WordPress and Drupal are two of the biggest players among the 45+% of websites that actually use a publicly available CMS. And while WordPress is away ahead of the curve in terms of market share, Drupal isn’t a hippie-Nobody either.
Actually, to be honest, after talking to a few Drupal developers and researching the platform myself, I kind of see it as an underappreciated Genius.
So is it true? Are we all fooled by WordPress’ huge, huge numbers? Is it the hive mentality or compulsion to conform at play?
In this article, I take off my WordPress developer persona and put on the most objective pair of glasses I could find to compare the two CMS on some key points.
What I found was an eye opener…
1. Easy to Use + Manage
Developers know the importance of an easy-to-manage website. It directly equates to happy clients and much appreciation for a job well done.
This is because many people are not necessarily IT whizzes or programming freaks. They just want to get things done: quickly, easily, and efficiently.
This should bring the first of all UX principles to mind. And this is why WordPress is the Kingpin of the CMS market today.
- With an intuitive admin panel that’s growing better with every version upgrade that WordPress rolls out, content and website management is cakewalk on WordPress. The WYSIWYG editor, the readily-available community of geniuses, the selectively configured auto-update features, and the newly launched native app/client Calypso which takes WP-admin to your own device makes WordPress Admin the unbeatable champion of User-friendly interfaces.
- Drupal is decidedly more complicated but has an awesome (albeit considerably smaller) community of developers. Upgrades may need entire redesigns and major code customization. The admin interface is responsive, but lacks the intimate, intuitive feel of a native client/app.
Ready made solutions:
The straightest route is through themes/plugins/widgets.
- WordPress, in all its immensity, has more to offer in this regard. Recent stats say the plugin repository at WordPress alone saw over 9,000 plugins submitted for public distribution in 2015 alone. Count in the 30-odd thousand plugins already available, along with those that can be purchased at marketplaces like Envato, and WordPress does spoil its users for choice.
- Once you get used to the vibrant variety of WordPress themes and plugins, Drupal will seem pretty bland. The choice is significantly more restricted, whether for free or premium themes/plugins.
3. Cost of Bespoke Solutions
This means specialized custom development work: from minor tweaks in the theme/plugins to entire sites built from scratch.
- Since WordPress is the dominant player in the market, there are countless developers capable of taking up the mantle. This means tough competition and dirt-cheap prices, and it’s why you can hire WordPress developers individually for rates as low as $15/hr or outsource the entire coding process to a WordPress development company without worrying about overshooting your budget by a long shot.
- Drupal developers, frankly, aren’t so easily found. There are thousands of them yes, but they also charge more per hour or on per project basis. Since the choice is pretty limited in themes and modules, you’ll end up requiring a Drupal developer’s assistance one way or another, and that will definitely be costlier than WordPress (for the same amount of time and complexity of project).
4. Security and Performance
Yes this round is worth 2 points.
- What makes WordPress awesome has its own side-effects.
The many plugins and widgets that users can download and use with abandon also equate to security vulnerabilities (especially if said plugins/themes aren’t being updated frequently by the developer and/or user). Also, plugins can cause errors and conflicts or add to page weight, leading to slow websites and bad UX and SERP rankings in general. The counter-measure is to add more plugins and regular upgrades.
- Drupal for (or due to) all its restrictions is pretty safe in this regard. With built-in caching system and enterprise grade security solutions, Drupal is the clear winner in this round. This is why you’ll find governments and state-run organizations using it.
This one will be a tough competition.
- Matt Cutts (Google’s ‘former’ Spam Specialist) said way back in 2009 that “WordPress takes care of 80-90% of (the mechanics of) Search Engine Optimization (SEO).” The platform hasn’t changed in that regard since. With a multitude of free plugins available to enhance SEO (Yoast), analyze and correct plugin bloat (P3 plugin), and improve performance (Total Cache, Image Compression plugins, Database Optimization plugins), WordPress doesn’t leave any stones un-turned in adhering to SEO best practices.
- Drupal is similarly well equipped, but built-in caching system put it a step ahead. Since Drupal is also able to handle significantly larger amounts of content (without affecting queries), it’s slightly faster out of the box.
- WordPress has prestigious brand names under its belt like Bata, BBC America, etc., extremely high traffic forums and blogs like Star Wars and Walt Disney, and content-heavy websites The New York Times and CNN. When you go through these websites, the first thing you’ll notice is brilliant designs, which makes the platform a clear choice for creative, engaging websites.
- Drupal is no slouch in the ‘outstanding clientele’ department with The White House, GQ India, and The Economist, etc. as its users. Basically, if you want a stable and highly scalable website without focusing too much on the “looks and feels”, Drupal is the way to go.
Objectively, the two platforms compare favorably in all the above mentioned scales.
It seems that developers and clients prefer Drupal for its sheer “under the hood” power, while WordPress is preferred for its superb adaptability and ease.
It’ll depend on where you’re standing
Author Bio: Lucy Barret working for an HTML to WordPress Conversion Company