We’re comparing two of the heavy hitters in the open source arena, WordPress and Drupal. They may seem interchangeable, or even the same, at first glance, but this is not necessarily true. There are some substantial differences to consider when choosing which content management system (CMS) to use for your website. The CMS you find most suited will depend on what you intend to do with your website. Let's take a look at some of the biggest differences so that you can figure out which CMS is right for you.

What is Drupal really all about?

Although Drupal has a steep learning curve for it’s more advanced features, it does not require any initial programming experience to set up functionality on the base implementation. The Drupal Core package includes basic content creation tools such as contact forms, blogging templates and forums. Drupal is powered by the Symfony PHP framework. Symfony is a standard framework that the best PHP applications are built on. Websites that use Drupal include Weather.com, Whitehouse.gov, The Economist and official sites for NFL teams such as the New England Patriots and the Dallas Cowboys.

What makes WordPress special?

WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world for one reason: accessibility. Many nascent businesses will use WordPress and its vast array of add-ons. The WordPress community produces many widgets, and extensions for doing all kinds of things like A/B multivariate testing and even entry-level ecommerce.

Initially founded as a rather simple blogging platform, WordPress now represents an incredible website framework that is powered by Ajax, HTML, JavaScript, CSS and PHP. There is also a continually growing number of themes, and templates that expands the usefulness of the WordPress CMS.

The administration panel is famous for its friendliness to users with no, or very little experience with web development. At the same time the back-end administration can be scaled for more advanced or complex functionality. This is why WordPress, even with a reputation for simplicity, can power international business websites for Walt Disney, LinkedIn, TechCrunch and BBC America.

Drupal vs WordPress: Which one gets the job done for you?

If you are like most Internet users looking to an appropriate CMS for a small to mid level business, either WordPress or Drupal can give you what you need. Both frameworks are highly advanced, although WordPress might be more intuitive for people without a great deal of web experience. WordPress is also easier to find a developer for though both are very popular with PHP developers. If you cannot figure something out, there is someone who can. However, a Drupal developer may cost a bit more than a WordPress developer because of the advanced technical difficulty of Drupal.

Although both frameworks list impressive companies as notches on their belt, Drupal may be the preferable framework for an enterprise level website. The larger customers under the WordPress umbrella may have been sold on the framework simply because it is so popular, but you definitely need to use the framework that is best geared towards your specific needs.

Drupal also has one major advantage over WordPress in terms of enterprise level functionality: a high level of reporting and testing is built-in. At the highest levels, understanding workflow and dataflow within a website of thousands of pages is best navigated through a native, core function. WordPress has plugins that perform the same functionality, but it can be tricky to work these plug-ins into your website once it’s starts to get more complex. The other distinct advantage that Drupal has over WordPress is that it is less prone to security issues - Drupal simply does not have the same issues.

Drupal updates are also more conducive to large, enterprise-level websites. When Drupal has a new build, you can expect a comprehensive overhaul that updates everything that a website would need in one go. WordPress needs to be frequently updated, and provides less surety about which components are actually being improved. The piecemeal structure of this update format does not lend itself to a relatively secure framework for a large website, especially a data intensive website with a large amount of international traffic.

If you’re considering these two open source CMS platforms it can be tricky to determine which one will best suit your needs. ImageX is Clutch.co’s Top Drupal agency and we have lots of experience with developing Drupal websites, but we know that depending on your requirements WordPress might be a better fit and we’re here to help either way. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about which CMS you should use - 1.778.785.1547.