Drupal or Wordpress definitely make the most popular CMSs of the moment and considering that they do share quite a lot of similarities, too, making a straight choice between them can get quite energy and time-consuming.
How should you know for sure which one is THE one that will respond better to your web project's specific needs?
Before you dive into our in-depth comparative review of the two famous CMSs, (that we hope it will manage to steer you in the right direction), we need to put this straight right from the start: there is no such thing as “one is better or worse than the other”.
Both Drupal and Wordpress work wonderfully when it comes to suit specific needs, therefore, there' no question of hierarchy here, only a matter of “suitability” so to say.
Each one of the two is designed for a specific type of website (and, thereby, comes with a specific set of expectations from its future owner), that's all!
Drupal or WordPress: Which One Is More Advanced in Terms of Functionality?
Here's something to reflect on: Drupal's far more advanced functionality (compared to Wordpress's) is, at the same time its strength and its “Achille's heel”.
It all depends on the level of technical knowledge of the one deciding to “unleash” and handle its functionality. It can lure and be an “irresistible' challenge for some, but it can discourage others!
Drupal requires someone with more than “some” technical experience (or at least one who's well aware, from the start, that there is a steep learning curve involved) for handling all its various features- content types, taxonomies, blocks, views- and livening it up to its full potential. Once handled by “technical savvy hands”, it can handle all types of refineries that Wordpress can't: it can handle heavy content and multiple website stakeholders (website admins, content editors, publishers you name it).
As for Wordpress, it will definitely manage to cast a spell upon you if have basic technical skills. Designed as a blogging platform, Wordpress's performance can be affected to a great extent if it's “forced” to carry away a too heavy load of plugins and content “on its shoulders”. Otherwise, if you keep your Wordpress website light, it can reach pretty much the same level of performance as a content-stuffed, large-scale Drupal website.
See? Told you!
It all revolves around the type of website that you need to build (and also around your level of technical knowledge).
Drupal is more robust, but it's quite “picky” when it comes to “revealing its true power” to the one handling it: it's a CMS built by developers for developers, after all.
Wordpress keeps its performance within good parameters as long as you don't overload it (and it requires zero technical skills, too)!
Drupal or WordPress: Which One Is More Flexible?
HIGH PERFORMANCE and FLEXIBILITY sure are the 2 pillions of any great website on the online landscape, wouldn't you agree?
"Flexibility" is another word for “Drupal”. The CMS practically “overwhelms” you with a wide collection of free themes, modules and tempting customizing options, which you can pick, tweak and use for constantly editing and boosting your website's looks and performance.
And yet, it's a “gift with a twist” that Drupal makes you! There's no point in hiding it (and even we, as Drupal developers in Toronto aren't going to conceal this detail): you need to be a developer for efficiently handling all its modules. They require customization and therefore technical skills.
But once you've learned how to install, costume and update modules in Drupal, how to “unleash” all that extra functionality that these modules “encapsulate”: oh boy, it's such a confidence-booster! You'll get to build a website capable of handling thousands of users and thousands of content-stuffed pages!
Wordpress isn't a cheapskate, either, when it comes to “spoiling” its users with no less than “millions” of plugins and themes. Moreover, it definitely has a strong advantage for the non-tech savvy ones: you don't need to be that technical for successfully integrating all those plugins and perform all the needed editing yourself: on colours, font, layout, you name it. Ease peasy!
But you get to do all that only as regards small size websites, you should definitely keep that “tiny” detail in mind!
Drupal or WordPress: Which One Ranks Higher in Search Engines?
When comparing Drupal to Wordpress in matters of SEO-related features, what you should know is that there is no matter of “better” or “worse”! It's just a matter of “two different, yet equally efficient approaches”!
Let's dig into more details!
With “tantalizing” plugins, such as Yoast's SEO, Wordpress helps you ideally optimize your website for search engines in no time (and with no great technical skills required either, remember?). It “spoils” you with a quick and easy way of optimizing your site.
As for Drupal, it comes with a certain “edge” given by the fact that it can handle way larger websites. Loads of content and truckloads of daily visitors to handle, you can just figure it out yourself, come with a different approach to SEO, with totally different SEO needs and strategies. Moreover, you need to know what you're doing, when handling Drupal, if you want to efficiently optimize your site.
Here's another “detail” for you to reflect on: when it comes to page load times (and you're well aware of Google's “weakness” for websites that load fast) Drupal comes equipped with robust and (most important) out-of-the-box catching features, as compared to Wordpress, where you have caching plugins that you get to use for speeding up your website!
Drupal or WordPress: Which One Handles Security Better?
Whitehouse.gov is built on Drupal!
Need I say more? Drupal takes security to a higher level, that's for sure, and no wonder since it's been designed to suit the specific security needs of enterprise-level websites!
Wordpress, since it's been designed as a blogging platform, is more vulnerable. It takes just a hacked plugin for hundreds (or more) of Wordpress websites to get “infected”, so just reflect on this for a minute or two before you make your final choice.
Size does matter! The size of the website that you develop determines its future security needs, as well (so, you can't compare a blog to a governmental website, right?).
There's more! Choosing the right platform specific hosting application is decisive when it comes to managing security risks:
you have Acquia and Pantheon if you go for Drupal
you have WP Engine and since recently Media Temple, too, if you go for Wordpress
We, here, at our web development company in Toronto, manage to “sleep well at night” since we are Acquia partners!
Drupal or WordPress: Which One Is Easier to Use?
This is the aspect that Wordpress excels at! Anyone can use it!
You get to set up your Wordpress site and make it look sharp and functional in no time without having to be a programming languages guru! With its simple user interface, it turns building a website into a matter of minutes and even its customization doesn't pose great problems or causes severe headaches.
Things get a bit trickier with Drupal! It's not hard to use it, it's just a bit more challenging to learn how to use it in the first place!
Once “armed” with enough technical skill, the sky is the limit with Drupal: you can develop far more advanced (and therefore confidence-boosting) websites. Its interface, too, is easy to use, so that won't be a problem. It just requires a bit more time (and will) to learn how to mix and match its core features and how to edit anything in the back-end, too.
And, the good news is that it looks like Drupal 8 paves the way to turning its CMS more accessible for non-developers (such as content editors, for instance), too. So, there are chances that Drupal steals the “crown of easiness to use” away from Wordpress in the future to come! Stay tuned!
Also, you can relax: they both get your back covered!
That's right, both CMSs are supported by active user communities, so you can easily get the answers to your questions or the needed documentation!
Another highly important “detail” is that both Drupal or Wordpress reward you with freedom in terms of design! You get to design your templates to your liking, no matter which one of the CMSs you'll go for!
We'll end our comparative review with 3 last questions that you should ask yourself before you go for one CMS or another:
1. Does your future website have to handle multiple user permissions?
2. Will it feature multiple content types (and page templates)?
3. Does it require enterprise level security?