WordPress

WordPress and Drupal Compared—The Pro’s and Cons of Each CMS

Should you use WordPress or Drupal for your next project—this is a common and fair question to ask. I have been using both content management systems, and both have their pro’s and cons. Planning for your project’s needs is critical in determining which CMS be sufficient.

Both content management systems are a pleasure to work with, but each one is better suited for certain demands. Overall, both WordPress and Drupal offer an amazing experience, but which one is right for you?

WordPress

WordPress is one of the most sought after publishing platform by new bloggers, and is unquestionably one of the most popular.

Pro’s

  • Easy process for migrating to Drupal
  • Simple install
  • Many themes available
  • Easily customizable
  • Very stable
  • Quickly ready for production
  • Built-in image and media handling
  • Popularity ensures third-party support will not be a problem

Cons

  • Look elsewhere for community-based sites
  • Extendable, but there are limitations
  • Questionable security (but reasonable turnaround time on fixes)
  • User roles are fairly restricted

Drupal

Drupal is an excellent choice for people that wish to create expandable and community focused sites.

Pro’s

  • If you can think it, you can create it
  • Amazing centralized community on the Drupal site
  • Powerful, extendable modules
  • Relatively easy to develop modules
  • Easy API reference
  • Fast growing
  • User roles completely customizable
  • New data types (nodes) are easily created and extended

Cons

  • Difficult and time consuming task for migrating to WordPress
  • The available themes leave much to be desired
  • Management of the site can become a full-time job
  • Lack of a built-in rich text editor (can be added with a module)
  • Lackluster image handling

The Outcome

The simplicity and efficiency of WordPress is amazing. I enjoy knowing that I can install WordPress and be blogging within minutes. It is familiar to me, and it works.

WordPress has also come a long way to maturing as a proper CMS, and more websites are finding it to be a great way to handle complex sites. (Revision 3‘s latest site was built using WordPress.) With time, I slowly see the WordPress development community making changes to the back-end to allow more expandability—similar to Drupal, but it will never be able to outperform Drupal in this manner alone, that is, unless there is a complete re-write (which is highly unlikely any time soon).

The amount of effort it requires to manage a Drupal site might not be worth it. This is also true if you are juggling multiple blogs. It can be a handful, and this is not the ideal situation for plenty of people.

I would reserve use of Drupal to sites that will be more than just a typical blog. If you want to create a community around a blog, then Drupal is perfectly fine. If your site will be handling many types of media, and needs to be extendable for the future, then Drupal, again, is an excellent choice.

To sum it all up, if you want a system that will work without the need to extend your blog into something more in the future, use WordPress, but if you want a CMS that can act as a blog and so much more, consider using Drupal. Something to keep in mind is the fact that WordPress’s export functions would easily allow you to move to Drupal, if required.

Author: jamesm

20 thoughts on “WordPress and Drupal Compared—The Pro’s and Cons of Each CMS

  1. Comparing Drupal and WordPress is a bit like evaluating
    sheep and cows, they are both good at slightly different
    things. I use both, each for a different purpose.

  2. Although we have limitation in both CMS like WP and Drupal
    Drupal have own feature like easily expandable content and URL controlling machanism unlike WP have own characteristics like without modification it is ready to use just installation required.

  3. Thanks for the great review.

    I agree with you that Drupal is much more extensible than WordPress, if you are looking to expand your website in the future you should start building your website on the great framework that Drupal has to offer, however if you are planning to use your website mostly for blogging, wordpress is a much faster solution since it’s administration is much easier to understand when you start using it for the first time.

  4. If you are getting lost in Drupal’s admin, install the Drupal Admin Menu module:
    http://drupal.org/project/admin_menu

    It puts all the admin menu items in a nice dropdown menu at the top of your site.

    Video demo here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1yblPg5z8U

    There are a lot of options in Drupal, but it’s pretty basic once you get the idea. The admin options are organized in categories based on function:
    * content
    * site
    * users
    * settings
    * logs

    Once you get over Drupal’s initial learning curve, it’s great

  5. I have used Drupal 3 times and WordPress once. WordPress seems pretty easy to get around by comparison. For me this is simply due to the positioning of the admin menu bar. I hope Drupal rethinks its crazy too many clicks admin menu. That for me is its only painful attribute. I am a repeat user and I still get lost finding my way around.

