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How WordPress Took The CMS Crown From Drupal And Joomla

According to W3Techs1, almost 55% of the 1 million most visited websites that are run on a content management system (CMS) are run on WordPress. WordPress is a darn fine CMS and is stable and easy to use, but so are Joomla and Drupal. So, why does WordPress have the lion’s share of the top 1 million websites?

This article does not set out to prove that one CMS is “better” than another. WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and dozens of other platforms are mature, stable, great CMS’ that can do a fantastic job in most cases.

Further Reading on SmashingMag: Link

Market Share Link

As a point of reference, at Gravity Switch, about 50% of our projects are in Drupal and about 35% in WordPress; the rest are in other CMS’ or written by hand in PHP or built on a framework such as CakePHP, Django or Ruby. Some of you might be squirming in your seats asking, “But why don’t you just use [insert your CMS of choice]?” The answer is simple: blind luck.

Market share of top 1 million websites6
Breakdown of websites with a clearly identifiable CMS, according to W3Tech’s survey of the top 1 million domains.

A couple of our top clients asked us to use Drupal or WordPress (based on their own technical requirements or preferences), so right now we have more in-house experience with WordPress and Drupal. Our job is to be flexible and to help our clients do their jobs better. While we’re able to guide the folks who don’t have a preference, our job is not to evangelize one technology over another.

So, rather than attempt to convince you that one CMS is best, I’ll share some data that compares WordPress to Drupal and Joomla in order to understand how and why WordPress got the crown.

Name Recognition Link

When I want to understand how popular something is, one of the first places I go to is Google Trends. Based on WordPress’ market share, I expected to find that it is searched for about five times as often as Joomla and about nine times as often as Drupal.

What I found was quite different:

Graph of global searches for CMS'
Global searches7, as shown by Google Trends.

It turns out that, internationally, Joomla is almost as well known as WordPress, and Drupal is searched for about a quarter as often.

This data suggests that:

  1. Out of the top three CMS’ out there (WordPress, Joomla and Drupal), people are choosing WordPress more often.
  2. People are choosing WordPress without searching for it.

Where WordPress Excels Link

Let’s be honest. It probably doesn’t matter which of the top 20 CMS’ you choose. (Curious what they are? W3Techs lists them.8) They’re all reasonably secure, stable and easy to maintain. While WordPress might have been “just blogging software” for a time and didn’t have the features needed to be a true CMS, those days are gone. Anyone who says otherwise is trolling or living in the past.

In fact, the “SxSW Web Content Management System Showdown9” a couple of years back clearly showed WordPress, Joomla and Drupal all to be powerful and expandable systems.

So, what does WordPress do differently than Joomla, Drupal and others?

1. Focus Link

Unlike Joomla and Drupal, which were designed as proper CMS’, WordPress was designed to solve a problem. Also, because WordPress had a clear target audience (bloggers), its developers were able to build a successful business at pretty much from day one.

The story of how WordPress established itself is simple: bloggers had problems, and WordPress provided services to fix those problems.

By contrast, Drupal and Joomla tried to be “everything a geek might need”. Alas, capitalism always wins. Having clearly defined uses is more effective than working in the abstract.

2. Ease of Use Link

Let’s face it: WordPress is the easiest CMS for a non-techie to install and set up, and the easiest to use out of the gate. That counts for a lot.

Anyone can set up a blog on and be up and running in a few hours. It’s easy enough that a 60-year-old IT employee can set up a company CMS without losing face for not being up to date on the newest technology. It’s easy enough that a hobbyist can start their own website or blog in a weekend. It’s easy enough that an old-school marketing firm can set up a website in house and, just as importantly, understand how to use it without reading pages of manuals.

WordPress is committed to serving non-technical users who want to communicate easily and effectively. So, its appeal makes sense when you consider that people who go into communications fields (including sales and marketing) tend not to be introverted technologists.

And because of its corporate ties, WordPress never had the luxury of being able to tell its users to RTFM10, nor could it shrug and say, “It works for me.” Rather, the features of WordPress were driven by content people, not techies. Every feature had to be usable by bloggers, including non-technical ones.

