Drupal vs. Wordpress

By Dave

Being the major players in the realm of website content management, Drupal and Wordpress are always put up against each other often with very strong opinions either way. This post isn't meant to be any sort of definitive answer on what you should decide on, just another opinion with information to consider.

Though we work in numerous platforms and languages, we at Webazzle lean Drupal simply because of the experience we've had. Both platforms are great tools to build a website and deciding what you want to use by simply Googling it can be overwhelming to say the least.

A little on Drupal...

Drupal is complicated. We can't really deny that. It's the reason that so many people steer clear from using it. A major issue we see is improper architecture and usage of the platform. Living in the age of 'YouTube Education', plenty of people can have their hands in making a website. The trouble with that, is there are too many variables that come in to play that one or two tutorials can't cover. Unless you dedicate a large portion of your time working in that system, a lot of mistakes can be made.

Drupal is designed for developers and if anyone knows anything about developers, they tend to avoid using 'user friendly' interfaces. (A little like how lawyers use legal jargon to explain things). A lot of the features in Drupal are overlooked because they are not put in any sort of easy to use interface.

Acknowledging the elephant in the room about Drupal, it can provide the most flexibility for your project without paying for a proprietary system custom built from the ground up. Being open source (just as Wordpress), the only real cost aside from hosting is the time and effort for development.

And a little on Wordpress...

Wordpress is widely known as a blogging platform. It's great for SEO since blogs of course have a great need to be searchable. Since Wordpress is also open source it is free to use and build upon, and just like Drupal the only real cost is the time and effort it takes to develop your site to look and function like you want.

Wordpress is initially more restrictive when it comes to having different 'types' of content. Again, since it was initially built as a blogging platform it requires considerable development to make it anything but a simple 'brochure' site. 

Wordpress is 'simple' to use. It has a clean and consistent content editor experience and is backed by a huge community of developers to give it features that make it more functional and easy to use. 

A little on both...

Neither platform is 'better' than the other in any generic capacity. Both have similar features and both have striking differences. A competent developer or development agency will be able to help guide you in the right direction.

But Wordpress designs are better than Drupal....

A site made with any of the popular CMS solutions can be made to look like anything you want. Ultimately, there is nothing that can't be done on one versus the other. It all depends on the knowledge and capability of the developer.

Take a look at the Fox News and The New Yorker sites. Without digging into anything, does one look like a 'Wordpress' site and one look like a 'Drupal' site? No... Site theming is really agnostic to the back end system of the site you're using.

Wordpress is cheaper...

Technically, both are free. Open source. Wordpress developers are generally cheaper because the features and functionality on Wordpress sites are generally more 'basic' than other platforms. Also there are a LOT of Wordpress developers.

Drupal developers are harder to find (and therefore more expensive) because the learning curve is so great. Since Drupal is a preferred platform for many enterprise level applications it requires a broader breadth of knowledge to get the system to do what you want it to do.

But really...

Nothing beats consulting with an experienced and competent development agency to decide what option is best for you. Who knows, maybe all you need is a cheap Wix site that your friend's kid can build in a weekend.

Both are a CMS (content management system). Both allow for plugins (Wordpress) and modules (Drupal) to extend functionality. Both require some considerable learning if you are new to the web development community.

  • Wordpress is quick, inherently easy for the admin user, and cookie cutter-ish for developers.
  • Drupal is complex, takes proper architecture to be easy for the admin user, and is more flexible to be customized by developers.