Explained in 60 Seconds: Drupal vs. WordPress

The difference between content management system platforms Drupal and WordPress, explained in 60 seconds.

Drupal and WordPress are similar — but also different.

They’re both modern platforms for powering websites and managing content. Their open-source DNA means anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance their source code. That’s different from proprietary or commercial software. Drupal and WordPress are also both free to use and promise scalability, extensibility, and security.

So, they’re interchangeable, you might ask? Umm, no.

If you query a veteran marketing professional or developer whether you should use Drupal or WordPress for your website’s content management system, you’ll probably hear the dreaded, non-committal answer of “It depends.” 

I agree — and for good reason. While both platforms are open source and very powerful, the choice of which to use ultimately rests on the current and future scope of your website. What do you need today and what will you need in the future?

What You Need To Know About Drupal

Spending a few minutes on Drupal.org will tell you not only how Drupal got its name and about the Drupal mission, but it will also connect you with the Drupal community at large, a huge asset for Drupal users. It’s this group of active contributors that has helped fuel Drupal’s massive growth.

As Drupal has evolved (Drupal 10 was just released in late 2022), it has stood out as a great choice for organizations looking for a highly secure, customizable content management system that supports sophisticated digital experiences. If you can envision it, it’s likely possible with Drupal.

There can be a trade-off. Compared to WordPress, Drupal’s flexibility and extensibility sometimes make for a more challenging experience for those new to website administration. Drupal, its advocates argue, makes up for it by:

  • Accommodating more content types and a wider range of requirements

  • Offering more robust out-of-the-box caching for site speed

  • Better managing complex data integrations

  • More easily supporting experience personalization and customization 

  • Providing ready-to-use high-quality themes and modules

  • Supporting source control, workflows, and other development best practices

What You Need To Know About WordPress

Started in 2003, WordPress has grown into the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world with about 40% of all websites using a CMS relying on it. The recent release of WordPress 6.1 ups the ante with its focus on stability, performance, and usability enhancements.

With a very user-friendly and intuitive administrator interface, WordPress can be a great fit for less specialized users with common, predetermined workflows. It is especially useful for small websites, startups, nonprofits, and blogs relying on basic page elements. Look left and look right— if not you, a colleague or a friend likely knows WordPress. 

WordPress offers minimal content types and content governance can be hard to implement so it can be limiting for those looking to deliver a more complex website experience. However, its intuitive tools for administrators and contributors — combined with a vibrant development community and thousands of free themes and plugins — will always make WordPress an option worth considering.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, a decision between Drupal and WordPress is made easier if you start by prioritizing your current and future requirements and figuring out what’s most important to you. 

This way, when you start comparing the two platforms, you’ll see that one may clearly be more suited to you than the other.