Drupal vs WordPress Ultimate Comparison (2023)
Find out which site-creation platform is the best one for you with our ultimate guide that covers everything you need to know!
Drupal and WordPress
Choosing the right platform for your website is crucial for its success. Your platform determines much of what your website will capable of and how it will function. Every web-hosting platform out there has its own unique set of features, pros, and cons that come along with it. For this reason, choosing the right platform for you may be very hard.
If you know anything about site-creation platforms, then you should know that Drupal and WordPress are two of the most popular ones that people choose. They both are great platforms with unique suites of features, strengths, and weaknesses. This ultimate guide will have several sections that weigh the two platforms to see which is better.
Each category in this article will explain the individual pros and cons of each platform. Although they are very similar platforms, With this guide, you can see which platform is the right one for you. Before we can compare Drupal and WordPress, I should explain what they are and how they started.
What is Drupal?
In 2001, Dries Buytaert and Hans Snijder founded the open-source content management system in their university dorm room. This platform would completely change the world because it would quickly become one of the world’s most reliable solutions for making a website. It has become the choice for the websites of millions of people.
Drupal is not only older than WordPress but is also their second-biggest competitor. Drupal powers 2.3% of all websites on the internet and holds a 4.6% share of all CMS platforms. Many organizations use Drupal, such as NASA, the University of Colorado, and the University of Oxford. Although it is not a popular choice for beginners, it is a famous platform.
The reason that big corporations, universities, and government companies use Drupal is because of flexibility and security. Drupal offers unmatched flexibility because its platform has immense scalability and growth potential.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is also an open-source content management system that was created by Automattic in 2003. It is a tool that allows anyone to create their very own website without having to know a single line of code. WordPress has been around for years and has gone through countless versions.
It uses an open-source content management service that anyone can download. WordPress has made it so easy for someone to create and run their site that it powers nearly 40% of the websites on the internet.
It comes in two different versions that people can use; WordPress.org and WordPress.com. If you want to the differences between the two versions, then I highly recommend reading this article. For the sake of clarity, we will be only talking about WordPress.org.
Since WordPress has been around for years, it already has a library of thousands of plugins and themes for you to use. This pre-existing ecosystem of features makes WordPress perfect for every type of website.
With a vast sea of available plugins and themes bundled with one platform that gives you complete control you can see why WordPress is so popular. Versatility, accessibility, and customizability are what make WordPress great. Now that you know what Drupal and WordPress are, we can move on to seeing which one is right for you.
Ease-of-Use & Accessibility
The first category for our platform stand-off is going to be ease-of-use and accessibility. This section will test how accessible the platforms are and how easy it is to make a website using them. This section will also explain how easy it is to create content and build your site. It will also cover how well-built the UI of the platforms is.
Drupal offers a lot more in terms of accessibility when it comes to WordPress due to a few factors. Drupal has more support for other countries and has built-in support for all languages. Besides the extra support for languages, Drupal and WordPress are the same. Since they are open-source and free, you have to download them from their websites.
The user-interface and page-builder are two of Drupal’s weaknesses, however. The UI that Drupal features is quite complex when compared to WordPress. The user interface is much more bloated and does not hide anything from you. It can be hard to navigate at first and is very overwhelming for beginners. There are also fewer guides for Drupal.
The default page-builder (the Layout Builder) that Drupal comes with is lackluster at best. Although the WordPress one is not that much better, Drupal’s still requires work. Thankfully, Drupal offers countless third-party options for page-builders that you can choose from. They are still not as great as page-builders like WYSIWYG Editor, but they get the job done.
The Drupal Layout Builder:
A Drupal Third-Party Page-Builder:
Many people often state that Drupal is more complex and difficult to understand, but it’s for a reason. Drupal offers much more in features and customizability when compared to WordPress. However, this comes at the cost of a steep learning curve and a poorly built user interface. It is the perfect tool for experts but not recommended for beginners at all.
On the other hand, we have WordPress and accessibility. WordPress also a full suite of features and accessibility options. WordPress supports most languages, is translation-ready, and open-source. However, there is a catch to this because WordPress does not support all languages.
To use WordPress, you install several different things when creating your website. You must also do extensive installation and maintenance before your website will be fully functional and ready. There is no one account and website that you can use.
Moving onto the page-builder, WordPress has some reliable options. WordPress has a default page-builder called the “Gutenberg Editor”. This page builder is fast, though it lacks several features and can be intrusive at times. This issue, however, can be easily solved by using a third-party page-builder.
Since WordPress is also open-source and supports plugins, you can pick between a lot of great page-builders. For this guide, we will be using the Elementor page-builder as our example, though there are countless other page-builders.
As far as the actual WordPress dashboard UI goes, it is well built but still needs some work. It has an easy-to-use sidebar that has everything you need in one place. However, there are some small issues, such as admin notices and trackbacks.
In conclusion, I would like to think that WordPress offers more for the user-interface and the page-builders. WordPress features several great page-builders that anyone can use to create their website. The WordPress dashboard is much cleaner and easier to navigate than the Drupal one as well. The only downside to WordPress is less support for languages.
Drupal has better support for languages and other countries, though it fails in user-interface and page-builders. The Drupal UI is very complex and can be extremely difficult for beginners at first. The page-builders do not offer as many features and are mediocre for creating good-looking websites. Thus, WordPress wins the point for this section.
Optimization & Maintenance
Performance, maintenance, SEO, and security are four crucial elements to running any website. People expect your website to load in seconds. Maintenance determines how much care your site will need. Site security is vital for your site because security breaches will endanger user data and slow down your site. These features are a necessity for all websites.
