Deciding between WordPress and Drupal isn’t easy. After all, they’re very similar open-source content management systems (CMS) that can be used to create highly custom websites. However, they’re not without unique strengths and weaknesses. Although neither CMS is considered to be the most beginner-friendly on the market, WordPress is generally more user-friendly, while Drupal is better for coding new web technologies.
When you’re getting ready to build a website for your small business, it’s important to choose a platform that’s professional, secure, and easily optimized. That said, you should also choose an option that’s user-friendly and that’s easy to customize—especially if you don’t have a background in web design.
Here’s who each option is best for:
- WordPress: (Best Overall) Best for small business owners who are new to web design, but still want an eye-catching and professional website
- Drupal: Best for those who have some web development experience and need a site with vast customizations and features
WordPress vs Drupal at a Glance
Where They’re Similar
Where They Differ
Open source and free to download
Drupal may be easier to scale as your company grows
Straightforward download and installation
WordPress makes customization easy, whereas Drupal has a steep learning curve
Easy to add blog content
Drupal requires coding knowledge, while WordPress is easy to maintain
WordPress vs Drupal: Ease of Use
When it comes to ease of use, WordPress takes the cake because of its user-friendly dashboard, highly customizable plugins, and drag-and-drop design tools. Drupal, on the other hand, requires knowledge of PHP to effectively customize and maintain a website.
WordPress Ease of Use
WordPress makes web design accessible to small business owners by offering an easy to set up platform that doesn’t require any prior experience. Not only is the user dashboard clean and easy to navigate, the huge selection of themes (both free and paid) makes customization extremely user-friendly. And, once you’re ready to start adding pages and posts to your site, you can take advantage of intuitive design tools—including plugins like Elementor—that make drag-and-drop design a breeze.
Drupal Ease of Use
In contrast to WordPress, Drupal has a pretty steep learning curve and requires coding experience to customize a website. Granted, the download process is pretty straightforward, and users can also choose from distributions that make it easier to build specific types of websites, such as for universities or online communities.
Even with these bundles, however, it will be extremely difficult to adjust to Drupal’s interface if you don’t have experience with coding and haven’t built a site with Drupal before. In short, if you’re not familiar with code, you will find it incredibly difficult to build a professional site with Drupal.
WordPress vs Drupal: Security
Because of its comprehensive security features, Drupal is a popular choice for governments, banks, and other large organizations that store a lot of personal information. However, WordPress offers a number of effective and reliable security features by way of its vast library of plugins. For that reason, we found that WordPress and Drupal tie when it comes to security.
Some developers consider WordPress to be more susceptible to hackers because of its widespread popularity and because hackers can specifically target vulnerable—but commonly used—plugins. However, the CMS actually has a number of security features that protect its users and make it a secure and reliable option, even for business websites that process sensitive information. In fact, back in 2017, the whitehouse.gov website was actually moved from Drupal to WordPress.
And, perhaps most important for the inexperienced web developer, you can opt for your WordPress site to automatically update every time there’s a new security patch. This means you can protect your site against hackers without having to manually update your site—and if you do opt for manual updates, they’re easy to access from the user dashboard. You can further enhance security on your WordPress site by enabling automated backups, utilizing two-factor authentication, and choosing plugins that bolster WordPress’ built-in security features.
Likewise, Drupal features enterprise-level security that is trusted by a number of high-profile organizations. Not only does Drupal have a dedicated security team that resolves and helps prevent security issues, it also provides helpful guidance on how to write secure code and otherwise secure your site.
Users can also access detailed security reports that outline coding mistakes that make your site more susceptible to security threats. Plus, you can sign up for a security-specific mailing list that provides updates on recent Drupal security advisories. Potential securities issues are also listed on Drupal.org and identified based on the level of seriousness.
WordPress vs Drupal: SEO
Both WordPress and Drupal require users to supplement the CMS with tools that improve search engine optimization (SEO). That said, WordPress makes it incredibly easy to add a number of plugins for optimization, earning it top billing in the SEO category.
Just like it makes building a website easy, WordPress also makes it incredibly simple to optimize a site for Google and other search engines. Most notably, WordPress features a ton of free and easy-to-use plugins for optimizing content—including WordPress SEO by Yoast, which evaluates SEO and readability based on a keyphrase of your choosing.
WordPress users can also optimize their sites in other ways. For example, using a caching plugin like WP Rocket can speed up page load times, thereby improving a website’s performance for purposes of Google’s page speed ranking factor.
