Best Open CMS: WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal

In a previous post, 10 reasons were given for doing your website development in a CMS/Blog. And  the most important reasons were  that the best blogs are Open Source, free, secure, fast  and very popular. The latter point is notable because that means  the chance of finding developer talent that knows how to customize an Open Source  CMS system for your needs is pretty high.

Now I would like to introduce the top 3 blogs/CMS systems – WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla in that ranked order.Yes, as delineated below WordPress has moved to the top as one of the best systems for developing many different types of websites not just blogs. The key is that WordPress allows not just Posts but also more types of  Pages. The result is that you and theme developers can control layout of content with greater control.

Now Drupal and Joomla share many of the strengths and capabilities to be found in WordPress as seen in the points below. Joomla has the capabilities to be turned into an online magazine more readily than Drupal or WordPress; Drupal beats both other systems with the range of its add-ons particularly in the area of charting and portal/dashboard usage. See the References below for reviews championing these systems and others like Plone and Cushy CMS.

These 3 free and Open Source CMS all provide the following services that help set them apart from many other openSource CMS:

1)Made installation and prepping the blog  for use dirt simple to do – this is now a key discriminator among the best  blog/CMS systems and its hard to choose among WordPress [simplest], Drupal [most options], and Joomla[foolproof]. But WordPress has now taken this one critical step further by making the upgrades equally simple [literally a single key press and something other CMS software charge for] to do when upgrading to new latest version of  WordPress. This has the added benefit that unlike Drupal and Joomla that have two major versions [ Drupal 5 and 6 plus  Joomla 1.0  and 1.5] with  associated communities [and therefore split templates/themes and plugins/extensions, etc], WordPress has only one as users tend to upgrade. And with the upcoming WordPress 3.0, WordPress brings the MU-Multi-user and BuddyPress -online Bulletin Board back into the WordPress fold adding features while simplifying use for the different communities.

2) Made the backend support and operation considerably simpler to do. The old BBS-like command line support has been replaced by multipage GUI based dialogs and property settings. Some parties  would argue [and justifiably in all three cases] that these Control Panels are quickly  running out of control like suburban sprawl. But my counter argument is that all the new features in the the 3 big CMS have been enabled by the fact the 3 CMS are still relatively simple to administer. Here the quality of documentation is critical- see below. Again WordPress has stepped way ahead of Drupal and Joomla because you can add new widgets,  plugins [or extension modules] and themes [templates in Drupal and Joomla terminology] with relative simplicity. Just let WordPress both demo the theme change and then do the install. In the case of plugins, again from the Administration Panel, one can look for plugins and then have a selected one automatically installed. Just one click and all the FTP transfering and install routine is done automatically. The net result is that web administrators are constantly refining their WordPress blog features and styling with ease.

3)Made customizing your CMS for both features [plugins and extensions] and themes [look and styling] fairly simple yet wide ranging in features and/or formatting. Also all three blogs are embracing Web 2.0 JavaScript technologies from frameworks like jQuery, mootools, EXTjs, DOJO and others – all free JavaScript framework with powerful GUI widgets.   All three CMS have hundreds of plugins and themes. WordPress has the advantage of more free plugins and  themes of fairly high quality. But the paid for themes and plugins tend to be very good perhaps a notch better on Joomla and Drupal. Also Drupal has many free themes and a novel feature  in its Theme Control Panel for  changing the color and styling of themes/templates that Joomla and WordPress leave to the theme/template provider to deliver[often not]. Drupal and WordPress have a much simpler system for establishing the GUI layout of your pages; but Joomla has more options and control over exactly how your postings and pages will look not just on the front page but throughout the site.Also built into the Joomla core is the ability to time the appearance and then transferance of an  article or posting from the front-page to   Finally WordPress has the best previewing facility for trying different themes before you use it in the Admin panel.

This is the one area where the three program differ the most. So users will likely find the key differentiators here  in terms of any one CMS most closely matching their needs. Be sure to check how these plugins and templates go beyond  the base CMS  and then by adding  extra plugins/modules for features and themes /templates for styling – most closely match your needs. Again web developers should be able to assist in this task.

For example, Joomla offers plugins that can do Project Management, eCommerce plus chatting with instant messaging among dozens of tasks . Drupal has modules for eCommerce too but also for statistics with advanced charting or syndication with sophisticated reportwriting among its  scores of plugin modules.   WordPress has over 9000 plugins covering everything from website backup through charting/dashboards to project tracking.  So be sure to look through the plugins  and themes [Drupal themes, Joomla templates, WordPress themes] available [including 3rd party commercial products – they often have demo versions] to match your needs now and in the near future to what the three CMS have  available. By the way all three CMS  have a 5star rating system and extensive search capabilities for both plugins/modules and themes/templates along with advice on what licensing is required and what versions it has been tested on. Again this battery of supporting extensions and themes is what sets Drupal, Joomla and WordPress apart from most  other CMS.

