Drupal Vs WordPress: 3 Key Differences to Know Before You Make the Final Choice
Drupal Vs WordPress: Wondering which CMS to choose? We can help.
Drupal and WordPress are efficient content management platforms that enjoy popularity among businesses and ordinary users across the globe. They are both open-source, easily extensible solutions that assume no programming skills for basic level management. While they share some characteristics, they also differ in certain aspects, such as ease of use or data protection. In this post, we tackle the WordPress Vs Drupal dilemma and highlight 3 areas where you can’t put the equal sign between the two. We hope this comparison will help you choose the right system for your project.
At the dawn of the Internet era, creating websites and editing their content was a task that only professional webmasters were able to perform adequately. As web technologies became more sophisticated, the first content management systems saw the light of day.
They were not very user-friendly but accomplished an extremely important mission. They allowed almost everyone without a technical education to build their own site, publish content, and modify it. That was a revolution.
Since that time, the CMS market has been growing by leaps and bounds, with new platforms popping up like mushrooms. These days, there are so many solutions like these that choosing one for your project can be a puzzle hard to solve on your own.
We regularly compare different content management systems to give you insights into each and weigh your options accurately. This time around, we have two great platforms in our laser focus: Drupal Vs WordPress.
They were both among the first CMSs to enter the market and share a number of characteristics. They also have unique features that make each a good tool for a specific purpose. Below, we take a close look at the latter so that you can make the bull’s-eye selection when facing the WordPress Vs. Drupal dilemma.
Drupal Vs WordPress: A Few Preliminary Words
History, General Perception, and Popularity
When they hear the word “WordPress,” most users think about blogging. That’s exactly how this content management system was conceived back in 2003 — as a tool to let everyone spread their word around the Internet in the DIY fashion.
WordPress has “grown a lot of meat” (features) since its first release, but it’s still widely regarded as a simple content-publishing solution for the masses. 30.6+ million live websites powered by WP are a good illustration of this.
While you can take WordPress as a small/mid-sized hammer for building websites, consider Drupal a big sledgehammer. To begin with, it’s older than the other platform — WordPress’s three years senior. Drupal is also a more programmer-focused tool and not particularly user-friendly (although the team is currently trying to change this).
Perhaps this added complexity is the main reason why Drupal currently powers only 1.5+ million live sites worldwide. On the bright side for Drupal enthusiasts, many of these sites belong to state agencies, large corporations, or world-famous higher education institutions.
Before we proceed to discussing the key areas that distinguish Drupal from WordPress, let’s touch briefly upon some things that make them similar. This will show you that both these content management platforms can bring you value, whichever of them you choose. It’s only details that make them a good fit for one type of project or another.
Some Things in Common
Zero Cost for the Off-the-Shelf Solution
Whichever side in the Drupal vs WordPress debate you ultimately take, the initial cost of using each is zero. That’s because both are open-source tools. You can use their code in any way you want to meet your requirements. This also means you don’t have to splash out on licenses as is the case with commercial software.
Alas, there’s a blot on the landscape. It costs you nothing to download and install both systems on your local machine. However, you’ll have to pay for web hosting so that your site can go live. Also, factor in additional services such as fixing issues if something goes wrong, and you may have to use professional assistance. Other expenses are possible, too.
Not a Geek? You Can Still Launch and Run Your Site Without Coding
The initial idea of content management systems was to let an ordinary user achieve the same goal programmers do but without writing a line of code. So when considering the WordPress vs. Drupal dilemma, knowing how to code is not necessary for simple tasks.
More fine-grained customization does call for programming in PHP, especially with Drupal. If it’s nothing but a simple blog, you will hardly need to look under the system’s hood.
Another similarity between Drupal and WordPress is their fantastic ability to add new features easily through plugins (WP) or modules (Drupal). By adding a plugin or module to your site, you can perform virtually any function. For example, you can quickly make a copy of your WordPress site content and database with backup plugins.
If this is not enough, you can use various APIs to extend the functionality of your website even further. Read one of our blog posts to learn about the Drupal 8 core third-party integration features. WordPress, in turn, can integrate with external software like MailChimp via plugins.
Not Created for E-Commerce but Can Be Used to Build Online Stores
Another reason for us to write WordPress and Drupal rather than WordPress vs. Drupal in this section is that neither was conceived as an e-commerce platform. This, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t use them to build powerful, revenue-generating online stores.
That’s because of the same awesome extensibility. Drupal provides several modules you can use for this purpose. One of the best is Drupal Commerce. We’ve explained why pairing Drupal 8 with Drupal Commerce is a good idea.
WordPress has its own trump to play a successful e-commerce game — the WooCommerce plugin. Using it with “normal” WordPress allows you to kill two birds with one stone. You can easily manage your content while also taking advantage of purely e-commerce features like inventory management. Read this post for more insights.
