Drupal vs WordPress – 2 CMS alternatives compared

If you were to base things purely on user figures, then the battle between Drupal and WordPress would appear to be a David and Goliath encounter. While the weblog software WordPress is in pole position among content management systems with a massive market share of 64.9%, Drupal is way back in third place with a market share of 2.3% (source: W3Techs - date: 01.06.2021). We’ll take a closer look at these two systems, helping you to decide which of these CMSs is most suited to your needs.

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WordPress: Pros and cons

The world's most popular content management system has a correspondingly large community of designers and developers. This means that you can find many (mostly free) themes and plugins with which you can adapt the web project to suit your needs. WordPress is easy to install and use.

Because content and design are separated, as is typical for CMSs, even beginners will find their way around the WordPress dashboard. In particular, users who want to set up their own blog will benefit from the quick and simple use of the software. But WordPress can also be useful to implement larger, professional projects.

WordPress is a good choice because…

  • It has been around since 2003
  • It provides access to some 58,000 plugins free of charge
  • It offers more than 8,000 themes for free
  • Some 41.5 % of all websites worldwide use it

Advantages

Disadvantages

✔ Quick installation

✘ Frequent target by cyber criminals because of popularity

✔ Large choice of themes and plugins

✘ Loss of performance with too many plugins

✔ Ease of use

 

✔ Large community

 

✔ Open source

 

Drupal: Strengths and weaknesses

Drupal is even older than the market leader and, just like WordPress, follows the open source concept. The unique selling point of Drupal is the focus on social features. The software makes it easy to create small social networks, but it is not limited to that. As with other CMSs, a wide variety of website projects can be easily implemented.

To do so, you use modules and themes. With these, the original Drupal installation can be adapted – similar to WordPress. In addition, with Drupal you set the content elements yourself. So you differentiate between, for example, creating products or blog posts which simplifies the work immensely.

Drupal is a good choice because…

  • It has been around since 2000
  • It offers access to some 47,000 modules
  • It offers more than 3,000 themes
  • Some 2.3 % of all websites use it

Advantages

Disadvantages

✔ Broad choices of themes and plugins

✘ Familiarization takes time

✔ Open source

✘ Major updates (from one version to another) are hard to implement

✔ Suitable for social networks

 

✔ Flexible creation of content elements

 

WordPress or Drupal: Comparison of the CMS

Choosing the right CMS depends on various factors. Depending on your needs, you can work out which system is right for you. The Wordpress Drupal comparison focuses on four main criteria for making a decision:

  • How easy is the CMS to use?
  • How well protected is the software against attacks?
  • Which extension options does the CMS offer?
  • Which web projects can be realized using the system?

The results in overview

Factor

WordPress

Drupal

Market share

64.9 percent

2.3 percent

Themes

8,000+

2,500+

Expansions

58,000+ plugins

47,000+ modules

Installation effort

Low

Medium

Configuration effort

Medium

High

User friendliness

High

Medium

Update effort

Low

High

Range of functions (basic installation)

Medium

Medium

Expandability

High

High

Personalization

High

Medium

Security

Medium

High

Search engine optimization (without plugins)

Medium

Medium

Search engine optimization (with plugins)

High

High

Price

Free

Free

Note

When counting the number of plugins/modules and themes, only the information from the two official databases is included here. With WordPress in particular, you can find third-party providers that offer premium themes and paid plugins.

User friendliness

Even web hosting beginners should be aware of the importance of user friendliness as a factor for CMSs. Thanks to its 5-minute installation and intuitive backend, WordPress has the upper hand here. This system, which was developed as a software for blogging, enables a quick, uncomplicated integration of plugins and so makes it easy for users to create their own WordPress site. Originally developed as a blog software, the system allows plugins to be quickly and easily integrated and can be upgraded to a full-fledged content management system.

Inexperienced users can quickly and comfortably install updates with the click of a button. As a result, this software is very popular among hobbyists and semiprofessional website operators. But the administration of content optimized for multiple languages and a multi-domain system is less straightforward with WordPress. It’s possible to achieve these functions through plugins, but these then quickly begin to affect the intuitive service that makes WordPress so popular in the first place.

The open source project Drupal takes an entirely different approach. This CMS offers a streamlined basic installation, but its modular structure enables users to build diverse online projects with complex page structures. Since the additional modules have to be installed manually afterwards, the configuration of the system is designed to be much more extensive than WordPress. The modular design puts further strain on update management as well, because many modules are dependent on one another and some don’t offer backwards compatibility.

Though creating a website with Drupal is a bit more difficult, website operators who work on Drupal or employ professionals to do so profit from a CMS with a very diverse range of uses. This content management system is proud to be the building block for numerous corporate websites and the online presences of public institutions.

Security

Frequently used software solutions are popular targets for hacker attacks. In the case of WordPress, cyber criminals repeatedly discover security gaps in the system. The large number of plugins created by the developer community is a weak point – especially if a website operator fails to install the latest version of an extension.

However, this does not mean WordPress is less secure than other CMSs. Even with Drupal there are security gaps in the expansion modules. However, since Drupal is not that popular, cyber criminals prefer to focus on WordPress.

Tip

The following applies to both WordPress and Drupal: If you install updates early, security gaps can be fixed quickly and the likelihood of falling victim to an attack decreases enormously.

