Drupal, WordPress, or Joomla? (A Trick Question)

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Drupal, WordPress, or Joomla?

I was recently asked my opinion of whether to use Drupal or one of those other ones. I was going to just write a flippant reply, when I realized I'm not actually qualified to answer the question.

I have never personally used WordPress. I read a comparison of it and Drupal some years ago, and knew even then that WordPress would just never cut it. And I've never looked back.

Now if Joomla had been part of the original question, I would have had slightly more qualifications to answer. I used that once (back when it was Mambo, and for all of three weeks), and was sorely impressed at first. But the glow faded quickly when I realized that though it was slick out of the box, it required more work tearing it down to make it do what I wanted than Drupal's simple building blocks offer. And again, I've never looked back.

However, that's coming from a decade of experience on the web beforehand. I really have no idea if Drupal is suitable for someone just starting out. (That is more generic: the author of the original question is a seasoned developer, and specifically to them I say use Drupal, what are you waiting for?)


I dug up a few comparisons from Google, and they seem reasonable (for someone who doesn't know spit about WordPress). 10 Reasons to Use Drupal has an obvious Drupal bias. WordPress Vs Drupal Vs Expression Engine has a WordPress bias. And WordPress vs Drupal can't make up its mind (its author continues to use both).


I found a few comparisons of Joomla and Drupal, but they're largely out-dated, the first on the list dating from Drupal 4.7. Most of the negative points on Drupal on their list have turned into strong positives since then. That was a thorough comparison, but needs to be revised to warrant its current Google ranking.


From a blog, to a news mogul, to a store-front, to a social network, to a university's portal site, Drupal can handle any of it. Just take a look at this slideshow:

With a strong community of developers, there are easy-to-use tools that can handle pretty much anything you can think of. Its underlying architecture is scalable, its API is robust, and Google loves Drupal; its SEO friendliness is well-known. (Although to be fair, as pointed out on Joomla's forums, they're all SEO friendly, and Wordpress does that out of the box, as opposed to needing to install Pathauto for search-engine-friendly URLs in Drupal.)

My Opinion

The rest of this is largely opinion. Please do the research yourself before coming back and telling me this other can do this or that. Without doing a thorough examination of the CMS options, it doesn't do any of them justice to oversimplify their offerings.

Basically, from my perspective, I'd say, if you are an experienced developer, particularly if you have any programming background at all, you need Drupal. If you are looking to hire a developer for your site, whatever site that might be, you need Drupal. If you are a newbie and want nothing more than a blog, then WordPress might be for you.

However, if you're willing to jump through the hurdle of learning the administrative back-end, then Drupal would likely serve you better in the long run. Particularly if you think you might want things like easy video embedding or customizable content entry. And if you want a blog with multiple authors, or forums, or e-commerce (before you ask, I suggest Ubercart, and that comes from having used both that and e-Commerce, but read Diving into Drupal E-Commerce: An Ubercart vs. E-commerce Comparison first), or any kind of social network, then Drupal hands down is the one for you.

If you want some of that, and want it now, and don't want the hassle of learning, and don't care if it's impossible to change it later, then maybe you should stick with Joomla.

Take your pick.

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Anonymous's picture


It seems you aren't really knowledgable or experienced enough to write a comparisons article!

billy's picture

If you are not technical and

If you are not technical and want to do it yourself, use wordpress. If you are mid level technical guy and want to make it use Joomla. But once you learn Drupal completely it will do anything for you. Drupal has two main issues: learning curse and less attractive themes.

Anonymous's picture

Depends on knowledge !

Wordpress for slow learners, for the ones who have little information of coding or etc
Joomla is more complicated and slow, and with some security holes, it is a headache
Drupal is the most advanced cms I have ever seen, but still complicated , once you get in, you never drop, but you need a push !

Wp > drupal > joomla = easiest, easier, easy one
Drupal > joomla > Wordpress > Most advanced, Less advanced, advanced cms
Joomla > No no, joomla always sucks

Make a choice between wordpress and drupal, if you count on yourself, choose drupal

wp_best?'s picture

I choose Wordpress...

All depends what you need...but in my opinion it will be wordpress.

