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Drupal vs.

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Want to build a successful website? Then you'll need a strong content management system (CMS) behind it. This aids you in creating, publishing, and managing the digital content that lives on your site, and when it comes to CMS platforms, there are plenty of options to choose from.

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Drupal vs. WordPress - Which CMS Is Best?

One of them reigns supreme, with a much larger market share than all the others. That CMS platform is WordPress. It absolutely dominates the field, powering more than 40% of all websites on the internet.

CMS market share June 2023

Given that WordPress is the go-to platform for so many sites, you might assume it’s the right CMS for you, too.

But we all know that assuming anything is rarely a smart move. Instead, it’s better to take your time, weigh things up, and consider at least one or two alternatives before rushing to the most popular option.

That’s where Drupal comes in. Sure, it lacks WordPress’ global recognition and reach, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad CMS. Far from it. In fact, it could be the perfect fit for your digital presence.

To find out more, let’s put both WordPress and Drupal to the test. This WordPress vs. Drupal guide will dig into each CMS platform.

What Is Drupal?

CMS market share June 2023

We’ll begin our Drupal vs. WordPress comparison with an intro to Drupal.

Drupal has been around for over two decades It’s a free, open-source content management system, famed for its flexibility and suitable for building and developing everything from business websites to eCommerce stores.

It enjoys a market share of between 1-2%. That’s notably less than WordPress but still places Drupal among the top CMS platforms.

The story of Drupal began in 2001, when it was created and released by Dutch developer Dries Buytaert. Buytaert used the Dutch word “druppel,” meaning “drop,” and the brand’s logo has always been a small blue water droplet.

Over the years since its release, Drupal has helped form hundreds of thousands of websites for some pretty big names, like NASA, Harvard, and Tesla. It’s also used across a broad range of industries, as shown in the chart below.

CMS market share June 2023

Often chosen for high-traffic websites, Drupal is favored by many site owners for its strong security, complex capabilities, and customization potential.

What Is WordPress?

CMS market share June 2023

An all-in-one site builder and management system, WordPress lets users create their sites with ease and then fill them in with content. Offering web hosting, editing, marketing tools, and more, all built-in, it’s one of the most complete CMS platforms of all.

As stated earlier on, it enjoys a massive market share, with hundreds of millions of WordPress sites out there.

It actually started life as a simple blogging tool named b2/cafelog, originally made by Michel Valdrighi. Two other developers, Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, then took Valdrighi’s foundations and released the first version of WordPress in 2003.

Since then, WordPress has undergone many changes and improvements. New versions have been developed. Each one brings with it fresh features and functions, elevating WordPress to the top of the CMS pile.

CMS market share June 2023

Flexible. Easy to work with. Affordable. Amazing for SEO, too. WordPress has a fantastic array of advantages that set it apart from its rivals.

WordPress Sites vs. Drupal Sites: An In-Depth Comparison

We’ve covered the basics. Now, let’s dig into the details to see how the great Drupal vs. WordPress matchup plays out.

On the face of it, there should be an obvious winner here. WordPress is so much more widespread and popular than Drupal, and there are many distinct WordPress advantages that make this platform the CMS leader.

However, don’t discount the Drupal CMS right away. It has some interesting elements that make it a real contender and even a superior option for certain kinds of businesses and CMS-based websites.

Pricing

We’ll begin our WordPress vs. Drupal battle with a look at the pricing systems in place across these platforms.

Naturally, when setting up a website, cost is often one of the site owner’s top concerns. You have to think not only about the price of making the site but also hosting, management, security, domain-related fees, and so on.

All those prices add up, which is why many people seek out content management platforms with fair prices and freebies.

WordPress Pricing Plans

If you want to build a basic WordPress website, you can do so for free. There are also a series of paid plans, starting as low as just $4 a month.

CMS market share June 2023

The $5 Starter plan isn’t bad at all, packing in a free domain for your first year, along with a completely ad-free experience and access to dozens of WordPress themes.

The more expensive plans come with additional features. Like priority support, unrestricted site visitor counts, security tools, and no transaction fees.

All in all, WordPress’ pricing is fair and reasonable. There are options to appeal to any budget and plenty of features and functions packed in with even the cheapest plans. Overall costs to make a WP site can be as low as $100. But they may be much higher, depending on the scale of your project.

Drupal’s Complex Costs

Drupal is a completely free content management system without any licensing costs whatsoever. There are no premium plans when you pick Drupal, but that doesn’t mean you can simply use it to build and manage a site without paying a thing.

Instead, given the relative complexity of the Drupal ecosystem, you may have to spend quite a lot on building a Drupal site. Potential fees include hosting charges, add-ons to address security vulnerabilities (like an SSL certificate), and fees for Drupal developers to design and build your site.

All in all, costs can easily enter the tens of thousands for a single site.

The Verdict

WordPress wins this round, without a doubt. Even taking into account the freely accessible nature of Drupal, WordPress is generally much more affordable for site building.

Ease-of-Use

You’ve got a lot to handle as a business owner.

