CMS stands for Content Management System, the software on which you build and manage websites. And there are a lot of them to choose from. When it comes to building websites, most CMS’s that would interest beginners run on PHP, the back-end language of choice. Although there are other CMS’s like Joomla, Mambo, and Moodle that also run on PHP, we’re going to focus on WordPress and Drupal, the heavy hitters.
WordPress and Drupal: One is better than the other, depending on who you’re talking to
To be clear, I want to address this issue from a non-programmer standpoint, because the huge majority of CMS users are not programmers (and I’m talking about millions of people). So, from this point of view, the truth is that these two platforms for web management are essentially the same.
The same you say?
Well, yeah. They do the same things. Right now a lot of readers who already know about Drupal and WordPress are freaking out because they’re pro WordPress or pro Drupal. But what the beginner needs to understand is that there is no clear consensus among the nebulous protests that we hear.
To make a long story short: Drupal is loved by mostly programmers while WordPress is loved mostly by the average user.
What makes Drupal superior to WordPress?
So let’s get down to it. For our objective review, WordPress and Drupal are essentially the same. They offer users a platform to create pages and posts, use add-on software and create interactive functionality. WordPress accomplishes this through plugins and Drupal through modules.
When you install one or the other CMS on your host server, you’re installing what’s called the core files, and this is where the two CMS’s really differ. Right now, Drupal’s core files are superior to those of WordPress. Why is this important for beginners to know? It’s important for beginners in order to understand why so many programmers prefer Drupal over WordPress. Drupal is better for large projects in which your site architecture needs to be based on some seriously customizable hierarchical organization system.
For example, in Drupal you can create content types and taxonomies to organize your content, and these can in turn be nested (think threaded comments). The same can be accomplished in WordPress through a combination of different plugins, but it is generally preferable to be able to edit such systems of organization via the core itself.
When it comes to security, Drupal is generally considered to have tougher code to crack. The irony is that just this year there was a major Drupal hack. Hopefully they’ll get that fixed by offering automatic patches to its core like WordPress does, instead of having to trigger a redesign every time a user wants to update the Drupal core even with the updated databases.
Finally, another difference is that Drupal offers better control over user permissions. This means that you can register other admins, editors or authors, and control their access to different parts of your site. With WordPress, beginners would have a tough time wrangling the right plugins to make this functionality a reality.
And how is WordPress better than Drupal?
WordPress is easier to use. If you want the simple answer, there it is. And industry experts agree that on average a Drupal site will take anywhere from 2 to 3 times as long to build. Drupal’s learning curve is simply higher. It caters to a developer more than to your Average Joe beginner. All this goes to show why Drupal sites cost more, too.
WordPress has an excellent UX design. It’s intuitive, and not unlike other programs that users are familiar with in their lives and jobs. What’s especially nice is the sidebar pop-up subcategories when you hover over the different menu items. It feels concise and comprehensive.
Another bonus for the beginner is that WordPress’ support forums are easy to understand. Drupal’s support forums are geared toward developers, so the jargon can be overwhelming. It makes sense, too: WordPress started as a rickety blogging platform that over time became the world’s most-used CMS. You’d expect a lot of beginners to have questions.
This leads into another way in which WordPress is better than Drupal: options. Because WordPress has some 60% of the CMS market (compared to Drupal’s 6%), it naturally creates a higher demand for customization. This means more themes and plugins, more updates and more attention. The thing to keep in mind is that Drupal can do everything WordPress and its plugins can do, but you need to know a thing or two about PHP, CSS and MySQL to do it. WordPress is great if you’re not familiar with code.
The question is: Do you want to learn?
The purpose of this article was to give you a basic idea about each of these CMS’s in relation to each another. One CMS is better than the other, depending on who you’re taking to, but more importantly depending on what your project is.
In terms of ease, WordPress is better for beginners. However, it can likewise be said that Drupal is better. Here’s why: if you use WordPress as a beginner you will remain a beginner for longer. If you have the time and inclination to learn, then Drupal will advance you from beginner quicker. If you’re abandoned in China, you will eventually learn Chinese because you must. If you’re abandoned in China with a translator, it’s easy, and you’ll accomplish what you want, but you won’t learn Chinese as well.
What’s your experience?