Expandability

Both content management systems rely on a narrow basic installation that can be customized with optional extensions. While WordPress was primarily developed as software for creating and managing blog articles, Drupal focuses on community applications and social publishing. Various multi-user functions are available in the basic version. WordPress only supports rudimentary settings for user roles and rights. Corresponding functions can, however, be retrofitted with plugins.

Both systems can be adapted through extensions. For example, plugins/modules that turn a simple website into an eCommerce solution are very popular. Other enhancements help improve the website's performance in various ways. Both on Drupal and WordPress, SEO plugins, which you can use to boost your website to stand out to search engines, are in high demand.

Tip

For effective search engine optimization there are a few things to consider. Especially when it comes to SEO for blogs, you should consider collaborations with other bloggers.

Customization

Very few website operators are happy to settle for a site exactly as it comes upon activating it. As a result, content management systems consider customization a crucial factor. While plugins and modules allow users to add new functions to their CMS site, themes are used to change the design of a website. Provided you have the required programming knowledge, it’s also possible to design your own WordPress or Drupal theme from scratch.

But beginners especially appreciate predesigned themes available for download. The selection of free themes available becomes an important factor when it comes to choosing the right CMS for your own website. WordPress leads the way as far as design ideas and extensions are concerned, benefitting from its huge community of users and developers. These contributors mean that there are around 8,000 themes available for download. But Drupal isn’t far behind, with roughly 3,000 themes to choose from.

Summary: WordPress vs Drupal – which CMS is the right one for you?

WordPress proves popular with bloggers and other private users because of its quick installation and high user-friendliness. With an extensive range of freely available design templates, WordPress appeals to users who value sophisticated aesthetics, but who do not have the necessary programming knowledge for their themes. If you wish to put content online on a simple website without too much effort, WordPress is an intuitive software solution that can be installed within a few minutes and offers easy backend use.

WordPress is especially suitable for:

  • Beginners to web design
  • Web designers who manage multiple landing pages
  • eCommerce companies (without professional support)
  • Hobby bloggers

Drupal is a secure and versatile CMS for companies and public institutions. Users of the CMS should have some knowledge of web development. This powerful system can also be used to implement individual website projects with a complex page structure.

Drupal is perfect for:

  • Larger companies
  • Multilingual websites
  • Social networks
  • Professional web designers
Tip

Is neither of the two CMS the right choice for you? Find a different content management system in our CMS comparison.

How to swap from Drupal or WordPress: Website migration explained

You set up a project with Drupal, but would prefer to enjoy the advantages of WordPress instead? Or are you dissatisfied with WordPress and wish to work with Drupal? Switching from WordPress or Drupal or the reverse is a challenge but not impossible. Follow our step-by-step instructions to make the process as simple as possible.

Switching from WordPress to Drupal

Firstly, make sure you’ve installed Drupal. This ensures that the migration is as simple as possible. If you’re still searching for a suitable hosting option, try Drupal Hosting from IONOS. This hosting package is perfectly adapted to the CMS and you can start designing your website straight away.

Once you’ve installed Drupal, you can begin with the export and import:

  1. Adapt the Drupal website: Choose a very similar design to your WordPress site to ensure that all the content from your old website can find a space on Drupal.
  2. Export in XML format: Download all data (for example your texts) in XML format. In the WordPress dashboard, this option can be found in the “Tools” category.
  3. Install the migration tool: The WordPress Migrate module is available for Drupal and enables data to be imported from WordPress. (Depending on which modules are already included in your Drupal installation, you may need to install additional modules.)
  4. Import data: Once the module is installed, you can start the import via the “Migration” option in the admin area. The module will show you various options to include only the data you wish to migrate to Drupal.

Once the import is complete, your content should be visible on the new Drupal website. For more information on switching from WordPress to Drupal, take a look at these detailed instructions from devradius.

Migrate from Drupal to WordPress

Switching from Drupal to the most popular CMS, requires you to sign up for a WordPress website. Haven’t got one yet. WordPress Hosting from IONOS makes the process quick and easy. The server is fully prepared for CMS and WordPress is ready to use in a few clicks.

Once you’ve finished your WordPress installation, you can start migrating from Drupal:

  1. Prepare WordPress: Adapt your new WordPress website to match the design of your previous Drupal site so that all of your content can be more easily transferred.
  2. Install the plugin: Install the FG Drupal to WordPress plugin. Install and activate the extension from the WordPress dashboard.
  3. Determine the Drupal parameters: Now, log into the web server on which Drupal is installed using an FTP client. The settings.php file is located in the “… / site / default” directory. From here, you can view the required database information.
  4. Launch the plugin: The option to import from Drupal can be found in the WordPress dashboard via the import tools (after the plugin has been installed). Start the plugin and enter the data. Now, select which data should be transferred from your old website.

Once you’ve pressed the start button, the plugin loads all the selected data into your WordPress website. The plugin is free, but its range of functions are limited. Although all content can be moved, the migration of meta-information (such as user roles) is only included in the premium version.

Find information to migrate Drupal to WordPress in the guide by Themeisle.

Tip

Don’t want to use Drupal nor WordPress? IONOS offers different Web hosting packages to suit your needs – all without preinstalled CMS software and fully scalable. Need to upgrade? It’s easy to register additional domains with IONOS.


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