CMS market share June 2023

Managing your budget. Generating revenue. Growing your brand. Keeping up with the competition. The list goes on and on. On top of all that, you probably don’t want to be dealing with a complicated CMS that makes life even harder.

The Simplicity of WordPress

Arguably the No. 1 reason for WordPress’ dominance in the CMS market is its simplicity.

This is an exceptionally straightforward CMS to use. Even a total beginner (with next to no technical expertise) can build professional-looking websites with WordPress.

The Complexity of Drupal

In frank terms, Drupal is anything but simple. In fact, it’s quite an advanced CMS. Thanks to that, it’s used primarily for more complex projects than casual site creation.

Even experienced WordPress developers may find Drupal to be a little out of their league when it comes to setup, coding, and configuration. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to work with, at all. But it has a notably steeper learning curve.

The Verdict

In this round of WordPress vs. Drupal, WP takes the win once again. It’s just far easier to work with than Drupal. Boasting a level of accessibility that few other CMS platforms can match.

Themes, Templates, and Design

The success or failure of any website is largely dependent on its design.

Why? Because people won’t stick around to find out more about a site they feel to be bland, boring, or ugly. In fact, the majority of users will make up their minds about a site in a fraction of a second, and most of the time, their first impressions will be based entirely on the way the website looks.

CMS market share June 2023

As such, you won’t want to waste your time with a CMS which delivers dull or uninspiring design.

WordPress’ Massive Theme Library

As explained earlier, it’s possible for even total novices to make amazing sites with WordPress.

CMS market share June 2023

Part of this is due to WP’s colossal library of premium and free themes and templates. There are over 12,000 free themes to pick from and thousands more paid ones in an almost never-ending array of styles to suit every kind of brand and business.

WordPress offers a selection of page builder plugins, too, which you can use to easily customize the design and layout of your web pages.

Drupal’s Modular Development

Drupal isn’t able to match WordPress in terms of the number of available themes. But it’s still got a few thousand to choose from.

Drupal also has a modular development system. There are tens of thousands of modules that let you customize your site’s feel and functionality. With the help of the Drupal community of developers, you can build a beautiful and truly one-of-a-kind site with this platform.

The Verdict

WordPress again has the edge. Drupal themes aren’t as numerous as those for WordPress, nor is it as easy or affordable to get the design you want. With that said, Drupal offers more customization options for building a unique site that looks and feels different from all the rest.

SEO Tools

You can’t underestimate the importance of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. It’s used to push your site and its content up the Google rankings.

And, as the chart below shows, being at the top of the rankings is exceptionally advantageous.

CMS market share June 2023

As you can see, sites that make it to the top of Google results pages get far more clicks than those further down.

Your CMS can have a big impact on how well your site ranks, as some sites are much more SEO-friendly than others.

WordPress’ SEO Plugins

On WordPress, you can make use of many plugins to hit your SEO objectives as long as you’re subscribed to one of the Business-level plans. This lets you leverage Google Analytics and boost your visibility in a big way, gaining clicks, visitors, and leads.

Drupal’s SEO Modules

There are also many Drupal modules based around SEO, unlocking an array of advanced SEO tools. Like site verification. Automatic XML sitemaps. Adjustable page titles. Analytics access. And more. The only downside? You’ll almost certainly need a hand from a Drupal dev to do all of that.

The Verdict

Overall, this part of our WordPress vs. Drupal matchup is a tie. Both platforms offer plenty of ways to implement an SEO strategy and push your site up Google’s rankings.

eCommerce Features

The eCommerce industry is growing bigger and more valuable with every passing year. It’s expected to reach a staggering valuation in excess of $57 trillion by 2032.

CMS market share June 2023

With this industry being so valuable and fast-moving right now, many savvy entrepreneurs are eager to get involved and set up their own online stores. Drupal and WordPress can both work well for this purpose, but one may be a little better than the other.

WordPress’ Easy eCommerce Development

The beauty of WordPress for eCommerce is in its simplicity. It’s so quick and easy to make your online store, add product pages, and install WordPress plugins to help with aspects like marketing and inventory management.

You can also easily configure WordPress to work alongside various payment processors and providers.

Given that running an online store is a big job, with a lot of different roles and responsibilities to worry about, the straightforward nature of WordPress is a serious advantage.

Drupal Commerce: A Dedicated eCommerce Platform

CMS market share June 2023

Drupal actually has its own dedicated eCommerce platform, known as Drupal Commerce. This is specifically designed for the development of eCommerce sites. It offers a whole host of features. From dynamic product catalogs to promotion management, payment APIs, order management tools, and more.

You can integrate payment systems like PayPal and enrich your store with dozens of different eCommerce-oriented modules.

The Verdict

This one is tricky to call. For those who are new to eCommerce and looking for an easy, efficient way to make an online store, choose WordPress. But for more established brands, the flexibility of Drupal Commerce may be more appealing.

Speed and Performance

Speed is of the essence if you hope to create a site that gets lots of traffic and repeat visitors.

CMS market share June 2023

When pages are slow to load, users are far less likely to stick around or return to your site in the future. Some may simply click the “Back” button right away and head elsewhere, as they won’t want to stick around on sites that perform poorly.