4)Made writing content for the website  more straight forward. Joomla and WordPress provide  in the base product solid full screen editors that allow the writer to switch from WYSIWYG to HTML editing of their posts and documents. Drupal users have to attach a plugin like TinyMCE or FSCKedit. But all three systems provide versioning  with automatic autosave in the case of WordPress but configurable in Joomla and Drupal. So users have available   a history of the different stages of an article/post from start to finish. However, users will have to go to the plugins/extensions to find good routines which  allow annotations, diff-comparisons and sophisticated concurrency control and sharing as in major commercial CMS such as Lotus Notes. Among the 3 CMS, WordPress goes a step further allowing sophisticated multisites all under one version of the server with its MU version. Checkout the NYTimes site which uses WordPress MU with over 60 blogs.

But of equal importance is the ability to setup tags, categories and other taxonomies so that posts and blogs can be easily searched  and specific posts found. Some of the more advanced themes take advantage of this meta info to help in the SEO and other online accessibility. Also some “magazine” templates/themes use this meta info to present articles in the appropriate subsections of the blog. Finally, with many type of menus and pages one can set up dashboards and other special website applications.

5)Improved the use of a broad range of media. Flash, images, audio, video, HTML tables and most JavaScript can be used in all three CMS systems. I have seen rapid improvements especially with Drupal  and WordPress in the past 6-9 months so it is hard to say which system is in the lead. Many plugins use JavaScript as their driving engine. jQuery seems to be the most popular with its strong set of GUI widgets. But I have also seen DOJO, EXTjs, mootools  used in the various plugins, widgets, and inserted them myself in various posts. However, I find that JavaScript routines that require .CSS files can cause problems triggered by name clashes with either JavaScript variables and/or functions or namespace conflicts among the CSS files. So caveat emptor here. Finally, Flash is welcome here and performs well.
6) Deliver high levels of Security, Reliability, and Performance speed. Security is always a top concern and all three systems provide pretty solid security in their base systems but the 3rd party widgets and plugins/modules are less so. The following are the profile of Security advisories listed at Secunia since January 1 2009 to date:
1)Drupal’s Secunia Advisories – 156 security advisories since Jan/1/2009; of the most recent 25, 17 were less critical, 7 moderately critical, 1 highly critical and all were patched;
2) Joomla Secunia Security Advisories – 192 security advisories since Jan/1/2009; of the most recent 25, 24were moderately critical, 1 highly critical and 18 were unpatched;
3) WordPress Secunia Security Advisories – 15 security advisories since Jan/1/2009; of the most recent 15, 8 were less critical, 4 moderately critical, 3 highly critical and 4 were unpatched – 2 critical;
From this Secunia data it is easy to see that WordPress has considerably improved its security profile vis a vis the other 2 CMS. All three are presented with the problem that 3rd party plugins are a considerable part of the security advisories and many of the unpatched ones. The conflict is to encourage new features with many 3rd party extensions/plugins but with the downside of diminished control of  security and/or reliability

In speed and performance it is very hard to find benchmarks comparing the 3 CMS systems; however it is possible to find speed optimizations that can really tune the systems for higher performance. For example here is one for WordPress that  reduces response delays by a factor of 100 or better. The problem is that users must have access to the MySQL and PHP engines to make many of the suggested fixes – and this is simply not possible for  users that are employing Web Hosting systems.

Meanwhile the new Drupal is targeting high scalability while giving away some speed as reported by InfoWorld. This may cause Drupal to split a third time with Drupal 5 and 6 users reluctant to upgrade to 7  [and sacrificing response time  speed] unless they need to scale. Their reasoning will be influenced by the fact  that Google has notified users that response time will now become a part of their page ranking routines. So users will be looking to optimize their CMS response  performance. Here are some ideas for Drupal and Joomla:
Drupal Speed Tips: Quick tips at WimLeers Detailed Tutorial
Joomla Speed Tips: Joomspot JoomlaPerformance – great source

Reliability data for all three CMS systems is hard to find so I can only report from two sources. First, scouting through the forums for all three products I see the usual hack mistakes causing problems at install or developing a page or theme; but I have yet to see major reports of continuing reliability problems. Ditto for my own experience. I maintain 4 Joomla, 3 Drupal, and 10 WordPress sites and have never had any operational problems with the sites except when using new plugins/extensions. But the core CMS for all 3 systems are pretty solid. In the case of plugins and extensions, I now read the reviews and do careful http://localhost testing before adding a new plugin, extension, or module onto a website.
7)Documentation and Development tools. Until recently not much was required to do development in any of the three CMS beyond having a good text editor and knowing where to find the documentation for each system. But that has changed in two ways. First, the documentation for the systems now goes well beyond the getting started, install and first posting type treatment. As listed below users will find a wealth of videos and in depth tutorials on all sorts of aspects of CMS operation and development. Tips on adding themes and plugins, new menu methods, SEO techniques are available as free how tos. But the second trend is the emergence of 3rd party open and commercial tools that allow users to develop directly in the CMS changing CSS, template/theme files and for the astute developer even plugin files. Here are some of those 3rd party tools:
Artiseer – allows drag and drop-like creation of theme/template files for Drupal, Joomla, PHPBB, WordPress
Eclipse – Web versions support CSS, HTML, JavaScript and PHP file editing with Intellisense etc.
NetBeans – Web version also support CSS, HTML, JavaScript and PHP full editing.
Dreamweaver CS5 – provides live view plus code for PHP themes and widgets for Drupal, Joomla and WordPress
In sum, the market is beginning to react to the emergence of Drupal, Joomla WordPress as the top CMS tools and thus delivering tools that cater to their themes,  modules, and overall framework for design. This is a positive trend as traditional Web development tools like Visual Studio,  Aptana, Komodo  and even Dreamweaver until now have ignored the move to these CMS systems.