Joomla is very, very slow (did you check how many requests and queryes joomla needs? and it lacks with security).
I also tried drupal, and it's very nice, but i think wordpress is much powerfull (themes, ecommerce, site for personal usage, easy customisation, gallery, social network, blog? - wordpress beat them all!).

Only thing that is hard to implement is forum; but not impossible (smf, phpbb).

AeM's picture

i dwelled through both...

in 2004-2005 i went through xoops, because it has a good acl api i hoped joomla has, as "superior" (or so they said) cms...
indeed it was -not-, and going though acl addons implies that other modules can't cope very well with 3-4 third party solutions : so they're not coded with acl in mind, except when they came from the same author...
but it does prove it's useful as pretty easy to add functionalities (car reseller, realty shop, ... : there are many nice and clean vertical solutions as modules)
but some of the best are crypted php sources, thus when you want to modify them for customers, you're locked in !
and if you want a specific customer solution, you've got to code it by yourself... of course the mvc helps here and the api is quite good in this, but you have to code it 100% anyway. sometimes even going through this can't guarantee you that your code could communicate with other modules, because each one does its own work (well, indeed) and is like a black box to others.
but even with this, it's a pretty good cms i like for putting fast websites, ecommerce or something else !
in july, i (re)discovered drupal and the more i'm discovering, the more i like it...
with cck, views, panels not only i have -many, many, many- less code to do, but thanks to that, all blocks can communicate with each other as drupal is content-orientated instead of modules-orientated modularity...
after a month of learning of course i'm continuing to do a joomla website here and there, but it's only because ubercart is not yet in the languages i'm going for... (french/japanese)
when compared, it seems to me wordpress, joomla, drupal comes through the order of easiest-rigid to "hardest"-flexible ("hardest" of course not the hardest compared to "pure players" frameworks, it's only for the learning curve !)...
each one has its cool sides, its dark sides and in the end, you can see which "big sites" project managers chooses each cms following their respective dashboards...

aaron's picture

Drupal 7 has some great

Drupal 7 has some great improvements on the administration side, thanks in part to the efforts of #D7UX. I hope by this time next year that Drupal will be easiest-flexible (or at least easier) on your scale, @AeM!

Owen McNamara's picture

Joomla or Drupal

Many of us are asking the same questions: Should we use Joomla or Drupal? I am new to both so am going to build a simple site in each and see which I like. Wordpress is great for blogging and SEO for sure, and I see many people stretch it to more complex sites but with so many plug-ins, some of which aren't compatible with each other i think it is best left for blogs and simple sites and is probably King/Queen of that space. As for more complex sits if you review the web it seems clear that Drupal is the best but Joomla is catching up. In my limited experience to date I have actually been pleasantly surprised that Drupal is easier to use than I had been led to believe, and Joomla is actually harder. I have found it difficult to get free well written tutorials and guidelines for Joomla, whereas with Drupal it is much easier. I am still undecided but starting to lean towards Drupal for most sites, and Wordpress for Blogs. Maybe Joomla is stuck in the middle? It is pretty, seems great to start with but perhaps isn't so great once you get into it. To help contribute to the discussions I did a review of a Webology survey and put a long ad-free blog on my personal blog. Hope you find it useful: http://owenmcnamara.com/2009/08/08/comparison-of-drupal-and-joomla/

Thanks for your article


Anonymous's picture

Indeed great comment Owen.. I

Indeed great comment Owen.. I too was leaning to drupal once I read the first article and was under the same impression: that wordpress is good for blogging and actual being streched to do the job of a more complex site. And when you strech something too much it tends to break and is not that good as something that was ment to create complex sites. Which leaves us to Joomla and Drupal. What can I say about Joomla is that I tried it versus Wordpress for creating an ads website.. but it seemed rather difficult to handle aftyer installing and seeing all that code kind of knocked me down... and I am not a noob :D so imagine what it would do to an acutal noob... Besides, I have seen that the writer of the article made a straight forward observation about Joomla saying that if you want a site that you can put up fast and cannot change later go for it... and this I didn't like on top of my first impression.
So I will try drupal and let you know how good it will suite my needs, but I have a feeling it will do better that I will expect :D
Thank you

aaron's picture

Thanks for sharing your

Thanks for sharing your analysis, Owen! That is a well-written article, with statistics to back up your conclusions. I'm definitely going to point people who ask to that post.