Ease of use is an issue that both Joomla and Drupal are working on. But it doesn’t come naturally to them, evidenced by the slow progress they’re making and the fact that their ships are still being sailed by technologists. For example, Drupal still doesn’t even ship with a WYSIWYG editor. Unbelievable but true.

3. The Blog Factor Link

OK, I know that calling WordPress “blogging software” is taboo in the WordPress community. But before you hardcore aficionados get defensive about WordPress being “more than blogging software,” hear me out. The blog factor is a great strength that helped to establish WordPress as a CMS.

First, let’s admit that WordPress is great blogging software. Consider the following:

  • is the 18th most visited website in the world. Its tagline is “A better way to blog,” and it claims to have “355,355 bloggers.” Quite simply, a lot of bloggers use WordPress.
  • Of the new blog posts featured on’s home page, three out of eleven of the blogs run on their own domains, and one out of eleven (or 9%) is in the top 1 million websites, according to Alexia.

If we extrapolate this, we can say that approximately 9% of all blogs (or 34,000 blogs) are in the top 1 million websites.

Let’s put that into perspective.

According to W3Techs, 2.7% (27,000) of the 1 million most visited websites in the world run Joomla, and 1.7% (17,000 websites) run Drupal. That means that almost as many popular bloggers use websites as use Drupal and Joomla combined.

This doesn’t include people who have a custom installation of WordPress, only those with accounts!

Let’s slice that number differently. The graphs below show how many WordPress, Drupal and Joomla websites are dedicated blogs or news websites, compared to being straight CMS websites.

Graph of the percentage of most popular websites on WordPress
Percentage of most popular websites run on WordPress11, Drupal12 and Joomla13 that are blogs or news-related.

Think about it. If the content of a website determines its popularity, then websites that offer news or blog posts will make up a sizeable percentage of the top million websites. A blogger or news provider understands by nature that content is more important than technology, so their ability to manipulate content will win out over “technical” features.

By plan or by luck, WordPress was designed from the ground up to meet the needs of the people who best understand how to communicate digitally.

It’s also worth noting that many of the top blogs in the world are technology-related. This is pretty relevant, because when websites such as SitePoint14, Six Revisions15 and Smashing Magazine run on WordPress, their readers (i.e. people who are interested in Web technology) are more likely to use it, too. This gives WordPress a huge amount of built-in credibility, as well as the potential for a statistically significant editorial bias.

WordPress market share
Estimated market share of blogs and websites running on WordPress.

Based on the above estimates, approximately 87,000 popular blogs or news websites run on WordPress, and 58,000 of the top million non-blog websites run on it, too.

To say, then, that WordPress is just blogging software is naive. Likewise, to say that WordPress is not blogging software is a bit disingenuous. The reality is that WordPress is a very successful blogging platform, as well as the world’s most successful CMS. Three to five years ago, this might not have been true, but today no one could dispute it.

Going strictly by numbers, WordPress is more of a blogging platform than Joomla or Drupal are straight CMS’ — meaning that more WordPress blogs are out there than there are Joomla and Drupal websites combined.

I mention this because some people insist that WordPress is not just blogging software. But for 87,000 popular websites, it is. Getting defensive about it would be silly. It would be like Apple saying that the iPhone isn’t a phone. It is a phone, even if it can be more than one.

And yet WordPress is also a CMS. Remember that 58,000 websites in the top 1 million are not blogs or news websites but are powered by WordPress. This means that, as a CMS, WordPress is 3.4 times as popular as Drupal, which means that anyone who says that WordPress isn’t a “real” CMS is smoking something strong.

WordPress’ pedigree as blogging software is a key part of its success as a CMS, for the following reasons:

  1. Blogging helped it focus on usability. Designing a product to do a particular task is always more effective. Drupal and Joomla have always wanted to be expandable. WordPress has always wanted to be used by people. Drupal doesn’t even include a default WYSIWYG editor, because… um, why? It’s not like doing it would be expensive or a lot of work.
  2. It had a clearer business model than the others, and 8.7% of the top communicators in the world could easily use it.
  3. The platform gained instant credibility as soon as websites such as Engadget and Smashing Magazine started using it.
  4. (And the point that is actually most important…) Bloggers know content. And the Web is all about content.