As becomes evident in this review all three CMS systems provide developers and users with a platform that makes both creating and customizing their websites for dynamic interaction with their customers and clients very simple. Styling and updating the look and feel of a website is notably easy to do with hundreds of different themes available many for free but also a number of supported commercial designs. And posting to the websites is simplified with WYSIWYG editors and version control along with various role based access for different contributors. Finally, all three CMS have been delivering App-like plugin functionality for at least half a dozen years [well ahead of Apple and the mobile smartphone gang]. So it is possible to make your Drupal CMS or Joomla  WordPress blog into a great project management tool or very capable Design magazine or a real eCommerce seller site. All of the CMS do these basic chores equally well. However,  WordPress stands out.

WordPress steps out ahead of the other two CMS for five major  reasons:
1)WordPress has made upgrading/updating the CMS for security fixes and/or major feature extensions very simple and easy to do. This not only saves time but also  has the benefit of keeping the CMS reliable and secure as well as  helping to prevent the splitting up of  the CMS into 2 or 3 increasingly incompatible versions [themes and or plugins/modules don’t work, features and usage are no longer identical, etc.].
2)After garnering a shaky security and/or  reliability reputation in 2005-2006, WordPress developers have completely turned that reputation around. Now WordPress has one of the best security and reliability records in the CMS world. NYTimes has over 60blogs that are WordPress based.
3)WordPress make administering its sites very easy to do. It is is easy not only to preview a new Theme but then to change the sidebar and widgets and even the underlying CSS and styling coding. And trying out a new plugin is almost one button press and done, again with a solid search and preview feature like for themes. This is important for designers and developers who can show clients live some of the possible changes that can be made with new themes and/or plugins[but be sure to rigorously test those plugins before final commitment].
4)WordPress is fast. And optimizations are available to make it even faster.
5)WordPress has adopted agile development. This means there are notable upgrades to WordPress every 4-6 months. Because upgrading is so easy [caveat to  those that have added specific changes to the Open Source WordPress code modules, upgrade here with caution because some of the calls and APIs you use may change from time to time] – users can take advantage of these upgrades very quickly. In contrast, both Joomla and Drupal tend to follow a major upgrade cycle of one to two years – stretching out major feature upgrades.

But all three CMS systems have a common set of weaknesses. All three have been slow to adopt the new JavaScript frameworks for adding GUI drag and drop and widget features to their CMS. Currently, users must choose the templates/themes they use very carefully if they want to use widgets like Tabs, Carousels, Lightbox galleries  and other Web 2.0 features. All three CMS,  after a fairly rapid adoption of RSS and XMLRPC, have slowed considerably in adopting SOAP and other Web Services links to other systems. True these features are business and large organization oriented – but with the expansion of mobile, social media websites like FaceBook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter plus Cloud Computing -being able to integrate and collaborate across systems/applications is becoming ever more important.  Finally, none of the three major CMS have adopted much use of HTML5 with its Canvas, SVG, and offline usage capabilities. The latter along with advanced JavaScript Form and Charting capabilities will become ever more important to users accustomed to the Apple/Smartphone “an app” for everything interface.

So for developers for whom these requirements are important, there is posted at the end of the References below a list of ten CMS systems that tend to meet these missing requirements a bit better than Drupal, Joomla or WordPress. But despite this proviso I am confident in recommending WordPress first and then Drupal and Joomla for any first time website and most other medium to large scale web developments. In fact, the reverse applies – developers should explain why they are not using these tools for most of their Web development.


Communcopia – Joomla versus Drupal overall
Slayerment – best detailed Drupal vs Joomla vs WordPress comparison
LevelTen – Some quick fluff on Drupal vs Joomla vs WordPress
goodwebpractices – looks at the overview of Drupal vs Joomla vs WordPress

Drupal Modules: DrupalModules Best Modules BestRank Noupe Appnovation GUI Designer
Drupal Themes: Theme Garden FreeDrupalThemes ThemeBot Mulpo MogDesign GeekTip
Joomla Modules/Extensions: 10 Best Free Joomla21 AJAXLine evoHosts
Joomla Templates: BestofJoomla TemplateMonster Joomla24 Freetemplates
WordPress Plugins: SiteSketch WPHacks VisionWidgets Sadhas BestWordPressPlugins
WordPress Themes: bestwpthemes PageLines TopWPthemes Themes2WP LeVoltz  
Best combo WordPress Resource: WPMU Dev – The premium plugin and theme vendor;  many are free and prices are reasonable