  6. Drupal is great for certain people. I do use it as well.

    Hopefully you continue to explore Drupal to its fullest extent!

  7. Are they really THAT different?

    They both serve the same purpose—publish content.

    Not downplaying your concern, but it isn’t like I’m comparing Windows Vista to a dial-up modem. 😉

  8. Thanks for offering this insight. I agree with many of your points. I also am in agreement about Django.

  9. I just started using Drupal a few days ago and its a bit intimidating but not over the top crazy or anything. Its pretty fun to use, I haven’t gotten very far but its been interesting.

  10. This comparison tries to mix two platforms with very distinct approaches. As even the two program’s blurb slogan might tell you, there’s a difference if one wanted to build a system for “Community Plumbing” focusing on an effortless member administration (among others) or, as WordPress does, target the wide open market for a “Blog Tool and Weblog Platform”.

  11. I’ve used both Drupal and WordPress, and I think it’s worth the effort to get over Drupal’s initial learning curve.

    With Drupal you can start with a simple site, but it has enough power to expand the scope of the site later. Drupal has advantages like:

    • complete URL control — WordPress has very limited URL control. You are stuck with one type of URL for all content.
    • multiple content types (CCK)
    • Drupal has views
    • Drupal has multiple taxonomies (categories)

    There is a list of longer benefits of Drupal here.

    Django is great, but the development is really slow. I think the 1.0 release is now more than a year late. Django isn’t a CMS like Drupal or WordPress; it’s a programming framework. Also, it’s easier to find PHP programmers for Drupal than Python programmers for Django. At this point, the Drupal community is much larger than the Django community:
    http://trends.google.com/websites?q=djangoproject.com,+drupal.org&sa=N

  12. For the record, I didn’t say WordPress is “just a quick and dirty blogging tool.” I did, however, say that I like that it can be used as such. I am fully aware of the complete CMS potential that WordPress possesses, but if you wanted such design, you would be better of considering an alternative. Just an FYI

    Also, thanks for mentioning Django. I never heard of it before, and I will need to keep it on my radar.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  13. WordPress is not just a quick and dirty blogging tool. Websites are beginning to use it as a full fledged CMS, with a myriad plugins for beautifying the display of Custom Fields such as Fresh Page.

    Plugin availability for WP platform surpasses every alternative by miles, which is why we dropped Movable Type despite the latter’s stability.

    Drupal is a beast. Plain and simple. Even when you install it and get it working after teething experiences, some of the stuff is anal-retentive, e.g., the commenting system.

    If you are indeed willing to spend such time and effort, you might as well do so on Django, which is an exemplary masterclass in coding and the community is even tighter and more responsive than Drupal’s.

  14. When I said “typical blog” I was referring to the well-known style of just a reverse chronological order of the entire contents. In that sense, most blogs are like that.

    Future extensibility, I do agree that Drupal wins out, but it is a lot more effort to do so. Also, failure to properly plan with Drupal can result in a bad system to begin with. Drupal’s primary appeal is also a big turn off for new bloggers and those without coding/theming experience.

    I do like Drupal, but I must say, it is nice to be able to just quickly perform a WordPress install, download a kick-ass theme, and move on to blogging. You just can’t get that from Drupal quite yet.

    I do really love the Drupal community though. Such a wonderful bunch of folks.

  15. You forgot at least one more thing: you can host multiple blogs/websites on multiple domains with Drupal – all by using the same code.

    That is, to update Drupal, the modules and the theme, you only need to copy the files *once*. There’s a flexible file system, so that you can use most modules/themes for most blogs and several customized modules/themes for individual sites – and you can still have that without any confusion.

  16. Actually, Drupal is much more flexible, than WordPress, and once you know Drupal inside out (mostly how to use the modules and which ones to use), then you will probably even setup blogs on it.

    Yes, there is a learning curve, but if you want to really run with it, you may want to consider Drupal, after all.

    For easy to setup and not worry about the site blogs (first-time bloggers, most likely), WordPress should probably be the choice.

  17. Good write up. WordPress is incredibly easy to use and I must be on my 50th install / customization by now. We’re slowly but surely getting into drupal based sites, which from the research shows that its the best platform out there for the job.

  18. Great review! My fellow blogger and I went through the same type of investigation when looking for a suitable platform.

    We also came to the same conclusion: for flexibility, ease of use, and the ability to hit the ground running, WordPress is the clear choice.

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