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Drupal vs. WordPress: Which CMS Platform Is Better for Your Business?

The best CMS will be the one that is easiest for team members to use. Companies should try out both CMSs before deciding which one will work best. 

BairesDev Editorial Team

By BairesDev Editorial Team

BairesDev is the leading nearshore technology solutions company with 4,000+ professionals in 50+ countries representing the top 1% of tech talent.

10 min read

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Websites are complex and take a lot of time and effort to build. It pays to make good decisions about important considerations up front so as not to create additional work or have to redo completed tasks. One of the most important considerations is the content management system (CMS) you will use to create and update your website. There are many to choose from, and two of the most popular are Drupal and WordPress. But which one is better for your business?

In the following sections, we explore the differences between Drupal and WordPress, answer some common questions about each, and discuss when to use Drupal versus WordPress.

Differences Between Drupal and WordPress

Drupal and WordPress are very similar in some ways but also differ in many respects.

Functionality

Drupal and WordPress both provide a high level of functionality immediately. However, the user experience is different for each one. Because Drupal is designed for more experienced users, the CMS leaves more of the configuration up to the user, while WordPress provides more of it up front. Customizing a Drupal site involves working within the core structure, whereas doing so within WordPress may require plugins. Generally, Drupal requires more time, effort, and training to understand how to use all the features.

With Drupal, a higher learning curve is the trade-off for the ability to create a more complex website. In addition to the posts and pages that WordPress offers, Drupal also includes articles and basic pages. Similarly, user permissions within Drupal are more layered than those in WordPress. Drupal requires you to have site admins, content editors, access to private content, and others, and you can define user roles and permissions.

Speed and Performance

A fast-loading site is important for SEO rankings and visitor satisfaction, and both Drupal and WordPress can create such sites. Drupal is known for its speed, resulting from fast server communication and response speeds, even for highly complex sites. With Drupal you can add extensions to further improve performance. However, configuring a Drupal site to reach optimal performance may not be possible if you don’t possess the right skills.

WordPress is also fast, but not as fast as Drupal. Additionally, WordPress sites can get bogged down with too many plugins or a poorly coded theme. On the other hand, you can take steps to speed up your site, such as optimizing images, installing a website caching plugin, using a high-quality host, and using a trustworthy theme. All this can be done without coding knowledge. 

Flexibility

Both Drupal and WordPress enable you to customize your website without special coding knowledge. Additionally, either can be turned into a headless CMS because both use an API to deliver content to other assets, including your blog, apps, and socials.

To create customization, Drupal uses extensions, modules, themes, and plugins. The downside is that the customization process is challenging without coding know-how. Additionally, these elements must be installed within an interface that is less intuitive than that of WordPress. However, if you have the skills and want a highly customized site, Drupal is a good choice.

WordPress is equally customizable with a large selection of plugins and themes. Themes are used as the basis of a site, while plugins provide additional functionality. Premium versions of themes and plugins are of higher quality and may include additional features or come with expert support. WordPress enables users to create a wide range of site types for companies from small agencies to large e-commerce operations.

Ease of Learning and Use

The whole point of a CMS is to make web design easier, so in the Drupal vs. WordPress decision, either can be used by professionals without technical skills. However, Drupal is targeted more toward developers who are already well familiar with website design and require a broader range of customization features. Drupal users must know how to (or hire a developer who knows how to) program in PHP, HTML, and other languages. Site updates also require technical knowledge to adjust the code. 

WordPress is targeted toward beginners, including those creating their first website. Even prior to the actual website design, WordPress is easy to install within a hosting environment. An intuitive dashboard serves as the starting point for creating and updating content as well as adding themes and plugins. The content development interface is similar to that of a word processor, and to make design even easier, WordPress is compatible with drag-and-drop builders like Beaver Builder and Elementor.

Security

The first thing to know about security in the Drupal vs. WordPress debate is that neither is immune to attack, but both are good choices from a security standpoint. Drupal is generally considered the more secure of the two, but WordPress follows close behind. WordPress sites do have a higher risk of being attacked simply because there are more of them. Additionally, WordPress features more plugins, which are subject to vulnerabilities. However, with the proper precautions, WordPress can be nearly as secure as Drupal.