10 Alternative CMS System – If the top 3 CMS systems don’t meet your needs there is a robust set of Open Source CMS systems many of which can be viewed, tested, and tried live at OpenSource CMS . Here are some of the  CMS  systems that take a different approach that may be useful in meeting your specific requirements:
Alfresco – Java-powered documents, records, collaboration and web content management that scales
Concrete 5 – PHP-powered open source  CMS with versioning, file management and drag+drop layout
CushyCMS – HTML+CSS based simple,  easy to use CMS for Web knowledgeable developers
dotCMS – Java-powered CMS with versioning, syndication, templates, and WYSIWYG editing
Expression Engine – PHP OO Code-Igniter Framework used to drive this flexible CMS
MODx – another PHP-OO framework for doing nifty content and template management
MovableType – Perl-powered page, blog, image and template management
Plone – Python-powered CMS system with time-based publishing
SilverStripe – OO-extended Sapphire PHP frameworks provides extensible modules, themes, widgets
TYPOLight – AJAX/mootools +PHP powered calendar, file, form. news and blog features

Update 2 : See our updated review from Feb 20th, 2012 –  Best Free Website/Blog Software: Google Blogger vs Yes, users can get free Website/Blog development services including a unique subdomain name, free hosting services including large initial free storage [about 3GB]  for pages, posts and their resources plus large-to-unlimited bandwidth on the hosting accounts. For people just getting started in blog or website development, this is the way to go to get up-to-speed on what is possible with free CMS at the lowest possible cost.

Update : Here is a free report on the twenty best CMS services for 2010 that ranks WordPress, Joomla and Drupal well above all the rest of the Free CMS systems. This report emphasizes measures of acceptance in the market rather than features as done here. But the report also gives a clear idea of support in the both the user and developer communities – very useful info.

66 thoughts on “Best Open CMS: WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal”

  1. Certainly all the above mentioned CMS are best in their own grounds and ultimately a user has to make his choice according to his need. Bloggers go for wordpress, as it is easy to add and publish posts in wordpress, but it does not mean that adding and publishing posts or articles is not that easy in Joomla or Drupal. They are equally easy but they are best suited for sites with much dynamic content. And now with the release of Drupal 7.0 , though it is in its 4th Alpha release and 5th one is due in the month of May, Drupal will be much more flexible and strong as a data management system.

    1. The idea of this post is similar to what you are saying – there is a bell curve of about 30-50 excellent free and Open CMS. This post highlights the top 3 and what consistent excellence sets them apart. However, with the advent of HTML5 and ever more powerful JavaScript frameworks – [and the constant improvements in JavaScript performance lead by Google, Apple and Mozilla/Firefox]; the ball game is certainly open for other tools to take the lead in innovation and features.Drupal, as you note has some excellent object type and databse management features – but will this be at the expense of response time as noted in the posting? Again, this is why what is best this year may not be the same one year hence.

  2. Simple web design is going out of style. There’s a sea of change going on in the world of web design and web site architecture is one of the great changes. We enjoy creating sites with complex web site architecture so that it can be presented to the visitor in a user-friendly way with content management systems Drupal and Joomla. Our site is

  3. I’m sure we’re all aware of Googles desire to use website speed in the ranking process, so I thought you’d find this trick to speed up your site by 3 to 4 times using a couple of lines of code interesting.

    I’m sure it’ll work with any site, but it’s particularly useful if you’re using a sluggish CMS like WordPress (I think this site is WordPress?).

    Essentially if your host has zlib compression enabled you can add 2 lines of code above the doc type in the header, and when a visitors browser calls the pages, your server will automatically compress them and send the compressed file to their browser.

    I don’t want to go into too much detail here, so if you search for it in Google you should find various sites with instructions.

    I’ve been trying it with some of my sites (it takes a couple of minutes to add the code), and it does indeed make a massive difference.


    1. Good overview of whats in WordPress 3.0 and some greatlinks to additional data and features of WP3. Unlike you I did my review well before the final release of WP3 – so I missed some of your critical advantages in WP3. However,I was looking for some coverage on Joomla’s strongpoints [ e.g timespan for display of item] – and where you felt Joomla and WordPress matched up well. I will be doing a WP3 review but first a look at some theme creation systems for WP.

      1. Thank you, and I am so glad you liked the article I prepared.
        I had previously made one on the topic” Where Joomla beats WordPress”,
        and you will even find some more interesting ideas on the comments visitors shared on this article.

        Hope you find that useful as well, and waiting for your upcoming review.


  4. In my opinion, the best CMS for clients is concrete5. It’s easy for developers to build on and even easier for end-users (your clients) to edit with. concrete5 uses in-context editing so you edit your page as you browse it. Powerful and simple! Try it at

  5. About a week ago, I released Barebones CMS 1.0:

    Barebones CMS is a high-performance, open source content management system (CMS) for web developers operating in a team environment. It is dual-licensed under MIT and LGPL licenses.

    If you are interested, check out the tutorial and videos here:

    My goal here is to get feedback and start building the community around Barebones CMS. Every CMS is a tool and it is important to use the right tool for whatever the job calls for. I would love for web development teams to add Barebones CMS to their arsenal of tools. And maybe you could add it to the list of alternate CMS products at the end of your article.

    Of the seven points of this article, Barebones CMS has got points 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, and the WYSIWYM part of 4 in the bag.

