A Brief Comparison of WordPress, Drupal & Joomla!

This blog is my first experience using WordPress or any open source CMS (Content Management System). You can accomplish a great deal with WordPress in a short time without getting into HTML and coding. I’ve built web sites from scratch with just a text editor and with various tools like Microsoft’s ASP.net. WordPress allows you to focus on content and making your site unique instead of reinventing the underlying technology plumbing.

WordPress started out as a blogging platform and has evolved into a CMS. It’s been adapted for many uses such as news and company information sites. WordPress was the clear choice for my first blog. However, is it the best tool for a small business or a collaboration web site? Before I start adapting WordPress for other uses, I am investigating other open source CMS options.

I found this infograpic comparing WordPress, Drupal and Joomla! helpful. The author, Devious Media, encourages anyone to embed it on your website. The comments on their blog post are interesting also. This is a great example of social marketing – giving something of value for free and encouraging people to share it. In return the author recieves free marketing, feedback and goodwill.


What is your opinion of these open source CMS’s?


  1. I love how this graphic lays out the cost numbers, user demographics and ease of use for each of these platforms. One thing to consider as well is how the admin tool is displayed and how easy it is to use.

  2. wow this is so cool
    i really love ur graphic presentation
    i definitely need to learn that

  3. The last row graphic made me wonder: is Joomla! for people who step on crap, Drupal is for those who like to drown themselves in it? 🙂

  4. Nice Presentation work. Cleanly described. Keep up the work.

  5. Interesting article but seems a bit skewed, especially given this is a WordPress website.

    Howeer, as a designer and developer who has created sites with all three platforms, I can confidently say that the ease of use of any of these platforms is largely a result of your grasp on using the CMS. After creating sites through hand-coding for half of my career, I went to Joomla and used that for a year or two. At the time, the output of html was rather sloppy, however and after a few too many glitches, I moved to WordPress. WP suited the need for basic, straightforward sites. You can get up and running quickly but clients found the admin section fairly overwhelming and extending the CMS for customization – well, it simply wasn’t designed for that easily. If a client needed a completely customized functionality, or integration with data from other sites, WP was not cut out for that. After careful research, I moved to Drupal and found it could do everything that Joomla and WP can do but far more. It’s a matter of what your needs are, and to me, it’s a process of refining. Sure, I can chop up my food for dinner with a steak knife – and eventually get the job done, or I could use a proper chef’s knife and do it more efficiently.

    By 2013, all 3 platforms have come a long way. If you want to get up and running quickly on a basic site made for publishing, I would say go with WordPress. If you need a site to represent the needs that a graphic designer and information architect require – or for large scale sites, go with Drupal.

    $1500 per month for maintenance for Drupal?! That could only be the result of someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing. I update client sites 4x a year (as recommended) and it takes about 15 mins each time (that is updating both a local and remote copy). If you’re a newbie, maybe that will take an hour – but regardless, $1500 per month is simply inaccurate and unnecessary (always update a copy of your own machine, regardless of which platform you use).

    For installation, all 3 CMS’s require a database, a db user and db password. With the small cores of any of these CMS’s in place on your server (or locally on your own computer), installation of any of these should take an experienced web developer no longer than 5-10 minutes at most. You point towards the URL of your new site, enter the db-name, db-user, db-password – perhaps a time zone and the first account and you’re done. How is an analogy accurate with a tricycle, unicycle and bicycle? Unless, of course, you also have the same level of difficulty in making coffee in the morning. With this analogy, all three CMS are the bicycle icon.

    Again, right tool for the job. WP is good for out of the box solutions but at the cost of flexibility. Joomla is sometimes good for those who are both designers and developers, and Drupal is more for developers, allowing you to customize to your heart’s content. As you learn more about development, you are likely to crave more flexibility for what you can offer.