A content management system (CMS) is the framework that makes your website work—it structures your content and provides administration features that help you run your site without having to know too much about coding.
The three most popular content management systems are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. If you’re on the fence about which one to go with, here are some of the similarities and differences between them that you should know about.
Does WordPress really need an introduction? Easily the most popular platform in the world, WordPress is ideal for small to medium-sized websites. It’s used whole orders of magnitude more than the others, with a 60% share of the entire marketplace.
The strength of WordPress is really in the blogging engine—other pages can be created, but there’s not as much flexibility as with other content management systems. WordPress is also probably the easiest platform to administer, precisely because it was made for non-experts. Take, for example, the initial install. Many hosting services, including CanSpace, offer a one click install that is really hard to beat if you’re looking for a CMS that’s ready to go “out of the box”.
It’s easy to change the look of your WordPress site with the robust ecosystem of themes that are available. The user can quickly switch themes and the content on the site conveniently reformats to the new theme. There are quite literally thousands of WordPress themes out there, some paid and some free.
With that being said, themes aside, WordPress isn’t necessarily very intuitive to modify. There are the plugins, of course: tens of thousands of them that can help you build on the simple framework and modify it (within reason) to your needs. But if you need any custom features, you might be better off with one of the more robust platforms below.
When it comes to website security, WordPress is the biggest target of the three due to its sheer market share. However, WordPress has been great at addressing security issues, and its auto-update features mean that website owners don’t have to always remember to do a manual update to ensure their site is secure.
In terms of available support, even though WordPress is open source, its thriving online community of users means you can usually find an answer to any question very quickly on the support forums or elsewhere online.
Joomla falls somewhere between WordPress and Drupal on the flexibility/complexity scale. It can be used to create simple websites, but Joomla really shines with sites that involve a community of users all posting content.
Like WordPress, Joomla also has themes available, but because the platform isn’t nearly as popular as WordPress, users may not be satisfied with the number of theme options out there.
If you want the ultimate in flexibility, Drupal is likely your content management system of choice. Of course, this flexibility also comes at a price — Drupal is less intuitive and requires some knowledge of CSS, HTML, and PHP.
Drupal’s features make it great for more complex websites that might have different types of content organized under a custom taxonomy. Drupal was also set up with site performance in mind, which means that it’s more lightweight and runs faster than the others for a site of the same size.
Drupal has the same issue with themes that Joomla has—neither can come close to the sheer number of quality themes that are out there for WordPress. A part of this is due to the fewer users of Drupal, and also due to the fact that more people tend to modify Drupal sites extensively rather than pick a stock theme and stick with it.
Our advice? Unless you have a specific reason not to, or work with a tech person who has a different preference, go with WordPress. At CanSpace Solutions, we support all of them, so it’s really up to the customer to find the one that works best for their purposes.
If you’re still having trouble making up your mind about which content management system to choose for your next site, we can help! Reach out to us with your specifications and requirements, and we can make some recommendations based on these!