    In terms of performance, Barebones CMS was only three times slower than native HTML documents during rudimentary load testing – it easily handled 100 concurrent connections, serving up 1,700 pages per second while native HTML was serving up at a rate of 5,000 pages per second on the same setup. That is without enabling any sort of PHP caching mechanisms (e.g. APC) and I’ve thought of some ways to get that number up even higher. That’s the out-of-the-box performance metric.

    It should be obvious that I put a lot of care and thought into performance. But I also spent a lot of time listening to developers and designers about what they want in a content management system. Each group – programmer, web designer, and content editor – is specifically catered to in many different ways. I would love to hear feedback on what people think about Barebones CMS.

  6. In my opinion, WordPress, Drupal and Joomla are too bloated and confusing for the end user to edit. My clients love Concrete5, which uses simple in-context editing and point/click/drag all wrapped up in a shiny interface. It’s easy for developers to extend and easier for users to work with. Try it at if you find yourself spending large amounts of time training and supporting your clients on one of the bigger systems.

    1. Yes, I agree – Joomla really sprawls but also Drupal and WordPress. None of the CMS vendors has done a good job on consoldating and simplifying its Admin Interface. I get lost at times.

  7. Very interesting article. I myself am contemplating which CMS to use for my clients (I am a freelance designer/developer) and this article will come in handy for my evaluation. It seems that WordPress would be excellent for blogs but is it as versatile and effective and functional when it comes to more standard websites (because not EVERY website can work in a blog-type environment)? In the case of non-blog websites would Drupal be a more versatile/effective CMS to use?

    Also it seems Lucas is offering his BIASED opinion of concrete 5 cms. He should really advertise somewhere else. He tries to mask his bias with the statement “in my opinion” which I LOVE by the way. He offers his opinion that concrete is the best and easiest to use above wordpress/drupal/joomla yet offers no logical reason for this (“it’s easy for developers and end-users to use” is hardly a logical argument).

    1. Remember WordPress has Pages – which are simply HTML pages styled with the theme you are currently using. Withe the new free Grid Themes available from WordPress you can Post Pages and or themes in any grid slot you want. Thus the choice of WordPress Theme you use is VIP.

  8. Great article and discussion. I’m hear to seek some opinion on what CMS will best fit our company’s needs.

    Our site is going to be 80% informational with minimal need for content updating. We are considering adding a dynamic quote builder.

    Not everyone in the company has a rich technology vocabulary, and we want to make it easy for all to add information and images of new products and to update old content.

    Originally we were shying away from WP because we don’t want the site to feel like a blog, but now it is sounding like it may yet work for us.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    1. If you do go WP, be sure to get the Tiny MCE Advanced plugin because it allows you to customize your editor and make editing as simple as possible. Drupal lags a bit here and I have seen a great editor on Joomla but don’t know the extension used.

  9. Wow… Very good and unbiased information. I am looking at hiring a freelancer for a job, and have proposals from all of these 3 CMS platforms… Now I understand a little more about the benefits of each… Will probably go with Drupal or WordPress on it. Thanks, Jason

  10. It does depend on your needs but I have to throw in a vote for Concrete5. Bloated content management systems like Joomla or Drupal are terrible for the end-user experience and not very developer friendly. Concrete5 is a new powerful CMS that is easy for developers and even easier for end-users. It works on a in-context editing model so you make changes as you’re browsing your site. Try a demo of it here:

  11. Thank you for this review. In your opinion, if you were to build a website for a chamber of commerce, would you use Joomla or WP? Yes, I know you’ll ask “well, what are you trying to do?” Features will be: static pages (about, membership benefits, etc.), news, events, membership directory, ability for people to become members (paid), employment opportunities, newsletters – I think that’s pretty much it.

  12. Great Article!

    As a webmaster, I have been using wordpress for 4 years now. Its not that I choose it but most clients want it. I think they like WP for the “blogging” option , user friendly-interface in the admin panel and SEO.

  13. Great article. We are a WordPress hosting and theme design firm in the San Francisco Bay Area. Yes…all three are great products. We choose to focus on WordPress because it’s where the lions share of the market it. We hold regular meetup groups for wordpress and it’s growing by leaps and bounds.

  14. Lucas is more than a little bit biased.
    He must be a paid affiliate, otherwise he would post a direct link to the site.

    Based on what I read on the site you can’t use Concrete5 unless you host your site with them.
    Lucas failed to mention that small point.

    You can’t use Concrete5 anywhere else unless the hosting site makes it available to you.
    You can’t install it on your computer to build a website & then upload it to the hosting company.
    You could use it if you want to build your own web server and host your site on your own hardware (which I might).

    You might be able to load a virtual web server onto you computer, and build your site there.
    But I doubt you would be able to upload it to any other web host unless they support Concrete.
    Of course that would make it totally unnecessary for you to build it on your own computer in the first place.

    I’ll admit Concrete does appear to be easy to use, but I’m not going to choose my web host based on it.
    I can’t give a comparative evaluation of Concrete vs any other CMS, ’cause I’ve never built any site before.
    (I’ve updates a wiki or two).

