionality and usability. On top of this, WordPress has added new SEO functionality to its core platform, such as native SEO sitemaps, which were developed in collaboration with Google developers.
The Popularity of the Best CMS
The popularity contest is actually a no-contest. WordPress takes this round hands down. Take a look at this chart – it presents the usage of content management systems on the web:
Here are the numbers in raw:
- WordPress is used on more than 43% of the entire web.
- Joomla 1.7%
- Drupal 1.3%
How easy are they to use?
In spite of some well-publicized accessibility issues with the introduction of Gutenberg, WordPress is generally thought to be a more accessible website builder for content editors, which is why it is often requested as a platform.
When a CMS is “written by developers for developers”, it is very likely to have usability issues for its end users – the content editors. Especially when compared to WordPress, Drupal’s content creation process is often described as “anything but simple”.
Security and Updates
You can expect a new WordPress version update roughly every 50-60 days. Many of those updates are minor and just fix small bugs and issues here and there. Bigger WordPress releases come out a couple of times a year.
Small Joomla updates come out a bit more frequently, roughly every 10-40 days, but the bigger ones come only about once a year or even less frequently. Joomla version 3.9 has been with us since 2018, for instance.
Drupal works on a set release schedule, delivering one bugfix update and one security update a month. Bigger updates – major versions – come around two times a year.
Which CMS is right for me? WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla?
If you are a blogger or you just need a simple digital shop front, the choice of CMS is easy: WordPress is the way to go. It is easy to use, free and has a huge community constantly updating the functionality and security of the platform.
If you need something slightly more complex or advanced there are some considerations for you to make. It all depends on your needs compared to the pros and cons or strengths and weaknesses of the different CMS platforms.
Which CMS is best for complex platforms?
When it comes to functionality, the requirements for most businesses can be achieved on any of the three CMSs. Over the past 15 years, they have all grown to cover the needs of any digital venture, whether eCommerce, eLearning, or membership platform. Some things may take more effort to achieve on one, but they are likely to be offset by other functionality that is easier to produce.
We have highlighted below which CMS, in our opinion, is the “winner” of the different factors we have considered. You will need to decide how important each of these factors is for your venture and how much of an advantage the respective CMS will give you on each of them.