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Drupal vs. WordPress

DrupallogoChoosing a Content Management System (CMS) is neither an easy nor fast process. Every CMS has its own set of unique features. On balance, it is often hard to say wordpress-logoif one is better or more suitable than another. While some content management systems quickly prove themselves inadequate or flawed for a particular application, others may only reveal their quirks after a lot of experimentation.

This article looks very quickly at both. I consider them both excellent choices, but they are not interchangeable. By the end of this article, I hope to give you an understanding on the strengths and weaknesses of each (in broad strokes), and the circumstances under which one or the other might prove to be a better choice

Both Drupal and WordPress are open source (i.e. free).

Drupal

Drupal is an extremely flexible content management system. The basic install includes blog, story, book (multi-level chapters) and polls. It has a flexible menu system giving you excellent control over navigation. Even better, it has a system of “blocks” in which you can insert content, menus, almost anything. You have excellent control over the placement of them.

With so much functionality, why choose anything else? Good question, for which I have a good answer.

Drupal is fairly involved to set up. It isn’t so much that it is complicated or anti-intuitive. Actually, it is not that hard to navigate the features. The problem is two-fold - the number of features (not all of which are listed here) makes the job of navigating them more complicated.

For all the features, you will find that it still does not do what you want. For example, there is no built-in text editor. Either learn HTML, or install a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor module. Now you can start to see the second reason why setting up Drupal is involved. Once the decision to use Drupal as been taken, and the CMS installed, your job is not over; far from it! You must then work out how to get the additional functionality you will probably need by searching through the available modules, installing them, trying them out, and evaluating them.

Drupal is very popular and has an active support and development community.

WordPress

If, having read about Drupal, you have already decided that it sounds like too much trouble, you might prefer WordPress.

WordPress is a blog. At its core, it is nothing more nor less than a blog (more about that later), making it extremely easy to understand, set up and use. Rather than spending hours on deciding how to set it up, and what type of node you should place your content in (as with Drupal), you can concentrate on producing content.

Having said that, WordPress does have a wide variety of modules with which you can extend the CMS functionality. Although WordPress hosts an excellent blog out of the box, you will probably want to tweak it, even push it beyond its blog core capability.

Like Drupal, WordPress is very popular and has an active support and development community.

Conclusion

Both Drupal and WordPress make excellent choices. I have worked with both, and tried a number of other content management systems.

WordPress will get you up and running quickly, and I love its simplicity. The blog you are reading now is powered by WordPress. Although WordPress does have categories, it is primary mode of organization is chronological. Perfect for a blog.

For more flexibility and features, Drupal makes a better choice. It is easer to organize extensive content when chronology is not your preferred organizational choice. It is also easier to administer if you require more sophisticated functions like access control, or a wide variety of content types and formats.

If you know what you want (quick or flexible, easy or extensive) you may already have enough information to make your choice.

You can read my comparison of Drupal and Typo3.

Your comments are welcome. Share your experiences with one, the other or both CMS.

Related Reading

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Comments

8 comments:

[…] Here is a useful article comparing Drupal with WordPress, and a few other content management systems as well. It is a more in-depth companion to my article comparing Drupal and WordPress. The chart comparing CMS systems outlines about what I found in my own research. For example, WordPress is easy to install, but is less scalable. Drupal is harder to install, but provides more control and more features. Then there is Typo3 - many features but very hard to set up. […]

Discover Doug » Archives » Great Article Comparing Content Management Systems / November 30th, 2006, 4:29 am / #

Selection of platform for blogging for many sites and blogs - is one of problems.

And I don’t select Drupal for blogging - this CMS have a many features but this features requires more resources. WordPress is best platform for simple blogging, and WP don’t requires programming skill’s for theme-makers (at many case and task). Drupal has powerfull themes, but theme-makers requires knowledge by select theme-engine and programming skills for this choice.

I wrote series of posts in my blogs about “Drupal vs WordPress”, this post based on my skill in this CMS and production environment on my sites and my clients. Please read on http://digimodo.net and http://binarylook.net (in Russian).

P.S. Sorry, my english is not good.

Lalex / December 1st, 2006, 2:47 am / #

I am working on some websites using Drupal. Development is slower than with WordPress, but I like the flexibility of Drupal. As for the extra resources that Drupal uses, this really depends on how fast and how heavily loaded your server is. If you think you might prefer to use Drupal, but are unsure if you will get the performance, try a test installation of both Drupal and WordPress, see if you notice a difference, then decide based on what is most important to you: features or performance. If you find the performance of both is excellent, just go on features vs. effort to get up and running.
There is no universal right answer, but there is probably a right answer for you.

web / January 27th, 2007, 1:25 pm / #

[…] A while back I spent a lot of time checking out the options, and after some time, narrowed it down to WordPress or Drupal. […]

Discover Doug » Archives » Typo3 vs Drupal / February 8th, 2007, 10:58 am / #

[…] When I set up my allergy information website in January, I decided to use the latest version of Drupal, then just released. In deciding between WordPress or Drupal, I chose Drupal over WordPress, because I want the website to be much more than a blog. In this I am not disappointed - when I get the time, I’ll write more about the difference between the two content management systems - they each have their strong points. […]

Discover Doug » Archives » The Bleeding Edge of Drupal / March 2nd, 2007, 10:32 pm / #

[…] Drupal is a full blown content management system that is much more powerful and customizable than Wordpress. I’ve used Drupal in the past for a few websites I’ve made and this blog was actually my first attempt at using Wordpress. If you would like to take a crack at Drupal without actually installing it, you can go to the OpenSourceCMS.org website and there will be quite possibly every open source web publishing platform listed there for you to try before you install. The specific link for Drupal is here. There’s no one reason why I’m going to migrate this blog to Drupal, but a couple of them include the lack of easy customization beyond a blog (I want more more more) and the fact that when I change something in Drupal, it happens instantly. That is been bugging the crap out of me, when you edit the theme files it takes forever to update the cache, and the only way I’ve found after reading forums and the like is to change to a different theme and then change back. There are many other Wordpress vs. Drupal articles you can read here, here, here, here, and here you can read to make your own decision in the Wordpress vs. Drupal debate as pertains to your situation, but I’ve made mine. […]

I Broke My Blog: The Wordpress vs. Drupal Debate at Carl Moeller / March 15th, 2007, 9:23 am / #

[…] theme and then change back. There are many other Wordpress vs. Drupal articles you can read here, here, here, here, and here. Make your own decision in the Wordpress vs. Drupal debate as pertains […]

I Broke My Blog: The Wordpress vs. Drupal Debate | Carl Moeller dot Com / August 26th, 2007, 10:49 am / #

hosting companies like dreamhost have one-click install for wp.

do you know any that have a similar easy-install option for Drupal?

Living Off Dividends & Passive Income / April 20th, 2008, 3:28 pm / #

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