Today I will compare two CMS that I have some quite long experience with and determine: What is the Best for Your Website, Drupal or WordPress
If you are looking to start a new website, there are a few different options available. In this post we will analyze to options and help you to decide what is better: Drupal or WordPress?
Both WordPress and Drupal are open-source CMS software, so they are great and extremely options for anyone who wants to build a website without spending much (or anything) on development.
Drupal or WordPress: Overview
Considering these two of the most popular content management systems, you can rest assured that both Drupal or WordPress will allow you to create a great website. However, they are not entirely the same, so we will try to check the main diverging points between these two CMS.
We will analyze the following features to determine which one is the most suitable CMS for your type of site: hosting, appearance, speed, security, plugins / modules and SEO.
You can jump directly to the part which you want to compare WordPress and Drupal.
1 – Hosting
2 – Appearance (Themes and Templates)
3 – Website Speed
4 – Security and Vulnerabilities
5 – WordPress Plugins and Drupal Modules
6 – Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
7 – Conclusion
8 – Why WordPress is so popular
1 – Hosting
When you are looking for a new hosting to start your Drupal or WordPress hosting, you will be bombarded with different offers. It is almost impossible that you won’t read somewhere the term “WordPress hosting”. But it is actually very rare to find an article with a good explanation of WordPress hosting means.
Now we will explain what WordPress hosting means and what options you have for WordPress and Drupal without the branded “WordPress hosting”.
WordPress hosting plans are those focused on custom made solutions for clients that will run WordPress on their servers. That includes WordPress backups, and I consider this the best advantage of WordPress hosting. It also includes other things of lesser importance such as uptime, plugin and software updates, analytic tools especially tailored for WordPress needs, etc.
But do you really need it?
It can be a good idea in some cases, especially when it comes to backups, but in general, it will not make a huge difference on your website. But WordPress hosting is normally more expensive.
If you will surely opt for WordPress and want to save time, WordPress hosting is definitely a good idea. Otherwise, any shared hosting plan will let you experiment with Drupal or WordPress until you reach a final conclusion.
WordPress hosting plans
If you are looking for a WordPress hosting, here are some options available:
WP Engine – WP Engine is the most famous WordPress hosting available, with very high-profile clients such as AMD and ASANA. The cheapest plan allows one install and up to 25 thousand visits a month. They have a lot of features on their WordPress hosting that will save you a lot of time, as you will not have to deal with the technical side of your WordPress hosting.
SiteGround – this company offers both WordPress hosting and the standard hosting options. The WordPress hosting is more expensive but has much more tailored for WordPress solutions, so it is definitely worth comparing their offers. They also have a good library of WordPress tutorials if you are interested to master all the aspects of your CMS.
Media Temple – offering extremely appealing WordPress hosting when it comes to pricing, this smaller company might be a good option. Their cheapest plan lets you host up to 2 sites, which I consider always positive. I think diversifying niches is a great option to avoid seasonality or any problem that you might have if you have just one site.
Drupal hosting plans
Some companies also offer hosting services tailored for Drupal users, and the advantage is that they are much cheaper than WordPress hosting plans. Here are some examples below:
GreenGeeks: This company has a very, but really, VERY cheap solution for Drupal hosting which includes unlimited webspace and data transfer.
SiteGround: just like for WordPress, SiteGround also offers a hosting solution customized for Drupal users. It also includes a free template for your Drupal install, which is a good way to save money.
TMDHosting: this less known company offers certified Drupal hosting for an extremely low price. The “Business Hosting” would be probably the best option as it supports SSL.
It is important to stress that you can buy a shared hosting plan which is not made exclusively neither for WordPress nor for Drupal, and install both CMS with one-click installs.
2 – Appearance
an WordPrress Theme
Both Drupal and WordPress have a varied number of free and paid themes to give your website a personal touch. But the differences are quite steep on the number of options and popularity.
WordPress has a much larger community of developers and users… and users willing to pay for a premium theme. That means that the number of themes in WordPress is by far greater than those of Drupal.
But this also has a bad side. The chances are you will stumble on some one other website using the exact same template as yours (it has happened with me). Although, if you customize your theme, these chances decrease significantly.
Drupal has much less themes available, but the number of websites using it is by far inferior. The level of “uniqueness” is higher, but you won’t have that much variety
Result: WordPress wins.
3 – Speed
Both Drupal and WordPress have excellent caching tools to increase your website speed. But other factors play a major role here, especially when it comes to hosting.
Choosing a hosting will be much more important than actually choosing between Drupal or WordPress. If you are going to serve clients from a specific geographical location, it would be better to have your hosting server in that area. But, as long as the server is fast, it shouldn’t be a great problem. You should also remeber that your site speed will influence SEO.