My Little Blog's picture

what a trick?just choose what

what a trick?just choose what do you think is the best.

Put Up Blog's picture

Drupal, WordPress, or Joomla? (A Trick Question)

I am just hoping that you will continue writing the same great articles like this. This theme about Drupal, WordPress, or Joomla? (A Trick Question) really get my attention. If you did it so, I will one of your loyal readers if ever. Thanks for this useful information.

Mpumelelo Msimanga's picture

Drupal fits all, does it? Survey

This survey is being conducted to determine how much code Drupal
implementers actually need to write. The advent of modules such as
CCK, Views, Organic Groups, Workflow, Ubercart, E-Commerce, Panels and
Actions along with a dozen or so other modules has a empowered web
developers with the ability to create sites writing little or no
custom code. Is this true? If you are Drupal user please take the
survey at http://www.mahalasoft.co.za

Anonymous's picture

to all of you who are

to all of you who are bitching because these 3 platforms should not be even compared, the discussions are still very helpful to those of us like myself who have only heard of these, and are trying to learn more.

Hectic Capiznon Bloggers 2009's picture


thanks for sharing your idea.

Bobby C's picture

Newbies and those with little time

Need to get a site up and runing fast and have it look good and functioning with the spiders crawling that crap outta it?

Well then you better look to WP and not the other 2. Both Drup and Joom have huge learning curves and huge setup times. Not to mention that in ammount of extentions that really work the first time WP wins hands down.

I have just spent the past 6 months going over each of them in turn. For the begining user WP is better documented, has more online tutorial videos, has 1000 times more free themes available than the other two combined, and a million more plugins.

So if you do not have time to play around and learn Drup or Joom then I would say you need to go with WP. Now if you do have time I say Joomla beats Drupal.

Andra's picture

I have to agree that the time

I have to agree that the time curve is something that matters very much to me and not only I am sure... I will put this variable in the analysys of Wordpress vs Drupal for setting up a fast classified ads website. I wonder if it would be possible to fastly create a web under WP and then migrate it to Drupal for better maintenance and administration... I have to keep in mind that it is a DB based on and oriented website so I don't know yet which would do better in a time/performance scheme

Thank you

Expert opinions are most welcomed :D

Anonymous's picture

A brand name is a brand name is a brand name...

Drupal is more professional than Joomla as far as development is concerned.

Joomla is great for somebody who wants all the bells and whistles and is willing to spend the next 6 months forcing them to work.

Wordpress is good for people who want to do business and are not interested in development.

I personally feel that Wordpress will continue to do what it has set out to do. I feel Joomla may fall down the same security path as phpNuke did by offering under experienced programmers access to things which they aren't going to be able to secure or support properly. Drupal will take alot of good programmers and make them better programmers I think. Although I am not a big fan of the object oriented paradigm. However I do think for the real programming professionals there are better options. But the market seems to be shaping thier destiny with drupal.

All things aside. Make sure what ever add-ons you have come with a professional commerical backing. History has proven time and time again that the non-commercially supported projects die out.

kp's picture

Wordpress is easier to use

""Wordpress is good for people who want to do business and are not interested in development.""

Good comment. I think it says it all.. Drupal looks like its going to go further than Joomla, so if iam a novice I guess start with Wordpress and try learning Drupal...

Anonymous's picture

Why cant the "drupal

Why cant the "drupal community" put up so contrib theme that just don't flat-out suck? Even this site is using a drab mind-numbingly boring out of the box theme. When it comes to themes or templates, Joomla is light-years ahead of Drupal - which has me scratching my head, Where are all the Drupal theme designers??

Anonymous's picture


I think its really useless to have these type of discussions, because Wordpress is for blogging, Drupal is for complex sites and Joomla is for simpler sites. All engines can probably do each others job, it's just the system and its community that's not focused upon it

Eclipse Now's picture

Useless comparisons?

