Drupal vs. Joomla—which CMS is better?

Is your company on the lookout for an alternative to the ever-present WordPress? If this giant doesn’t check all the necessary boxes, there are two great open-source CMS to choose from, Drupal or Joomla. We take a look at how they stack up, and which one is better positioned to fulfill your needs.

Drupal vs. Joomla features at a glance

Drupal Joomla
Great scalability for large, complex projects Suitable for large companies and complex projects
Many interfaces for extensions and additional modules Easily extendable through large library of plugins, templates, modules and add-ons
Flexible multilingual creation of individual data structures for a wide range of content types, e.g., through WYSIWYG Multilingual integration
Easy and quick content editing through “Quick Edit” Practical user management and access rights
SEO and Responsive Design for all devices SEO extensions and functions
Fewer security vulnerabilities than WordPress Relatively high security through SSL and 2FA

Why not just use WordPress?

WordPress is among the most popular options when it comes to creating a website. However, security gaps due to a reliance on third-party plugins leave some searching for alternatives. Luckily, CMS comparisons show the range of WordPress alternatives on offer. Drupal and Joomla are two standout choices.

From a statistical perspective, they don’t come close to WordPress. While WordPress accounts for around 65% of the CMS market share and is the basis for 43% of all websites, Joomla makes up 3% of the market share. Drupal follows with just 2%. WordPress has earnt this position at the top of the pile through an easy-to-use and intuitive interface. It also boasts a large choice of WordPress plugins, themes and templates.

Anyone looking to create unique websites with complex page structures or larger web projects won’t regret using Drupal or Joomla. However, there is a steeper learning curve and more training involved. They also require a rudimentary understanding of website creation.

What are the pros and cons of Drupal or Joomla?

It’s good to know where they both stand compared to the market leader. But to show the strengths of Drupal and Joomla, we have to go into detail.


Drupal was first released in 2000 as an open-source CMS, making it older than WordPress. Large companies needing to implement complex projects preferred using Drupal in the “Drupal vs. WordPress” comparison.

Drupal has also proven to be a content hub, thanks to diverse content types. And as a CMS, it offers individual data structures for articles, news, products, product groups, events, or blogs. Its multilingual operation, 47,000 modules, practical interfaces, versatile themes and templates allow flexible configurations and offer a variety of extensions. Content editing is also easy to use, with quick edits and input fields for content types.

Anyone looking to create a Drupal website gets to profit from a focus on responsive design because Drupal websites are compatible with all devices. It also offers the bonus of generating more traffic through SEO-optimized websites.

In addition, functions such as the block system and views module enable you to manage content as blocks as well as create and configure content lists. Due to its performance, individual extensibility, relatively high security and professional community, Drupal is very popular. Some of its largest clients include multinational companies such as Tesla, Twitter and eBay.

Pros of using Drupal Cons of using Drupal
✔ Free open-source CMS with many features, themes and plugins ✘ Relatively long training period and learning curve for configuration
✔ Flexible creation of individual, also complex websites and data structures after training ✘ Extensive updates from old version to new
✔ Many additional modules, interfaces for extensions and responsive design for all end devices ✘ Security vulnerabilities due to add-on modules similar to WordPress
✔ Especially suitable for large projects/websites with a lot of traffic
✔ Easy content editing through “Quick Edit”
✔ Multilingual operation, HTML5, Twig template engine and PHP 5.4+
✔ CMI (Configuration System) for direct code export of configurations

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In 2006, the popular CMS was released as “Joomla!”. The current version is Joomla 4.2 (as of August 2022). Independent of the respective operating system, the object-based CMS written in PHP can be used to set up simple websites according to the MVC (Model View Controller) concept. Alternatively, it can aid with the implementation of large, complex projects with many participants.

Adding necessary functions is easy thanks to a large library of around 8,000 extensions, plugins, modules and components. It also works with databases such as MySQL, Microsoft SQL as well as PostgreSQL.

