These days, building a new website is not a hard nut to crack. Anyone can create a website with the help of tools and technologies available for the website development without having any knowledge of coding. Content Management Systems (CMS) are those technologies and tools, which allow developing fully-functional websites without needing to write a single line of code. They are used for creating and managing websites without any hassles. However, there are several CMS available out there. Drupal and WordPress are one of the most popular content management systems. This explains why today’s match is Drupal vs WordPress.

Drupal and WordPress are used for developing a range of websites: from simple blogging portals to sophisticated eCommerce websites. When it comes to developing a website, people get confused about which CMS they should use to build their sites. Many people find it difficult to choose between Drupal and WordPress. Are you one of these people? Then you are in the right place. In this post, we will be comparing Drupal vs WordPress and understand which of them is the better choice for website development. 

Drupal vs WordPress: An Introduction

Drupal

Drupal is one of the older CMS’, released in 2000. It’s calculated that about 3% of websites globally use Drupal while its community counts as much as 1.5 million members. The logo of Drupal is a drop – the same theme that inspired its name. In September 2019, The Drupal Association announced newly appointed board members to help advance its mission.

So who’s using Drupal? Here are some notable sites:

  • tesla.com
  • wholefoodsmarket.com
  • economist.com
  • wmg.com
  • whitehouse.gov

Furthermore, according to Drupal, there is a plan for Drupal 9 by 2020.

a graph comparing Drupal vs WordPress interest over time
Interest over time according to Google Trends / Source: Screenshot

WordPress

One of the most common misconceptions regarding WordPress is that it’s mainly blogging platform. WordPress is way more than that. While it did start as a blogging tool, WordPress has evolved into the standard CMS choice. Released 3 years after Drupal, in 2003, WordPress is the most popular CMS. More than 60 millions websites use it, including 33.6% of the top 10 million websites as of April 2019, as reported by w3techs.com.

Here are 5 popular sites whose CMS of choice is WordPress:

  • thenewyorker.com
  • time.com
  • techcrunch.com
  • nationalarchives.gov.uk
  • sony.com

Regarding WordPress’ future, as its creator, Matt Mullenweg has stated: “The future of WordPress is in social, mobile, and as an application platform.”

Now, let’s break down the differences between Drupal vs WordPress.

Ease of use 

As compared to WordPress, Drupal seems incomprehensible due to an intimidating interface. Moreover, installing Drupal to your host is pretty easy as different hosts provide the option to install various content management systems including Drupal in the backend of hosting environment. With this platform, you will need to hire a Drupal developer to create a customized theme as it might be difficult for you to build a custom theme for your site. 

It is quite easy to start from zero and build a fully-functional website with WordPress. It might be the platform of your choice when it comes to developing a website with limited or no knowledge of website development. You can also hire a WordPress developer to build, customize, and handover a website to you. In fact, ease of use is one of the main reasons why people prefer WordPress for developing their sites. Plus, in minutes, you can install WordPress on your host with simple one-click install option available on most of the hosts.

Result: WordPress is the winner.

Website security

Drupal is highly secured and due to a low user base as compared to WordPress, it is much securer than WordPress. In fact, security is a critical feature for Drupal. Its security is further strengthened with the regular monthly updates. However, there is nothing, which is 100% secure on the internet, hence Drupal websites might be vulnerable to various threats for any reason. 

Website security is a paramount concern for every site owner. While every CMS provides a highly secure environment to create and manage websites, there is a large proportion of risk with WordPress. This is because it is the most popular web development platform. Therefore, it is the prime target for most of the hackers and malware. Nonetheless, WordPress core is very secure and robust platform and most vulnerabilities come from the users’ end. 

Result: Drupal is the winner.

Plugins & themes

Though Drupal isn’t as popular as WordPress, there are still a lot of extensions available for the users. Finding the available and required extensions might be an easy task for experienced users or professionals with a strong technical background. However, this does not usually apply to beginners. All in all, it’s a bit effort-demanding and time-consuming to get extensions for Drupal websites. The same is true for themes also. But, with some knowledge and experience, you will be able to pick the right theme for your site. 

Screenshot from WordPress plugins menu
WordPress plugins / Source: Screenshot

There is a vast WordPress community that provides solutions for different requirements. You can find tons of themes and plugins from WordPress repository which are both free and priced. There are lots of plugins to choose from, and these can fulfil various website requirements from loading speed, SEO, to security. 

Result: WordPress is the winner. 

Speed

When it comes to having delightful user experience and good ranking of your site, a fast-loading website is an absolute necessity. Your site might be the most beautiful piece of design on the internet, but it’s not worth if it takes ages to load. Drupal enables you to develop fast-loading and high-performing websites. The most crucial reason for why it’s fast-loading is because Drupal is not very resource-intensive. Drupal is more lightweight compared to WordPress. Hence it becomes the first choice for those who want to build websites with thousands of pages. 

Speed is one of the shortcomings of WordPress. However, it doesn’t mean that WP sites can’t be fast. Many webmasters fail to optimize their site in the right way that’s the reason their sites lag behind in terms of speed. Things like using too many plugins, poorly coded themes, and unoptimised websites are some reasons for slow WP websites. 

Result: Drupal is the winner. 

Flexibility

Next is flexibility. You will need to deal with modules and extensions for customizing your Drupal website. Though there are some starter themes, you would like to customize the theme to get greater potential of your site. Drupal does provide various themes and plugins in terms of themes, modules and extensions, but finding the right solution for everything might be daunting. 

When it comes to WordPress though, there are tons of themes and plugins which webmasters can use to enhance the appearance and extend functionalities of their sites. There is always a solution for everything in terms of plugins for WordPress. Customizability is a good advantage with WP, which enables the webmasters to change different aspects of their websites.

Result: WordPress is the winner.

Learning curve 

The last point of conflict of our Drupal vs WordPress fight is the learning curve. For Drupal, the learning curve is steep as its interface might be complicated for a beginner or non-technical person. To create a website with Drupal, you need to possess some basic technical knowledge. Plus, you will have to have robust technical skills to handle your website on your own. 

On the other hand, WordPress doesn’t have such a steep learning curve. WordPress offers a simple and fully-functional way to do anything with your site without even knowing anything about coding. With its intuitive interface, one can easily reformulate distinct aspects of their websites as per their tastes and preferences. There is a huge repository of themes and plugins from where webmasters can choose any theme and plugin to enhance their website’s appearance and functionality. 

Result: WordPress is the winner.

Drupal vs WordPress: Conclusion

Choosing the right CMS is an important decision, which will have a longstanding impact on your business. Once created, your website will represent your business on the internet. Therefore, it should be as per the expectations of your site visitors. Even a single problem on your site might put its stake at risk. Hence, choosing a content management system is an essential step towards making a successful website. Based on the points discussed in this blog above, we can infer that Drupal is a robust CMS having many excellent features. WordPress is also a reliable and powerful CMS with outstanding features along with plenty of theme and plugin options. 

a chart comparing the abilites of Drupal vs WordPress
Drupal vs WordPress in a picture

However, you should choose a CMS that serves you better. While all CMSs have advantages and some disadvantages, there are traits in every CMS that suits particular projects. You can pick a CMS when it fits your needs and serves the required purpose.