These comparisons are GREAT for newcomers to the industry that are investing time and energy into learning one or the other. See, newcomers don't KNOW what you just asserted so boldly, that "Wordpress is for blogging, Drupal is for complex sites and Joomla is for simpler sites. All engines can probably do each others job, it's just the system and its community that's not focused upon it"

You just asserted something fairly generic about the different focuses of each system quite boldly and confidently, and that's EXACTLY why these comparisons are important.

Anonymous's picture



Anonymous's picture

This post has been copied

Just wondering whether you've given official approval for this post to appear at http://drupalranch.com/Comparison/Drupal-WordPress-or-Joomla?

aaron's picture

That looks like it's just an

That looks like it's just an aggregrator. They gave me credit and linked back. Seems reasonable to me, especially as I make this blog available through RSS (as do all Drupal sites by default).

Anonymous's picture


Awesome. You started out your article by explaining how you weren't qualified to answer the question, and then you went ahead and answered it anyway.

convert your car to run on water's picture

I'll try Drupal....

Up to now, I'm still very comfortable with Wordpress but I'm willing to try out other things as well and Drupal might be the best first thing to try out! Thanks!

Azzam's picture

I use Wordpress and Joomla

I agree with part of what Jennifer stated, with clients looking for the more SEO'd type of site with straight content I would push for wordpress since the engine is more compact. But if clients are searching for a powerful engine that can duplicate e-commerce, social networking site then I would push for Joomla. Wordpress has sufficient support for it and there are plenty of joomla tutorial sites out there.

However unless you have dissected Joomla 1.5 then you have not done justice. With its Model View Controller it is a very powerful engine

Steve Parsons's picture

I have only used wordpress

I have only used wordpress so far, but I am considering starting to experiment with drupal for some of my sites. I like wordpress because it is SOOOOO user friendly. But, from what I have heard, drupal is not so much. I guess I will have to break down and just put up a site and play around with it.

Justin's picture

Joomla v. Drupal

Why use a package at all? Can't anyone code these days?

Ok - there is a place for application servers and templating systems (Perl's Mason beats the pants off anything the PHP world has to offer) but why limit your site to someone else's vision, which is what you are doing when you use Joomla or Drupal?

Would you prefer to go on a package holiday or take some cash and find your own way? Which will be more interesting? Which will you customers find more interesting?

The problem is: if you use a package either you stay within its limits in which case you probably save some development time but limit your site or you spend forever trying to bend it into doing what you want - so you might as well have started from scratch yourself anyway.

Anonymous's picture

The only thing I would add to

The only thing I would add to what has already been mentioned is that their communities vastly differ. Wordpress has a MUCH stronger community than Drupal (I've used both). What mostly comes to mind is theme creation - because Wordpress has 'appealed to the masses' more it has an extremely large choice of themes, a large number of which are of much better quality than the Drupal themes available.

This of course makes no difference if you're building it yourself from scratch....

Anonymous's picture

I dont believe Wordpress is a

I dont believe Wordpress is a CMS, you can let it behave like a CMS, but its bare functionality is not focused upon what you would need a CMS solution for. It's just that people need really simple solutions, for those 4/5 page websites and Wordpress offers that, even though its not focused upon it.

Anonymous's picture

Drupal is better than both but...........

I have been using joomla and its great. I am hearing a lot of buzz about drupal. I search and search and search and all I see is all fart and no shit.
I am not saying drupal is bad. Drupal is indeed better than joomla, but what I see with drupal is a lot of articles which can be called PR. All these articles just keep on singing praises on drupal.
Tutorials? Help? or any other resources for drupal...........NONE!!!!!
Joomla still beats drupal when it comes to resources, infact it beats the PR of Drupal with the amount of help one can get on joomla is just amazing.
Drupal seems to me like a community full of selfish snobbish geeks who want to prove that drupal is the best(and It may very well be) and then just go around all "snobby snobby" without giving any kind of help in their websites or articles. It is very closed and selfish community I feel. They want drupal to be popular and they dont want many developers to become and expert in drupal.

Whereas joomla is in the true spirit of opensource. Joomla users just keep on contributing and contributing. There are tons and tons of videos about joomla articles websites you name it.
Youtube i filled with joomla tutorials. No geeks talking about how good joomla is. You get tutorials on anything.