As you see, Drupal and WordPress both have a truckload of similar features to make your site smooth-running, functional, and even profitable without you spending too much or making a lot of technical effort.
What makes them different then? Let’s take a look at the key points of distinction in the WordPress vs Drupal comparison.
Drupal Vs WordPress: The Security Aspect
We decided to start with one of the most important issues these days — cybersecurity. You can make your site perfect visually and internally. If you have taken no security measures to safeguard your data against external threats, though, you’re in for all kinds of trouble.
As John Chambers, former CEO of Cisco Systems (CSCO), says, more than 65,000 ransomware attacks on American companies are expected in 2021. One of the ways to counteract this wave is to use a robust solution with all the right security protocols in place.
Drupal is one of the most secure systems among open-source platforms. It has a strong team of 40 security gurus. Their mission is to spot vulnerabilities and produce patches to fix them. The team rolls out regular updates and creates detailed reports.
Besides, every module a community member adds to the platform’s repository is first meticulously scrutinized by the core Drupal developers. Then the rest of the community can try a module to ensure it has no bugs or security weaknesses. This multi-level evaluation guarantees reliable insurance against hackers. Drupal also has multiple access controls, database encryption, and other security mechanisms in place.
One thing to note is that there are simply fewer Drupal sites than those powered by WP. As such, cybercriminals target them less often. All this makes Drupal the winner in the WordPress vs Drupal contest as far as data safety goes.
Due to the sheer number of WordPress sites, they frequently become easy targets for hackers. The problem, however, doesn’t lie in this content management system’s core. It’s actually no less secure than that of Drupal. The problem lies in the plugins. The team at WordPress has no sufficient resources to check each and every add-on for security holes.
In addition, many users neglect to update the plugins they’ve installed. This gives cyber criminals plenty of time for searching and finding backdoors for their exploits. Read one of our posts to learn what may happen if you leave a WP plugin without updates for a long time.
Even though Drupal beats WordPress in the security aspect of the Drupal Vs. WordPress debate, a lot depends on you, the user. You should follow some essential steps to make your site hacker-proof (coining a strong password, using SSL encryption, and so on).
Concerned about your site’s security? Our WordPress development team will be glad to help you leave your worries in the past.
Drupal Vs WordPress: The Usability Aspect
One of the crucial distinctions between the content management systems we’re discussing is the ease of use and time-to-learn. In this respect, the first contender in the WordPress Vs. Drupal clash wins by the widest of margins.
Drupal is what we can call a “true framework.” This means it requires more effort and knowledge on your part to manage it effectively. Drupal is much more flexible than WordPress when it comes to working with content. It features various taxonomies, content types, views, and whatnot.
This flexibility is a treat for users planning to build a large website. This also presents a big challenge for someone who has never worked with Drupal before. There are lots of manuals, videos, and tutorials to get up to speed with the platform’s specifics. However, it’s a time-consuming process.
For novices, this means a longer development cycle. If you’re planning to get your site live as quickly as possible, Drupal is probably not the CMS you would consider first.
To add more flies to Drupal’s ointment, its user interface is hardly user-friendly. Multiple dropdowns and fields are hard to comprehend right off the bat. As your experience grows, though, this complexity turns into an advantage, allowing you to fine-tune the content editing process.
Another thing that deserves attention in the WordPress vs Drupal comparison is theme customization. WP themes are easy to modify with usually no coding involved. Drupal’s require more digging around.
The official site currently offers just short of 3,000 themes. Most Drupal sites, though, favor custom-made or almost completely reworked themes. This entails looking inside respective modules and changing their code — something beyond most ordinary users’ skillset. You’ll need Drupal professionals to handle the task. This augments the ultimate cost of your site.
Comparing Drupal Vs. WordPress, the latter is very simple to work with. In contrast to modules, users can mostly work with themes or plugins without having to dive into the code. Just install one of the commercial or free themes and quickly change it to suit your needs. At the moment of writing, there were over 8,5 thousand themes available through the official site.
With all the right tooling in your hands straight away, building a decent WP site can be just a matter of hours. This is why WordPress is so popular for putting together minimum viable products to test market hypotheses.
WordPress also tops Drupal regarding the user interface. Whether you’ve had experience with this CMS before or not, you need very little time to start moving around it with confidence. The awesome Gutenberg editor, which is now a core feature, also enables you to arrange content with a minimum of clicks.
Time is money. The less steep a learning curve, the faster you can actually achieve your goal — build your site.
There are two things we want to emphasize as far as the Drupal Vs WordPress usability aspect goes:
- WordPress makes it easy to modify themes. This is true. However, if your needs change and you want to scale up, the off-the-shelf nature of WordPress may become a serious obstacle. That’s because ready-made themes have their customization limits.
