When it comes to building your website, it’s important to have a content management system (CMS) that actually makes sense for your business.
In this CMS battle, we look at Drupal vs WordPress and which one is the best for you and your business needs.
There are a lot of people out there that haven’t even heard of Drupal before. But just because WordPress might be the most popular CMS out there doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the only way to build a website.
A good CMS is one that is user-friendly, provides value, and is committed to security. The development of both these systems has been designed in such a simple way that practically anyone can get started online.
The days of needing to code with HTML and CSS are almost done. But that doesn’t mean it’s the end for web developers.
Before we started into the comparison let’s look at some statistics of each CMS first.
Drupal: It can come as a straight “out of the box” tool, or you can have it as a highly customizable platform. There are currently around 627,000 websites that use Drupal (BuiltWith Trends) and I’m not talking about small sites either.
These sites include:
- The Economist
- The Australian Government
All of these sites have one thing in common. They handle a lot of traffic and are required to never be offline. That says something about the trust these sites have in the security of Drupal.
WordPress: There are actually two versions of WordPress, and in this instance, we’ll be looking specifically at WordPress.org. Over 75 million websites (around 35% of the entire internet) currently use WordPress! (W3Techs)
To put it into perspective, around 500 new blogs are created each day with over 17 blog posts being published every second on WordPress. Make that 18 posts now, including this one 😉.
Big named sites using WordPress include:
- BBC America
- Sony Music
*Spoiler Alert* – The best CMS in my opinion is WordPress, read on to find out why.
Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links that may provide a small commission to me at no cost to you (it will buy me a cup of coffee though 😉). However, these are the best tools to help you with building a blogging business. You can read more about my affiliate disclosure in my affiliate policy.
WordPress vs Drupal.
1. The Cost Comparison
Both WordPress and Drupal are open-source CMS platforms. Meaning that they’re both FREE to download from the websites themselves. Not only that, there are no licensing or update fees to worry about either.
Now while it may be easy enough to just download some software, the next step is to have somewhere to put the software. This does have some costs associated with it though and it comes in the form of a domain name and web hosting.
- The domain name is your website’s address. It’s how people find you on the internet. A great domain name provider I recommend is Namecheap. Prices are around the $10 – $15 (USD) mark.
- Web hosting is where your website lives on the internet. Great hosting with Siteground starts from $6.99/month (USD) or if you’re after basic hosting to get you started then I recommend Bluehost with prices starting from $3.95/month (USD).
For bare minimum set up costs you’re looking at $10 (domain name) + $3.95 (x12 months) = $57.40 for an entire year. Not bad to get a business going!
Once you’ve got those out of the way, check out my ultimate guide on how to set up your blog using WordPress.
If you’re using Drupal then click here for instructions to use it with Siteground.
Both Drupal and WordPress can be used with most web hosting services.
2. Which is Easier to Use?
Depending on your technical capability and what your reasons are for starting a website, then going with something that you’re actually comfortable with is necessary to get the most out of these CMS platforms.
Feeling like a challenge? Install Drupal. It is aimed at people with more technical knowledge and skills (think web development), and those that have a good grasp of HTML, CSS, and PHP code.
While Drupal isn’t necessarily hard to use, it can be quite tricky to learn and time-consuming with quite a steep learning curve. So if you need something quick, it may not be for you.
In most cases, you can expect the need to engage with expert Drupal developers if you want a custom-styled and custom-operated Drupal site.
Want to know the opposite of Drupal? It’s the WordPress CMS. Very easy to understand in comparison and this is what makes people want to build their own websites.
Whether it’s for fun, to learn something new, or even to save money, there’s no coding required.
You can scroll through plenty of free themes, find one that you like (that is also closest to your niche), and you’ll definitely have your WordPress site up and running, fully functional, and ready for the world to see in just a couple of hours. No need to hire anyone.
But that doesn’t mean that experienced users can’t use WordPress either. If you’re confident enough, you can make changes to the code to customize it how you like.
The WordPress community is also much bigger than the Drupal community. So if you’ve got a question, chances are it’s already been answered.
Conclusion: Which is easier?
Because Drupal is more tailored it may mean more money spent up front (with developers), but chances are you won’t need to tweak it that much later on and it could end up saving you money in the long run.
Of course, if you want to know which is easiest? Go with WordPress. It captures more of the general public and you can customize it how you like.
The “out of the box” themes make it really easy to just plug in templates and you’ve got yourself a working website all before lunch.
3. Whose CMS is More Secure?
Security is a very important feature these days, everyone is aware of being secure, but it’s virtually impossible to achieve 100% security. However, this is the biggest difference between Drupal and WordPress sites.
This is Drupal’s jam. Security is their main selling point for customers. Their websites in general are less likely to get attacked by hackers.
The fact that plenty of government websites including The White House and the Australian Government rely on Drupal is a good indication of the faith these agencies have in Drupal’s security.
It’s no accident though. Drupal’s themes and plugins contain an internal security code that makes it much more difficult to upload code into the platform, making them less likely to be hacked.
Ok, so WordPress may account for 94% of all infected CMS platforms, but there are also a lot more websites using WordPress too, so it makes sense their numbers are bigger.
Having said that, they’re not that bad on security either. The problem with WordPress security lies in the poorly coded 3rd party themes and plugins, leaving them open for an attack.
