WordPress vs. Drupal: Which is right for you?
By: Kathryn Wells and Courtney Durgin
When transitioning to a new open-source website, deciding which content management system (CMS) to use is the first step in the process. The two giants in the space, WordPress and Drupal, offer the ability to create a user-friendly back end and a beautiful front end that will meet just about any business or functionality requirement necessary. So how do you choose which one is right for your business?
Historically, WordPress (well known for its robust blogging capabilities) has been used for sites that are more templated, focused on blog content, and simplistic in functionality. Drupal has been known for its additional security features and ability to customize permissions and create highly customizable templates.
As each CMS has evolved, and more and more user-created plugins or modules have popped up in each respective marketplace, these two CMSs have become equal in the eyes of most evaluators.
For a website that needs to be up and running on a tight timeline without any extra bells and whistles, WordPress offers many templates to use as a starting place. WordPress has also caught up to competitor Drupal with the establishment of an extensive plugin community. This plugin community has grown to now offer roughly 60,000 plugin options, which have enabled site capabilities that were previously unheard of for a WordPress site without a developer on hand. Because of this, WordPress has evolved to be the dominant CMS of choice in recent years due to its ease of use and controllable theme options for front-end users. In other words, a developer often isn’t necessary for many customizable site edits, which puts WordPress a step ahead of Drupal in the eyes of companies that lack development resources.
So, it comes as no surprise to hear that WordPress is the CMS of choice for a whopping 43.2% of all websites in 2022. This impressive stat is only expected to improve in future years, with the platform churning out new updates, plugins, and a user-friendly community forum full of answers to a wide variety of development questions.
On the other hand, Drupal is still a great CMS choice for companies that do have an in-house development team or that require a more complex site build. While there are Drupal themes, most Drupal projects start with a custom-coded theme, which will add time to your project timeline. Site load speed is another significant advantage for lightweight Drupal, making it the preferred choice for those sites that are larger in size and contain more media.
Drupal offers a much more robust security layer than WordPress. You have the ability to easily add roles and set very specific permissions for each of these roles. This allows you to have editors that can make changes to certain content types, like blogs, news, and events, while not having permission to modify core pages. When given the tools to succeed and in the right hands, Drupal can be a powerful way to create the website of your dreams.
While we have been increasingly recommending WordPress for teams with non-technical editors, we still value Drupal’s seemingly endless possibilities when there’s a developer on hand. If you’re left still searching for answers as to which CMS is the choice for you, be sure to keep these variables in mind:
- Functionality complexity
- User permissions necessary
- Site size & load speed
- Future maintenance plan
Given that these needs vary by project and there is no "one size fits all" recommendation in the web world, we always recommend starting with a thorough audit of your current site and creating a wish list of future site needs to determine the best game plan moving forward. Find out what will work best for your website by reaching out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.