If you are looking for a Content Management System (CMS) to build your website, it’s highly likely that you have come across WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and Magento during your research. These are the four main software programs used to create websites and all have their pros and cons. But which CMS is right for you? In this post, we’ll compare the programs in order to give you a clearer idea.
What is a CMS?
WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and Magento are all content management systems. This means they are software programs which create a website for you without the need to have a detailed understanding of computer coding.
They are designed to help you manage your website, enabling you to upload and edit new content; control how, when and to whom the content is displayed; and manage how the user and the content interact.
Key features of a CMS
- They are excellent tools for indexing, searching and retrieving content. In other words, they make it easy for your users to search for and find the content they are looking for. This also makes them search engine friendly, too.
- They enable you to update and edit your content after it has been published.
- You can create the look and feel of your website and how the content is displayed using templates or themes.
Advantages to using WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and Magento
- They are all open source, free to use and come with lots of free online advice.
- They help SEO by creating search engine friendly URLs.
- There are lots of themes to choose from and these can be customised to give your site a unique design.
- Website management is done via an easy to use admin panel.
- Installation is usually straightforward.
Here’s our appraisal of each platform.
WordPress started out as a user-friendly blogging platform. However, its popularity meant that over the years it has been massively developed and there are now thousands of themes and plugins which make it suitable to build almost any type of website. It has been used to create 27% of the world’s websites and its WooCommerce plugin powers 30% of all online stores.
One of the reasons for its popularity is its ease of use. It is the easiest of the four CMS platforms mentioned in this post and technical experience, though helpful, is not essential. Websites can be set up quickly and learning how to use the WordPress is intuitive – if you get stuck, there’s mountains of information available on the internet to help.
When you create content with WordPress, there’s an inbuilt editor to add text, images and video or you can cut and paste from MS Word, which is much harder to do using the other platforms. Organising content using page menus or post/product categories is also simple, enabling visitors to find what they are looking for easily.
Overall, WordPress is most suitable for less complex websites and for users looking for a platform that doesn’t require lots of technical know-how.
Launched in 2005, Joomla has quickly established itself as one of the leading CMS platforms and is used by millions of websites around the world. It comes with thousands of free themes and plugins enabling users to build a wide variety of different websites, (including e-commerce) with customised designs and user-friendly functions.
Joomla is a little more complicated to use than WordPress and doesn’t have as many themes or plugins to choose from. However, setting up a website is still relatively easy and once you have spent some time learning how the program works and getting used to its structure and jargon, managing your site becomes straightforward.
One of the benefits of Joomla over WordPress is that it is considered better for managing more complex websites. It’s ideal for community sites with lots of registered users and for membership sites. One of its key features is the ability to create different permission levels for specific user groups, enabling you to limit their access to certain parts of the site or let them make changes to it.
Joomla is also a great platform for creating social networking sites or integrating networking features into other types of site.
Overall, Joomla lets you create websites that are structurally more flexible and which have more content than WordPress does.
Drupal is the most powerful of the platforms mentioned here and an ideal one for creating very complex websites. However, it is also the most complex CMS to use and is perhaps best left to those with more technical understanding or to developers.
If you need a large website that processes lots of data, then Drupal is the optimum choice. Often used to run university, media and government websites, it is a highly stable platform that can handle significant qualities of data much better than its competitors. It can also accommodate heavy traffic and be scaled up with little difficulty. However, to do these things, it does require more hosting resources, so may need VPS, dedicated server or cloud hosting rather than shared hosting.
Drupal is also a highly versatile CMS with a huge number of modules (plugins) available to extend its functionality. Similarly, there are nearly 2,500 different themes to choose from, most of which can be customised to create stunning and unique websites. As it is an open source platform, these are constantly added to and updated.
Overall, Drupal is best if you need a big, powerful website and you have the technical know how to manage it. If you want something you can use to build and manage your own site, it’s much easier to use one of the other platforms.
Magento is a CMS that specialises in a single niche – eCommerce. Although it is open source and free to use, it has been ‘acquired’ by eBay who have created a commercial ‘Enterprise’ version of the platform. eBay’s involvement, however, has been instrumental in Magento’s development and it is now seen as one of the leading eCommerce platforms.
Magento doesn’t simply create online stores, it does it in a way that enhances user engagement, makes navigation a breeze and most importantly for store owners, improves conversion rates and increases sales.
Magento’s biggest competition comes from WordPress with WooCommerce installed. The difference is that Magento is a CMS developed specifically for eCommerce whereas WooCommerce is an eCommerce framework that’s bolted onto a general-purpose CMS.
Overall, if you want to build anything other than an eCommerce site, then WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are your options. However, if you want an online store that is built on a dedicated platform, Magento is a great choice. And with a company like eBay as a driving force, the future looks bright.
From reading this article, you should now have a better understanding of what a CMS is and what the major CMS platforms are on which to build your website. You’ll also have a more knowledge about the similarities and differences between WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and Magento and which ones are best to use for you.
If you are considering setting up a website using any of the CMS platforms mentioned in this post, we can offer you a choice of dedicated hosting packages, with 24/7 technical support, for each platform. For more information, click on the relevant link: WordPress web hosting, Joomla hosting, Drupal hosting, Magento hosting.