WordPress vs. Drupal

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I recently asked some of my colleagues to share their thoughts on how WordPress and Drupal compare. Among the responses, I did hear a few Drupal users point out that they thought Drupal was more secure than WordPress, or that it wasn’t possible for WordPress to handle large, complex websites (I would think that many of the sites in our gallery here would help to disprove that rumor), I also heard some valid arguments about Drupal being better at handling complex taxonomy structures, etc. One colleague even pointed out that Drupal allows you to use an alternative database management system if you aren’t fond of using MySQL (though, after a bit of research, it appears that the PostGreSQL implementation of Drupal has serious performance issues).

However, the majority of the arguments seemed to lean toward WordPress being a better solution, in most cases, than Drupal (though, it is entirely possible that my bias toward WordPress made me feel that way, and that a Drupal fan would have given the points to Drupal). Regardless, I’ve attempted to summarize a few of the arguments made in WordPress’ favor below. I would be very interested to hear what others have to say in response to these points.

Backwards Compatibility

One of the primary principles of WordPress is its backwards compatibility. Every new version must not break anything found in previous versions.This is extremely important when it comes to upgrading the site. In Drupal, however, each major release is essentially a complete rewrite, breaking most common “modules” (known as “plugins” in the WordPress world) and sometimes even requiring an extensive rewrite of the site’s theme. While the overwhelming majority of WordPress plugins and themes in use on a site will continue to work flawlessly whenever you upgrade to a new version of WordPress, the same cannot be said for upgrading to a new version of Drupal.

Release Cycles

New “major” versions of WordPress (indicated by the tenths place in the version number) are usually released 2 to 3 times each year. New “major” versions of Drupal (sometimes indicated by the ones place in the version number, sometimes indicated by the tenths place) are released every 2 to 3 years. While development on new versions of WordPress has gotten faster over the past few years, development on new versions of Drupal appears to have slowed significantly in the past few years.

Availability of Support

According to statistics on W3Techs, WordPress is used on more than 10 times as many websites as Drupal. As a result, the WordPress community is considerably larger than the Drupal community. It is extremely simple to find knowledgeable answers to just about any question someone may have about WordPress, while it can be considerably more difficult to find answers to Drupal questions. In addition, because Drupal changes so drastically between versions, it is much more likely that any answers you would find to your Drupal questions may not be relevant to the version being used.

Time of Implementation

With the simplicity of WordPress, along with the huge market of free and premium plugins and themes, a brand new WordPress site can be set up and running within literally a matter of minutes. Drupal sites, on the other hand, tend to take considerably longer.

Administration Standards

While it is possible to “theme” the administrative back-end of a WordPress site, it is rarely done. Even when it is customized, everything is still in essentially the same place. The WordPress community has fairly strict standards on how administrative interfaces and menus are laid out and structured. If you learn one WordPress administrative area, you will be able to use any WordPress administrative area. Drupal, on the other hand, has few, if any, standards for how administrative actions should be performed, making each Drupal installation potentially a completely different experience for users.

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