Blog Platform Wars: WordPress 2.0 vs. Drupal 4.7

WordPress Logo vs Drupal Logo

Looking for a great blogging platform? ContentRobot performed a head-to-head test of two popular, open-source software platforms: Drupal and WordPress. As a testament to these products, there was no clear-cut winner as each has their merits. Here are some of the criteria we used and our thoughts about each.

Installation
Drupal’s multi-step installation and database configuration is quite complex and technical, although adding modules later on can be as easy as dropping in some code into a simple prompt. WordPress installation is fairly simple and lightening quick, however, module implementation can be a bit difficult.

Winner: WordPress

Blog Template Design
WordPress and Drupal both have a bunch of ready-made templates that are designed to get you blogging right away, so the difference here lies in their customization. WordPress allows you to access and modify the CSS entirely within the browser window inside the dashboard. Drupal mods are done within administrative prompts and direct file manipulation. Either way you need to understand CSS (and maybe Dreamweaver) to make the most of your designs.

Winner: Tie

Taxonomy and Post Naming Conventions
Drupal allows you to easily create categories, yet to their naming will remain at taxonomy/1 unless you alias them in a a separate step. WordPress, on the other hand, allows you to add categories and it aliases them on-the-fly. Drupal now supports post’s smart naming that is native in WordPress. A nifty Drupal module (called taxonomy_context) can be implemented to provide breadcrumb navigation based on the taxonomy. Both platforms can implement tag cloud navigation with modules/plug-ins as well.

Winner: WordPress

Managing Users
WordPress allows you to create usernames, passwords, and access control of several levels from administrative rights to contributor status. Drupal takes that step further with a myriad of access possibilities for all aspects of the blog and its management.

Winner: Drupal

Managing Comments
Both platforms allow you to accept comments on posts on blogwide or single post basis, they can be made anonymously (or require registration), and can be setup to be moderated. While Drupal’s setup is a bit unwieldy, WordPress does a great job with the ability to email comments needing attention. WordPress also adds a native trackback feature where Drupal requires a module to be installed (called trackback).

Winner: WordPress

Writing Posts
Both platforms offer WYIWYG editors but we find in both cases neither editor is up to the task. The code they generate is often messy and the results inconsistent – not unlike Word gremlins, but annoying just the same.

Winner: None

Handling Imagery
Both platforms allow you to create an image library. However, inserting imagers (even using the WYSIWG editors) proves to be difficult because controlling their sizes and placement requires HTML knowledge.

Winner: None

Drupal Cool Tools
Things that Drupal does natively: adding forums and polls.

WordPress Cool Tools
Things that WordPress does natively: managing comment spam.

Bottom Line
Either platform would be a great choice, so it all boils down to your specific needs For more straightforward blogging, head on over to WordPress and get started. If you need to more customization and control, Drupal may be the way to go. The great thing is, that whichever way you lean, there is someone out there who has written a plug-in or module that can extend your fun even further. Take advantage of Drupal’s and WordPress support and blogs to get the most of our your platform.

Note: ContentRobot like to use Drupal for our blog-powered websites, and WordPress for blogs in most cases.

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15 Comments

  1. Steve said:

    Well… although a very nice article, comparing WordPress to Drupal really is a bit like comparing delicious Granny Smith apples to, say, wonderfull Burgundy wine. As your bottom line says: “it depends on your intentions with your site”.

    While WordPress IS an excellent blogging tool that offers extra static pages, Drupal is not only a full blown CMS, it has become something like a web application framework in its latest incarnation of version 4.7 in combination with such modules as CCK, Views and others. I myself like blogging with WordPress and if it is what you’d like to do most of the times and won’t be confronting adding more functionality in the future, then opt for WordPress. Drupal, however, is the right choice when blogging might not be the only thing to happen on your site. In this case, Drupal clearly offers the highest flexibility ever.

