Differences between Joomla, Drupal and WordPress CMS

ADMEC Multimedia > Web Development > Differences between Joomla, Drupal and WordPress CMS

Content Management System (CMS) as the name suggests, is the most powerful and efficient open source solution used to manage the content of a website and web application. Basically it’s a software tool that is installed on a server. CMS comprises of Content Management Application (CMA) and Content Delivery Application (CDA) that enables the individuals to easily publish pages on the website and to manage its features, content, and users through an easy to use browser based interface.

JoomlaDrupal and the WordPress are the most popular and widely used content management systems or formats across the globe. All these open source scripting languages play a pivotal role in adjusting the content management space and to create dynamic websites. The major advantage of these CMS solutions is that it helps in increasing the control over the website and decreases the total cost of ownership of one’s site. Although Joomla, Drupal and WordPress perform the same function (i.e. to monetize the content) but differs in their applications.

Note: Few developers called these CMSs a framework too. And in my opinion somewhere these all applications tend to work as a framework.

Let us have a quick overview on the differences between the three.

Differences b/w Drupal, Joomla and WordPress

MeaningDrupal is a free open source content management system that manages the content of and builds websites and web applications. It is a modular framework written in PHP scripting language and distributed under the General Public License (GPL). Drupal is a powerful tool for building complex, professional and highly customized sites.Joomla is an award winning Open source CMS platform for publishing content on the site as a Model View Controller (MVC) web application framework. Joomla is semi user friendly tool having extensive capabilities of Drupal and generally used to build complex sites requiring an easier learning curve than Drupal.WordPress is the most popular and user friendly open source blogging system currently available, having global and vibrant user, developer, and support community.
Support and DeveloperAcquia(.com) Developer: Dries BuytarertNo big support authority Developer: Leadership teamAutomatic(.com) Developer: Matthew Charles “Matt” Mullenweg
MaturityDrupal CMS solution came into existence in the year 2001.Joomla CMS solution officially came into existence in the year 2001 and got split from Mambo Fork in the year 2005.WordPress CMS solution came into existence in the year 2003.
AbilitiesHigh performance (20k requests per second). This CMS solution was praised by developers.Good output (design, printability, font sizing). This CMS solution was praised by designers.WordPress has simple and startup. Comprises of practical CMS, but growing at a faster rate. The solution was praised by beginners.
Plugins LibraryLow (Plugins in Drupal are referred to as “modules”)Medium (Plugins in Joomla is referred to as “extensions”)High plugin library
Basic FeaturesDrupal is widely used for creating instant websites or web applications with users, articles, blogs, comments, and a forum. Drupal offers high scalability , organizes complex content, powerful taxonomy, tag facility, etc.With Joomla one can easily create and manage the contents of a website. Specifically designed to create community platforms with strong social networking sites.WordPress is highly user friendly. It offers great support and tutorials- which enables the web designers, developers and non technical users to easily and quickly create simple sites. It also offers an extensive selection of themes.
Ease of Content administ-
Appearance of websiteEntirely depends on the skills of the developer.Entirely depends on the skills of the developer.Simple and pretty websites.
AdvantagesExtremely flexible, developer friendly, strong SEO capabilities, enterprise friendly, etc.User-friendly, strong developer community, extension variability, high content management capabilities, etc.Multiple authors, user friendly, easy customization, flexibility, etc.
Usage5 lakh active sitesUnknown number of sites25 mm sites, total (12 mm on word press.com)
Website ExamplesLouvre, Zynga, Hurley Medial Centre, X. Commerce, Team Sugar, ADI etc.Harvard University, IHOP (restaurant chain)Outdoor Photographers ( magazine)Citibank (financial institute intranet), etc..Entyce, Bluelounge, Design the Planet, Harvey Nichols, PlayStation Blog, CNN Political Ticker, NASA Ames research Center, etc.

WordPress, Joomla or Drupal- which is highly Recommended?

Having looked at above distinction, we can say that all the three CMS enable you to manage your website in a concise and precise manner, but differ in their usage and specifications. Generally speaking choice of an optimum CMS solution depends on the factor such as – the kind of website you want to build, resources required (both technical and personal) and the available alternatives.


WordPress is regarded as a leader in both installations and brand exposure. Its administration panel is very flexible. The whole WordPress system is easy to configure and edit with integrated editors for CSS and template files. WordPress solutions/formats are highly recommended for the creation of small and medium size websites focusing primarily on blogging.

It is best suitable for site which does not require several community features or the requirements which do not specify a lot more features than WordPress can provide. It offers features such as a simple interface, several themes along with customization facility, full control over templates, support forums,etc. but without any ads and with limited space only. The major benefit of using WordPress is that it makes the site cheaper, allows faster setup and reduces the maintenance burden.


Joomla is the full Content Management Solution. It is considered as one of the market leaders of open source CMS system. Joomla formats are widely recommended when WordPress is not enough and application of the Drupal admin UI is too creepy or difficult. That is Joomla provides middle way ground to the designers. Joomla offers relatively simpler installation and setup than Drupal, more intuitive administration user interface, numerous polished modules with add-on facility, etc.

One can build multilingual candy sites with a moderate investment of time and efforts. Also one doesn’t need to have technical knowledge of the format. All sizes and kind of websites can be built using Joomla formats. Generally clients prefer Joomla over Drupal as a part of their technology portfolio or when website features can be achieved with ready-made extensions.


Using Drupal CMS solution, one can create outstanding and high quality platforms for their website. In-fact clients prefer Drupal formats when they need the CMS to bend anything they want. Drupal is highly recommended when site focuses on community and user generated content. It supports multi-language and multi-site features and has a great Application Programming Interface (API) with a number of hooks and tool kit.

In terms of flexibility, Drupal has no comparison with any other open source CMS solutions currently available in the market. Sites based on Drupal formats enable designers and developers to form any kind of user group and user permissions along with membership and community sites. It provides features such as a powerful template designing system, multiple level categories , greater taxonomy, helps keeping your site safe and secure, easy integration with other sites (Open ID), and changing the site without coding which makes it more reactive and special.

I would highly recommend you to create a startup website in each of the CMS first. After that you would be more comfortable in deciding for the best CMS for your needs.

View Full Presentation on slideshare: Content Management System

Content Management System from ADMEC Multimedia Institute

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