Like WordPress, Drupal offers a number of modules that can be added to your site to improve SEO. For example, Meta Tag lets users add meta tags to help improve rankings so your website shows up in search results. Users can also take advantage of modules like XML SiteMap, which creates sitemaps to submit to various search engines, and SEO Checklist, which provides easy-to-follow SEO checklists that can be shared among site administrators.
Drupal also has built-in caching features that speed up page loads so you can reduce your site’s bounce rate and improve its performance in the eyes of Google.
WordPress vs Drupal: Cost
Even though both WordPress and Drupal are free to download, that doesn’t mean you’re not going to have to make some investments. We chose WordPress as the best option for cost because Drupal has higher potential development costs. Because WordPress is easier to use without any development experience, business owners are less likely to hire a professional web designer. And even if they do, it will likely be cheaper than development help for Drupal.
WordPress is a free platform that can be supplemented and customized with a wide variety of free themes and plugins. So, while premium themes and tools are available, they’re not necessary—and many come at a budget-friendly cost. What’s more, if you start building a website on WordPress and need to hire someone to troubleshoot—or even build the site from scratch—you can find a budget-friendly option through a platform like Fiverr.
Like WordPress, Drupal is free to download. And, because it’s also open source, there are a huge number of free distributions, modules, and themes that can be used to improve and customize the user experience. However, the cost of Drupal can go up quickly if you need to hire a professional web developer to build your site.
Not only is hiring a professional more expensive than building a do-it-yourself (DIY) site, but Drupal developers are typically more expensive than WordPress developers. Plus, to upgrade from one version of Drupal to another will require rewriting code down the line, so costs may continue to add up—especially if you want to keep your site secure.
WordPress vs Drupal: Overall Value
When comparing WordPress vs Drupal, WordPress is our top choice overall because of its user-friendly dashboard, reliable security features, and effective SEO tools. Drupal is still a viable option, but is most appropriate for small business owners with web development experience.
WordPress Overall Value
Starting a business can be overwhelming and time consuming—but learning how to make a WordPress website is easy. Whether you’re building a basic landing page for your small startup or need a more complex site for your burgeoning ecommerce business, WordPress is an easy-to-use CMS that yields beautiful and professional results.
WordPress is generally best for:
- Building easily customizable websites
- User-friendly, drag-and-drop content creation
- Keeping development costs low
If you’re ready to get started on your WordPress site, consider using a page builder plugin, like Elementor, that can make it even easier to edit WordPress posts and pages.
Drupal Overall Value
For large and growing businesses that rely on a large amount of web content, Drupal may be the best fit. That said, there’s a much higher learning curve, so it helps to have web development experience—otherwise, you may have to hire a professional.
Drupal is generally best for:
- Business owners with web development experience or a dedicated development team
- Complex, highly customized websites
- Growing businesses that need to scale using large volumes of content
WordPress and Drupal aren’t the only two options for building a small business website—and they’re surely not the most user-friendly. Here are three alternatives to consider for your business website:
- Squarespace: Best for professionals who want a very user-friendly way to build a professional website
- Wix: Best for business owners who want a very easy, drag-and-drop site builder with a great deal of customization flexibility
- GoDaddy: Best for service-based businesses looking to accept online bookings and reservations given its robust online booking system
Depending on your needs, one of the options above may be a perfect fit for your business. However, there are a ton of other WordPress alternatives to choose from.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Drupal best used for?
Due to its flexibility and security features, Drupal is an excellent choice for websites that have high traffic and businesses that need to scale. It’s also a great option for websites with a large number of contributors and for organizations that manage large volumes of sensitive user data. For this reason, Drupal reports that it is a top CMS for global enterprises, governments, higher education institutions, and NGOs.
Is Drupal worth learning in 2021?
Though some question whether Drupal is still a worthwhile platform to learn, it is an extremely popular CMS—especially among enterprise-level users. In fact, in 2019, there were over 630,000 live websites using Drupal. What’s more, Drupal 9 was released in mid-2020, and the platform continues to develop and evolve with new open-source distributions, modules, and themes.
What language does Drupal use?
If you’re ready to build a small business website, choosing a user-friendly CMS is a vital first step toward success. When it comes to two top options—WordPress and Drupal—WordPress is the better choice for small business owners with limited to no experience with web design. On the other hand, if you need a highly complex website, Drupal can offer you more flexibility and customization—though with a steeper learning curve than WordPress.