The internet is not the same place it was 10 years ago. Back then, the vast majority of site owners would create websites by directly editing CSS, HTML or Flash. Nowadays, content management systems (CMS’s) dominate among web developers and novices alike. But which CMS should you use?
Here, we do an infographic comparison of the top 3 best content management systems in use today.
We should first mention that there are a few good reasons you should use a CMS for your website or blog. Firstly, it is cheaper (most are actually open-source a.k.a ‘free’). Content management systems also reduce your development time in building a website or blog. They’re simply faster because most of the work has already been done for you. Most importantly however, CMS’s allow novice programmers to produce advanced websites without knowing much code.
If you are thinking of building a first-time website or blog of your own and want to use a CMS, we think there are only three realistic options: WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. These three names have established themselves as the leading and best CMS software programs in the industry. Obviously, each has its strengths and weaknesses. Each is also more suited for particular types of applications more so than another.
Let’s help you decide on the best content management system for your website or blog with this in-depth comparison and infographic.
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- WordPress: This platform is without a doubt the best choice for beginners. It performs incredibly well with medium sized websites & personal blogs. It has the largest collection of plugins & tools.
- Joomla: Performs particularly well for Ecommerce websites. It requires some basic knowledge of technical coding.
- Drupal: The most difficult framework to work with, but also the most powerful CMS in the list. Recommended for more advanced programmers or patient novices who don’t mind learning lots of new stuff along the way.
If you don’t have time to read each description, feel free to take a look at the infographic below.
WordPress is hands-down the most popular content management system at the moment. Initially, it was a platform designed for blogging. Because it was incredibly successful, it moved into the wider CMS industry. It has advanced significantly since its inception, and now it also offers themes, plugins & widgets for non-coders.
The best thing about WordPress is the fact that virtually no coding skills are required. It works mainly with drop-down & drag-and-drop menus. Its intuitive interface will make setting up your new website or blog a breeze. There are also many web hosting companies that offer automatic installation of WordPress websites. As far as the community is concerned, it is one of the largest for any software application ever made. Since WordPress is very popular, so there are countless numbers of webmasters and designers willing to offer their expertise either free or paid.
The main selling-point of WordPress is undoubtedly the extensive theme & plug-in market. WordPress has over 2000+ plugins, themes, tools & fully-customizable widgets. For example, SEO for WordPress by Yoast will take care of everything that has to do with search engine optimization, the Fancy Author Box will add personalized descriptions under your posts, WooCommerce will take care of your e-commerce needs and there are many more features that you can add to your website or blog.
Like every website building platform, WordPress also has its downsides. While the idea of not having to code sounds tempting, the framework is not recommended for larger websites, firstly because it is difficult to customize things without having expert help.
Also, due mostly to WordPress’s popularity, there are many trojans and hackers who target websites built using WordPress. For this reason affordable but reliable web hosting is important for any website built on the WordPress CMS platform to be as secure as possible.
Additionally installing a plugin for every single feature on your website can significantly slow your website’s load time, so don’t go plugin crazy.
Price: The platform is free to install & use for anyone who wants to do so. In addition, most of the plugins are also free with several premium themes and plugins available from a variety of developers.
WordPress is simple, user-friendly & effective. You can set up a website with it in a matter of minutes.If you plan to make your WordPress website into a hugely popular space, its best to get expert help at some point.
Installation: WordPress Installation Forum
Many webmasters consider Joomla the compromise between WordPress & Drupal. Unlike WordPress, it is more difficult to set-up (a certain level of technical experience is required), but it also offers more customizing possibilities. In other words, it has both power and the much required user-friendliness for building powerful websites.
Joomla also offers a wide selection of plugins and themes that will speed-up the construction process. You can literally make your website or blog function in any way you desire. It’s selling point is that it will allow you to quickly put together a website for social networking purposes. This platform makes it extremely easy for users to create & manage social networks.
Have you heard about Joomla’s Help Portal? It’s the perfect place to find technical answers and advice. Granted, you may not receive an answer as extensive as the ones on the WordPress forums, but the advice you receive there can go a long way in helping you learn the platform faster.
As we already mentioned, some technical skills are required for Joomla. The learning curve isn’t steep, but it might intimidate newbies. Another thing that we found fustrating about Joomla is its almost complete lack of SEO capabilities. You will have to work very hard to get on the same level of SEO friendliness as WordPress websites. Last but not least, Joomla has limited ACL support. Access Control List, which refers to permissions that are granted to users on specific pages is still limited.
Price: The platform is free but it does not have an option to host your website on free servers (like WordPress.com has).
The Bottom Line:
Joomla has discovered an incredible market by combining the benefits of WordPress and Drupal for users who are primarily interested in creating a social networking website. Sure, Joomla as a CMS can create any multiple of different types of websites, but social networking seems to be its area of specialty.
It is perfect for users that are ready to try out something a bit more powerful than WordPress, but who are not quite ready to use Drupal just yet.
Installation: Joomla Installation Forum
The last platform on our list is Drupal. We’ve used Drupal to develop websites for our clients for many years here at Blitz. Many webmasters are happy to learn a thing or two about coding because they know just how powerful Drupal is. It is the number one platform choice for feature rich, data-extensive websites such as Data.gov.uk or Whitehouse.gov.
The first thing that you should know about Drupal is the fact that it uses very few resources. This will allow you to expand your website and get more traffic without needing expensive web hosting right away. In addition, Drupal pages load faster, are more stable, work better and have quicker response times than that of Joomla and WordPress. Like the previous examples, Drupal also has a great after-market for tools, plugins and themes but not as many as WordPress. If SEO is one of your primary concerns you can rest assured that Drupal has you (mostly) covered. You’ll still have to do some tweaking to get your website to be as search-engines friendly as a WordPress website. Drupal, however, has strong ACL capabilities and can handle hundreds of pages of content without breaking a sweat.
Drupal’s Views module which used to be an add-on but now comes with the core is a powerful engine for displaying content in Drupal anyway you want. Views makes Drupal extremely customizable much more so than any other CMS we’ve had experience with.
“Having at least basic knowledge of HTML, PHP and other common web programming languages is highly recommended for anyone using Drupal” (Source: Webcache.googleusercontent.com)
The biggest problem with Drupal is its steep learning curve. Moving from WordPress to this platform is hair-raisingly impossible without expert advice or a genius IQ. Also, even if there are plenty of plugins to choose from, they are limited in variety.
While the Views module is a big plus for Drupal, learning to use it is several iterations more difficult than learning quantum physics…seriously.
Another HUGE Drupal problem is that the release of new versions of Drupal usually outpaces the release of compatible versions of supporting modules (same as plugins) sometimes by as much as a year. This is kinda like having a brand new car with old tyres you can’t drive on. Lastly, Drupal offers no themes. In other words, you will need a good web designer if you want your website to look anything like a WordPress Theme.
Price: The platform is free. There are free Drupal hosting sites but they are few and offer premium features at a cost.
The Bottom Line:
Drupal is a CMS beast that should only be used by knowledgeable web-site creators. It is strongly recommended for larger projects where power and usability is prioritized over appearance.
Installation: Drupal Installation Forum
Which CMS should you use?
Each CMS has it’s benefits and is geared toward specific applications. If you want to host a website where you post regularly, invite users to comment on your articles, share them, and find them easily on search engines, then WordPress is your best bet.
If you’re a programmer seeking to have a website with lots of features, custom applications, or you want to build websites for clients who have a variety of requests requiring custom code….chose drupal.
Use Joomla is you want a simple website geared primarily toward social networking or one that you don’t plan on updating regularly. Consider Joomla too if you are not exactly crazy about being found on search engines.