Explained in 60 Seconds: Drupal vs. WordPress

January 05, 2016

To understand how Drupal and WordPress compare, you first have to understand a little about open source. Open source software is software developed by and for the user community, often allowing for a more robust set of features than can be found in commercial products which are limited by a smaller number of contributors.

If you ask a developer whether you should use Drupal or WordPress for your website’s content management system (CMS) platform, you’ll probably hear the dreaded, non-committal answer of “It depends.” But that’s for good reason. While both platforms are very powerful, the choice of which to use ultimately rests on your needs, the scope of the website, and your project timeline.

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 8 was just released this year), it has stood out as a great choice for organizations looking for a highly secure, customizable content management system that supports complex integrations. As an enterprise level CMS, it is built for scale and a well-built site using Drupal is effectively a platform.

Because Drupal is a more component based platform, as opposed to WordPress which relies heavily on page templates, it can be more challenging and time consuming to implement for website administrator newbies. While Drupal’s administrative interface is less refined than that of WordPress, it makes up for it by:

  • Accommodating for more content types and a wide range of requirements
  • Offering more robust out-of-the-box caching
  • Giving plenty of leeway for customization
  • Providing ready to use high-quality modules that are readily available through a large and active development community

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 a quarter of all websites using a CMS relying on it. The recent release of version 4.4 ups the ante with its focus on mobile, making sites responsive using the default theme.

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 and blogs relying on basic page elements.

Because WordPress offers minimal content types and content governance can be hard to implement, it can be limiting for those looking for an enterprise grade platform that can deliver a more complex website or functionality. However, more than 10,000 themes and 40,000 plugins available make WordPress an appealing option.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, making a decision between Drupal and WordPress is easier if you start by prioritizing your requirements and figuring out the features 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.

Despite their differences, both platforms have amazing, active communities behind them resulting in great advantages for the user.

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