WordPress’ Mixed Performance

Speed isn’t exactly WordPress’ forte. That doesn’t mean it’s not capable of fast loading times, but they’re not guaranteed. Indeed, WordPress websites can vary massively in terms of performance metrics, with some feeling rapid and responsive and others taking an age to load.

It all depends on how well the site is optimized. If it’s got issues with the web hosting provider or third-party plugins, or even themes that are complex and resource-intensive, your site may struggle.

Drupal’s Lightning-Fast Load Times

Drupal is nowhere near as resource-intensive as WordPress. Thanks to that, it can offer incredibly fast load times and peerless levels of site performance. With Drupal, pages tend to load quickly and efficiently, with minimal risk of lag or delay.

There are also many modules and extensions you can use with Drupal to improve performance further. However, once again, you may need the help of Drupal developers to truly make the most of Drupal’s lightweight nature.

The Verdict

Drupal takes this round. It’s generally faster than WordPress and consumes fewer resources. WordPress can be just as fast as long as it’s optimized correctly. But that can require quite a lot of backend work.

Security Standards

Security is another big issue to contend with when you’re developing and managing a website. That goes for any kind of site, from a simple brand site to an online store or database. Hackers will target pretty much anything in the hopes of extracting some sort of profit, whether that be through ransomware, phishing, or some other form of cyber attack.

CMS market share June 2023

Let’s see how WordPress and Drupal compare in this category.

WordPress’ Possible Vulnerabilities

On a general level, WordPress is reasonably secure. There are several security practices site owners can employ to safeguard their sites against hacking and malware.

But it’s not perfect. Issues have been identified with WordPress third-party plugins, in particular, which can create vulnerabilities in your site. Themes also may introduce vulnerabilities or weak spots for hackers to exploit, which could lead to data leaks or other issues.

Again, this is why it’s generally recommended to turn to WordPress experts who can carry out security audits and set up defensive measures to protect your site.

Drupal’s Strong Security

One of Drupal’s core selling points has to be its outstanding levels of security. It’s a really tough nut to crack when compared to other CMS options on the market.

There are many modules with this CMS platform that aim to enhance security and address possible weaknesses in your site. With the help of seasoned Drupal developers, you can minimize the risk of any hacks or attacks on your network.

Flexibility and Customization Potential

Last but not least, let’s see how WordPress and Drupal do in terms of customization.

WordPress’ Huge Plugin Library

CMS market share June 2023

WordPress is well-known for its enormous plugin library, with close to 60,000 free plugins to choose from and thousands more paid options. There are also thousands of free and paid themes, as discussed earlier, and more made all the time.

With so many options, the site of your dreams is never out of reach with WordPress.

Drupal’s Many Modules

Drupal, as covered earlier on, is a modular CMS. There are tens of thousands of modules you can add to your site to expand its functionality, opening up new features and design possibilities. Whatever kind of site you’re looking to make, you should have no problem finding modules to match.

Drupal’s customization potential is immense in the right hands. Professional developers can use this platform to make sites that feel completely unique. But that will take time, money, and effort, which may be off-putting to those seeking a simpler, cheaper alternative.

The Verdict

Both sites offer massive customization. WordPress has more themes and plugins to pick from and is more accessible. But you can be just as creative with Drupal as long as you’ve got a good development team backing you up.

Should You Pick a Drupal Site or a WordPress Website?

So, after our comprehensive Drupal vs. WordPress comparison, what’s the verdict? Which of these two CMS platforms and site-building systems should you opt for when developing your next website?

Well, the simple truth of the matter is that it depends. It depends on what type of site you want to make, how big and popular you expect it to be, and how much you value certain aspects, like customization, eCommerce, and scalability.

If you want the highest levels of customization and have a big budget to match, Drupal is a fine choice. It’s complex and deep, well-suited to large-scale projects. Plus, the community forums for Drupal are second-to-none, packed with wisdom and helpful devs.

However, for the majority of users, there’s only one winner. And that’s WordPress. Want to set up a fully functional site that looks top notch in less than a day? This is the platform to pick. Intuitive, affordable, flexible, WP has it all.

Choose NEWMEDIA for Expert Assistance With Both WordPress and Drupal

Experience You Can Trust

Choosing a CMS is just one part of the puzzle. You also have to know how to use it correctly to bring out the best in your website. Drupal is notoriously complex, and WordPress, while much simpler, still has complicated elements that demand a certain level of technical knowledge to make the most of.

The Ultimate Agency

That’s why, no matter whether you decide on Drupal or WordPress (or another CMS), you should turn to the pros to help you use it. The NEWMEDIA team of web design and development pros have all the technical expertise and experience needed to get the most from either one of these platforms.

Always Ready

Our pros have spent decades working with businesses of all shapes and sizes, from fresh startups to Fortune 500 firms. We know what it takes to build digital brands and businesses that last, giving you everything you need to succeed. 

Interested?

Get in touch with our experts today, and let’s talk about what we can do for you.

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