You may have to replace the current theme with a more robust one or even move over to a different CMS. This will cost you a pretty penny. Therefore, if you expect your site to grow and have more unique features, going the Drupal path is preferable. Alternatively, you can have a custom WP theme built from scratch. If you decide to do this, our WordPress designers and developers are ready to jump right in.
Drupal Vs WordPress: The Content Distribution Aspect
In the modern world, users consume content from a multitude of platforms and devices. Thus, when comparing WordPress Vs. Drupal, you also need to know how efficiently they can distribute a site’s content via all possible digital channels.
This is a perfect press-the-button-send-everywhere solution, thanks to the decoupled or headless architecture (a core feature since the Drupal 8 release). This architecture allows developers to work on the back-end and presentation layers independently of each other and exchange data via REST API endpoints.
Drupal, in this case, only serves as a repository sending data to any front-end that requests it. An Android app? A web application? No problem. Your site will look and function smoothly whatever device or platform it renders on. Even when your site grows, this won’t affect how it’s displayed on different front-ends.
Decoupling a Drupal site can present some challenges. We wrote about them in one of our previous posts. In general, though, if you’re planning to distribute your content through several media, Drupal is the way to go. Should you need a consultation or assistance, feel free to drop us a line.
Just like its counterpart in the Drupal vs WordPress debate, WP also has decoupling capabilities integrated into its core. This means you can use any front-end library or framework to build your site separately from the back-end. Read this post to learn about the benefits and drawbacks of making a WP theme with React.js, for example.
There’s a caveat: WordPress was initially conceived as a blogging platform and is still more web-wise rather than mobile-wise. Therefore, if you’re building a complex web app that needs to distribute content to multiple front-ends like Android and iOS mobile apps without compromising on quality, approach WordPress with caution. After all, its primary mission is building websites.
Drupal Vs WordPress: The Practical Implications of the Differences We Have Outlined
What exactly do the differences we’ve discussed mean for your project? When should you favor one side of the WordPress Vs. Drupal dilemma over the other? Here are our recommendations:
|Complex projects where security is paramount. For instance, this can be a subscription service with multiple levels of access to the underlying data.||You’re not particularly tech-savvy, or you’re a newcomer to the web development world|
|You need to distribute your content to multiple front-ends without affecting quality.||You need a minimum viable product to test a hypothesis quickly.|
|You want a highly customized solution, especially a web app, that’s expected to grow.||You have a scant budget and can’t afford to hire professional developers to assist you with building the site.|
To Sum Up
WordPress and Drupal are efficient content management systems with a rich history. They have many similar characteristics. Both are free to use out of the box, require no coding skills for basic management, and offer a great number of extensions.
There are also some crucial differences that make them a good fit for particular scenarios. Drupal has a robust security mechanism but its user experience leaves much to be desired. WordPress is straightforward and intuitive but is not so flexible when it comes to scalability and customization.
Before you point your finger at the left or right word after the vs in Drupal vs WordPress, write down your priorities and select the platform in accordance with them.
Need a WordPress site built by a professional agency from the list of the best 15 WP companies on Clutch? A complex Drupal solution that no hacker will be able to exploit? Get in touch with us! We know how to create a perfect website to satisfy all your requirements.
Drupal Vs WordPress: Frequently Asked Questions
Some Drupal sites are more expensive to build than those powered by WordPress. Why so?
When discussing the WordPress Vs. Drupal dilemma, we should also talk about the availability of Drupal developers. Since this CMS is more code-biased, professional assistance is required more often. However, there are far fewer Drupal devs than those who work with WordPress. Besides, they need to solve more challenging development problems. These factors affect the total amount of the bill.
Which CMS is more secure: Drupal or WordPress?
Both these content management systems have secure cores. WordPress, though, has its Achilles’ heel: plugins. Many of them expose weak security spots through which hackers can get hold of a site’s data. Users also often forget to update extensions for a long time. This attracts cybercriminals as well. Drupal has a strong security team and uses a different, internal approach to protecting sites from outside threats. Thus, Drupal is clearly more secure.
Is building websites with WordPress easier than with Drupal?
Definitely. The Drupal team has covered a lot of ground trying to make the system’s user interface more convenient. However, they still have a long way to go to get closer to WordPress in this respect. Besides, WordPress has easily configurable plugins and themes that require no coding. Drupal modules, on the other hand, often call for code editing by professional programmers.
Drupal Vs. WordPress: which CMS is better?
You should add three words to this question. It should read, “Which CMS is better — Drupal or WordPress — for my project? First, decide what you want to accomplish with your site. For example, if you’re building a website that’s expected to contain sensitive data with strictly limited access, go for Drupal. Need a barebone solution with just a few features to ensure that your product will be selling well? WordPress sounds like a perfect choice since it allows you to build sites fast.
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