WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal – Which CMS should you use?

Wordpress vs Drupal vs Joomla

I have seen this question being frequently discussed amongst start-ups and content marketers. Here’s my small attempt to help decide between which content management system one should go for.

What is a CMS?

A Content Management System (CMS) is an application using which you can create, update and delete your Content. Now this is a very loose description, and any web application where you upload stuff and manage it falls into this definition. So let me narrow this down a bit.

A CMS is a web application using which you can easily publish content on your website.

Yes, it’s the backbone software based on which you create (or have just created) a rocking website.

Why do I need a CMS?

You don’t. If your site is made of a few pages (5 or so), then perhaps you are better off with a static site. Plain Jane HTML. There actually is no need to hire an agency to create your site.

However, if you like me love writing on a regular basis on your site and keeping the site updated, with more and more pages … or have a site which is dynamic in nature (stuff keeps on happening on the site and there is never a boring time for you), then it is best to use a CMS to control what content goes live on your site.

  • A Content Management System will help you manage the content that you publish in a better fashion
  • A good CMS will also help you promote your content
  • An ideal CMS will help you monetize your content ;-)
  • The best CMS should make publishing a breeze, a process easy to perform and involving as less hassles as possible

So which CMS are out there?

There are more than a million Content Management Systems out there … no really! Talk to your average Joe, the web vendor and he would convince you to create your site in his awesome custom CMS. I know of Indian vendors out there who are doing this as their business model!!

But let me not talk about those, and focus on the ones which really matter. The ones which hold a significant share of the internet. The ones which are free :-), yes, since the free ones have a high share of the internet.


WordPressThis is by far the most widely used Content Management System on the internet. At last count, WordPress has been powering more than 17% of the internet!

WordPress (yes the P is intentional, and has to be in caps!) is the proud creation of Automattic and is free to use. If you do not want to get into the technicalities and only focus on publishing, then simply head on over to WordPress dot com. If you can brave the tech part of setting up your own hosted WordPress (which is a breeze), then head on over to WordPress dot org and download the latest source.

Let me be honest with you, I am biased towards WordPress and it’s my defacto CMS.

One look at the search trends of Google will confirm this for you –


  • The community around WordPress is lively and helpful
  • This has the highest number of themes and plug-ins available for any CMS out there
  • Did I tell you that it powers more than 17% of the internet?
  • Very easy to setup and start using
  • Amount of efforts in terms of knowing technology v/s getting started with a kick-ass site is quite low


  • For complex requirements, you have to rely on other systems or major plug-ins. These are not as seamless as I would have wanted.


JoomlaUnlike WordPress which started out as a blogging software and went on to become a full fledged Content Management System, Joomla started off as a CMS and was a fork of Mambo (forget about this CMS, it had its fair share of problems which Joomla fixed quite elegantly). During the initial days of Joomla, there was a lot of controversy between free software and open source (since it was formed from a CMS which was not exactly free). However the community that Joomla built was loyal and has since developed great support for it.

Although Joomla does pack a wallop when it comes down to meeting your CMS requirements, it does require a bit of getting used to and that’s why it powers 2.8% of the Internet.


  • Great support and documentation available
  • Built with CMS based sites kept in mind.
  • Easy to roll out complex site navigations.


  • Learning curve is a bit steeper and requires patience to understand the works
  • Plug-ins and Themes are not as seamless as one would expect


DrupalThis is the oldest CMS amongst the three, and must have seen a lot of attrition in its community base as the other two CMS’ would have been released. That also explains why this community is fiercely loyal. That also would explain the well documented help for this CMS (a developer’s paradise). This is the CMS of the techie which comes bundled with a lot of power.

But with all this power comes a complexity which becomes difficult to master, and hence lesser adoption rates. At 2.13% of the internet, I will not call it less, but the other counterparts are doing well.


  • Well documented support centre
  • Strong base with excellent core features
  • Community of techies who know their CMS


  • Extremely steep learning curve
  • Lesser plug-ins and themes, it is assumed that the nuances you want can be implemented in-house

So which one should I go for?

I am not going to play safe and just stop at a CMS comparison, for that there are tonnes of other sites who have even done beautiful infographics on this topic. I am going to pick one of these CMS for you!! So help me out and ask yourself these questions (just pick the options!)

  1. Am I already familiar with any of these systems?
    1. Yes
    2. No
  2. How fast do I need to go to market?
    1. I have time, I am just toying around
    2. Yesterday
  3. Do I have a clear idea of what kind of features I want in my CMS?
    1. Yes
    2. No

If your answer is mostly 1’s then go ahead with the CMS you already know … you have the time to learn it and you know what you need to implement. Ask around in the communities and people will help you out.

