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With CMS or Content Management Systems, it is possible to create and maintain high-quality websites, and you don’t have to be a web developer to do that. These content management systems are software that would help you publish your website, its contents, and documents through an impressive variety of templates and themes. 

There are so many different varieties of CMS in the market, so it could be a bit confusing if you don't know which one to use. In this comparison article, we will be discussing Drupal, WordPress, and Craft. 

Drupal

Drupal

Drupal is a favorite choice among developers, and a lot of websites have been developed with the platform. Here are some websites built with Drupal: Entertainment Weekly, Twitter, eBay, Pinterest (business), New York State, Australian Government, The City of London, Tesla.

Ease of use - Drupal has become quite popular among developers because it’s been an easy CMS to use. Hence, you can call it a developer-centered and customizable platform. It has a huge and active community of users that answers questions and provides documentation. If you want to quickly build a platform for a website with custom-operating features, including custom posts, support for multilingual sites, and an incredible taxonomy system (that can easily handle lots of data), this would be a good choice. Drupal 8 is the latest release, and this has increased the ease of use factor several times over. 

Drupal 8 has a completely new theming motor, Twig. Quick, adaptable, and secure, Twig depends on PHP and helps you build practical and stylish websites within a specific language structure that’s fairly easier than other PHP formats. CMS website developments become a far easier task with Twig. 

Popularity - Drupal has been in the field long before WordPress set camp. However, WordPress has captured the biggest market share within a short period. Still Drupal has carved a niche of its own, and about 3% of the websites are built with the platform. It has about a 4.6% share of the content management system market share. 

Number of plugins and themes - As per Drupal’s official records, there are over 39,000 modules and 2,500 themes. 

Mobile theme and development - Drupal is highly responsive for mobile development, especially Drupal 8. It can adjust to the different screen sizes, with a "Back to Site" catch that takes to the first page. The administrator toolbar works well with mobile phones, the tables can fit into a screen measure seamlessly and flawlessly, making it easy for the developer.

Customization options - Drupal comes with interesting customization options that would help you install new features on your site. There are lots of new add-on plugins with Drupal. Drupal 7 allows developers to automatically resize images, and in Drupal 8, this feature is taken a step further, where you can use different styles for the images. It is possible to completely customize the images with Drupal, and this can be varied with different device sizes. Drupal 8 also has a new Configuration Manager module that lets you export and import the features that you build, right from the test site to the live site. 

Learning curve - The Drupal learning curve is a bit steep, as it goes much deeper than WP, so you need to have a really good developer to finish the job well. The more the developer knows the code, the better he will be able to develop code. For a new developer, there will be several challenges along the way, but there is no need for developers to get disheartened because there are several resources (for example, Drupal API documentation) to get help from. 

Community - The beauty of Drupal is its ever-helpful community of developers. You can also share your failures and triumphs in the community and gain inspiration and suggestions whenever you need it. And once you develop the platform, you can contribute some code back to the Drupal ecosystem as gratitude. 

Security - A major advantage of Drupal is its security feature. It is one of the most safest CMS platforms among them all. It can handle almost all critical vulnerabilities in the internet world, and it was built with robust security in mind. The Drupal community constantly reviews the modules, passwords are encrypted, and information is also transmitted continuously. 

Functionality - The major notable feature in Drupal’s functionality is its flexibility as modularity is one of the core principles. In fact, the functionalities go much deeper than in WP. However, it is not possible to make full use of the functionalities of Drupal if you don't know how to use them because there are a lot of taxonomies, content types, blocks, views, and more. This is also the reason why the learning curve is high. Once the developer crosses the learning curve threshold, it would be possible to create powerful websites. In WordPress, the functionality is called plugins and in Drupal, it is known as modules. 

Drupal boasts of broad multi-lingual highlights which are just out of the container. With its in-assembled interpretations on the administrator interface, you can easily make pages with square perceivability and the dialect based View sifting. However, you need expert Drupal developers to avail the features. 

There are in-built web services with Drupal 8, making it very easy for developers to use itself as a specific information source, and create content at XML or JSON. The communication can be done at the front end too. 

