Important Factors to Consider in the WordPress vs. Drupal Debate

Yesterday I came across some recent slides titled “Why Drupal Should Be More Like WordPress”. As a longtime user of both platforms, I found this comparison to be very informative about why the WordPress community has grown to be much larger than the Drupal community.

Because WordPress 3.0 vastly expands WordPress’ CMS capabilities, the gap between what Drupal can do and what WordPress can do is growing ever smaller. Both are fantastic enterprise-class content management systems. If you’re having a difficult time selecting between the two, have a look at these slides:

The Popularity Contest

If you want a large development community with lots of plugin and theme options, then WordPress is your platform. The popularity of a CMS is not merely a shallow consideration. It means that you’ll have a greater chance of finding the functionality you’re looking for without having to hire a developer to create a custom solution for you.

Quick Setup

I love Drupal, but the main drawback is the necessity to install 5-10 modules just to get basic functionality that most websites need, especially if the site is being passed off to a non-technical client. For example, Drupal doesn’t include a native WSIWG editor. It has to be installed as a module, as do many other usability enhancements that WordPress users take for granted. This makes setup more time-consuming, especially if you’re new to Drupal and don’t know what modules you’ll need.

Security and Flexibility

More large companies are choosing WordPress now that its Multisite support is included in the core and custom post types and taxonomies are more accessible. However, Drupal is still a far more secure platform with greater flexibility for a truly custom CMS build. A large corporation may be better off opting for a greater level of security. In this regard Drupal is the clear winner.

Cost of Development

Companies on a budget may be more impressed with WordPress because of more options for ready-made functionality in the form of plugins and the ability to get a site off the ground quickly. WordPress developers also tend to be less expensive than those who specialize in Drupal.

Conclusion:

When comparing Drupal and WordPress, it’s difficult to determine an overall winner. It boils down to the factors that are the most important for your business. This is by no means an exhaustive comparison- just a few key considerations when thinking about building with either platform. Agree? Disagree? Have more information? Feel free to jump in the comments.

8 Responses

  • I fully agree that Drupal is a more enterprise ready solution from a security standpoint than WordPress. However, now with WordPress 3.0, I feel that we will see more in the security arena to help better secure WordPress. WP being perceived more as a head to head solution option to Drupal, we will see more emphasis placed on security. That is a good thing and will only help solidify WordPress as a strong CMS.

  • I sat in on a talk by Jen (the slideshow you embedded). There are some good points, but the point of the presentation was to demonstrate deficiencies of Drupal (many of which have been resolved in Drupal 7) in order to motivate the Drupal community to catch up. In reality, Drupal developers have a list of contributed (“official”) modules that they can’t live without. There are plenty of reasons why these are not included in Drupal Core, many of which are why Drupal is so flexible and scales so well.

    Does WordPress do more out of the box for the end user than Drupal? Yes.

    Can you do all of the same fancy, enterprise-level functionality on WordPress that you can with Drupal? Yes.

    Can an experienced Drupal developer overcome all of these deficiencies? Absolutely.

    Can an experienced Drupal developer build much more robust web applications? Without a doubt.

  • Flash Drive

    @Reed; I think what it comes down to is that many of us (who decide to use WordPress) are NOT developers. Many of us do not have a $10-15k budget to pay developers to put together the elements we need for our site. I am absolutely flabbergasted at the capabilities of WP and its plugins.

    I designed a web community with member-posted events (and a global directory of the events), forums, member directory, user profiles, etc — and at the time, there were NO modules of any sort available. We hand-coded our forums and tested them for speed ourselves. Every element of the site was hard-won. (I was the one who designed for usability, flow, planned the functions,etc. I didn’t do the coding.) So when I look at where things are today…. WOW!!

    So, Drupal is great, but for someone like me… well, I just don’t want to have to relearn everything from scratch. I love how easy WordPress is.

  • Amen to that! People want to use tools to solve problems, without having to spend more time on the tool (Drupal) instead of the solution they’re trying to build (eg web portal).

  • Great breakdown to this never ending debate,
    For the beginner that just wants to blog stick with wordpress, if you want a more secure cms with more flexibility then learn how to use Drupal, it’s worth it when you get into big time website devolopment ;)

  • Well My problem with the WordPress world is that they are greedy and lazy!
    This is my experience, you have tons of paid modules , but when you buy and it goes horribly wrong, nobody wants to help you even if you bought their stuff and it is not working!!!!!

    With most of my Drupal sites , all is well, people help me out for free.
    Funny thing is that i have paid Drupal contributors far more money as donations and etc. as if i had bought the WordPress modules, simply because i am completely satisfied with quality, response time and just plain human attitude.
    Drupal is just the tool, the people behind Drupal are astounding!

    So no matter how “WordPrice” gets, i will always by far stick with Drupal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • As far as security goes, I beg to differ. However, this article is old. In any event, here are some facts; the Plone CMS is by far the most secure, mostly because it’s built with Python from 2011 to date it had 0 security issues. Within that same time frame, WordPress and Joomla had 52 issues each. Drupal had 86 security issues. Look up http://cve.mitre.org/ for more info.

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