Choosing a Content Management System (CMS) and a reputable web host are two critical decisions that can influence your experience with creating, publishing and managing your website. Most new websites today are powered by easy to use content management systems. And there are a number of renowned CMSs available with extensive customization features that allow you to make changes to a website, without working on a single line of code. And they all have active communities and fanbases rooting for their chosen platform. WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal are the three most popular open source platforms used to build custom, feature-filled sites, manage publishing workflows and also to generate web content. These CMSs share similarities such as they are all built for use on a web server setup using Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP. Each offers plenty of customizations, ability to add functions or edit designs and strong security features but they also have different philosophies that shape their ease-of-use for non-technical users. Because they are all good options, choosing the right CMS for your website can prove to be difficult. Therefore besides the reputation it is also better to focus on how well the platform aligns with the objectives, resources and technical expertise of the team members managing the site. We are here to help you pick the best fit for your unique situation by comparing all three platforms on various factors. Keep reading to make up your own mind on which one reigns supreme!
User-Friendliness In Configuring And Managing A Website
All three CMSs are easy to install and since most users install using a script rather than manually, there is no big difference. When it comes to managing a website, one needs to consider ease-of-use in day-to-day site management and administration across all user roles and levels of the system.
WordPress is immensely popular among users and developers alike. The WordPress philosophy is to build an intuitive and easy-to-use CMS that its users regardless of their technical knowledgexe2x80x94can use to publish on the web. WordPress is simple to use from the start, especially for anyone familiar with word processing tools such as Microsoft Word.
The best feature in Joomla! from the perspective of ease of use is its consideration of user levels -traditional website visitor access, front-end editors, back-end managers and administrators. The front-end area with defined user roles makes it easy for newbies and lower-level users to manage content.
The out-of-the-box interface in Drupal is fully functional but it is not user-friendly for non-technical users. Users should be comfortable with PHP, HTML, CSS, and other web languages to operate in Drupal. For that reason, Drupal has the steepest learning curve and is designed to be customized at all levels.
Ease-of-Use in Creating and Publishing Content
WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal are all capable of supporting publishing workflows for non-technical users, such as inputting or creating content, updating it on an ongoing basis, formatting, and displaying it to users. For non-technical users wanting to create a new site using a pre-built theme, WordPress may be the best option, even Joomla! would work just as well but Drupal may not be the right pick for you. Since creating and publishing content is the bulk of the work you will do in a CMS letxe2x80x99s look at each platform in a little more detail.
There are several default content types right out of the box in Drupal: Besides basic pages used for static pages, articles (similar to WordPress posts) and book page, which is a collaborative type of content that many users contribute to, are offered. There are also forum topics on which comments and reply threads can be added and polls offering a question with a set of possible responses for community members to vote on. You can also create new content types with different section headings, functions, features, multimedia elements, and capabilities. Drupal is an excellent choice for developers building a complex site with tons of content and numerous users because of its flexibility and ability to easily create and define own content types.
Joomla! allows users to create and store content as articles, which are then attached to a menu to be displayed on the site. It is also possible to place content in different positions and areas because of the way Joomla! uses modules. Joomla! may not have the most intuitive setup, especially for users without experience in any other CMS, but it is still worth spending a few hours learning it as it is an incredibly powerful system. With its innate structure and ability to create once, publish everywhere, content can be used in multiple ways throughout the website. For example, a blog post can be repurposed as a page, an event, and an article simultaneously.
WordPress offers three default content types:
Post- For some websites, WordPress is used for its blogging capabilities alone. Blog posts are easy to create and publish with a time and date stamp and they are automatically added to your RSS feed. Posts can be assigned categories and tags, for easy archival and sorting.
Pages-Website pages are easy to build and add to the menu. The system has a drag-and-drop editor for easy management of the menu structure.
Media– This type of content is primarily for storing and organizing images, videos, or other files. WordPress media uploader enables drag and drop uploading, file size limits, automatic image resizing, editing and a visual gallery for management. It also has a built-in photo gallery tool.
