WordPress vs. Drupal: Twenty-one Things You Need to Know


For most companies, building a new website is a significant undertaking that involves some big decisions. One of the most important decisions is selecting the right platform for the website. For many, that decision comes down to deciding between two options: WordPress or Drupal.
 
To help you select the right platform, here are the key differentiators that we have discovered from working with clients on both WordPress and Drupal.
 
  1. Both content management systems have millions of websites** built on their respective platforms.
  2. Both WordPress and Drupal have strong points, weak points, and hidden warts.
  3. Both have 10,000+ free add-on modules/plug-ins that allow for extensibility (plug-and-play functionality).
  4. Both are scalable via caching and content delivery networks. 
  5. Both require extensive knowledge of CSS 3.0 and HTML if you want to create a custom theme (design) that looks professional and not cookie cutter.
  6. In WordPress, the CSS editing and formatting can be a hassle for a CSS a newbie. In Drupal, you edit the CSS files in a tool like Dreamweaver, then upload the files via FTP. The same technique is possible in WordPress but it can be problematic on some hosting configurations.
  7. Your web developer’s skill sets and experience with the CMS platform will have a huge impact on their productivity and the “feature richness” of the website you end up with.
  8. WordPress is typically easier to use for the novice or non-developer.
  9. For developers new to Drupal there is a steep learning curve – especially for the developer who hates to read documentation. Those who put in the effort, however, are richly rewarded.
  10. WordPress’s foundation is built on blogging software and is blog centric. Consequently, Wordpress is better suited for creating blogs than Drupal.  To be brutally honest, Drupal's default blogging template and layout leaves a lot to be desired.
  11. Most people don't know that WordPress’s market share stats are somewhat misleading due to the proliferation of blog sites running WordPress. 
  12. WordPress is designer centric, built to make the web designer's life easier.
  13. Drupal’s roots started as a true content management system.
  14. Drupal is an enterprise class content management system, making it ideal for more complex websites.
  15. Drupal is developer centric; its features make a web developer’s life a lot easier.
  16. Drupal has better permissions and entitlements than WordPress.  You can have admin, content editor, anonymous user roles, etc.
  17. Dupal has a better administrative and content editing user interface for power users. If you are a marketing professional who edits your website on a daily basis, you will appreciate the feature-rich interface capabilities.
  18. Drupal can be configured by the developer to be very user friendly for non-technical users. For example, there are numerous (10+) WYSIWYG editors that can be installed. In addition, custom administrative views can be easily created to speed daily administrative tasks.
  19. Drupal has better support for custom content types. This allows you to create customized layouts and lists to display press releases, videos, job postings, products, etc.
  20. Drupal is better suited for complex websites. For example, there is add-in module called Context which allows you to contextually display content based on a sophisticated rules engine.
  21. In the end, selecting the right system depends upon your specific needs. 
Selecting the right content management system requires an in-depth needs analysis to match the features of each CMS to the needs of your organization.  If you have a relatively simple brochure-ware site, selecting WordPress is a no-brainer.  However, if you have a more complex site that needs enterprise class features, Drupal is the better choice.
 
** For examples of websites built on each platform, please visit the following URLs:
 
The Drupal Showcase: http://www.drupalshowcase.com/
 
The WordPress Showcase: http://wordpress.org/showcase/