Pros and Cons of Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal

Consider these features before you choose a CMS

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When you are choosing a content management system (CMS), you'll discover there are plenty to choose from, but you only need to consider the Big Three: Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal. Still, this choice can be tough.

The Big Three Keep Getting More Similar

All three CMS's have several years for the developers to learn from one another. These three systems are far more similar than they are different.

As time goes by, they grow more similar. Developers on all three projects are acutely aware of one another. This healthy competition creates a beneficent "arms race," as developers keep adding features to their CMSs so they won't be left behind.

Still, they have some differences. Here are some of the features and pros and cons of each:

Joomla

Joomla is a free and open-source award-winning content management system for publishing web content. It allows you to build powerful online applications. This CMS is currently in use on more than 2 million active websites. High-profile Joomla websites include Lipton Ice Tea, Michael Phelps, Nintendo Nordic, and Kompan.

Pros

  • Joomla's admin interface is powerful but also user-friendly and easy to customize.
  • Out of the box, Joomla has the best interface of the three for a managing a large number of articles.
  • The Joomla website offers free video training classes.
  • Joomla supports more than 70 translation packs for multilingual content management.
  • Joomla includes a lightweight PHP framework you can use to write web and command line applications in PHP.
  • Core functionality is available to monetize your website with ads.

Cons

  • The disadvantage of Joomla is that it's in the middle of the spectrum. It's not as aggressively easy and pretty as WordPress, and it's not as developer-friendly as Drupal.
  • If you know you'll want extra features on your website, Joomla may not be the best CMS choice. The Joomla community offers tons of modules, but they are hard to find and harder to maintain.

WordPress

WordPress is open source software useful for website, blog and app creation. This content management system is in use in 30 percent of the web. High-profile WordPress sites include The New York Times Company, The White House, Sony Music, and the Houston Zoo.

Pros

  • WordPress is legendary for being easy to learn and use.
  • This CMS accommodates multiple authors and specialized content types.
  • WordPress delivers responsive mobile sites.
  • More than 45,000 plugs are available to meet your needs. Add a mailing list, forum, online store, or analytics to your website easily.

Cons

  • The core WordPress program is updated fairly frequently. These core updates can often break your existing plugins and thus your site.
  • Some of the themes contain generic code that is unnecessary. It decreases the speed of the website and can cause slow load times.

Drupal

Drupal is an open-source CMS you can use to deliver ambitious digital experiences. Drupal can do almost anything. High-profile Drupal sites include Greenpeace, Johnson and Johnson, Pinterest for Business, and MIT.

Pros

  • Useful for producing highly advanced sites.
  • Drupal adds features using tons of small modules. Professional developers maintain many of these modules for large clients, but you get them for free.
  • If you've developed websites on other systems, Drupal will feel right.
  • Good choice for community platform sites
  • Best choice for advanced websites that require complex functionality.

Cons

  • Drupal is developer friendly, but if you're not a developer, you may find Drupal difficult. Recent releases of Drupal have made huge improvements that make it easier for normal users. Still, it's not quite as easy as WordPress or Joomla. Drupal requires great technical expertise.
  • The power of Drupal modules means that the basic, "out of the box" core Drupal isn't exciting. However, the fun starts when you begin to add modules.
  • Installing Drupal requires technical expertise.