The good thing is WordPress is aware of the issues and is constantly working with theme and plugin developers to keep the platform as safe and secure it can be.
Conclusion: Which is more secure?
Drupal wins this one hands down. To help your website be as secure as possible, be sure to keep everything up to date. Both WordPress and Drupal offer updates, patches, and fixes regularly.
To keep things even more secure your hosting can provide an additional barrier. Companies like WP Engine for WordPress and Acquia or Pantheon for Drupal are my recommendations if you want to up your security game.
4. Support/Help You Can Count On?
When it comes to this round of comparing Drupal websites and WordPress websites, both are widely popular and so come with plenty of community developers and loyal users who can help you find a solution to your problems.
Has a comprehensive user guide to get you started, especially those with minimal knowledge of the Drupal CMS, but it also aims at those wanting to expand their skills especially with the latest changes to their most updated version.
If you have more questions then the support page covers a forum, community docs, tools, and even regional groups with meet-ups to talk about all things Drupal.
And for the real hardcore fans out there, there’s a DrupalCon where Drupal developers and experts from around the world can get together and learn about creating inspiring websites.
WordPress offers its own community of dedicated professionals and users alike that can help you fix your website issues.
Their homepage includes a support page and forum to browse. But beware that because more people use WordPress that there is a ton more information available on the forum. This can be both a good and bad thing.
Because there is a heap of information out there doesn’t mean that it’s all good. It might take you a while to actually sift through the questions until you find one that is closest to your own, and even then, it might not actually answer it.
Conclusion: Whose support is better?
If we’re talking quality over quantity then the support and documents have to go to Drupal. But what happens then if you’re still stuck and need to reach out to a professional?
A quick search on Upwork and Freelancer both found that there are around 12 times more WordPress developers than Drupal, meaning you’re more likely to find someone who can help you and possibly be cheaper on the WordPress CMS.
5. Which is Better For SEO?
To do well with any search engine, you have to be found right? It doesn’t matter how good your content is, if your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) isn’t up to scratch, you’ll never be found. There seems to be a myth out there that having the right CMS can boost your SEO.
Now, does it really matter which CMS you use for SEO? No.
What does matter is if you’re using SEO best practices to increase your page rankings.
Out of the box, Drupal sites come with their own native caching without the need for an external plugin (known as Drupal modules). Having a page load slowly will affect your rankings so having this caching function to minimize load times will help.
However many people may not know that you can also use Rank Math to help improve your SEO on Drupal. Many seem to think it’s only for WordPress but this is not the case.
There’s a plugin for everything. SEO, caching, CDN, website optimization, image resizing. All of these things can help speed up your website, increase load times and improve the SEO of a webpage to rank.
Conclusion: Which is better for SEO?
I’m giving this one to WordPress for the simple fact that there is less room for error because everything is a plugin. Most plugins are free with the option to unlock all the features by upgrading to premium plugins.
If you were using Drupal and a developer had no idea or simply didn’t care about your SEO then you could be rowing up a creek without a paddle.
To further improve your SEO and load times, consider using a CDN. Most hosting sites even include a free CDN with their packages.
Drupal vs WordPress FAQs
WordPress by a long shot.
Here are some stats, just because I like them:
Themes (For Drupal Versions 8 & 9): 790
Modules (For Drupal Versions 8 & 9): 14,897
Migrating from one CMS to another can often be inadvisable just because of how hard it can be. The good news is that there is an easy way to do it with WordHerd. They’ve partnered up with hosting giants Kinsta and provide a full service to migrate any CMS (including Drupal) over to WordPress for you.
When it comes down to the question of Drupal vs WordPress, which is the better CMS?
For the majority of people, I would recommend WordPress. Bloggers and webmasters love using WordPress because it offers a clean site with easy-to-use navigation and best of all you can still customize it how you want.
That’s not to take from anyone using Drupal though, and it certainly has its place as a great alternative to WordPress.
Of course, there are more common questions that you need to ask yourself to find the best one for you and your business. Questions like:
- What kind of security do you need?
- How many different user permissions do you need? Admin, editor, subscriber, etc.
- Do you prefer to do things yourself?
- How quickly do you need a website built?
When to use Drupal?
Need a powerful and complicated website? Use Drupal.
Is having great security necessary for you? Use Drupal.
If you’re an advanced user, then Drupal may be the better choice here. But just bear in mind that you may need to sacrifice a little bit of time to get it all up and running but it will be worth the time and cost in the end.
When to use WordPress?
Looking for a fast and easy setup? Use WordPress.
Want the lowest cost to get started? Use WordPress.
Both Drupal and WordPress may be free to download but it’s the cost of running and maintaining the website that’s the difference.
Of course, if you plan to manage the website yourself, go with a CMS that fits to your skill level. Drupal is harder to learn and requires a more advanced level of technical knowledge to really get the most out of the platform.
Can’t wait to get started? Learn how to start a blog with WordPress.
Which CMS are you currently using? Let me know in the comments below!
It’s time to be the pilot of your life and not just the passenger.
Chris Bournelis is a blogger and part-time web developer. He has been working in online business since 2015. Join him here at ChrisBournelis.com for the best SaaS reviews and tips to get the most out of your online business.