3 Open Sources Content Management Systems Compared

It is important to ask the right questions at the beginning or commencement of any venture than waiting to have commenced or get stuck before necessary questions are asked.  The question to determine the right choice of content management system which is suitable for a webmaster who intends to set up a blog, a mini or large website and any similar portal for online purpose is very pertinent. There are many content management systems (CMS), but there are three popular ones commonly used by most webmasters. These are Wordpress, Drupal as well as Joomla. Most people opt for them because they offer variety of options and are also based on MySQL and PHP.

Every web designer is free to choose any of the above based on their available plugins as well as themes, their ease of use, installation complexity and other criteria that can help you make the perfect choice

1. Choice Based on Available Plugin and theme

In choosing any CMS platform, you must consider the plugin to avoid getting stuck halfway because of limited availability of plugins and themes, which might mean additional cost that you might not have included in your initial budget. For the selected platforms, we are going to see their total number of plugins and themes. The higher the number of plugin and theme available for use, the better for you.

Drupal: Drupal’s plugin is known as modules. In all, it has 14369 modules and 1223 themes as listed in the website and also available for users’ download.  For those who desire other modules and plugins from the market place, it is still possible to purchase them but this number is good enough for any user.

Joomla: There are themes in the website but it has about 7437 plugins. There are available themes in the market place for users to purchase.

Wordpress: This CMS has the highest number of themes and plugins compared to the other two. It has 28593 plugins and 2176 themes. A user can also get enough themes from the marketplace. This is one of the reasons Wordpress is more popular with webmasters than others. Despite its popularity among webmasters, Wordpress is still lagging in the area of plugin due to the few CMS features like user access control. There is room for improvement though because it is just evolving from the blogging tool.

2. Ease of use

It is important to check for difficulty level of a CMS. This is why the ease of use is an important consideration.

Drupal: For Drupal, the user interface and other available features are simple. At the point of login, the menu bar shows you the major areas of the site from your admin area. The names of various features are quite comprehensive for the admin to know what to do in the site. The content link is one of such features that allow you manage your content either to publish or remove them. Other links are people, structure, modules, reports, appearance and configuration. A click on each will explain what you are to do next.

Joomla: This is quite complicated and complex for anyone logging in for the first time. The menus are both vertical and horizontal and quite numerous that can get a new user confused. Despite its complexity, it has a more polished user interface compared to Drupal. As a result of many links, a new user might get lost as to where to begin from. This is where the ease of use comes to play because it’s quite complex to comprehend.

Wordpress: In comparison to the first two, Wordpress has a friendlier user interface. It uses simple and well comprehensive language unlike the first two which are more technical in nature. A Wordpress site can be operated with little or no knowledge of technical background. Unlike Joomla where you might need to hire a professional to help fix things up, in Wordpress, you can wiggle your way through without any prior experience. That makes it easy for any first timer and novice to patronize.

3. Installation time and complexity

Actually, installation is necessary before the commencement of any CMS.

Drupal: Drupal installation used to be complex in the past but it has fast evolved into a simpler form. The most crucial thing before installation is to create a database for the site and keep your username and password securely. The process of installation starts from downloading the files from the site, unzipping and placing the contents in your server.

Joomla: Just like Drupal, Joomla’s database should also be kept secure. The installation process is similar to that of Drupal with a little modification. In Joomla, a webmaster has the option to remain online or offline after the process. Also the security feature allows the installation code folder to be removed after the process.

Wordpress: Wordpress still happens to be the easiest in terms of installation compared to the other two. Installation is just a click after the “config. Php file”. The file contains similar information such as username, password etc.

4. Customization and upgrades

Another factor that should determine the CMS to opt for is the ease of customization as well as upgrading. While some are easy to customize and upgrade, others are more complex. Since the only permanent thing in life is change, one is bound to upgrade from time to time for various reasons such as enhancing functionality, security and other possible reasons. It is not advisable to use a CMS that will get you stuck midway. Customization is also done periodically to effect changes to certain areas. The simpler it is to customize and upgrade the better the CMS.

Drupal: Upgrading Drupal comes with some risk of data or total site loss if you are not a professional. A new webmaster can however opt for an expert who will put things in better shape but you have to count the extra cost. There is no support for theme customization except by installing a new plugin.


While Joomla supports upgrading by login through the backend by following some methods, some that may not be available all the time. Customization can be done by editing themes offline or by installing theme editor.


Wordpress alerts users when there is any update and also allows online supports. With online file editing, a user can, with ease, customize his/her themes by editing files in the application. With a very simple command and method, both theme and plugin can be customized.

There you have it. Understanding the three based on the three attributes should point you to the right direction as you compare and decide which option to go for. 

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