Differences between WordPress and Drupal

When we first started developing websites, the primary CMS was Joomla.  Since then, we have transitioned to developing only in WordPress or Drupal, unless a client has had an existing site built on Joomla, prefers that CMS, and it works for their needs. 

Differences between WordPress and Drupal:

Between 2003 and 2007, blogging was the main purpose of the WordPress platform but it evolved to become a good basic CMS platform, being used by more and more developers and consumers. At that time, these sites were smaller and WordPress was evolving from a blogging platform to a full fledged content management system (CMS). The sites that we were developing in Wordpress had very minimal content types and the general WordPress page content block was sufficient to give our clients a clean page admin experience “the password protected web portal where clients update their content”.

Drupal has the depth for more content types, a richer admin experience, and is a more Enterprise Level CMS.

Compared to WordPress, Drupal is way more robust. We typically choose Drupal over WordPress for Enterprise level websites and web applications. If you have a web app, or any type of web project that requires user permissions, Drupal’s functionality is hardier than WordPress. Drupal is also more flexible when it comes to API development and its default caching features are more robust out of the box.

Ultimately, when determining a CMS, we leave the choice up to the client, based on their experience (if they’ve had one) and we ask the following questions to be considered:

  • How many different page templates or content types do you need?
  • Do you have different user permissions? An example of a user permission would be site admin, content editor, access to private content, etc.
  • Do you need enterprise level security?
  • What is your budget?  Is it healthy enough for Drupal development as opposed to WordPress. In General, it takes a bit longer to develop a Drupal site as compared to WordPress.

Without going into major development features between WordPress and Drupal, the primary differences between the two are:

  • Theme Market: WordPress has an amazing theme market for do-it yourselfers. Do not ever buy a Drupal theme! There are amazing drupal starter themes, such as the Omega Responsive theme, but Drupal development is not the type of project that you can spin a theme off of. It is custom development!
  • Market Share: WordPress has wide scale adoption and a plethora of plugins that are suitable for smaller websites.
  • Deployment Time: WordPress is very easy to develop a site from start to finish. WordPress is perfect if you have minimal content types and are building a general marketing website.
  • Content Types: Drupal supports multiple site stakeholders (admin, editors, logged in users requiring customized content, private groups, etc)
  • Admin experience: Drupal has a cleaner admin experience for content editors
  • App Development and API Development Projects Drupal has, in general, more robust features for complex projects.
  • Site Security: Drupal has enterprise level security and site scale. Numerous government websites are built on Drupal, with the most famous being Whitehouse.gov.

Most developers will recommend the CMS that they are most familiar with without considering the site’s needs and objectives. Knowing which CMS is right for your project will ultimately save you both time and money, both now and in the future.