When to use - Drupal is a good choice for building complex, content-heavy, and high traffic websites, and even websites with large resource libraries and databases. You have a lot of custom functionalities at your disposal, complete with first-class security The software exhibits maximum potential when you are building large and complex sites, so it would be more suitable for developers who are looking to create something more than DIY websites. The developer will have to spend some time to do a lot of custom work to get the desired results with Drupal. 

WordPress

WordPress

WordPress powers several business websites, social networking sites, forums, blogs, portfolios, and an impressive number of eCommerce sites. Some examples are: Microsoft’s blog site, The Rolling Stones, Official Star Wars Blog, Sony Music, BBC America, 10Web, The New York Times, TechCrunch, and several more. 

Ease of use - WordPress is a very easy to use software, and you can sit down to create a blog in minutes. It’s the friendly user interface (UI) and features like changing the colors, backgrounds, and visual elements of the website that makes WordPress the first choice among non-experienced developers. And the platform has a massive community that answers questions and provides documentation. It is quite easy to expand the functionality and customize the designs of WP.

Popularity - According to a report powered by Netcraft, about 455,000,000 websites use WordPress now, and 20% of the self-hosted websites still use the platform. So that means, more than 35% of the websites that you see in the internet words. This is a huge number, proving the popularity of the software.   

Number of plugins and themes - The plugin architecture of WordPress allows users to add new features and functionalities to their websites. As per the reports in WordPress.org, there are 55,487 plugins available, each catering to some unique requirement or functionality. 

Customization options - Offers a number of customization options through its add-on plugins from colors, layouts, widgets, menus, and a lot more. WordPress is not 100% customizable as it was initially designed to be a blogging platform. 

Learning curve - WordPress has the latest learning curve among all CMS, which means what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG). If you are a novice, you will probably need only a day or two to master the concepts for a basic website. 

Security - Security is a weak point in WordPress. Though you can secure your WordPress website by using strong passwords, it is still much more vulnerable to hackers and other attacks. The third-party plugins that make WP powerful actually cause potential problems if open to attacks and hackers. And there are hosting platforms that cause the platform to be vulnerable, like WP Engine for instance. So, it is also important to use reliable hosting platforms. 

Number of plugins and themes - WordPress has an impressive number of plugins through its third-party ecosystem. The software has 53,000+free plugins, thousands of premium plugins, 5000+ free themes, and thousands of premium themes. So many WordPress themes have built-in shortcodes that would help extend the design and functionality of your website. 

Mobile theme and mobile development - Undoubtedly, WordPress has lots of good resources for creating excellent mobile apps and mobile-friendly websites. WPTouch is the most famous of them all with several beautiful mobile themes. It would most certainly put your app or mobile website in the market within days. 

Functionality - WordPress is adapted to suit most functionalities including countless enterprise environments, but it is not 100% customizable. It is the huge number of plugins and themes for the software that allows for these functionalities. Some of them include support of various languages, typography, content editors, drag and drop features in the backend, dynamic generation of URLs, ability to share a single backend among multiple WordPress sites, and so on. Since WP was originally intended to be a blogging platform, it cannot handle large content volumes like Drupal.

When to use - If you are building a website for SEO and have multiple users contributing to the blog, then WordPress is a good choice. It’s a good all-rounder if you want a DIY website, with all the features. WordPress is also perfect for beginners, as it has the biggest number of design options. It is also helpful for developers looking to expand their client websites, thanks to the astounding number (and types) of themes and plugins. You can pretty much handle any type of feature that you want to add to your website. 

Craft

Craft

Craft is the next popular CMS platform that we are exploring here, and it holds about 0.5% of the market share in website building. Although it follows a content first-approach, the CMS requires design and coding from scratch for every new build. A major difference between Craft and WordPress lies in the pre-made templates. You can download the software from their official website. 

Here are some examples of work created with Craft: Goat for Simon Fraser University (SFU) Beedie School of Business, Evolution 7 for Grill’d, Evermade for Poki, Flipbox Digital for iDE Global, Electric Enjin, Jonathan Melville for Barefoot Contessa.

Ease of use - Craft is fairly easy to use, and it’s even more customizable when compared to WordPress. The backend is very simple and user-friendly and can be used by novice developers too since they can edit the pages easily. The Craft CMS community is smaller.

Popularity - Craft is well catching up with WordPress in its popularity aspect. It was awarded the Best WordPress Alternative in CMS Critic’s 2017 People’s Choice Awards. However, if you look at the market share for businesses and agencies, the holding percentage is just 0.5%. 

