Despite Drupal’s prominence as a top CMS, a persistent rumour persists: “Drupal is extremely difficult and unusable.”
When people believe Drupal is difficult to use, we’ve discovered that they’re frequently comparing it to another popular CMS: WordPress.
Drupal and WordPress are frequently grouped together due to their many similarities. Both are open source and freely available, have a large library of plugins and modules for adding further functionality, and have a large user and developer community.
Both WordPress and Drupal are excellent tools for different sorts of websites, yet they differ significantly in many respects. Your specific website requirements will determine which CMS is best for you. We’ll go through five key differences between Drupal and WordPress in this article, but first, let’s make sure we’re comparing apples to apples.
Creating a Level Playing Field
Some site builders and content managers prefer WordPress to Drupal because they believe WordPress is more user-friendly. However, in order to make an appropriate assessment of them, the comparison must be apples to apples amongst sites of comparable size, functionality, and complexity.
It’s not a fair comparison to compare the ease of use of WordPress for establishing and administering tiny websites with minimal customizations and static content to the intricacies of Drupal for building enterprise-level sites with dynamic relationships between numerous data sources.
Drupal has a steeper learning curve than WordPress, owing to the many customization capabilities integrated into its core. WordPress is easy to use, especially for blogs and small sites, but it is more difficult to customise a third-party theme or scale larger, more complicated projects.
Drupal may be a better choice than WordPress if your objective is to provide a seamless experience at the enterprise level.
Drupal vs. WordPress: 6 Key Differences
Both Drupal and WordPress are good CMSs, but the experience is vastly different out of the box.
WordPress is pre-configured, allowing site owners to get right in and start creating content. So, right out of the box, WordPress is ready to go. It’s also simple to experiment with different themes.
While Drupal is great for blogging, it’s always been more utilitarian, making fewer assumptions for site owners out of the box, so configuring some of the basic features takes some work. Customizing content types and fields is incorporated into the Drupal core, but WordPress customization requires additional plugins.
Drupal is more flexible, with to built-in capabilities like taxonomies, content types, blocks, and views, but learning how to utilise them can be time consuming. When it comes to using Drupal, this creates a learning curve, but it ultimately gives the platform and its users more control.
Drupal enables you to construct more sophisticated and customised data linkages between different sorts of content. While WordPress comes with two content kinds out of the box (posts and pages), Drupal likewise comes with two content types out of the box (article and basic page). Additionally, Drupal is better able to manage your needs if you require several page designs or content kinds.
Drupal’s user permissions are also more advanced out of the box than WordPress’s. Site administrators, content editors, customised access to secret content, and more are all possible with Drupal. You can also design and specify your own user roles and permissions for each role in Drupal core. Unlike WordPress, Drupal allows you to give your users many roles. This allows you to have fine-grained control over what they can do. Drupal is able to handle numerous site stakeholders in this fashion.
All of this is to say that Drupal was built by developers for developers, which is both a strength and a problem. For one thing, content editing in Drupal isn’t as easy as it is in WordPress, and the Drupal community has had to prioritise content management in recent years. If you’re not comfortable creating in Drupal, you’ll wind yourself overlooking the capabilities that make it so strong.
Many people choose to work with WordPress because plugins for everything from SEO to social media are simple to find and install. Drupal’s equivalent of plugins are called modules, and they’re free. They have a lot of the same features as WordPress plugins, especially in the most recent Drupal versions. Installing or updating modules in Drupal, on the other hand, will require the assistance of a developer.
Plugins in WordPress are often easier to manage without the assistance of a developer. There are 56,996 plugins available in the WordPress Plugin Directory to add functionality that isn’t included or as customisable in the core of WordPress.
While there are nearly twice as many plugins for WordPress as there are modules for Drupal 8, the WordPress community does not coalesce around single plugins.
For any particular use case, the Drupal community tends to work with a single module, which either makes it into Drupal Core or becomes “canonised” to the point where it’s practically ubiquitous. WordPress, on the other hand, promotes commercial competition among plugins that perform similar functions.The financial motivation can make them more user-friendly than Drupal equivalents, but also inhibits the WordPress community from settling on a single best, free solution that is built-in or de facto official.
Drupal isn’t difficult to use, but learning how to use it might be challenging. It necessitates more technical knowledge than WordPress but allows for the creation of more complicated websites. WordPress is simpler to learn if you have little experience with website construction. Drupal and WordPress both have robust user groups who are willing to help with documentation and inquiries.