Similar to WordPress, Drupal is a self-hosted and handled platform. The performance and optimization depend on what you do with your website. Drupal offers a very good framework with great performance, but it is up to you to maintain and improve those speeds. Your optimization and hosting provider determines your performance.
The maintenance can also be similar to WordPress, though there is a much larger learning curve. Drupal requires you to clean, optimize, maintain, secure, and tweak your site yourself. It is also your responsibility to learn about errors and fix them. This case is the same with WordPress, though Drupal has a much steeper learning curve.
This learning curve is both a good thing and a bad thing. If you are knowledgeable about Drupal, then you will experience fewer errors than WordPress. However, if you are a beginner at using Drupal, you will experience a myriad of problems, errors, and things to learn. That of course also depends on the complexity of your website and how much prior experience you have as a web developer.
The SEO features that Drupal offers (out-of-box) are slightly better than WordPress but there are more decent WordPress SEO plugins on WordPress than what is available for Drupal.
The security of Drupal is very good (out-of-box) compared to many other PHP-based content management systems. Both WordPress and Drupal though require work to harden the website properly and shield it from attacks and crackers in general.
Ultimately, it is a tie in this section between WordPress and Drupal. They are similar to each other in many ways as both of them are based on PHP and serve a similar purpose.
Design & Features
One of the last sets of things we will be covering is customizability, features, and design. These things are crucial for both adding functionality and designing a good website. This section will cover the functionality, site designing features, plugins, and aesthetic options that Drupal and WordPress offer.
Since WordPress and Drupal are both open-source and self-hosted, you will not see many differences in this section. Both platforms give an extensive degree of control that allows you to tweak and add anything to your website. Their customizability options are near endless, though there are some key differences.
Drupal provides an immense amount of customization for your database, users, content types, and taxonomies. Their complex systems are harder to understand, but they offer a much higher degree of freedom. Drupal gives you free control over your content through their taxonomy system that makes handling data easy.
However, the next section is one where Drupal fails to compete with WordPress. Design features are very well-built into Drupal, though they require more polish and depth. Drupal has support for themes, plugins, page-builders, and design customization. However, this support is just nothing when compared to the features that WordPress boasts.
When you are creating a site on Drupal, design, and layout are very hard to implement. The themes that Drupal offers are very customizable but do not offer much. The page-builders are harder to use due to the nature of the platform. This unintuitiveness can make working with Drupal significantly more difficult than WordPress.
As mentioned before, WordPress is also customizable and offers great flexibility. If you can code it, you can add it to a WordPress site. This factor ties into the ridiculous number of features that WordPress offers. Plugins and the pre-existing WordPress settings let you add anything without editing the code.
WordPress features tens of thousands of plugins that can do anything from removing a specific notification to overhauling everything about your site. Plugins and themes are the bread and butter of WordPress. Since WordPress is open-source, the plugins can achieve anything imaginable.
WordPress offers so much in design that it can get overwhelming. Although creating a site is more difficult with WordPress, it has thousands of plugins to help you. WordPress also has thousands of stunning themes that are ready out of the box. WordPress themes can range from full overhauls to frameworks you can build on, like NanoSpace.
The design options are extensive and flexible. The page-builders and customizability features let you change everything about the website. Drupal has excellent aesthetic and design options, but WordPress has more. WordPress also allows you to do everything without having to tweak very much or code.
In conclusion, I believe that Drupal offers immense customizability and content features. However, WordPress has a much simpler approach and offers more customization and design. WordPress also gives you more plugins, themes, tools, and services to use. Thus, WordPress should win the point for this section.
Pricing for both of these platforms will vary because they both have variable pricing. You do not pay for Drupal and WordPress themselves, but the things that go with them. You have to pay for the domain, hosting provider, plugins, themes, and other features. This reason is why pricing can range depending on your needs and how complex your website is.
You will have to pay for a hosting provider monthly plan and a one-time fee for a domain. Then you can download either WordPress or Drupal for free. I would once again recommend Host Armada if you want a place to start. Now it is up to you to decide on what you want to buy for your website.
These can range from plugins and themes to professional tools and subscription services. Plugins and themes are the main things you can buy, but things like CDNs and services are also useful. All of these products can range in price. If you want a place to buy the best WordPress products and services, I would highly recommend Labinator.
In conclusion, this section is a tie because of how similar the platforms are. It is completely up to the other factors and personal preference when it comes to the costs of these websites. WordPress offers more you may need to buy, though a Drupal user could also use many services and tools when creating a website.
Pros & Cons of Drupal
Pros of Drupal:
- There are many custom content types and settings.
- There is good control over users and permissions.
- The security out-of-box is good.
Cons of Drupal:
- It offers less overall customization and flexibility.
- The systems are much more complex.
- The page-builders do not offer as many features.
- There are much fewer plugins and themes.
- It is much harder to learn and master.
- The UI is not as intuitive and simple.
Pros & Cons of WordPress
Pros of WordPress:
- There is a library of thousands of plugins and themes.
- There are very few restrictions and limitations.
- It is much easier to use and more intuitive.
- The page-builders and UI are both much better.
- You can add a lot of functionality and extra features.
Cons of WordPress:
- Your website can experience more technical issues.
- You need a good number of plugins to achieve your objectives. This also depends on the overall complexity of your website.
Drupal vs WordPress Comparison Table
|Flexibility & Scalability|
|Control & Customizations|
|Ease Of Use|
|Popularity & Community Size|
|Value & Pricing|
In conclusion, there isn’t a right or wrong answer for choosing between Drupal and WordPress. Drupal and WordPress both have individual strengths and weaknesses that make them different. It comes down to what type of site you want. They are better at separate things, though I recommend WordPress over Drupal for most people due to its bigger community and the wider choice of available plugins.
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