But when you search for drupal all you get is all these drupal geeks telling us how drupal is the best thing to happen to this world.

So in the spirit of opensource I would rather wait for joomla to catch up and I am sure with the help of extensions any of these above mentioned 10 reasons can be tackled in Joomla.

Anonymous's picture

In the TRUE spirit of

In the TRUE spirit of opensource, Drupal community seems to offer a lot more FREE available modules than joomla. Everywhere I look for Joomla extensions it's FeaturePRO this and Commercial License that. like it's some kinda money-making scheme, not geared towards bettering the web community itself.

At first, I thought Drupal was really difficult to learn; but got used to it and in the end it becomes a powerful tool. there's modules for everything you could possibly want. the community is helpful, the worst part tho is the unorganization of EVERYTHING on the drupal site. You name it: unanswered posts, unfinished modules - the whole system's bogged down with useless garbage that someone needs to clean up. whatever happened to waiting until your module is COMPLETE before posting on the site? There's wannabe plugins all over the place!! very confusing for the beginner.

But I've tried joomla and while the extensions/ website community is nicely organized and easy to find things at first - you get into the functionality of the admin and it's really a piece of junk. And you have to pay for half the useful plugins for joomla. why pay more and get less??

Oh, and wordpress RULES. free opensource in every sense of the word, very easy to install, easy to use, and easy to show clients how to add content - which makes my life EASIER. cheers!

Anonymous's picture

Aw, you found us out! We are

Aw, you found us out! We are all just doing this for popularity. It'll be our little secret.

Tomas's picture


I prefer Drupal. And I really like this project. I think it is far more better than all others (Joomla, Wordpress etc.)
But, I'm not very pleased the way all those are coded. It is full of crap crap cram and mixed php and html...
Not to mention that 70% of themes are ugly and badly coded...
But, once again, it suites my needs and that cool :)
I love it :)

Jason's picture

What's wrong with Joomla?

What's wrong with Joomla!? I have been using it and have found it to be very versatile and extensible. It is week for blogging, but can be stretched into that mode if you want it. It has the Fireboard forum and good video plugins like Allvideos. It's not super easy, but if you have programming experience you can build very feature rich sites with it.

vege's picture

Joomla is Toy car

Nothing wrong with Joomla. I used it for 2 years and moved to Drupal couple of months back. Joomal is like toy gun. It looks pretty and get easily attracted by kids(beginers). But when you really need some action then you will realize Joomla is just tooy gun useful to showoff.(Show case websites..i mean here). In joomla, user managemet really sucks or there is no user management. In drupal, you can control each page and you can define users in different groups and control their roles. Also, categorization in Drupal is excellent (Taxanomy). Another important thing is SEO and Blogging. This is part of the core in Drupal. In joomla you need to "buy" external modules for that. I can talk for an hour ,.....but to be short...Joomla is good if you want just showoff site. If you are serious about site, go drupal ,...much...much better

Bojhan Somers's picture

Why is Wordpress in the picture?

I still don't get it, ever since these discussions started we take Wordpress into the picture. While Wordpress is a blogging solution. Drupal is not a blogging solution, it can do blogging, but its not focused upon it as much as Wordpress is.

I dont believe Wordpress is a CMS, you can let it behave like a CMS, but its bare functionality is not focused upon what you would need a CMS solution for. It's just that people need really simple solutions, for those 4/5 page websites and Wordpress offers that, even though its not focused upon it.

I think its really useless to have these type of discussions, because Wordpress is for blogging, Drupal is for complex sites and Joomla is for simpler sites. All engines can probably do each others job, it's just the system and its community that's not focused upon it.

It seems just as much as the Joomla vs. Drupal wars, it totally depends on the context of the client. Without that, you cant really say pro's and con's. Maybe it's time to take the wars, outside the open source community? There is way more propriety CMS's we should be competing with and that acctually are competition.

Installation profiles is the answers to a lot of troubled solutions in Drupal now, but not many can be bothered to work on installation profiles. So I don't think we should really promote that as a solution.

Disclaimer: I use all three CMS's.

Anonymous's picture

your links


just want to comment that your links are very hard to see - at least on my display. You should underline them or use a color that is more easy to see right away

aaron's picture

Links should be easier to see

Thanks, excellent idea. I've set content links to be bold and underlined now.