    I’ve purchased a couple of retail Website Construction products, but I haven’t cracked the boxes yet.
    Before you blast me for not using one of the free CMS’s mentioned in this very fine article, let me say I got them free after 100% rebates.

    Ok, that’s my 2 cents worth.
    Remember, you get what you pay for (I’m referring to my opinion, not the CMS).

    1. I am doing an article on two popular free blog services – Google’s Blogger and’s WordPress. And both are starting to add more fee-for-service templates, themes, plugins and extensions. Ditto for the formerly free JavaSCript frameworks EXT.js [see]and DHTMLx. In general, Open Source [for good or bad is yet to be seen]is becoming more partially Open Source as developers strive to make various returns on their substantial development work. Take a look at Jaspersoft, Pentaho, and Actuate in the BI field[they have to match the tough free BI giveaways – notably Microsoft and now Oracle].

  15. Good wrap up. I find that each CMS has its own merit. WP is great for small and fast jobs. Joomla is useful when you’ve a wide array of ediitors using it (i.e. marketing team, cs team, sales taem, etc). And Drupal is the mother of all CMS and isnt for the faint hearted. I also think Typo3 is a good one to include. I’ve included some of my thoughts on this subject here Have a read :).

  16. I initally started my website using wordpress (, but after seeing how lacking it was in versatility, I decided to use drupal for my voting component ( I feel that drupal was a much harder CMS to learn, but in the end, its versatility allowed me to accomplish things that were not possible in wordpress. In the end, it took me about a week (2-3 hours dedicated each day of it) to accomplish my advanced goals on drupal even though I knew essentially nothing about it and started from scratch.

    If you were to ask me which is better, I would have to say that it would depend on your needs! I haven’t tried Joomla yet, but I intend to for my next project and will let you know how it goes!

    1. Tameka-
      I just tried my feed a few minutes ago and as you can see in the screenshot below it appears alive and well:

      RSS feed working

      You did click on the top right RSS orange wave?

      Ye Editor

  17. This is a great review. Thank you for posting. Have you compared/reviewed web hosting? There are so many and I have no idea. I’ll probably go with WordPress and pray and I can figure out how to make the various plug ins/extensions I’ll need work.

    1. My recommendation – first use which provides free webspace/hosting plus an extended domain name – like this: has all of the features of setting up your own blog minus:
      1)directly adding to and/or editing your theme files;
      2)plugins – no plugins whatsoever;
      3)developer APIs and links to allow your own JavaScript and CSS files.

      But everything else is on board so is my favorite place to prototype a design for a client and get them started doing the pages and postings and other basic admin tasks [blogroll, categories, tags, media maintenance, etc.

      But if you have to have your own WordPress blog then one of the toughest calls is “what web hosting service?”. My remaining two Web Hosting Services – good but not great deals but rock solid support are:
      ICDSoft and 1and1.

      But I am on the look out for a Webhoster that supports LAMP+Java – very hard to find.

  18. Hello, reading these reviews were very helpful, I am a freelance web designer and have always coded everything myself without using cms. I few months ago i Started using Zen Cart for my shopping carts and realised the major benefits of these pre-build cms.

    I now see that using cms software is the future and was wondering if anyone can give me advice on which one to go for, what I need to get out of it is:

    1) complete control of how each web page will look – really don’t want to be restricted by the cms
    2) PHP based and the ability to go behind the scenes to tweak the code if needed
    3) good support forums
    4) easy for my clients to edit with little jargon

    Here is a link to my website:
    will my portfolio so you can see the kind of sites I do and maybe give advice on which cms to go for.

    Any help will be MUCH appreciated

  19. One way for those who want more functionality or positioning control on their static pages than WordPress offers is to use WordPress only for the blog portion of heir site.

  20. There is absolutely no mension of Mura CMS here, Mura has everything WordPress has and more, especially for the developer.
    Wordpress was built to be a blog cms which is now trying to evolve to become a website cms solution, Mura comes out of the box free and open source with a smaller but growing community of coldfusion developers and much more flexible in layout, design, extensibility and back end development. Is this just a php, python crowed here or can the coldfusion guys take a stab at it to?

    Mura has been around for quite a few years and has proven itself well in stability, security and brute strength not to mension it has had features for a long time now which WordPress is just getting around to patching and integrating into itself such as Multi-Site feature which Mura was originally developed around.

    Mura Features:

    Here is a comparison from one of the Mura developers I’ve come across recently at the bottom after several users posted their own experiences and comparisons between the two. By the way, Mura does is SEO friendly but for some reason on their own site they don’t have the friendly url feature turned on.

    1. Almost forgot… Some other sites currently using Mura CMS include…

      Baylor College
      Amtrak California
      CSX Transportation
      OCC – Orange County Choppers
      Michigan State University
      D Square
      National Park Service
      Lockheed Martin
      Schneider Electric

      More groups, companies etc using Mura CMS

      From government agencies to Fortune 500’s to non-profits to dot.coms, Mura’s flexibilty and feature-rich toolkit have made Mura a great choice for anyone to use.

  21. WordPress’s architecture is optimized for search engines. Google simply loves WordPress sites. Numerous SEO plugins also enhance the visibility of WordPress sites with search engines.