WordPress users can take the following steps to upgrade your security levels:

  • Be aware that hackers are more likely to go after sites that collect valuable data such as credit card information, social security numbers, birthdates, physical and email addresses, and password hints. Take steps to protect these assets carefully. 
  • Perform audits and updates regularly.  
  • Use encryption to improve server security.  

Drupal users can also take steps to ensure optimal security: 

  • Perform updates regularly and monitor Drupal’s security advisories.
  • Enhance security with contributed modules. 
  • Secure the configuration with unique usernames for admin and user accounts. 

Cost

Both Drupal and WordPress are free to download and install. However, there are other costs associated with building a website with either CMS. With Drupal, you may need to hire a developer to handle some of the more technical aspects of the website development. It could be worth it if you are looking for a highly customized site. With WordPress, you must use a hosting service and purchase a domain. Other than that, you can use free WordPress themes and plugins.

Search Engine Optimization

Drupal and WordPress are both built with SEO in mind. In addition to alerts that tell you how SEO-friendly the page is, both systems allow extensions that can further enhance it, such as Yoast SEO. And both systems are supported by developer communities to help when you get stuck.

Common Questions About Drupal

Companies looking for a robust CMS to build their website will want to know what they’re getting into before using Drupal. Here are answers to some of the most common questions people ask.

Is Drupal Better Than WordPress?

Drupal may be better than WordPress for certain things, such as building a more complex site. But overall neither is better for everyone. WordPress is the most-used CMS and can work very well for many types of companies with a wide variety of needs. It is also easy to use for many different professionals, even those with no development experience. If your company needs to go beyond these capabilities, then Drupal is the better choice.

Is Drupal More Expensive Than WordPress?

Drupal and WordPress are both free to download and use. However, there are costs associated with both. Specifically, you must use a site hosting service and purchase a web domain. For Drupal, companies without the necessary technical expertise will need to hire developers who can make the desired modifications.

What Can Drupal Do That WordPress Can’t?

While WordPress is very secure, Drupal can better handle security for enterprise-level sites. Given the recent rise in cybercrimes, this consideration is important for larger companies with more complex sites. Additionally, Drupal allows the setting of image sizes, which enables better responsiveness for users on various types and sizes of device. Drupal sites tend to load faster, which is a benefit for site visitors, especially with very large sites. 

Drupal provides custom content types. WordPress does so as well, but some users find the Drupal options to be more flexible. Drupal also offers the ability to create new user roles, which provides a higher level of security by limiting site access. Drupal can natively help users build multilingual sites, while this functionality requires plugins in WordPress. Finally, Drupal is capable of handling more content because of its flexible taxonomy system. 

Is Drupal Hard to Learn?

Drupal and WordPress are both user-friendly, but WordPress is designed to be used entirely by people without development or coding experience. Some aspects of Drupal require that experience, and those skills do take more time to learn. For those who want to learn Drupal, there are many avenues to explore. Many online resources are free, including documentation, tutorials, and videos. Drupal also has a large user community who can help with the process. 

Is Drupal More Secure Than WordPress? 

The short answer is yes. Drupal is more secure than WordPress. Part of that is because more sites are made using WordPress, making them more vulnerable as targets. But it is important to note that, while Drupal may be slightly better in this area, WordPress is also generally very secure, and no CMS can guarantee zero attacks.

While Drupal is more secure, users must take precautions against attacks, such as performing regular updates and enhancing security with contributed modules. WordPress users must also be vigilant and take steps to make their sites more secure, including frequent updates and the use of encryption to gather customer information.

What E-Commerce Options Are Available With Drupal? 

According to a recent Forbes Advisor article, Drupal Commerce lets users develop e-commerce sites that suit their needs. Core features include dynamic product ranges, multiple order types, promotions with multiple offer types, robust payment API and order management.”

Common Questions About WordPress

WordPress is the most widely used CMS, but those who are new to it will want to know whether it will meet their needs. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about WordPress. 

