Differences between Drupal and WordPress

April 5, 2020
cms, backend, wordpress, drupal

Whoever develops or works with websites and CMS’s has most definitely heard about Drupal or WordPress. In this article we will look at several differences between Drupal and WordPress to help you make a choice if needed.

Let’s start with usability

I think everyone would agree that Drupal has the bigger learning curve of the two. WordPress it’s structure is simple and easy to understand. When you first set up your Drupal installation you will see that it’s very bare. There are no nice colors, no hovers and no drop down menu’s. You have to click every menu item to then see the rest of the structure, wich leaves you feeling like going through a maze if it’s your first experience. If you are curious you can click-through the back-end of Drupal in this demo.

Of course there are many modules (Drupal’s variant of plugins) you can install to make it much more pleasant, such as Adminimal Admin Toolbar will give nice on the eye hovers and clear sub menu’s.

Your first WordPress experience will probably be smoother. In contrast to Drupal’s horizontal menu, WordPress chooses for a vertical menu on the left side. Icons help you understand every top item and submenu’s are revealed on hover.

More is more?

Even though you could say Drupal is mostly used for the bigger and more extensive projects, it has a couple of features that I would have liked to see in WordPress as well.

For example you have;

  • Maintenance mode
  • URL aliases
  • Views
  • Extensive permission system

Of course, in WordPress almost everything can be solved by installing a plugin. Drupal saves you the time by already including these in the standard installation.

Security and updates

Most would agree that Drupal is the most secure. It has several parties of authority on it’s record which trust in their protected environment. WordPress though has proven being most hacked CMS, shown in a 2018 Securi report (below).

securi cms report

Of course among this 90% there are many neglected websites which have not had their updates.

Update process

The update process of WordPress itself is easy and even automatic if you want to. You can update plugins by simply clicking a button. Always check if they remain compatible with your WordPress version or other plugins. For example, when updating a major WordPress version plugins like Woocommerce (combined with Mollie payments) are tough sometimes. Luckily there are many articles written about this process to help you.

Drupal’s update process is different. Modules are installed with Drush or Composer and updated this way. Core security updates come very regularly and you are advised to apply quickly. Database updates are also required to apply sometimes.

Product purpose

What is the purpose of your website or application? What are the must have possibilities? Do you need many different page templates or content types and how complex will these be? Will you have to portion off lots of elements depending on the user? As Drupal websites usually are more expensive and take more time to develop, do you have the budget and the time?

Community and market

WordPress has the largest part of the market share which makes it the most popular CMS there is available right now. With that large market share comes a large community, means more business, more forum questions and answers. So even if you want to create something out of the ordinary in WordPress and need some help from the internet. Chances are that somebody has done it already and can help you.

WordPress also has a huge market for plugins and themes, you can easily get a theme and deploy a website in a short period of time.

Market, wordpress, drupal, food, entendre

Drupal on the other hand has a smaller community of course, but you could say more technical. There are a lot of modules available for Drupal, but you will find that still a lot are not covered by the security policy. Drupal is evolving fast and modules sometimes have a hard time to keep up. Drupal is meant for custom development. You should not buy or use a downloaded theme. It has fine starter themes to get you up and running.

The choice

My conclusion would be; If you are building a website with many different content types, containing many variants of paragraphs, use Drupal. Will you be needing many different permissions for different user roles, use Drupal.

Are you or your team a bit less technical but still want to create a beautiful and well-functioning website, go for WordPress. If you don’t have much time or budget, go for WordPress.

Don’t just go for the system you are familiar with, choose the CMS that matches your project!

Questions? Curious of our experiences with both systems? Contact us.