Anyone looking to create a Joomla website will find that Joomla distinguishes between “Articles” and “Categories”. It is therefore necessary to create categories for content types, which requires training and configuration. The list of options in the administrator screens of the user interface also takes some getting used to. Practical tools are also available in the form of extensions such as the page builder.

With around 200,000 users, Joomla offers a large community, helpful tutorials and good support. When it comes to the question “WordPress vs. Joomla”, businesses working on large projects and scalable e-commerce websites often chose Joomla, due to the level of flexibility and individualization they enjoy.

Pros of Joomla Cons of Joomla
✔ User-friendly through different content types, simple backend, WYSIWYG editor and MVC structure ✘ Longer training phase for operation and handling of extensions, options and modules
✔ Many helpful plugins for extensions ✘ Possible security gaps through add-ons
✔ Useful user administration and control ✘ A large number of options and input require longer explanation and configuration
✔ Integrated multilingual support
✔ Management and use of multiple templates
✔ Large community and good support
✔ Practical SEO functions

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Answering your questions on Drupal vs. Joomla

Which system is best suited to beginners?

Both Drupal and Joomla CMS tools allow you to create websites and online projects without in-depth programming knowledge. Although both systems require a longer learning and training phase than WordPress due to their more complex structure and less intuitive user interfaces. Drupal and Joomla offer many features for bespoke web projects and are suitable for multilingual, complex e-commerce sites. This means you should have some basic knowledge of web development or allow time to get familiar with it.

Which CMS offers the best extensions?

When it comes to the number of extensions, Drupal leads the way with approximately 47,000 modules and extensions. Joomla offers about 8,000 extensions and additional modules for greater functionality. Both CMS have large communities of developers. This means you can choose from high-quality extensions, using download numbers and reviews to assess their effectiveness.

Which safety features do Drupal and Joomla offer?

Whether you’re using Drupal or Joomla, you are already more secure than if you were using WordPress. The CMS giant’s large user base and the number of third-party plugins available lead to more gaps in security. Additional modules and extensions are also available on Drupal and Joomla through third parties and a community of developers. This means that gaps still arise through the unclean code contained in them. However, the probability of this happening is lower than with WordPress, partly because both systems also have 2-factor authentication and SSL encryption for website creation.

Which CMS offers the best templates?

Pre-made design templates or bespoke themes and templates. Whatever your needs, you can create a distinctive website tailored to your needs thanks to a wide selection of free Drupal themes and Joomla templates. Drupal has around 3,000 themes to fit your needs and Joomla offers around 1,000 free templates. Joomla enables you to use multiple templates on the same site, so you can give your online store and landing page different designs. The backend can also be customized using special templates.

What do the SEO functions look like?

Numerous plugins and modules as well as options for meta descriptions, meta titles and keywords on Drupal and Joomla ensure that your website is SEO friendly. Joomla also offers a URL optimizer for an extra boost in the rankings. Drupal’s “Mobile First” principle enables optimization for all devices through responsive design.

Which CMS offers better support?

WordPress has a wide-reaching community that Drupal and Joomla cannot match. However, they are considered very popular CMS options among professional programmers and developers. They are also used by large multinational companies and universities for their web projects. As a result, it isn’t hard to find reliable solutions in the community or through tutorials and support boards. Despite its relatively low market share, Drupal is well established and guarantees support through a community of developers totaling around 45,000. Joomla has a member’s forum and two Facebook groups with around 30,000 members.

What’s our summary? Drupal or Joomla are great WordPress alternatives

Whichever CMS you choose, Drupal and Joomla offer healthy competition and viable alternatives to WordPress. The number of extensions and size of the community doesn’t come close to those of the market leader. However, when it comes to complex websites mapping extensive business processes and handling a lot of traffic, you are usually better off with Drupal or Joomla. Based on this Drupal Joomla comparison and others, they have also proven to be more than capable when it comes to custom website design, making them especially suitable for medium and large companies.

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