Is WordPress Better Than Drupal?

WordPress is better than Drupal for some users, specifically those who want to build a highly secure, functional website that is moderately customized, without having to know how to code. For these users, WordPress is an excellent choice. For those who need more complex or customized sites, Drupal is usually the better choice. 

Is WordPress Free? 

WordPress is free to download and use, but there are other costs associated with its use, including web hosting and a domain. Beginners may also need to hire a web developer or graphic designer to achieve the results they want for their website or blog. 

What Plugins Are Available for WordPress?

WordPress includes more than 50,000 plugins, too many to list here. Some of the most popular are as follows. 

  • Akismet Spam Protection runs in the background of your site to check contact form submissions and comments for suspicious material, preventing spam and keeping your site professional looking.
  • All in One SEO manages SEO on your website, optimizing it for the best search rankings and offering suggestions for changes to elements like meta descriptions and title tags. 
  • Broken Link Checker scans your site for broken links and alerts you when they appear, allowing you to keep your site more user- and SEO-friendly. 
  • Contact Form 7 enables you to create essential forms that include reCAPTCHA and Akismet functionality to reduce the possibility of spam. 
  • Elementor provides a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG interface to make website construction easier for beginners. 
  • iThemes Security provides numerous tools, including two-factor authentication, reCAPTCHA, and malware scanning, for protecting your website and its visitors. 
  • Monarch provides buttons for over 20 social media platforms that can be placed on webpages to encourage visitors to share on their profiles. 
  • WooCommerce is an e-commerce plugin that essentially converts a WordPress blog into an online store with vast functionality. 
  • WPForms is an easy-to-use form builder that features a drag-and-drop interface to add or remove form fields. 
  • Yoast SEO supports easy SEO optimization for webpages and blog posts, including templates for titles and meta descriptions. 

Is WordPress Hard to Learn?

WordPress is relatively easy to learn. It is designed to be intuitive, but users with little website building experience may find it somewhat complex, as it is in many ways unlike other common platforms (such as Microsoft products) that may be more familiar. WordPress includes many features to learn about, including themes, plugins, single-page creation and development, blog development and maintenance, whole-site formatting, image selection, and more. As with other applications, the more you use it, the easier it will seem. 

Is WordPress Secure?

Yes. It can become even more secure if you take certain steps, such as the following.

  • Require strong passwords on user accounts. 
  • Regularly back up your website. 
  • Regularly update your WordPress installation, themes, and plugins. Steer clear of themes and plugins that aren’t updated by the developer. 
  • Only use plugins and themes from sites you trust. Don’t download from third-party sharing sites. Always research a site before downloading from it. 
  • Beware of illegal versions of premium themes and plugins, which could include malicious code, and don’t install them. 

How Do You Install WordPress? 

WordPress is easy and fast to install yourself, or you can have your hosting company do it for you. If you install it yourself, you initiate it from your hosting control panel, then follow the prompts to complete the process.  

Can You Use WordPress to Blog? 

Yes, and you can even migrate existing blog posts into a new WordPress blog. Blogging on WordPress is simple and intuitive. The functionality is similar to using a word processing application like Word. You can include text plus other elements, such as images, lists, quotes, videos, and much more. The following video demonstrates how to create a blog post using WordPress. 

When to Use Drupal vs. WordPress

As we have seen, Drupal and WordPress are both very functional CMSs that can enable users to build high quality websites, whether they only need a few pages of static content or thousands of pages and numerous features. The best CMS will be the one that is easiest for team members to use. Companies should try out both CMSs before deciding which one will work best. 

As a general guideline, WordPress works well for standard sites that require lower levels of customization, while Drupal is better for sites that need more features and functionality. In other words, in the Drupal vs. WordPress contest, both are winners. 

BairesDev Editorial Team

By BairesDev Editorial Team

Founded in 2009, BairesDev is the leading nearshore technology solutions company, with 4,000+ professionals in more than 50 countries, representing the top 1% of tech talent. The company's goal is to create lasting value throughout the entire digital transformation journey.

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