One advice I can give, regardless of which CMS you may choose, is to update as compressed images as possible. As long as you don’t lose much in terms of quality, smaller images will guarantee a faster website speed.
In this sense, there is nothing much to discuss, while Drupal has a better built-in caching structure, WordPress has great plugins like W3 Total Cache.
4 – Security
In terms of security, Drupal has a slight advantage. Since WordPress is much more popular, the number of hackers looking for vulnerabilities on this platform is great. But both WordPress and Drupal are subjects to SQL injections and cross-scripting attacks.
Even if WordPress has been doing a great job to constantly patch the software at every time there are some new vulnerabilities, new ones always pop up. Apart from database vulnerabilities, which are easier for WordPress to patch and fix, there are also vulnerabilities on plugins.
Since there is a huge number of plugins available on WordPress, chances are that one or the other will be subject to some sort of vulnerability, which can lead to problematic situations for webmasters.
In the case of cross site script (XSS) attacks both WordPress and Drupal may be subject to this time of vulnerability. However in my opinion, as there is more research into WordPress, there are more attacks target to it.
When it comes to SSL certificates I consider that both Drupal and WordPress have the same level of complexity to implement this feature. It is rather a smooth and simple procedure, which does not depend on the CMS itself.
Result: Drupal wins.
5 – Plugins / Modules
On WordPress they are referred as plugins while on Drupal they are known as modules. These are tools that normally do not come pre-installed with your CMS, and you have to download them according to your needs.
Since the community of WordPress is by far bigger, as we have said, it is logic that WordPress has more plugins. Drupal also has a large set of plugins and most functionalities that you can achieve with WP plugins are also possible with Drupal modules. But not all of them.
I would like to point that, if you have a modest web project that will not require complex features, Drupal or WordPress will do the job. That engulfs more than 90% of new entrepreneurs starting their websites which are basically divided in 3 types of website: Blog, Ecommerce, Company Page.
If you have a blog in which you will post different stories, both Drupal or WordPress will grant all the tools for a simple set up and usage.
On the Ecommerce website, depending on the type of product you want to sell, you may need a more complex plugin setup. I believe both WP and Drupal will manage it, but WordPress has more variety.
WordPress has a virtually infinite number of free plugins, and that weighs in favor of this CMS.
Result: WordPress wins.
6 – SEO
When it comes to CMS SEO, my opinion might be biased, but I am a great enthusiast of the Yoast SEO plugin. It heavily influenced the traffic to all of my websites.
The best news is that this plugin is available for both WordPress and Drupal.
Apart from installing Yoast SEO in your Drupal or WordPress website, there are a number of practices that you should follow to SEO your site. Having a Drupal or WordPress website will not bring any direct advantage in how your page will rank, but things like on page SEO and backlinks still count a lot. They will be much more determinant than the
As we can see, both WordPress and Drupal are highly competitive. One can hardly say that WordPress is much better than Drupal or vice-versa. However, considering the size of the community, the availability of plugins and the variety of themes, I would recommend WordPress for every beginner.
That doesn’t mean however, that you shouldn’t give Drupal a chance. Even if you opt for WordPress, you should do at least a test install of both content management systems. This will certainly broad your mind in terms of possibilities, and you will be able to choose not only from theory, but from your user experience, what is the best CMS.
What makes both WordPress and Drupal extremely successful is that they are open source software, and with a few exceptions, open source software tend to get popular, and often outperform paid versions. The collaborative development essence of both WordPress and Drupal are determinant not just to improve their performance, but also to increase its word of mouth reach.
But Why Is WordPress so Popular?
The first WordPress release dates back to 2003, when websites were mostly hard coded on HTML.
The amount of time one would normally spending building a very basic website was just enormous. And that is not everything, most websites looked horrible, were buggy and also had a number of security flaws. Why?
Because most website owners were hobbyists, online business was still building up, and most websites were still a rather part-time activity than business oriented. WordPress gave a chance to people to focus on content rather than coding, and it changed the website industry forever.
However WordPress wasn’t the first content system management that has been released. In fact, even Drupal started early than WordPress in 2000.
But WordPress is much more popular? How come it got so prevalent?
According to Wikipedia as of February 2016, 25.8% of all websites are running on WordPress. That is just an insanely high number. Among websites using CMS, WordPress is preferred by more than half of webmasters.
In my opinion, the greatest advantage of WordPress when compared to all other websites, is it’s ease of use. nowadays, you can run a relatively complex website without having to code a single line, and even see them in any point of your development process.
There are other solutions which also can do it, such as WiX, but the number of options that WordPress offers, and how fast you can implement any of these changes, is just excellent. Even if Drupal is constantly improving with their modules it will be very hard to reach the level where WordPress sits at the moment.