Customization options - With its simple documentation and configuration support, Craft gives you complete control over its behavior. However, you need to choose the paid version to make the best use of modules. 

Learning curve - If you compare Craft to WordPress, the learning curve may be a bit steep, but otherwise, content managers and developers are quite pleased with the software. And the documentation is pretty simple. Developers can enjoy both simple and complex CMS with Craft. 

Security - The security feature of Craft CMS is pretty impressive and its selling point is lockdown security features, making it the first choice among government institutions and organizations looking for high-end security. The software generates detailed and in-depth security resorts and enterprise-level security. They use PDO for database queries and the dynamic values are parameterized to help prevent SQL injection attacks. Other security measures include CSRF token validation, using Twig, HTML Purifier, etc. 

Number of plugins and themes - Craft falls short in the themes and plugins category. There aren’t many pre-built plugins with Craft. Companies selecting Craft CMS can work with an agency or in-house developers will have limitless options, but the only difference is you won’t get a pre-built plugin. If you are looking at Drupal 8 compatible themes, there are only 4,000+ modules and 250 themes.

Mobile theme and mobile development - It does not have proper mobile theme support. If building a mobile website becomes mandatory, then develop an interactive responsive HTML site and integrate it into the Craft CMS. Drupal does not have a native app, but the good news is that Drupal 8 admin is much more responsive, and it allows the developer to have a solid mobile-first strategy.

Functionality - Craft is flexible, simple to use, and would be perfect for websites that don't require serious mobile themes. It manages sites breezily, takes advantage of the matrix-block architecture, and has a series of components known as design units. 

When to use - Craft is perfect for small to medium-size businesses and would be a good choice when you need improved performance, security, and flexibility. And it’s easy to manage the backend system is the biggest highlight. Craft CMS is flexible with all sorts of content, and it can be used by small to medium-sized businesses, who have their own content managers and for whom it is not mandatory to have a complete custom solution. Big players like Adobe, Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, Salesforce, Duck Brand Tape also use the software.

CMS Comparison Infographic

Drupal is free, and you can download it from their official website. You can hire developers to build a website and there would be costs associated with it because Drupal developers are more expensive than WordPress developers. 

WordPress is also free, and any PHP developer can build a website using this platform. 

Craft is free too, and it’s a powerful content management system that lets you do whatever you want to do, but with a little constraint. 

The Verdict:

Drupal requires greater developer expertise, but thankfully, with each release, the platform is becoming easier. Though still complex, Drupal is a good choice for building advanced sites. It wouldn’t be a good choice, however, if you are hiring a developer who cannot commit to learning the platform deeply. If security is your primary concern, then Drupal wins hands down. 

WordPress is by far the easiest because you can set up simple sites quickly. Developers also like the copy-paste from the Microsoft Word document feature in WordPress which isn’t possible with Drupal. 

Both WordPress and Drupal are Content Management Systems, but Drupal offers way more than content management.

WordPress was initially meant to be just a blogging application, but with the introduction of several new plugins, it became the first choice for beginner developers and amateurs and for developers who need a simple but effective content management application. 

Drupal has some ready-made modules too, so you can publish on your own, and quickly too. Here are some modules with Drupal:

1) CCK: - This is a content creation module with which you can create a content-type module in Drupal. This is a core area in Drupal development, and helps you make tables in the database, and saves you a lot of time in the process. Have the table structure ready and follow up with the content type creation method to have your table. This will be counted as one node. 

2) Profile2 or Content type profile: - Define this for user profiles, and you can use the content for user registration. 

3) Login destination: - You can easily redirect a user to a particular page once they sign in. There is no need for any special coding to do that. 

4) PHP: - Easy to do PHP code execution in blocks and pages.

5) Rules: - This module allows you to set certain rules depending on what the users do on the website. For example, when a user uploads a picture, you can configure the picture to be stored in particular specifications. This is all GUI based and can be completed in minutes. 

6) Views: - A most noted feature of Drupal is its GUI based view writing module. Just select the content type, ‘if fields’, apply some filters on it, and publish it and you'll get what you want.

Take note of your requirements, goals, and budget before making your final CMS choice.

Looking for custom CMS development for your organization? Contact Cabot Technology Solutions for help.

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