Everything to Know About CMS 'Modules'

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"Module" is one of those words that can have many different meanings. In a content management system (CMS), a module is a collection of code files that adds one or more features to your web site.

You always install the core code for your CMS first. Then, if you want, you add features by installing these extra modules.

Ideally, every CMS would use the word module to mean roughly the same thing. Unfortunately, this critical word has very different meanings, depending on your CMS.


WordPress doesn't talk about "modules" at all (at least not in public). Instead, in WordPress, you install "plugins."


In Joomla, "module" has a very specific meaning. According to the documentation, "modules are mostly known as the 'boxes' that are arranged around a component, for example: the login module."

So, in Joomla, a "module" provides (at least one) "box" that you can actually see on your website.

In WordPress, these boxes are called "widgets." In Drupal, they're (sometimes) called "blocks."


In Drupal, "module" is a general term for code that adds a feature. There are thousands of Drupal modules available.

Drupal "modules" basically correspond to WordPress "plugins."

Choose Modules Wisely

Anytime you install extra code besides core, be careful. Choose your modules wisely, and you'll avoid upgrade problems and other issues.

For a quick visual comparison of how different CMSs use the term "module," and other terms as well, check out the CMS Term Table.