WordPress also uses widgets to store other content that wouldn’t be considered pages or posts. They are generally regulated to a sidebar or footer, though some WordPress themes provide a lot of flexibility in creative use of widgets. WordPress is restrictive in its ability to re-use existing content differently. However, WordPress does allow “custom post types,” for creating your own unique content type, such as videos, whitepaper, case studies, and more, similar to Joomla! or Drupal. It is easier to review and create content on WordPress because it keeps content types separate.
There is a myriad of threats to your website from cross site scripting, zero-days breaches, brute force attempts, and distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks to software vulnerabilities. Each of the three main CMSs have different security features. Let’s take a look at them.
Hackers are more likely to try and find vulnerabilities in the WordPress system because of its popularity and reach. There are over 75 million WordPress sites on the web, in comparison to about 3 million Joomla! sites and less than a million Drupal sites. You need to modify WordPress core files to enable Secure Socket Layer connection or Two-Factor Authentication on its dashboard. Most advanced security features are entirely dependent on plugins. The most commonly used plugins are often subject to hacks and malware, as they are considered less secure and have less oversight. But if site owners are vigilant about which plugins they install, and update regularly then a WordPress site is no less secure than any other CMS. WordPress Core is still extremely secure. WordPress has a robust reporting process and vulnerabilities are fixed and patched quickly once theyre discovered.
Out-of-the-box, Joomla! comes with a feature to force connections over SSL and another option for enforcing 2FA[MK1] . It offers its unique set of security extensions, and developers working on Joomla! also maintain a list of extensions with known vulnerabilities. Joomla! has a dedicated Joomla Security Strike Team (JSST) who are quick to patch any vulnerabilities as soon as they are discovered. Joomla has very few documented vulnerabilities and most are not knowingly exploited.
Drupal commands the smallest marketshare but it is most popular with enterprise users who are more technically savvy and therefore Drupal enjoys a reputation of being the most secure CMS of the group. Drupal modules are usually targeted less but the lack of an automatic update makes it difficult to spread the word about the vulnerability to compromised users.
Truthfully there is not much difference between WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla! as far as security is concerned. The greatest security risk for any site is the users and administrators of the site. So if these content management systems are managed responsibly and monitored properly by someone with the required technical knowledge, most security breaches can be prevented. This is a major reason why website owners should opt for managed website hosting, instead of traditional web hosting.
WordPress allows easy updates for both minor and major upgrades to plugin, theme, and custom functions though it may be better to test things out on a staging site first to prevent any incompatibilities later. WordPress also enables automatic updates for minor version changes so that the latest security patches are installed without having to update manually.
Joomla! updates work just as easily as WordPress for minor versions. Even upgrading between major versions usually works just as well but it can occasionally require manual intervention.
Minor version upgrades on Drupal are a simple affair but upgrading between major versions requires a more involved effort than for Joomla! and WordPress. For someone without a lot of experience on CMSs, you are better off hiring a professional to perform major upgrades or rather choosing WordPress/Joomla! with an easier upgrade path.
For The Win
So which CMS would best suit your site?
All three Content Management Systems are usable and powerful. Depending on your unique situation.
Generally speaking WordPress is more suitable for blogs, simple business websites, news sites, marketing sites, small eCommerce stores, and any site managed by new users.
Joomla! offers a mid-ground between the other two platforms with flexibility for complex content publishing sites, social media networks, eCommerce stores, and more.
If your site is set to grow significantly and requires extensive features and unlimited customization possibilities, go for the most complex CMS, Drupal. This platform is capable of supporting the largest enterprise sites, community sites, and large online stores.
These are other factors like intangibles, integrations or transferability that may determine your choice of CMS. But no matter which one you choose, just keep upgrading. Call us to talk with one of our experts about which content management (CMS) may be best suited for your site.