Drupal vs Wordpress: 7 Reasons Drupal Wins

Drupal vs Wordpress: 7 Reasons Drupal Wins

For anyone looking at content management systems, the question often boils down to a simple question. Drupal vs WordPress.

Based on the usage numbers, it's easy to think that WordPress is the better system. WordPress is currently used on 28.4% of websites to Drupal's 2.8%. However, all may not be as clear it seems. WordPress started life as a blogging platform, though now it does lots of different things. At its root, it still functions best when you use it as a blog. Turning it into something else often calls for custom themes and a staggering number of plugins. Drupal was developed as a true content management system. It supports a broad range of website design and development options. So let's take a close look at why Drupal wins the Drupal vs WordPress debate.

Better Functionality

A fully-featured website may include lots of fundamentally different kinds of content. For example, you might want to put up a poll after a video you posted. WordPress doesn't integrate different content types very well, because that's not what blogs were intended to do. Various plugins have improved some of that kind of functionality, but it's still not great. Drupal built that kind of functionality into the core code. It's not just able to do it, it's meant to do it. Say you want to post a video about investing, put a poll underneath it, and have a stock ticker scrolling across the bottom of the screen. You can make it happen without straining Drupal's capacities. In WordPress? Not so much.

Drupal vs WordPress Security

With hacking more and more common for businesses, security is everyone's priority. WordPress does employ a security team. They also work to prevent common and serious issues involving application security. Where WordPress is really vulnerable is in third-party plugins. The plugins are reviewed. However, there is ample opportunity for vulnerabilities to creep into plugin updates. Drupal advertises itself as employing enterprise level security. It uses database and password encryption features. Drupal's caching approach makes it highly resistant to denial of service attacks. The real proof is in the numbers. For 2017 to date, Drupal has had 4 vulnerabilities identified, while WordPress has had 29. That alone makes Drupal the obvious winner on the security front.

Customisation

It's your website. It should look like and do what you want it to do. Getting the look, feel and features you want on a website that uses a CMS is no easy feat. It almost always means customisation. While WordPress appearance can be customised with themes, WordPress website behaviours are trickier. Even with plugins, WordPress wasn't meant to work as an e-commerce platform. The farther you get from blogging features, the less optimal WordPress becomes for customisation. Drupal is made to build custom websites. Since it isn't trying to evolve from a specific function, it's not locked into behaviours related to that function. If you want a blog, you can customise a Drupal site to do that. If you want to start an e-commerce business, you can customise Drupal to do that, too.

Loading Speed

If your website loads slowly, you're going to lose visitors. WordPress is notorious for being slow. The problem is so persistent that an industry has grown up around getting WordPress sites to run faster. There are a lot of reasons why a site may load slowly. Usually, caching is the culprit. In this case, caching refers to turning content into static pages for quick and easy retrieval. WordPress does almost no native caching. This means that user computers need to retrieve all that data from the server to load everything. One of Drupal's big selling points is its extensive caching options. Even a basic Drupal installation still does a significant amount of caching.

Website Size

Having a lot of content on your site is a good thing. It makes your site attractive to search engines. Plus, it gives your site visitors plenty to see. The downside is that websites often get sluggish as content volume grows. For sites that remain static except for new blog posts or occasional service offering updates, it's not an issue. For sites that need to list thousands of inventory items, it turns into a problem fast. Since WordPress doesn't do caching, you can expect increased sluggishness anytime you add a lot of content. That's on top of any existing lag time in loading. Drupal handles large sites as well as it handles small sites. A big increase in content may mean a slight increase in load time. However, caching prevents any major increases in lag time.

User Management

User management is a concern for anyone who needs to give multiple people access to the backend of a website. WordPress offers some basic user management options with roles that expose its blogging roots. A few of the roles are administrator, author, and subscriber. You have some control over permissions that limit activity in these roles. You can get more extensive control -- but only with plugins. Drupal offers extensive user management options. Instead of giving you a few pre-defined roles, you can make customised roles and permissions that fit your needs. Drupal's approach gives you much more control over who can do what to your content. In this area of the Drupal vs WordPress showdown, Drupal takes gold.

Fewer Plugin Issues

Like most web-based software, WordPress updates on a regular basis. As a general rule, these updates are a good thing. They fix bugs and patch security issues. As most WordPress users find out at some point, these updates routinely cause plugins to fail. Since plugins drive everything from SEO to analytics and forms, plugin failures can cripple your website. Drupal modules go through an extensive process to work out bugs and flaws before they're offered to everyone. This approach results in more modules that don't break with every minor update to Drupal's core code. On this front, Drupal wins by nose. Its modules are more stable, but not immune to failing after an update.

Closing Thoughts

Don't get us wrong. WordPress is great for DIY blogging or small business websites. It's even decent at photo galleries. In a Drupal vs WordPress comparison, though, Drupal just offers more. It's speed, functionality and security are better. You also get substantially better customisation and its modules are more stable.

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