WordPress vs. Drupal in 2017

Written by Karl Binder on February 2, 2017

wordpress vs drupal

The battle between the content management systems will hit fever pitch in 2017, or will at least mildly heat up as much as a CMS battle can. The two most popular systems are undoubtedly WordPress and Drupal. But which one will take number one spot this year, and which should you be using for your website?

Both WordPress and Drupal are open source Content Management Systems (CMS). This means the source code is accessible to anyone operating the system. As a result, this often results in groups or communities of people, working together to find solutions to software problems, answer questions or develop patches for bugs.

When it comes to publishing a website, open source solutions are often vital. Numerous bloggers, small businesses, and large businesses need a means to deploy their content. As we’ve seen over the last few years, there’s been a vast expansion of online resources and the importance of having a digital identity. However, few online users have exceptional web development skills. This means the majority of websites currently being created are supported by a user-friendly CMS. Is the most popular WordPress, or Drupal? Let’s find out.

Ease of Use

In terms of ease of use, WordPress comes out on top. It’s not particularly complicated and requires only basic knowledge to set up blogs, use themes and add plugins. For more sophisticated projects, a developer can design a WordPress site and then hand the reigns back over to the client for content management.

Drupal on the other hand requires a more sophisticated level of understanding. This understanding can be learnt, but this can take a lot of time. If you’re looking for a small scale website or blog, it might not be worth the effort. For those really keen on Drupal however, the release of Drupal 8 does mark an improvement for those lacking the development skills that were previously required.

In a similar vein, customisable features can help with ease of use. WordPress provides a variety of themes to help you start building a website, both free and paid ones. The flexibility this brings is invaluable to anybody just beginning their online journey. Drupal, conversely, has less themes but does supply unique options to help a site stand out.

As for plugins, WordPress holds the edge. Not only because of the sheer number available, but also because it’s more likely a developer will be needed to configure and upgrade Drupal’s modules. (Modules are Drupal’s equivalent of WordPress’s plugins.)

Performance

What about performance? Despite both WordPress and Drupal being able to support large volumes of content – more than a thousand pages worth in fact, along with a thousand users all at the same time – Drupal can do so without a bloated feel. The content on WordPress can sometimes lag depending on the size of the site. Drupal may be more complex but this inevitably means it goes deeper and can provide better results. A prime advantage for a website requiring a large scale platform, for a bigger company perhaps.

However, WordPress was originally developed to support blogs. So if you’re using for a larger site it can become bloated and therefore slow. Drupal is designed specifically with developers in mind, but this can be its downfall. Drupal contains a whole host of features which boost a website such as taxonomies, content types and blocks, amongst others. But unless you know how to utilise these they are wasted and end up just getting in the way.

Security

One of the key defining reasons why someone may choose Drupal over WordPress is its security sanctions. Important companies, organisations or even governments that hold confidential information are more likely to have Drupal sites due to the enterprise level security. If you want to reduce your likelihood of being hacked, Drupal may be your best option. WordPress is much more susceptible to hacks thanks to its powerful yet easily accessed plugins, unlike Drupal’s tighter, more exclusive modules.

Theft of information from websites is becoming more and more frequent. In 2017, it is a foolish mistake to run a website without any proper security in place. If you want better peace of mind, Drupal may be the one for you.

Cost

If you’re building a website on a budget, and don’t want to have to shell out too much for a developer’s help, any aforementioned security concerns may have to be the second priority. Drupal developers will be more costly as they’re a rarer find.

But even in regards to WordPress, it should be remembered that open source doesn’t always mean free. Most standard themes and plugins will be free, but if you want to customise things a bit, it will probably cost you.

Conclusion

Overall, the best CMS for 2017 entirely depends on why you’re using it. Admittedly a bit of a cop out answer but these things are all subjective to the individual’s needs. For the common blogger or developer, WordPress will probably be used as it is the more efficient CMS in terms of time saving and simplicity. The array of themes emphasises this as there is little development required in order to create a site, whereas Drupal is for a nuanced website which needs a certain unique look or feel to it.

It’s not an unfair claim to argue WordPress will be the more popular CMS in 2017, but Drupal the more sophisticated. Though sometimes this can make it complex when all people want is the basics.