WordPress or Drupal? Which to choose.

When you require a website, you might find yourself wondering whether you need a content management system (cms). The most popular content management systems are WordPress and Drupal, but which one is best for your website?

Essentially, it depends on what type of site you plan to run.

Large sites (upwards of a thousand pages with hundreds of thousands of visitors) which will be developed and maintained by your developer are likely best run on Drupal. Out-of-the-box, Drupal uses less resources on your server, making it ideal for very large websites. Although it is a powerful cms and can allow you some access to make changes, anything major will need to be done by someone with extensive knowledge of Drupal and website programming. Because Drupal sites tend to be larger and require more knowledge and experience to set up and maintain, Drupal website development costs can add up quickly. There are less plugins and themes ready-made for Drupal, with the intention being that whatever you need will be directly developed by your developer, for you. Sometimes, especially for very large websites, leaving maintenance up to your developer is exactly what you need.

Small or medium sized websites that you hope to update, at least partially, by yourself, are best run on WordPress. WordPress uses more server resources because it comes with a lot of automated features and each webpage is dynamically generated. That said, for most small business websites, this shouldn’t ever become an issue. There are plenty of web hosting options that can run WordPress websites easily and fully. WordPress was designed to be very user-friendly for anyone new to running a website. It comes with a wysiwyg editor, drag-and-drop image and file managers and drag-and-drop nav menu managers. There are thousands of WordPress plugins and themes already developed to help you extend and customize your site to meet your individual needs. WordPress is the most popular cms in the world (powering nearly 25 million sites world wide). One possible downside of the popularity of WordPress is that it is a popular target for hackers, leading some to surmise that Drupal is a more secure platform. However, there are valuable security plugins that can be added to help protect your WordPress website.

Both WordPress and Drupal are free of charge and open source, however, hosting, installation, set-up, design work, custom functions, plugins, modules, themes, and other add-ons may have costs.

That leads us to the question of whether a cms is needed at all?

This entirely depends on what you are looking for in a website, your budget, and how you plan to have your website maintained.

If:

  • you plan to have a small or medium sized website
  • you plan to have your developer maintain your website
  • you want a site that uses less resources on the server
  • your budget can support the added time required to handcode your site
  • your budget can support the added time required to develop features from scratch
  • your budget can support the added time required to backup and manually update your site

then a handcoded site sounds ideal. Otherwise, it might be best to consider WordPress or Drupal.

What if you have no idea how large a site you require? The plan is to attract as many visitors as possible, isn’t it? Of course! That’s why it’s always best to make this decision case-by-case, keeping in mind that if your site begins to tax your server and grow beyond the means of your cms, changing your cms is always a possible option. When you contact me about website development, all of this will be part of what we discuss.