  22. I am not a web developer, but I teaching myself how to create a couple of web sites for my business. One is more for content, the other is a magazine. I have already launched the first issue and now want to create an online magazine and/or a magazine for apps they can buy on their ipad. What is the best program to use? WordPress, drupal or jumla? Thanks Rose

  23. In my opinion Drupal is just hype and over-acclaimed. It may be a good CMS if you are a large organization with lots of financial resources or have many experienced web developers and webmasters.

    Over complicated
    Performance problems
    Expensive to maintain
    Difficult and expensive to customize and setup
    Over complicated
    Backward compatibility problems
    Scalability issues
    Usability problems
    Long learning curve and overwhealming for entry level webmasters

    This article says it all:

    1. I would agree and then disagree. I agree that for the starting/beginning user Drupal imposes a large learning curve and has many redundancies in its administration [== your complicated??]. But I have not seen the scalability problems you cite and I know of large installations [tens of thousands of users] that are working well.

      Two additional factors have to be considered. First, Drupal 7 is out and hopefully addresses a number of issues [ I have not checked it out yet] . Second, Acquia Drupal addresses many of the issues on ease of use plus extended features. And Acquia offers hosting services for those who don’t own their own website and want to have complete support from one provider [as usual the download and software are free and so far Acquia has not amended the Drupal code to force users to buy proprietary extensions or templates].

      However I emphatically agree with you on the backward compatibility problem. Now there are 3 active versions of Drupal with many of the plugins and templates only workable in either version 5 or version 6 or version 7. This plays to the easy update advantage of WordPress where it is dirt simple to upgrade not just plugins and themes – but the complete core WordPress engine as well[just did the 3.0.4 upgrade].

  24. Drupal right out the box is fast and scalable enough. But in the real world, most sites will require template and feature customizations. That is a tedious task with Drupal. And Drupal is bloaded out of the box because it is trying to embed every feature under the sun, so when customizations are needed, in many cases, the customizations can bring the site to a crawl.

    1. I have seen a number of articles on tuning WordPress and Joomla while Drupal has a reputation for fast response time. But these are the first benchmarks I have seen. Send us a note when you Webiny CMS is finished.

  25. In my opinion, WordPress, Drupal and Joomla are too bloated and confusing for the end user to edit. My clients love Concrete5, which uses simple in-context editing and point/click/drag all wrapped up in a shiny interface. It’s easy for developers to extend and easier for users to work with.

    1. Steve-

      I agree partially with you – for absolute newbies or people who have not worked recently with a decent word processing program – then the Big Three can be confusing or hard to learn. In those situations I am recommending using the free Web and Blogging services like Wix, Weebly, and Google’s Blogger that have more drag-and-drop, templates and wizards to get users up to speed in administering their websites. These services have the added bonus of being largely free/no-cost for basic services.

      But even here WordPress cuts a tempting figure. It has, along with Google Blogger, the best set of free features and the big plus of being able to import from so many other blogging services. But the real killer is the ability export the website so users can then import into their own hosted version of full WordPress. Very nice indeed.

      Ye Editor

  26. In the last year we’ve built 80 websites for clients. Nearly half of them were re-designs. The clients sites were originally built on one of these CMS platforms.

    These CMS platforms are great for amateur web developers, but not for business owners who want to self-manage their site and aren’t willing to spend hours getting over the CMS learning curve.

    1. John
      The obvopus question is what did you use to replace Drupal, Joomla or WordPress that was easier for the client to administer? Not likely Flash because i have seen a few development environs that are prettty good – for daya to day admin they are not mucheasier than the above CMS.

      If you are using HTML+ASP or HTML+PHP – again the either the development or admin is going to challenging. Ye, none of these CMS are fall off the log easy to administer and operate; but even tools like Alfresco, Cold Fusion, Magento, Chatter … each has a weakness.

      The key advantages to the free CMS is that a)they are free; b)there are free Web Services that support almost all of the hosting costs [think, Blogger, etc] and theerefore they get users used to Web development and administratioin in a very low cost way. Fianlly because they are able to prototype a lot of their ideas – users get a feel for what is possible and whatservices may be worth paying more for in terms of support.

      I know of dozens of sites which use the CMS as an adjunct to sophisticated eCommerce, BI Portal, or full-service customer support sites. The CMS Pages, panels, and menuing acts as a front end binding together a lot of backend services that have finally been exposed to clients.

      So let us know what your low cost high utility framework is – and I promise to do a story on it.

      Ye Editor

  27. I’m not sure why you said these CMS haven’t integrated well with Cloud Computing at the last paragraph. Especially if you look at this, this site was built with Drupal and it is a powerful free cloud business platform with many web apps.

    I also don’t agree that Drupal is slowly integrating with Drag and Drop UI. ‘Cause Drupal has hundred of Jquery integrated modules and if you look at that, you’ll find they have features like drag and drop file upload and Calendar as well.

  28. I am looking at building a video based web site. Need to know what will be better Drupal or Joomla? Can you help with your experience or knowledge.

