WORDPRESS VERSUS DRUPAL: THEIR ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES
WordPress and Drupal are all the rage, but can your business actually benefit from either of these entry level content management systems (CMS)?
In this article, we try to help you determine if a CMS is right for your business and help you sort through the pros and cons of WordPress and Drupal.
WordPress Versus Drupal – Game On!
These entry level content management systems have become extremely popular, but do you really need a CMS? It generally costs 50% to 70% or more to create a custom Drupal or WordPress site, so you must first determine if your company would actually benefit from a CMS and that decision should be based solely on how you plan to manage your website’s content.
If you have an enormous amount of content or you need to update your site on a daily or weekly basis, then you may be a good candidate for a CMS; otherwise, a more traditional approach may be a much better option for you.
When interviewing potential independent web developers and/or project managers, do your due diligence. The revenue is so much greater with CMS web development that they may try to up sale their services and convince you to go with a CMS when a traditional site would meet all of your needs for half the price.
Drupal or WordPress – Which is the Best Option?
Once you have determined that a CMS is a good choice for you, you then need to decide which platform is the best option. The answer to this question will vary greatly depending on who you ask, and it shouldn’t be a big surprise that a WordPress or Drupal developer will recommend the approach that best fits their expertise and will bring them the biggest development deal. Your specific business needs will come in at a not-so-close second!
I work with both platforms, and I believe the advantages between Drupal and WordPress are very minimal. A few years ago, Drupal developers would have said that their platform is much more stable, more secure, and it is easier to extend the functionality of their websites through third-party modules. A few years ago these assumptions would have been absolutely true. Now though, the advantages – if any – are very small.
Here is what I have found to be true:
1) Security – when I receive security alerts, often they are directed at both Drupal and WordPress sites. Both platforms seem to have many of the same security vulnerabilities. Having said that, WordPress does come under hacker attack more often. I believe that this is because there are so many MORE WordPress sites that it makes it much more desirable to a hacker to find WordPress vulnerabilities and exploit them. The payoff is far greater for the hacker!
To help secure your WordPress website, you may find several third party security plugins valuable. Click for more information.
2) Platform stability – Both platforms seem to be just as stable – or unstable – to me. I find both to be a bit “buggy” requiring constant upgrades, work arounds, and fixes. I do find Drupal sites to be a much more manual and time consuming to update than WordPress. This increases Drupal’s overall maintenance costs.
3) Modules versus Plugins – There is a Drupal saying, “We have a module for that.” True, but so does WordPress. For really advanced functionality, though, WordPress developers usually charge for their fully functional plugins. Drupal developers seem to be a bit more generous with their modules. And some of the really good modules are eventually integrated into Drupal’s core files.
4) Admin interface – for the end user, i.e., YOU, WordPress has a much better interface for updating content. It is more intuitive than Drupal, and much easier to learn.
5) Website development costs – by far, Drupal websites cost more to develop. Generally speaking, the cost difference can be 2, 5 even 10 times more expensive than WordPress sites. I believe this is primarily due to the lack of competition between Drupal developers. Drupal has a steeper learning curve than WordPress, so there are fewer Drupal developers. Reduced competition equals increased cost. This lack of competition can be seen as an advantage, though. To be a Drupal developer you really need to have some experience with the software. WordPress is much easier to learn, so there are many more novice developers on the market. This drives development costs down, but it can lead to problems down the road due to their inexperience.
6) Customizable – a few years ago, it was sad that graphic designers loved Joomla, graphic designers/programmers loved WordPress, and hard core programmers loved Drupal. I believe this is still true. Although both Drupal and WordPress can be customized, I personally find WordPress to be much more flexible. The reason for this is the way WordPress builds its web pages. Each page element (header, footer, body, sidebar, etc.) is controlled by its own template – making it easier to hard code changes. This, combined with CSS can give a WordPress developer a lot control over the look. Also, WordPress allows you to apply any page template to any web page. You can also create as many page templates as you want – allowing multiple templates for each section. Drupal auto generates most of its page elements such as sidebar, footer, and header so most of the visual impact is controlled through CSS. Drupal also applies one template to a range of pages.
7) Database driven content – I would have to give this to Drupal. Drupal’s “Views” module accesses and displays database content much more efficiently than any WordPress plugin that I have found. WordPress is catching up, but still lags behind.
8) Budget examples – To give you an idea of the development costs, I have provided some sample budgets below.
Please note that these estimates are for custom sites with advanced functionality. Off-the-shelf templates are far less expensive and much more generic.
Traditional Web Site (HTML5):
– Small business website: $5,000
– Medium business website: $10,000
– Large business Website: $18,000+
(Traditional approach is not recommended for extremely large sites)
– Small business website: $10,000
– Medium business website: $17,000
– Large business website: $25,000+
– Small business website: $15,000
– Medium business website: $25,000
– Large business website: $35,000+
Sixty percent of my clients use and benefit from traditional web sites.
In summary, both Drupal and WordPress are very good entry level CMS platforms.
The major pros and cons are recapped below:
Major advantages for Drupal:
1) its ability to handle a large volume of database driven content;
2) generally, the developers are more experienced.
Major disadvantages for Drupal:
1) development costs are much higher;
2) it has a steeper learning curve for the end user and new developers;
3) it is more time-consuming to update the core files and modules.
4) it is not as customizable as WordPress
Major advantages for WordPress:
1) websites cost a lot less to develop;
2) it is easier to customize the look;
3) it has a more user friendly interface for end users;
4) blog handling capabilities are more advanced than Drupal.
Major disadvantages for WordPress:
1) It doesn’t have a plugin as robust as Drupal’s “Views” module to access and
display database driven content;
2) it is easier to learn so it attracts more inexperience developers;
3) hackers try to break WordPress sites more often than they do Drupal.
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