If your answer is mostly 2’s then just pick WordPress and start. It is easy to learn, fast to implement and flexible at the start (since you do not know what you exactly want, you would have to do a lot of tests to determine what works for you.

What the Internet has to say about WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal

You can say that I am biased with WordPress. Yes, I am … since these days I make my living by working on the WordPress stack. However, you do not have to take my word for it, here’s a comparison of what the Internet has to say about these three different CMSs.


Move on

I still remember that day in 2007. It was the 17th of September. It was evening and I was stuck at the airport, waiting for my delayed flight at Hyderabad; making one of the biggest decisions of my life.

I had been offered a meaty role in a start-up firm, and internally had decided to take the jump. However, the lizard brain was nagging me and urging me to not go ahead.

I made two phone calls. The first was to my parents, to let them know about the switch in my life. They accepted my decision and told me that I was going to rock :)

The second was to the only man approachable and who had operated in several organisations in that role. He was and is a role model; Thomas Sir. I had not spoken to him in the past three years, yet he immediately recognised me and asked me what he could do for me. I told him my background and told him that I was thinking about joining a start-up. Pat comes his reply, if you want to work in Cleartrip, I can see … all said and done, the amygdala was quietened.

At the end of the conversation, he told me one thing –

After this, there is no looking back

I did not fully understand the depth of this. I think after 3 years, I am getting it. After that jump from the corporate wagon, I don’t think I will be going back to a large corporate. Ever.

However I am only human and when I go through a rough patch in my life, I make the mistake of looking back to the day I made this jump. The moment I do this, I remember that one piece of advice … I move on.

Reading as a lifelong practice

Reading as a practice

During my formative years, my parents took pains to ensure that I got access to a lot of books. As a baby I used to happily tear out pages from a book; the only reason my parents must have restrained themselves from taking that book away from me was the hope that one day I shall start reading the book instead of simply tearing it. Well, they were right, many torn books later, I opened a book and started reading it instead!! ’twas hand-me-down book which had been purchased on the footpath of Fort area in Churchgate. Malory Towers by Enid Blyton … Darrell Rivers and her stay at the Cornish school, it was almost magical (ala Harry Potter).

Then came the Famous Five and Secret Seven, soon followed by the detectives; Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Hercules Poirot and of course my favorite Sherlock Holmes. Every year my sister and I used to wait for vacations, because vacations meant – travel, bags of books, library subscriptions and lounging around all day reading books. Reading was a big help at various points in my life, to which I will always be grateful towards my parents.


Reading and especially reading at a young age tremendously boosts your vocabulary skills. The words which a lot of people mug-up using word-lists for GRE and CAT preparations, are already familiar to you since you have read them in one book or the other. Language suddenly is not a constraint but a medium to be leveraged. Think about it, the section which a lot of people fear is the Reading Comprehension (RC), this becomes your forte because of your reading.

Learning is not a pain

Since you can read faster, there is a chance that you understand things faster as well; Ergo lesser time to study ;-). In fact who knows you might even enjoy it!! (Although I don’t guarantee this!)

General Knowledge

The amount of knowledge you pick up when reading through different books/magazines/articles is immense. Don’t believe me? Then try this simple exercise … pick-up a newspaper, any newspaper and just spend 15-20 minutes reading through any random set of articles. If you are not more informed then either you have been reading the daily funnies or the page 3 :-).


It helps you communicate better. Being well read is simply more topics to discuss :-). Ever stuck in a conversation where you have  no idea what the others are talking about? Well that’s ignorance. Read and drive away that ignorance!!

Helps in exams/vivas

Often during my engineering vivas and exams, I used to hope for questions which were outside the syllabus. Simply because the question outside the syllabus were from more or less current events. Having done a lot of other reading, this always gave me an edge over other students (who were much better at studies :-D). When it comes to dealing with the unknown, the well read person is at a distinct advantage.

The great thing about reading, is that it’s never too late. You might say, that I do not have any exams to give, but reading still comes in handy. Reading helps you be more informed about things which are interested in. Without reading, you cannot write. If you are a creative person or are involved in a creative job, then you have to read. Think of it as one more avenue of getting your inspiration. Your personal muse.

Ahh, and more thing, this is a form of entertainment which is customized for you, the book you read is your choice … if you like magic – then the Lord of the Rings, satire – then the Inscrutable Americans, sci-fi then – Isaac Asimov or the Dune series, philosophy then – The Fountainhead, medical then – Any Robin Cook, legal – then any John Grisham … I can go on. So what are you waiting for!?! If you can read through this entire post, then you might as well go to the nearest book store and pick-up any book that holds your fancy!!