I’m not saying whether this was by luck or by plan, but if your goal 10 years ago was to create a technology that would be used on as many websites in the world as possible, and you approached it with the mindset that the Internet is about content, then you’d probably design the software around writers who are interested in the Internet.

In other words, bloggers.

If your goal 10 years ago was to create a Web technology that would “take over the world,” you might try to get your technology used by as many of the most influential technology-related websites as you could.

In other words, bloggers.

If your goal today was to build a technology based on the single most enduring theme in Web design of the past 15 years, that principle would probably be “Content is king.” Savvy PR and marketing firms the world over are trying to figure out how to make their clients premier sources of information.

In other words, bloggers.

All that being said, I can appreciate why the WordPress community is trying to put less emphasis on its blogging pedigree. But a stronger message about WordPress is out there, which is that other CMS’ focus on the system, while WordPress is all about the content.

Wrapping Up Link

What this all boils down to is that content management systems perform a job for us, which is to manage content. Drupal does this. Joomla does this. WordPress does this. Judging by the market share of CMS’, WordPress just happens to do this very well and more often. WordPress undeniably runs more websites out there than any other competitors on the block.

But I also meant it earlier when I said that, in most cases, any of the top three (or even the top 20) CMS’ out there will do the job admirably well. Picking one CMS over another is usually determined more by the IT department’s personal preference or by the core competency of the firm you are working with or by the platform of choice for peers in your industry.

This is a case study, and it shows that users will choose the tool that best solves their problem and gets the job done. In this case, users are developers and content creators, and when they need to get things done, they want the tool that is right for the job, that is easiest to use and that gives them the best experience.


Footnotes Link

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Jason is an educator, business owner, and author. As one of the first dozen professors of website design in the country, his lectures and workshops dynamically cater to all user levels. His company, Gravity Switch, works with higher education and innovative businesses and is the top agile web development firm in New England. Jason keeps his carbon footprint down by bicycling to work year round. He's enjoying Twitter, so be sure to shout out if you have any impossible problems. He likes to be challenged.

  1. 1

    I’ve been trying to put this into words for the past year for all the WordPress naysayers… And there are a surprising amount of them.

    I’ve used all the popular CMSs, a few less-popular ones, as well as custom ones and written a few of my own. And a lot of them are really great to work with, but I keep going back to WordPress because it’s easy for the end-user (although, arguably, not the EASIEST), and incredibly extensible for the developer. None of the others offer nearly as much support from both the company and the community.

    • 2

      wordpress is much better and easy for everyone and support is great because if you check out joomla support you will see why. Asked simple question in forum and you get banned! Joomla support is not professional in forum but wordpress is amazing and fast response from everyone.

  2. 3

    So true Anna. In the past 6 months, I have converted 5 sites from Joomla to WordPress, so the back end would be easier for customers. And every single one has been impressed and happy with the switch.

    That and a lot of the Joomla guys are really annoying, trying to explain to me why Joomla is clearly better, using generalities like “its inherently more powerful”. Since WordPress is more extensible, it is more powerful, there has never been one shred of evidence about any advantage of Joomla over WordPress. I don’t claim that WordPress is “better”, just simpler for end users, and easier to develop for.

    • 4

      Easier to develop for? LOL!
      Oh, ok… all sites made with WP has nothing really well developed, only simple text and some galleries.

      Your is a fanboy not objective comment, not the comments from “joomla guys”.

      WordPress is used by a lot of “not so good webmasters” to do quantity compared to quality. And to offers to the costumers low “sweet” price for “low quality” and fast build sites.

      • 5

        Jepser Bernardino

        November 30, 2011 3:35 am

        Who are you? I see more sites bad coded in joomla than another CMS

      • 6

        Depends on the developer. You can say the same for joomla, for example.

