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Battle of the Open-Source CMS Systems: Drupal vs. WordPress

Rose Wheeler
By: Rose Wheeler

Our Small Business Expert

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Two titans of the CMS industry, Drupal and WordPress, have both been around for some time now. While they have some similarities, mainly based on their free, open-source nature, they do diverge along the way. Of course, you want the best CMS, but what does that mean to you?

WordPress is one of the original site builders, with multiple plugins and an open-source nature, used to create many different types of websites.
Drupal CMS is highly flexible and a good fit for those with coding experience.
Best For
Good for tech savvy
Good for large enterprises
Rating image, 3.70 out of 5 stars.
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Rating image, 3.30 out of 5 stars.
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Platform is free

Plug-ins and integrations available at extra cost

What We Like
  • Flexibility to create different website types
  • Free to use, and you own/control your data
  • Easy-to-customize basics
  • Free open-source software
  • Easily scales with growth
  • Regularly updated and upgraded
Could Be Better
  • Loading time often slow
  • Important backups, updates, and security are self-managed
  • Live customer support only available if hosted on
  • Steep learning curve for beginners
  • Coding skills are needed to maintain
  • Drupal web development and maintenance costs
Key Features

Large plug-ins library

SEO readiness

Media storage

Simple editing and authoring

Built-in security

Drag-and-drop page builder


Community forums

Online resource library


No direct support

Large online community

Community offers support via chat and Slack

Ease of Use

Premade templates

Organized dashboard

Intuitive toolbar

Initial setup can require coding, help from developers

Coding often needed for updates and maintenance

Next Steps

Drupal vs. WordPress CMS: An overview

Drupal is open-source, like WordPress, but is it better than WordPress? Or will you find more value in the latter? Where similarities end, specific differences really do take shape.

In deciding between the two, a lot of your decision will come down to your intent and your needs, as Drupal tends to be a lot more complex in terms of setting up and maintaining. However, this sets it up well for large bandwidth enterprises.

WordPress, on the other hand, can be as easy or complicated as you like: you can go super multi-functional with a developer, or you can keep it simple, setting it up yourself.

Who is Drupal for?

Setting up Drupal is a little bit more complicated than other CMS options, so if you are doing the back end, be sure you have a comprehensive understanding of coding, or be prepared to hire a developer.

Once Drupal is set up, it's great for sites needing a lot of multi-functionality, customization, high bandwidth, etc. Larger enterprises, from economic institutions to the White House, favor it.

Who is WordPress CMS for?

Before evolving outward, WordPress was one of the first, and best, blogging platforms. While it does much more than that now, it still boasts user-friendly blogging features and page editing, making for straightforward website management.

WordPress can work for a variety of industries of all sizes, thanks to the over 50,000 customizable integrations that can make it an ideal CMS for any need from e-commerce to blogging, to business sites, and beyond.

Drupal vs. WordPress CMS: Features

From website marketing to sales, form building, and creating great content marketing examples, it's the extra capabilities these systems offer that makes them tick.

What Drupal offers

After getting the back end set up, editing pages in Drupal is simple and easy. With an intuitive design, editing natively in the sections is simple and straightforward.

You can even customize fields for commenting, giving you extra control. And when you are building pages, you can use Drupal's handy drag-and-drop feature.

Screenshot of Drupal page editing with title, tags, body, and image sections.

Drupal's editing feature is easy to use and understand. Image source: Author

Drupal also values security, as security updates are regularly installed and problems fixed quickly. Because of this, Drupal sites are often considered safer and harder to hack, which is why government organizations often favor this CMS.

Further, Drupal sites are reliable and have a history of consistent uptime with minimal crashing. If all that's not enough, Drupal also offers around 16,000 optional integrations to bump up and customize your site's features.

What WordPress CMS offers

Features are second nature to WordPress. From functionality to website upgrades, WordPress probably has something to make it happen.

WordPress offers some of the easiest multimedia management, with a library that saves your files for however long you need them.

Plus, you can upload all your necessary items via drag-and-drop, which is efficient and saves you from having to come up with creative or descriptive temporary file names.

WordPress's media upload screen allowing users to drag-and-drop files or to select files from folder.

Adding files to your multimedia library is super simple in WordPress. Image source: Author

WordPress also nails user management, allowing you to have various users with multiple permission levels. They are Admin, with full access, Author, who can only write posts, Editor, who can access content and pages, and Subscriber, who can only manage personal profiles.

WordPress also comes SEO ready, with features to help you rank higher in search engines by automatically creating proper HTML, offering keyword suggestions, creating permalinks, etc.

Where WordPress really shines is with its 50,000+ integrations that basically means your WordPress site can have almost any feature you want.

Want to create killer landing pages? Need to set up payment gateways? How about integrating social media? Anything you need, WordPress can pretty much do via a plug-in.


Winner: WordPress

We've got to give it to WordPress. It's hard to compete against the tens of thousands of plug-ins so that just about any feature you can think of pretty much exists within this Drupal alternative.

Drupal vs. WordPress CMS: Support

You don't want to go it alone, especially when you get in a tight spot, which is why support and resources are essential.

What Drupal offers

Being open-source and free, you don't have that account manager or customer service representative lifeline. However, Drupal's user community and developers have nailed the external support field.

With coders that work quickly to address situations and a developer Slack channel, you aren't left on your own. In addition, you have access to documents and online resources that cover a lot of topics and problems.

