Drupal and WordPress are both free to use. Both platforms offer a large library of modules, templates, and plugins that can be used to create a customized experience. You’ll find loyal developers and users dedicated to both programs that can provide some troubleshooting support if needed.
There are additional similarities that Drupal and WordPress provide as well.
- Both platforms provide users with access to a powerful developer API.
- Core functionality can be extended with add-ons through both platforms.
- Mobile responsive themes are available on Drupal and WordPress.
- Both platforms require you to purchase a domain and setup hosting independent of the download.
Although there are some key similarities in the Drupal vs WordPress debate, there are also several key differences that should be evaluated before choosing the better option between these two open-source CMS options for your needs.
This comparison of Drupal vs WordPress is based on the latest versions of these platforms. Some users may be using older versions of these CMS options and these comparisons may not apply.
Difference #1: ComplexityM
Drupal is more complex than WordPress, but that also means there is an added level of functionality to its platform. There are more features available to users as Drupal contains content types, views, blocks, and taxonomies. It takes more time to learn Drupal, but it also provides more long-term power for the content.
With Drupal 8, the complexity level has been reduced for new users. The platform has incorporated descriptive text so that an extra level of help can be provided. Users can take tours of the platform and gain a hands-on understanding of the available options.
WordPress may offer less complexity, but that also means it is easier to bring your content to the internet in a timely fashion. It is a good option for users who only need a single page template or content type. For most users, it is a simple, straight-forward approach that offers descriptive elements with simple menu structures of easy navigation.
Difference #2: User Permissions
Drupal was designed by developers to be used by developers. One of the best benefits because of this design is that you have access to a deeper level of user permissions when compared to WordPress. In Drupal, you can assign site administrators, content editors, private content access, and several other additional options.
In WordPress, the codex utilizes the concept of roles based on tasks that need to be completed. Users can be assigned to write and edit posts, create a page, define links, create categories, or even manage plugins. There are 6 pre-defined roles, including “Editor,” “Author,” and “Contributor.”
Difference #3: Flexibility
Drupal is designed to be a solution for customization first and ease of use second. Because of that, you’ll find a few starter themes are available, but most options are designed for user development from a basic foundation. Modules in Drupal are free and offer various levels of functionality that may be needed for any given site. To install or update the modules, a Drupal developer is usually required.
WordPress was initially created as a blogging platform. It doesn’t support thousands of users or pages like Drupal, but in return, it offers easer methods of customization. Plugins allow various levels of functionality that the average user can install and update on their own. WordPress also offers many free themes and third-party developers. Premium themes are also available with good accessibility. That makes it easier for most users to begin the site building process, but on a somewhat limited scale when compared to Drupal.
Difference #4: Security
Drupal come equipped with enterprise-level security. Security reports are provided to users on a regular basis. The security on this platform is so strong, in fact, that many government websites in the United States use Drupal for their content. Because of this added security, previous Drupal installations that are two generations back from the current version are typically left unsupported.
With the release of Drupal 8, for example, Drupal 6 transitioned to an unsupported status.
WordPress has a reputation of struggling with security issues that has been well-earned. Many of the plugins that are used for a WordPress installation can open users to certain vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit for an attack. The quality of a user’s hosting platform often helps to determine the security vulnerabilities that users face.
WordPress is a secure option for most needs. If security threats are something you take very seriously, however, Drupal is the better option.
Difference #5: Website Building
Drupal is easy to use… once you learn how to use it. It can be difficult to learn how to use Drupal if the user has a minimal level of development experience or lacks technical knowledge. The advantage of spending time with Drupal is that advanced sites can be created, but not everyone has the time necessary to invest in learning website building through Drupal
There is a very active user community that can help new users increase their knowledge of the platform. Additional modules have been added to Drupal that allow for analytics tracking that is similar to WordPress now as well, making it possible to create changes based on user habits.
WordPress has a very active user community as well. When it comes to website building, WordPress offers a what-you-see is what-you get experience. It’s not quite a drag-and-drop experience, but it doesn’t take much technical knowledge to begin building a website on this platform. If all you’re trying to do is setup a blog, it can be done in just a few minutes.
Drupal continues to improve its ease of use with each new generation, but WordPress remains a better option for fast publishing.
Difference #6: Associated Costs
Drupal is free to download and install. Once the platform becomes available to the user, there are associated costs that are common. For users who require third-party development help, Drupal assistance tends to be more expensive that WordPress third-party development help. With their efforts to incorporate PHP frameworks, there is more availability in the third-party community today than in previous generations.
Because there is the potential of supporting thousands of pages, Drupal hosting tends to be more expensive than WordPress hosting.
WordPress is also free to download and install. Size constraints can limit hosting options with this platform as well, but there are several discount providers that offer promotional rates as low as $4 per month in some instances.
Difference #7: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Despite what some may claim, search engine optimization is not tied to a specific platform. Users can achieve organic results on Drupal and WordPress with relative ease. Both platforms offer some SEO options that are built directly into the platform for users to access.
Drupal does offer some specific SEO advantages. Pages on Drupal tend to load faster compared to WordPress pages. Default caching features offered on this platform allow for consistent site-wide speeds as well. No matter how large the site may be or how deep the content is, the speed consistency is attractive for some SEO campaigns.
WordPress has several SEO plugins that can be added to the platform that achieve similar results. Some of those plugins are based on content structures, while others are based on content value. With the right combination of plugins, it is possible for some users to achieve superior results.
WordPress also has an advantage when it comes to mobile SEO. It offers users access to multiple theme options that are responsive across most browsers and mobile devices. This gives users confidence in the platform’s ability to provide consistent results and that may generate better organic search results.
In comparison, Drupal tends to work better when a mobile site runs off a subdomain of the primary site. For SEO purposes, this can create some canonical issues that may affect a campaign.
Drupal vs WordPress: Which Is Better?
Both Drupal and WordPress are powerful open-source options that can create beautiful websites for users. They can both create an effective outcome that allows users to meet their specific content goals.
WordPress is the better option for those who are looking for a blogging platform or a business website that can support a sole proprietor, partnership, or new organization. It does not provide a highly complex website or scalability, but still allows for deep content publishing. For the average user, the learning curve is simple and a website can be built in minutes. If third-party development is required, it is usually quite affordable.
Both Drupal and WordPress offer several strengths that can be individually applied. That means choosing the best option is up to each user.
Do you prefer Drupal or WordPress? What has been your experience with these platforms?