CMS, standing for content management system, is an application enabling users to create and modify their website in the use of a common user interface. This application now has become one of the most powerful tools for web developers since PHP.
As is the trend that more and more developers are exploring a faster and easier way to build a website, the Open Source CMS emerges as the times require. However, there are now thousands of CMSs floating around the web and finding the right one seems to be an ordeal for many developers. To ease the difficulty level, this article will only discuss how to make the right choice among WordPress, Joomla, and Drupla—the three leaders in CMS world.
Which CMS Should You Choose?
Being the giants in the CMS world, WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, which have been around since 2003, 2005, and 2000 respectively, are all free of charge and built with open source technology allowing developers to use, customize and edit the core files on demand. More than that, whenever a person discovers good idea for improving the platform, he/she can send it to the developers to help them have a cooler engine in the next update.
Even though, some readers may still have no idea of which CMS is best for you. To solve this problem, we are going to analyze the three platforms one by one in below to bring a comprehensive understanding of them.
WordPress is a very popular choice used for small and entry-level websites. Designed as a blogging platform initially, WordPress now has been a member in the most powerful CMS list among web developers. It features in a quite user-friendly administration interface that has served hundred of thousands of bloggers.
Due to its user-friendliness discovered by many developers, they now have developed a number of extensions and plugins to satisfy more people, and BuddyPress is one of them. This plugin makes it possible for WordPress developers to have any type of community website, and its functionality can be used for other systems as well but it overwhelms them in terms of ease-of-use.
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Joomla is designed as an open source community platform initially, thus coming with strong social networking features. As Joomla is more complex than WordPress, developers with little knowledge of this CMS may need to spend more time getting used to modifying it. For a beginner, he may find it difficult to do some necessary manipulations with Joomla, like positioning modules on different pages, assigning plugins to modules, and configuring layout, etc.
On the other hand, many solutions to common web design problems can be found in Joomla extensions and community. However, many of these problems are still remain hard to resolve within WordPress. In this sense, Joomla comes with more flexibility than WordPress but not as versatile as Drupal.
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When building a complex and advanced website, or a website requiring complex data organization, developers would think about Drupal. Instead of requiring custom coding as with WordPress or Joomla, many things have ready-made solutions in the default Drupal. More importantly, developers can use third-party extensions to enhance Drupal as well. Though Drupal is great for creating complex websites, it is not as easy to work with as WordPress.
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Some factors you should consider when choosing the perfect CMS
- Installation and complexity—Installation is the first thing you would need to do before you start using a CMS and all the three engines are easy to install with only several prominent differences. Drupal installation, among the three, looks a bit lengthy, while Joomla provides users with not many extra options and with a installer files deletion feature to make it secure. WordPress is the easiest one to install. It allows users to have it done in simple steps and with not much configuration during installation. However, all the three CMSs require basic information like user ID, database name and password.
- Ease-of-use—WordPress has a very simple interface, with which you will know how to create a good-looking online presence without hiring someone to do it for you. Due to that, it is perfect for websites that are managed by people with not much technical background, it also can be used for small websites always need the latest update. On the other side, Joomla features much more controls as well as settings that you can use to manage your site to be a greater extent. So, if you demand for some more challenge or want to learn more things about website creation, Joomla is probably the way to go.
- Website size—The last but not least thing you need to consider before making the final decision is the time you are willing to spend on developing and maintaining the CMS platform. If you plan to build a middle-size news or social network site, Joomla is enough. For a big online project demanding for lots of contributors, Drupal can be helpful, the premise is that you own the basic HTML and PHP coding knowledge. As for beginners that need to start with a mall website or just a blog site, WordPress is especially perfect for them.
Comparison between WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal
WordPress vs. Joomla
If you need more vivid choice of plugins, want more choices of ready-made design, desire for a simple blogging/selling platform but with low learning curve, WordPress would be a better choice. On the contrary, if you already have some basic knowledge of HTML or CSS, or you want to know more about how to use some wonderful hidden functions, or you love operating blocks and modules, Joomla can meet your needs better.
WordPress vs. Drupal
Choose Drupal over WordPress when you are in a situation of planning to scale your project immensely, loving figuring out interface, or hoping to use Drupal for some things that other CMSs can’t do.
Joomla vs. Drupal
We would like to recommend you to go with Drupal if you have rich experience in basic web design and have worked with CMSs, or if you hope to have a unique powerful website eagerly, or if you have a plan to hire an expert to help you build your website and manage it.
Equipped with this knowledge, I hope you now can know the basic differences between Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal. However, here are some suggestions for you when choosing the right CMS for your website: remember to have a comprehensive understanding of a certain CMS before making the final decision; have a clear awareness of your requirement, including your coding knowledge level and the size of website you plan to create.