How to Decide Between WordPress & Drupal

WordPress is great - and so is Drupal. They are different platforms and should be selected for different projects depending on the needs. So how do you make the choice? Here are a few questions you should ask yourself:

  • What features do you need?
  • Do you need complex permissions?
  • Does the software need to be updated?
  • What's your budget?

What features do you need?

If you just want to blog, give WordPress some serious consideration. It's simple, elegant and widely supported. If you want to do more than blog (like collect user input, create a social network, etc) Drupal is likely a better base to build from - the code base is designed to be extensible and there's a large community of developers who have contributed hundreds of plugins called "modules".

If you are looking for specific features, you can check whether something like that already exists for Drupal on drupal.org in the modules section. Not all modules are created equal though and some time should be given to a security review of anything you integrate into your site.

Do you need complex permissions?

If some users needs special kinds of access to your website, Drupal is great. It's got a built in, granular permission system that allows you to create any number of roles you need and assign permissions with the click of a checkbox.

Does the software need to be updated?

Drupal - when developed properly - maintains a clean upgrade path. While this doesn't matter for all websites, when it is in place this allows for relatively painless security updates. On a high profile website, this can be very important.

What's your budget?

Finally - and maybe most importantly - budget can be a big factor. WordPress is generally easier to get up and running, which means it will cost less, at least initially. If you do need to get started on a budget, but think that Drupal will be a better long term fit, you can get started with a hosted service like Drupal Gardens. This free service gives you the ability to build a Drupal site using WYSIWYG tools and later export your site for custom Drupal development.

No matter what you choose, working with someone who is familiar with both of these platforms can often be a good idea. Development teams may have a preference to one or the other, but a good developer - like any other good craftsperson - will always choose the right tool for the job.

Comments

I agree with your assessment of these two platforms. While Wordpress continues to add features, it is still a blogging system at heart. Unless you are just a casual blogger, you will almost always find yourself wanting additional functions like a store, forums or custom content types that are not supported, or not supported well, in Wordpress. I am not a WP hater, I just worry for people who get excited and jump in with WP only to be disappointed when they find the edge of the box.

These points seem to leave out quite a bit of what WordPress has to offer:

"Drupal is likely a better base to build from - the code base is designed to be extensible and there's a large community of developers who have contributed hundreds of plugins called "modules"."

The WordPress code base is also designed to be extensible and there's a large community of developers who have contributed hundreds of plugins called "plugins".

"If some users needs special kinds of access to your website, Drupal is great. It's got a built in, granular permission system that allows you to create any number of roles you need and assign permissions with the click of a checkbox."

WordPress doesn't have very granular permissions out of the box, but the Role Scoper plugin makes this much more powerful.

"Drupal - when developed properly - maintains a clean upgrade path. While this doesn't matter for all websites, when it is in place this allows for relatively painless security updates."

Not being familiar

I'm not a Drupal hater, and I wouldn't have recommended WordPress prior to version 3. Drupal and WordPress are comparable platforms and they each have their strengths and weaknesses, but for me the feature comparisons in this article leave something to be desired.

I have to agree with Nathan above.
I don't really use either one but I know about both systems and have worked with both.

All the points Nathan makes says what I wanted to say after reading the post.

I do agree with the post on one thing though. A good developer chooses the right tool depending in the job.

I just started college and i heard my teachers talking about how both have their good and bad sides. But they are mostly cs3 teachers and not much of web developers so i never get a specific answer. I want to create a website like worldstarhiphop.com which one can accomplish that?

emmajane has written a wonderful Rant about why I don't use WordPress:

Here's the thing. Every small business that I've ever worked with is an entrepreneur. They are passionate about their dream and they believe in what they do. Turning to them and saying, "I think you're only worth WordPress" (which is a perfectly WONDERFUL blogging platform) turns my stomach. It makes me feel like I'm telling them I don't believe in their dream. That I don't think their business will ever grow beyond what it is today. How. Horrible.

Yes!

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About the Author

Joaquin Lippincott, CEO

Joaquin is a 20+ year technology veteran helping to lead businesses in the move to the Cloud. He frequently speaks on panels about the future of tech ranging from IoT and Machine Learning to the latest innovation in the entertainment industry.  He has helped to modernize software for industry leaders like Sony, Daimler, Intel, the Golden Globes, Siemens Wind Power, ABC, NBC, DC Comics, Warner Brothers & the Linux Foundation.

As the CEO and Founder of Metal Toad, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, his primary job is to "get the right people in the room".  This one responsibility is cross-functional and includes both external business development functions as well as internal delegation and leadership development.

A UCLA alumni, he also serves in the community as a Board Member for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce, and Stand for Children Oregon - a public education political advocacy group. As an outspoken advocate for entry-level job creation in tech he helped found the non-profit, P4TH, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of entry-level jobs in the tech industry, and is in the process of organizing an Advisory Board for the Bixel Exchange, a Los Angeles non-profit that provides almost 200 tech internships every year.

 

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