Back in ’07, almost all new websites were done in Wordpress. At the time, those sites were small and simple and WordPress was just shedding its blogger skin, transforming itself into a real content managing system. Those first WordPress websites were often minimalistic in design, with one, maybe two content types being used. After a while, the clientele that was using it grew exponentially, and with it came requests for different types of content, better admin experience and for an enterprise type content managing solution.
That’s when developers slowly but surely started making sites using Drupal. Unlike WordPress, Drupal’s core structure and taxonomies took some getting used to, but ultimately lead the way in website development as its default caching attributes and API development was more flexible. Not only that, but Drupal has far more functionality when it comes to any web project which involves user permissions. In this article, we will cover some of the similarities and key differences between the two in order to help you get a more detailed picture and ultimately, help you choose the right platform for your business.
Design and Development
If your business strategy requires responsive development and design, you need to understand how exactly your content, in this case, an image, is managed by both CMSs. Responsive design doesn’t just scale the image perfectly to the break points. WordPress resizes images based on the number of breakpoints and those settings are saved in a .php file, where image sizes in Drupal can be, with some setup beforehand, set inside the admin instead of the .php. Both content management systems offer starter themes, which are not only responsive but also allow the developer to work directly inside a browser.
Now, both CMSs offer starter Mobile themes, for all those in need of a dedicated mobile theme. However, the main difference is the way each platform handles mobile content. Drupal allows for added content fields displayed only on mobile. Besides the additional content being displayed, it must be noted that Drupal’s mobile themes also perform better when put on a sub-domain. This, however, creates problems with how a search engine indexes the mobile pages, making it somewhat difficult to optimize them. WordPress themes on the other side, do not have those kinds of issues and can be on the same www subdomain without any SEO difficulties.
This is where the difference between the two CMSs get rather drastic. WordPress can easily be hacked with a targeted attack on the plugins. Getting inside the plugin allows the hacker to completely wipe out thousands of websites. Any good Drupal developer will sing praises that its content managing system is so secure, that even the government agencies are using it, including the White House in the US. When it comes to platform specific applications that assistance in the management of security risks, two Drupal favorites that come to mind are Pantheon and Acquia. As for WordPress, these apps are WP Engine and Media Temple.
When it comes to search engine optimization, Drupal sites rank considerably lower than WordPress sites. This is mostly due to the fact that there’s a smaller margin of error when working with WordPress. Drupal sites, however, can flop terribly if a developer doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing. Other than that, Drupal websites load somewhat slower, due to their rough caching features. Both CMSs can be implemented with Schemas, added via views or hard-coded to the template. CDNs can also be implemented with content, which helps serve those assets closest to the local distribution point.
Ease of Use
Perhaps one of the critical deciding factors for many users (especially beginners), is how quickly they can learn to operate it. When it comes to ease of use, Wordrpess is miles ahead of Drupal. With Drupal, you get many more customizable options which tend to prove a bit overwhelming for novice users, while WordPress has a very straightforward WYSIWG editor that can be used by practically anyone. Another factor to consider is the size of community. WordPress is extremely popular and as a result, has a much bigger community of enthusiasts willing to share their tips and tricks. The same cannot be said for Drupal, although its community is by no means small, either. Finally, it’s worth mentioning that WordPress has developed a great mobile app to enable users to write on the go, while Drupal does not have an app of its own.
WordPress has a very well developed theme market, constantly updated with new themes. It also has a huge market for just about any plugin you can imagine connected to it, and wide scale adoption makes it a favorite for small businesses. It’s generally easy to set a site up from scratch, just by dragging and dropping posts and other elements. Drupal has a more advanced structure, supports multiple roles, including editors, admins, logged-in users and even private groups. Its admin experience is far superior to that of WordPress and it’s better suited for complex, multi-lingual and multi-national projects.
The Final Verdict
Both content managing systems have their pros and cons. Although WordPress is more widely spread, has numerous useful plugins and has an enormous user-base, Drupal offers its users an unprecedented level of security, coupled with the ability to perform some very complex tasks. Both systems offer themes, web-service integration and mobile development options, the key takeaway being that Drupal is probably more suitable for advanced users.
Most developers recommend the CMS they are using and are familiar with. What separates a smart developer from the ordinary one is knowing when it is best to use each of the two content managing systems. WordPress is a pretty straightforward system to use, with numerous tutorial available online. Drupal, however, is best done with an expert guiding you. The best way to make that choice is to first understand what type of a website you actually need. Once you know that, answering which platform you should use comes surprisingly easy.
John Stone is a business consultant at SEO Newcastle. Through years of experience as a, he became a devout believer in the notion that form should always follow function and that developing the ability to think outside of the box is a prerequisite of being a successful entrepreneur.”
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