WordPress vs Drupal vs Joomla: Battle of The CMS

WordPressThe right content management system (CMS) can make a world of difference in launching and managing a website. Rather than micromanaging each and every little detail, you can focus more on the things that matter, such as content creation and attracting traffic. A CMS isn’t required to build a website, but it will almost certainly prove useful, especially when your site begins to grow.

There are literally dozens of different content management systems available, each of which has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. The three most popular platforms, however, are WordPress, Drupal and Joomla. If you’re struggling to decide which of the three is right for you, keep reading for a comparison.


Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little created WordPress in 2003 using the source code of b2. WordPress is currently ranked as the most popular content management system, powering over 60 million websites. Some of the sites that use it include Forbes, CNN and Reuters.

So, what makes it such a popular choice? There are several factors which have contributed to its success, one of which is its appeal to beginners. Building a website is often viewed as an overly complicated and technical process, but WordPress breaks down this barrier so anyone can start their own site. Regardless of your experience in HTML, PHP and CSS, you can have a fully functional WordPress site up and running in just minutes. On the other hand, WordPress is fully customizable, as long as you know how to modify your theme’s code. It’s this combination of simplicity and versatility that make it stand out in a sea of CMS platforms.

WordPress is licensed under GNU GPLv2+, meaning it’s free to download and use. With that said, some of the “themes” and “plugins” require purchasing.

Eerything you see here, from the documentation to the code itself, was created by and for the community. WordPress is an Open Source project, which means there are hundreds of people all over the world working on it. (More than most commercial platforms.) It also means you are free to use it for anything from your cat’s home page to a Fortune 500 web site without paying anyone a license fee and a number of other important freedoms.”

WordPress Features:

  • Used by more than 60 million websites.
  • Open source; free to download and use.
  • SEO-friendly.
  • Over 33,000 plugins available.
  • Requires little-to-no coding knowledge.
  • Supports multiple users and authors.
  • Takes 5 minutes or less to install.
  • Several built-in functions for improved blogging.
  • Interchangeable “themes” to quickly change a website’s template.
  • Built-in visitor commenting.
  • Updated on a regular basis (note: WordPress now updates automatically).


Drupal is the brainchild of software programmer Dries Buytaert. In 2001, Buytaert created a message board that later became the content management system known as Drupal. The platform became received a significant boost in popularity in 2003, when it was used to build the campaign website for democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean. It gradually grew in popularity over the years and is now the preferred content management system by many webmasters.

It may lack the numbers of WordPress, but Drupal is a remarkably powerful content management system nonetheless. Much like its counterparts, Drupal is open source and built using a combination of PHP and MySQL. It scales easily to meet the demands of high-traffic websites, which is probably why it’s used to power Whitehouse.gov.

Drupal Features:

  • Used as back-end framework on at least 2.1% of all websites on the Internet.
  • Open source; free to download and use.
  • More than 30,000 free addons available (referred to as modules).
  • Extensive community of users and supportors.
  • An estimated 1,015,000 sites use the Drupal platform (since February 2014)
  • Auto update notification.
  • Customizable URLs.
  • Installation takes about 10 minutes.
  • Multi-site support.
  • Multi-user support.
  • User profiles.
  • Drag and drop functionality.
  • Updated on a regular basis.


Originally created from the source code of the open-source platform Mambo in 2005, Joomla is a powerful and versatile web-building CMS. In terms of popularity, it’s the second most widely used CMS on the Internet. Joomla is free to download and use, for personal and/or commercial purposes. It’s supported by an active community of users who are constantly releasing new extensions.

Joomla Features:

  • Over 8,000 paid and free extensions available on the Joomla! Extension Directory.
  • Open source; free to download and use.
  • Downloaded over 50 million times (since February 2014).
  • Supports language internationalization.
  • Installation takes about 10 minutes.
  • Updated on a regular basis.
  • Tailored for e-commerce websites (although it can be used for any purpose).

The Bottom Line

So, which of these three content management systems should you use? There are pros and cons associated with each, but WordPress is arguably the single best CMS. It features well-written code, a simple and intuitive user interface, and the search engines love it (which is always a plus). Drupal and Joomla are also great platforms, but they lack the “finesse” found in WordPress.