Drupal support page showing different help resources including forums, documentation, Slack group, etc.

Drupal has a support community with a variety of forums and FAQs to help. Image source: Author

What WordPress CMS offers

While traditional support isn't an option, WordPress does have a lot of online resources, including community forums, videos, articles, instructions, etc. If you can't solve a problem yourself, the community forums are a great place to search for an answer.

The downside of open-source, though, is the lack of a customer representative response, so you can feel a bit overwhelmed.


Winner: Drupal

Since both systems are open-source, neither has dedicated support in the traditional sense. Still, Drupal's army of coders, working to address security issues in real time, push them ahead just a bit to win this round.

Drupal vs. WordPress CMS: Ease of use

If using a system causes you endless frustration, then what's the use? Being user friendly is essential to good user experience.

What Drupal offers

First things first: Drupal is a lot to set up. The technicality and details in back end coding are not for beginners. Plus, once Drupal is set up, the maintenance doesn't go away, and you will still need to have that web development know-how throughout.

The actual dashboard, though, is pretty easy. And once set up, using it is not a frustrating process. The dashboard is well labeled, and the editing tools intuitive. As long as you aren't touching development or maintenance, you'll have an easy enough time.

What WordPress CMS offers

WordPress was built for bloggers initially, and that idea of being user friendly carries on.

The home dashboard and toolbar is easy to understand and use, the pages are simple to edit, and updates are easy to install. Plus, WordPress notifies you when updates are needed.

WordPress screenshot of the home dashboard and side toolbar with updates, pages, templates, tools, etc.

WordPress's side toolbar has categories that are easy to understand, and the home dashboard keeps you informed. Image source: Author

The layout itself is clean and straightforward, with intuitive tools.


Winner: WordPress

Thanks to a streamlined user experience and a setup that's just a bit easier, WordPress wins this round for ease of use.

Drupal vs. WordPress CMS: Pricing

Both WordPress and Drupal are open-source, so they're both technically free, but which zero-down upfront is more worth it?

What Drupal offers

Drupal is free, and that free entry point gives you access to a sophisticated framework. It is, though, mostly a framework, with its out-of-the-box components a bit sparse.

You will need several add-ons, such as most of the themes and templates, to get your site as functional as you want, meaning a good bit of extra cash. You will also need to pay externally to host your website.

What WordPress CMS offers

At first glance, WordPress is technically free, meaning you pay nothing to download, install, and use it. However, like Drupal, you will need to host externally, which costs you.

Also, individual additional costs, including maintenance, plug-ins, etc. can add up. Still, though, for a base free price, WordPress has a lot to offer.


Winner: WordPress

They both cost nothing to download, but charge for extras. However, WordPress wins this round since it has fewer costs, it's easier to install, and most of its plug-ins are free.

Drupal vs. WordPress CMS: Integration with other software

The beauty of open-source software is the number and variety of developer plug-ins. What that guarantees is that WordPress and Drupal alike have several well-developed and multi-channel software integration options.

What Drupal offers

Since Drupal is open-source, it means there are a ton of third-party integrations out there to link to it. From marketing options to financial and accounting applications, there are both free apps and integrations that come with a price tag.

There are not quite 50,000+ options, like WordPress, but Drupal does boast around 16,000 plug-ins.

What WordPress CMS offers

WordPress works with a large number of add-ons and other software vendors. You just need to look at the plug-in library to see tens of thousands of apps that integrate directly with WordPress, and these plug-ins are all-encompassing.

Say, for example, you are switching your email marketing software. WordPress has interactions set up with pretty much every marketing software so that you can transition with ease.

The WordPress plug-in market showing the top six featured software integrations.

WordPress integrates with several apps that you can search by name, type, rank, etc. Image source: Author


Winner: WordPress

Though again, both have a lot of well-oiled integrations, WordPress wins this in the numbers game: 50,000 is just more than 16,000.

Drupal vs. WordPress CMS: E-commerce capabilities

Your site's #1 job is to sell. To do that, you will need e-commerce capabilities.

What Drupal offers

Drupal Commerce is Drupal's answer to making sales. This extension allows you to build and design an online storefront, however big or small you need. It's easy to install and integrates with your regular Drupal site.

What WordPress CMS offers

WordPress also has its own e-commerce extension, WooCommerce. It feels almost like using WordPress itself (editing products is just like editing pages). It is both easy to install and easy to use, boasting essential abilities such as dynamic pricing and payment options.


Winner: Tie

It's our first tie between these two. Both e-commerce options, WooCommerce and Drupal Commerce, are very similar in intention and integrate with their parent programs with ease.

Drupal vs. WordPress CMS: Software vs. Hardware

Drupal WordPress
Features Yes Yes
Ease of use Yes
Pricing Yes Yes
Software integration Yes Yes
E-Commerce capability Yes Yes

Who wins in the Drupal versus WordPress faceoff?

As two of the oldest Wix alternatives, WordPress and Drupal have both proven their staying power. Overall, it's just hard to beat the capabilities and history of WordPress.

The fact that it's flexible and intuitive enough for all sizes of businesses and content managers, too, gives it a bit of an edge. Plus, with over 50,000 integrations, you can build almost any type of site you want.

However, if you have a larger enterprise, you may find Drupal a sophisticated best match, provided you have the resources to set it up and maintain the back end.

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