    Besides that, Drupal and WordPress differ in one very major point: While WordPress has a “front end” and a “back end”, with content being added in the backend that does NOT look like your site at all, Drupal has no such devide. You basically enter and/or edit content “right on the side”. This, I found out in many web projects I did, is especially useful as there is a much higher degree of identification with the web site itself when entering content. This might not be so important for everyday blogging. Especially on corporate web sites though I found that my customers tend to learn and understand the workflow for entering or changing content “right on the site” much more easily compared to using a content management backend. I have used Mambo/Joomla before on projects and this CMS, too, devides into a front and a back end. Most of my customers easily got confused of where content would go in such as setup. On Drupal however, since there is no such devide, they feel they are really working “on their site” and this helps them getting it right much more easily!

  2. Danilo Stern-Sapad said:

    I think it’s important that blogging be enjoyable, and lately, I’ve found that I do not enjoy blogging on Drupal; it’s too coarse, it’s not fun, WP has all these neat plugins for YouTube videos and such that minimize some of the work that goes into writing a blog entry. I originally switched from WordPress to Drupal about a year ago, cause I didn’t like the fact that WordPress didn’t allow me to use PHP in posts (though WP has a plugin for this now), also I prefer Drupal’s theme phptemplate theme engine over WP’s.

    However, considering I can just take one of the many excellent existing WP themes and modify them to my needs it seems just so much easier if not funner (not a word I know) than Drupal, which in truth really is a framework, a framework that unfortunately is overkill for a simple blog. It’s by far the most versatile CMS I’ve ever used, though its Forms API is a pain to deal with.

    I’m still debating whether I should make the switch back to WordPress or go ahead a further customize my Drupal site, I mean for example if I wanted to have a different layout for the admin section it would be a simple matter, and many CivicSpace themes already do this. Maybe, I’ll just take the easy route, it’s not like I need all the features of Drupal for my personal blog. WP just looks so much smoother, the user experience is much better, but I mean it has to be when you’re competing against MovableType. =P

  3. S Heating said:

    The latest 2.1 release of WP seems to have moved the platform on considerably.

    In particular the WYSIWYG editor has a tab to quickly switch to a code view giving you greater control over the input.

    I suppose it depends on you needs as to which you would prefer, I am now starting to use WP for web sites in addition to blogs and also for hybrids – it is very flexible.

  4. HK said:

    Hi,

    Good explanation the difference between Drupal & WordPress.
    As i think, both are using for community driven based sites. Both have different functionalities and features.

    In one line i would say:
    Drupal covers Bloging but WordPress not cover forums, user rights, administration, directories, categories management, ecommerce facility, affiliate marketing management, banners ads management, chatting options and many more.

    Its all upon the based on requirements. If you are planning to create a Blog and confuse between wordpress & Drupal, go with Drupal.

  5. Velvet said:

    I evolved from blogger to wordpress and now I’m happy with Drupal :D. Drupal is highly more customisable and I love it (now I’m waiting for module updates to go to drupal 6)

  6. Geoff JV Dodd said:

    Thanks for info. I also evolved from Blog-City, Bloglines and Blogger to WordPress. I’m happy there because of the themes freely available and the plug-ins that are simple and can allow me to FOCUS on content and interactivity. I think the key now is to interact with Social sites such as Facebook, Propeller, Digg, Reddit and thereby build networks on specific subjects. GD. Australia

  7. Simple marketing blogger said:

    Well, it’s been a while since you wrote this article, and especially with the new version out new like WP 2.5 I would be curious what your findings are this time.

    Still I agree, they’re different enough to treat them different. For me, I preffer WP. Why? Cause I know it best :)

  8. Karen Jackie said:

    Simple marketing blogger: You are so right! Now that WordPress 2.5 is out, perhaps it is a good time to do another “head-to-head” review.

    While WordPress still has its quirks, we prefer its flexibility, great community, and the way the content is separate from the design – allowing for some fairly rapid development.

    We’d have to see what’s happening on the Drupal side, we haven’t been there for a while!

  9. SEO said:

    I have used both and I must say wordpress is far easier to use and the themes available are far nicer which is good if you can’t design your own WordPress for the win

  10. Devon Artis said:

    Here my two cents I think wordpress ease of use make it more attractive in addition to all of the plugins for wordpress makes it a great choice.

    But again if is just a simple blog you are looking for now if you are looking for something like CMS without going into using Joomla I would go with Drupal

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