Chris Charlton's picture

I'm gonna learn more about the others

I was telling another LA Drupal member that its time I, as co-manager, learned more about WP & J!, because I am Drupal biased right now and felt it was time to update my answer of "I had to remove a bunch of stuff in Joomla!" and I've never personally installed WordPress but never was impressed to anyway.

aaron's picture

Original Source...

Whoo hoo! Original source is always the best teacher. I can't wait to read about your findings; let me know when you've done a comparison.

ceejayoz's picture

I've used all three...

Joomla - avoid like the plague. Adding or modifying any functionality almost always requires hacking the core code, the code it generates is usually horrific, and the admin interface is horrid IMO.

WordPress - the best platform for blogs, no question in my mind. WordPress (and WPMU, the multi-site version) are perfect for blogging-centric sites with perhaps a few static pages on top.

Drupal - the best platform for general CMS, also no question. It's significantly more work to set up a site than WordPress is, but it's much, much, much better at handling non-blog content.

I've written a bit about why I like WordPress and Drupal so much - the bottom line is that both platforms allow we developers to dramatically extend and modify the way it works without screwing ourselves over for upgrading to new releases.

aaron's picture

Installation Profiles Needed for Drupal Blogs

You put that much more succinctly than I. Thanks! Although I'm a bit biased and prefer Drupal for blogs as well. But without a decent installation profile (an under-developed technique still in its infancy), it is admittedly a bit of a more of a pain than it should be to set up Drupal for a simple blog.

ceejayoz's picture


Yep, that's the biggie. The biggest appeal of WordPress for me is that it's got a heavily tweaked WYSIWYG editor that works really well because it's maintained by the WordPress core code staffers, with integrated media handling that's also handled by core code staffers. I don't have to install third-party modules, I don't have to configure it to have sane default settings, it just works.

Bam's picture

they all suck, but

I remember i started with wordpress, at first i was like hell yeah i can do anything i want but i was wrong, then i discovered joomla but quickly got turned off, it was confusing to figure everything out... then i heard about drupal and i really liked it, well compared to wordpress and joomla it's a lot better, i worked with the system for 2 years... but even drupal is crap...

3 months ago i discovered ExpressionEngine, though not free, it kicks drupal's ass to the curve!!! when you get involved with EE you wonder how in the hell you kept up with all the crap in drupal. You haven't seen power, speed, efficiency or beauty until you try EE... my life as a designer, consultant is so much easier, i have literally nothing to worry about. ( i do NOT work for EE, nor do i sell for them or anything, i'm simply pissed that i wasted 2 years with drupal!)

christefano's picture

Re: they all suck

Much of what the Drupal community knows about ExpressionEngine, I think, is from quicksketch's recent article, The Open Security Model, Drupal and ExpressionEngine on Security. It doesn't paint a good picture of EE's security practices.

aaron's picture

Thanks for the Heads Up

I'll have to take a look at EE. I only have limited experience with that (as an administrator at Blognomic), and have mixed feelings about it thus far. But I haven't used it to build a site from scratch, so I don't know first hand how it could be used to build some of the media-heavy sites I generally work with.

farrell's picture

I'd Say Drupal, But Learning Curve Remains Hurdle

I've used both Drupal and Wordpress, and I'd say I agree completely that Drupal is the better solution for any complex or multi-author site.

The only reason I'd recommend Wordpress is that it is much easier to use and understand, particularly for non-developers. In other words, there's still a steep learning curve involved with Drupal.

Take a non-programmer who pays $10 a month for shared hosting and wants a blog or a simple website. Wordpress is far easier for that person. WYSIWYG editing is included. The admin interface is far easier. There's no new vocabularly to learn: node, taxonomy, etc. Just my 2 cents. I like Drupal, but I understand the non-developer perspective, too.

The Society for Venturism has chosen me as the recipient of its charity for this year, to hopefully offer me cryonic preservation when the time comes. And this month, Longecity, an excellent forum for the discussion of issues related to extending the lifespan of humans, has offered up a matching grant of up to a thousand dollars to help out! So help out! Please.