    1. I am largely indifferent among the three leaders because you can get good basic plugins from all 3. However, you are going to have to do a fair degree of roll your own JavaScripting to display videos in novel ways – so decide which CMS allows you to do that most comfortably. You may have to get into writing your own plugin as well- again check which CMS is most comfortable – I have done some simple plugins for Drupal and WordPress. It wasn’t rocket scince but also not always straight forward. The new Drupal 7 is said to make it easier to roll your own plugins- but I have not tried it.


  29. Drupal isn’t just a CMS. It’s a framework, more or less, with some basic CMS functionality at it’s core.

    It can be used for whatever and is hands down the most extensible and easiest to extend.

    WordPress is great for very quick, out of the box, elegant blogs, brochureware and such.

    If you need a site with something more than one-sided presentation or basic commenting, I recommend Drupal, for sure.

    WordPress tries to hack on forum support, e-Commerce, etc. but everything is still based on the “wp_posts” table – which should show you something. It does one thing very well, others “ehh”, whereas Drupal does everything alright and you just have to extend which pieces you want.

    I was excited when WP 3.0 came out with “custom content types” – but all it was was a plugin-derived way of defining some arbitrary types, the UI did not support the custom fields very well (maybe I’m just used to CCK nowadays…) and I abandoned it. The website that might have been using it is now using Drupal 6.x and has a bunch of extra bonus features on it that I got “for free” because modules were created for it. WordPress just can’t compete with things like CCK/Fields, Views, etc.

    Oh, and Joomla can die in a fire.

  30. I am a senior php developer with 15 years experience. My company develop site using joomla and drupal base on our client want. To me, Drupal is 100 times complicate than Jommla, so the learning curve is countless high. Joomla on the other hand, it is a lot easier to learn, with 50x more extentsions than drupal. In long run, it is no doubt, dupal project will be closed and nobody will use it. Joomla now also has its MVC model to catch the trend. Look at drupal, OMG, its API is terrible and huge! We are not born to learn your API, drupal. Why make everything such complicated!!!
    Check google trend and see Joomla has 100 more users than Drupal. There are billion reasons for it.

    1. I have promised myself a new look see at Drupal with version 7.0 but until Drupal matches WordPress for dirt simple basic verion/engine upgrade, I fear the worst for Drupal’s continued acceptance in the marketplace.

  31. hi,great articles,although i have to say i can’t get all your point.
    Currently, i’m using wordpress. Before that, i tried to build a job website with my manually php script.Then i find wordpress, drupal, Joomla. Due to the language reason (my native language is Chinese),i choosed wordpress,in that there are lots of chinese materical to learn wordpress.But i guess if i want to build a job site or dating site, wordpress will not suitable. Given that i don’t want to write every script myself for seo, or time reason, could you give me some advice about which cms should i use to build a job site or dating site, drupal or Joomla?There may be some certain plugins for wordpress, but i’m sure those can’t fit my use.I’m just not sure which cms i should put time and efforts on.Thank you!

  32. non capisco quale di questi sia il migliore. io sto cercando un ottimo cms per creare un portale turistico dove inserire tutti i hotel alberghi campings ecc e poter publicizzare il posto, quale consigliate?
    in english:
    I do not understand which of these is the best. I’m looking for a good cms to create a tourist portal where to put all the hotel accommodation and camping sites, etc. to advertise the post, which do you recommend?

    1. Vendita – Raccomando Drupal 6 perché ha alcune delle estensioni più eCommerce e modelli. Ma molti tra i migliori di questi strumenti non sono gratuiti e probabilmente costerà diverse centinaia di euro..
      In English:
      Vendita – I recommend Drupal 6 because it has some of the better eCommerce extensions and templates. But many of the best tools are not free and can cost several hundred euros.

  33. I started blogging with WordPress quite a while ago now, since then i’ve become very familiar with it, I’ve tried Joomla, but very briefly – it’s very powerful, but I find WordPress more user friendly overall.

    At some point when I get some spare time I hope to have another go with Joomla and also try Drupal as I’ve heard very good things!

  34. I’m a little skeptical that Joomla has 100X as many installations as Drupal. However, I will grant that it is easier to use. Has anyone converted from a Drupal house to a Joomla house? We use both WordPress and Drupal, depending on the job.

  35. I agree with Lucas about Concrete5, but for mainstream users I find WordPress is the easiest for training. It simply seems intuitive from the start and I find this with older clients too who have never used a CMS before and therefore are unbiased.

    Another note in support of WordPress is that when comparing project success in terms of profitability at the company where I work, WordPress almost always comes out on top. Joomla does OK for simple sites but when you get into complex things like using Virtuemart or Community Builder (both with pockets of encrypted code), it can be really frustrating trying to make things work as the client expects.

    1. Right on Peter – the ease of learning and remembering how to use extends to the admin side especially. By the way I have been impressed with Adobe’s new product Muse. Check the new review on these pages “as it evolves”

  36. Thank you for this article. I’d personally also like to convey that it can often be hard when you find yourself in school and simply starting out to create a long credit standing. There are many students who are only trying to make it and have a long or good credit history are often a difficult matter to have.

  37. I cannot believe that its 2012 now and MODx is still not getting the credibility that it deserves! This CMS should be on your list, its not even a competition! Update please!

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