WordPress is usually the first name that comes to mind when talk turns to content management systems. It has around ten times the user base of Drupal, but does that mean WordPress is better? Both systems have their adherents, but it’s important to understand the differences between them.
Both platforms allow website content to be created and kept up to date, and both are free to download. But which you choose really depends on your requirements and your level of expertise in web development.
Whether you choose Drupal or WordPress will come down to a number of factors. If ease of use for inexperienced staff is a priority, then you’ll choose WordPress every time. Thanks to its what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) editor, WordPress can get you up and running quickly.
It also offers a huge range of off-the-shelf customisations and plug-ins, allowing you to fine-tune the look and function of your site. A big advantage of WordPress is that many of its themes are free, but relying on free themes can mean you end up with a lookalike site. Of course, Drupal offers customisation options too, but there are fewer ready-made themes available, and many of them are expensive, so you’ll probably need the services of a developer to make your site look how you want it.
If you’re planning a large site or one that has major growth potential, then Drupal is likely to be a better choice. It can scale to thousands of pages if need be; WordPress, on the other hand, can be slow if expected to handle large volumes of content.
Where Drupal scores a major victory is in security. WordPress plug-ins often have vulnerabilities and can leave your site exposed if not kept up to date. Indeed, many hackers look to target WordPress sites because they are so numerous and therefore some are always likely to have vulnerabilities. Drupal, by contrast, is geared to provide security at enterprise level, which is why it’s often used by large organisations and government departments.
When it comes to being search-engine-friendly, Drupal is designed for the task. Its pages load faster thanks to default caching, and this is something that search engines value. Drupal’s ability to handle large amounts of content is useful here too, as the amount of content is a key SEO factor. That said, the SEO-friendliness of WordPress can be enhanced by adding plug-ins.
If ease of use is your key priority, and you want to get a site running quickly that can be used by relatively non-technical people, then WordPress should probably be your choice. However, Drupal offers many more features, and since it was designed for developers, it offers much more flexibility in customisation and design. It’s also better at handling large sites. If you want a unique site design that’s SEO-friendly and can be expanded without losing performance, then Drupal should be your choice. It’s worth taking some time over this decision, as it could be important in the long term.