CMS Showdown: Drupal Vs. Wordpress

At ikonic, we are focused on delivering the latest technology. When we recommend a content management system (CMS) for your company we identify the solution that will deliver results while considering how it applies to your unique business or marketing needs. Below is a comparison of two of the most popular, open-source content management systems: Drupal and WordPress. We break down key features and functionality to illustrate the benefits of each platform and give you insight into how each could benefit your organization.

Security

Drupal 7

Drupal 8

WordPress

9/10

9/10

7/10

Major security flaws can lead to malicious spam attacks, data theft, or even the deletion of an entire site from your server. This makes security one of the most important considerations when looking into a content management system and the differences between Drupal and WordPress might surprise you!

WordPress is known for security loopholes – many of which occur as a result of the otherwise impressive plugin library. Both free and premium/paid plugins go largely unchecked until a loophole has already been exploited. Drupal doesn't have a perfect record on security but its community is known for transparency in dealing with vulnerabilities big and small.

Like WordPress plugins, Drupal modules are are built and verified by an active community but Drupal goes further by releasing modules in phases (alpha, beta, rc, and production) which can prompt site-builders to look for a better solution or review the issue queue to find detailed descriptions of each reported issue. WordPress does have a compatibility check, however, very few plugins achieve a perfect, five-star rating and most plugins lack the amount of feedback necessary to make this tool useful. The plugin support forum offers a glimpse into the array of issues you might face, however, it is riddled with duplicate posts and does not have filtering or search!

Being the most popular open source content management system also makes WordPress a major target for spam and spyware. The massive community is often at a higher risk of targeted attack due to the popularity and open-source nature of the code base.

Design & Development

Drupal 7

Drupal 8

WordPress

7/10

9/10

7/10

Drupal and WordPress offer similar development workflows that cater to different types of projects – WordPress, a leaner, lighter approach for smaller sites and Drupal, a bulky, powerhouse that can scale to meet enterprise requirements.

Theme development is very similar in both platforms, even using similar syntax. If you have developed a theme for WordPress you likely won't have much of a learning curve in developing your first theme for Drupal. The real differentiator is found in site-building tools that allow administrators and content managers to customize a website to their unique needs.

At its core, WordPress is an intuitive blogging platform with quick and simple setup that almost anyone can figure out. Easily accessible themes and plugins make WordPress development a snap – almost eliminating the learning curve that comes with other content management systems. The abundance of well designed themes makes WordPress desirable for many and this workflow can be very useful for smaller sites that can conform to the limitations of a given theme. 

This is a stark contrast to the typical process of developing a website on Drupal. Out of the box Drupal does not provide a, "plug-and-play" solution but rather it provides some powerful tools to help developers craft a custom solution for any unique project. A first-time site-builder might need to invest extra time to learn how to leverage the powerful site-building tools found in Drupal but once those tools are leveraged, the possibilities are endless. Drupal's block system is arguably more powerful than WordPress' widgets. Furthermore, Drupal provides dynamic, fieldable entities; custom content-display modes; as well as page and list-building tools like views. 

In the end, both Drupal and WordPress can be extended with modules and plugins to improve on their strengths and weaknesses. Drupal simply has the upper hand due to its unrivaled site-building tools.

Content Workflow

Drupal 7

Drupal 8

WordPress

6/10

8/10

8/10

Drupal 7 seemed to be decades behind when it came to its admin interface. Without additional modules it was cumbersome to sort through long lists of content nodes, settings, and modules. It didn't even ship with a WYSIWYG editor! With the release of Drupal 8 we are finally seeing the playing field leveled. For the first time the Drupal admin interface rivals, even surpass (in some respects) that of WordPress out of the box. 

Each now offer a solid admin interface with a form-style edit page and filtering tools to quickly find necessary content. Drupal 8 even offers quick-edit functionality or in-place editing without the addition of any modules. Both deliver sophisticated content workflows and mobile-optimized editing for content management from any device. 

Mobile Optimization

Drupal 7

Drupal 8

WordPress

7/10

8/10

9/10

Both Drupal and WordPress have a library of great mobile-friendly themes but WordPress has the upper hand when it comes to mobile optimization. A better selection of plugins make it easy to customize the display of content based on device or screen size. On the admin-side, both Drupal 8 and WordPress offer mobile-optimized editing for content management from any device. 

Search Engine Optimization

Drupal 7

Drupal 8

WordPress

7/10

7/10

7/10

If you think SEO is platform-dependent, think again. SEO is mostly influenced by factors outside of the core CMS - so much so that the content author has more control than the platform developer! In the end, both Drupal and WordPress can be extended to accommodate however much or little search engine optimization a particular client desires. Whether its custom meta tag input or keyword-counters - you'll find a solution in both Drupal and WordPress.

Considering how quickly SEO standards and practices evolve it is a huge benefit to have those tools added onto your site through plugins and modules. The downside is that you may investment in a tool that won't pay off.

Future-Proofing

Drupal 7

Drupal 8

WordPress

8/10

10/10

10/10

WordPress turns out modest updates about three times per year and makes it easy to upgrade a site to the latest version from within the admin interface. Most sites can be updated with only a few clicks.

Drupal releases minor updates once a month, however, Drupal does not have an interface for making core updates. A developer can either manually update the core files on the server, or do so using command line. It is worth noting that some hosting providers offer their own update process which allows you update both Drupal and WordPress with just a few clicks from your server's cPanel web interface.

The key difference between the two platforms is that Drupal, on top of its regular upgrades, also takes the opportunity to reinvent itself from the ground-up every five years or so. The Drupal 7 initiative launched in 2008 and it is has grown to be one of the most powerful content management systems available. It seems inevitable that Drupal 8 will follow down the same path, improving month-over-month for years to come.

Despite the different upgrade processes, Drupal and WordPress communities have both proven to be active and dedicated to their respective open-source projects. Regular improvements are delivered to each platform to keep them on the cutting edge. While both show excellent promise for the future we have to give the edge to WordPress for its astounding adoption rate that has saturated more than 20% of the internet.

And the winner is...?

Drupal 7

Drupal 8

WordPress

44

51

48

And the winner is? Well, its just not that simple. These content management systems come in virtually neck-and-neck and your organization will likely weight the results using your own set of project criteria. While Drupal 8 pulls ahead in our CMS Showdown you likely already know which CMS won the battle in your mind.

Still on the fence? - It could be time to speak with one of our experts about your business or marketing needs.