A developer will frequently build and configure a WordPress site before handing it over to the client to administer. It’s easy to use and offers a simple admin interface that makes administering a website virtually instinctual. It’s simple to add photographs, music or video files, documents, and PDFs to content. Images are given responsive image styles by default, allowing them to adapt to the width of one’s browser window or mobile device. Even video URLs will be rendered as if they were integrated on the page by WordPress. Content on sites built with the current versions of Drupal can also be managed by a client, despite the fact that it didn’t always include these types of user-friendly capabilities.
Key advancements in Drupal have made the platform easier to use for non-developers, with content editing being a major priority in the Drupal community in recent years. The WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor has been around in Drupal for a while, but it is being phased out in favour of the CKEditor, which features a drag-and-drop interface and a module that allows users to incorporate external resources such as videos, pictures, tweets, and more through the editor. Another feature is in-line editing, often known as Quick Change, which allows users to edit content directly on the site’s front end.
Customization, Drupal’s main feature, is also available to content editors and site administrators. Some themes, such as the Material Admin theme, are based on the Google Material Design Language and provide a more pleasant visual experience when editing. Plugins can be used to provide more adjustments to the admin experience. Finally, both the front end and back end of Drupal are responsive. Editors and administrators may simply access and alter their site even while they are away from their computer thanks to the mobile optimization.
One of the most significant differences between Drupal and WordPress is security. While security concerns have been raised about Drupal and the open source community as a whole, the platform offers enterprise-level security and delivers in-depth security reports. Drupal is used by governments, like mass.gov, because of its high level of security.
Drupal is well-known for having a volunteer security team and a consistent set of security policies and procedures. For example, security alerts for Drupal core and contributed projects are often provided on Drupal’s security page.
The Drupal distribution Guardr is provided with a combination of modules and settings to strengthen the Drupal application’s security for enterprise clients with unique security demands.
Drupal uses a variety of modules and settings to boost availability and meet enterprise security standards, with an active team member on the Drupal Security Team and an Open Source Security Lead working as the developer of Guardr.
Mediacurrent appreciates the need for quality security features as a firm with numerous enterprise-level and high-security customers, and is a supporting organisation of Guardr.
Because many of the plugins that make WordPress so powerful can also expose the system to possible vulnerabilities, WordPress has historically been more vulnerable to hackers and other assaults. The most common way that WordPress security threats are introduced is through vulnerabilities exploited in plugins.
Installed plugins and themes on WordPress core can be changed with a single click through the Dashboard, however although this provides more flexibility for non-developers, it also increases the potential of security breaches. The more third-party plugins you employ, the more reliant you’ll be on them to maintain their code secure by releasing updates on a regular basis.
Even with the usage of plugins, there are hosting systems that can make WordPress less vulnerable, such as WP Engine, one of the most prominent.
Whether you go with Drupal or WordPress, using a partner like Acquia (Drupal hosting only) or Pantheon to host your site will help reduce the chance of server vulnerabilities.
While Drupal and WordPress are both free to download and install, there are charges connected with using them to develop a website.
WordPress is definitely a fantastic alternative for you if you are a smaller firm with a limited development budget and aren’t finicky about style or functionality.
Drupal is the way to go if you want a more customised website for your company. Because Drupal developers are less prevalent and charge more, it has been difficult for businesses to find qualified Drupal developers in the past. More developers with expertise utilising Drupal’s dependencies, such as Symfony, may be able to pick up Drupal more rapidly now that it uses mainstream PHP libraries and frameworks. This has made hiring Drupal developers or PHP developers who are eager to learn Drupal easier and less expensive. At the moment, around 119,000 people are actively contributing to Drupal.
The level of complexity for which you must plan determines the CMS you require. Overall, Drupal is a robust and adaptable platform. You can design innovative and effective solutions to fulfil your demands in the proper hands.
WordPress’s basic and easy-to-use interface will suit you better if you’re seeking for a website to host a blog or a small business. While WordPress has enterprise-level sites like Techcrunch, Sony Music, and Vogue, larger businesses require a level of customisation that renders WordPress’ template designs and out-of-the-box capabilities useless. (An in-depth look at WordPress’s market share and usage statistics can be found here.)
Drupal is best suited for sophisticated, highly customised websites that demand scalability and the organisation of vast volumes of data. Drupal is a wonderful alternative if you’re on the enterprise end of the spectrum and have very specific technical requirements.