        Of course, the higher the usage of cms defines higher the amount of “poor” websites. Any open source CMS is a cheap way to do a website, and if it is hard worked, polished and so on, then more expencive it becomes. WordPress is a good platform that minimizes this expences, many things are already polished.

      • 7

        Care to elaborate that a bit? Nothing well developed? Nothing? Really? This doesn’t mean that all of it is poorly developed? Or does is? How would you rate the developing part? And are you suggesting that if i use wp for my customers, i am a.. quack? Me? How did that happen? Help a guy out, how awesomely it should be developed then? What should i use?

      • 8


        Clearly you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • 9

        Yes, but most websites need just that, few pages of text and galleries! I’m Drupal developer myself, I used Drupal for every site up now but I’m strongly considering switching to WordPress because every site I have build was bloated with Drupal advanced options that were not needed.

      • 10

        I totally agree, well said.

        People who use WordPress usually retheme the same generic 5 page web site over and over. So for them WordPress is the best.

        The fact that more sites are powered by WordPress just means there are tons more 5 page crap sites online using Wordpess. Dont get me wrong, there are some very good sites too!

        However try building a large intranet for an Enterprise organisation on wordpress… You cant… you use Drupal. There is less Enterprise companies needing websites than Small to medium Sized ones!

      • 11

        C’mmon guys, developing is not a matter of what brand of CMS you use. WP is awesome because of its flexibility and user-friendly backend for most inexperienced users, mostly the end users. Drupal and Joomla are also great… for geekies and techies. If you’re gonna build a site for dynamic content which is gonna be managed by an end user who actually don’t have a clue of what PHP or MySQL is, WP would be the absolute winner. In the other hand, if you’re gonna build a site for static content, let’s say a portal for a company which is gonna make sporadically changes, then Drupal or Joomla would be the choice.

        Being derogatory from one side to the other would just make you look a bit arrogant and very little understanding with people out of the geek cliché.

        p.s. Sorry for my very bad English, btw. :)

      • 12

        I completely agree with you. I think wordpress is crap for a CMS. People who say otherwise don’t know how to develop a real CMS. Out of the box you cannot figure out your page navigation easily under the pages tab. If you have a few hundred pages nested under other pages, your “pages” tab becomes multiple pages long with indents. How is anyone supposed to know where the contact us page is in the system if everything is in alphabetical order and then indented. Think about it. WordPress is a great blogging platform and should stay at that. Too many plugins and bad developers make wordpress a pain in the ass to deal with for the real developers out there.

    • 13

      Making things simpler for end users and easier to develop for?

      Can you back that up?

    • 14

      Well I will comment that you truly don’t know how to use Joomla then.

      I have set up Joomla and WordPress sites for clients over many years and if you set it up right in the frontend of Joomla can be set up to be extremely user friendly. Much more so than the WordPress mess they call an admin area.

      I have taught non computer users to edit their sites in under 30 minutes. Including content, galleries, news articles and more. You just cannot do that with WordPress.

  3. 15

    It’s the end user that benefits most. Training users and watching their excitement grow as they proclaim ‘Wow I did not know I could do that’ is what make WordPress great IMO.

  4. 16

    Wordpres is succesfull because of the enormous amount of templates available. This makes it easy for a newbie to launch a website. If you want to use your own design, MODX would be an much better and easier option.

  5. 17

    The only alternative to Worpdress is Yii Framework.

    • 18

      I wish I could telegraph a slap to you. Yii Framework?? Really? You’re comparing an MVC framework where you HAVE to write code to a CMS that a newbie can use? You deserve many slaps…

  6. 19

    Well… WP success is a marketing success (thanks to articles like this one). No doubts.
    User interface is probably one of the most user friendly. Ok.
    WP is incredibly slow.
    WP’ APIs are inconsistent.
    WP is poorly written.
    WP’ database structure is.. a total mess (argh wp_postmeta!!).

    I totally agree with Joost : Modx is better by far! (and it’s probably the fastest CMS out there).

    • 20

      Vincent – Quick note about speed, Smashing is a WordPress site and is one of the top 600 most visited sites in the WORLD according to Alexa, so it’s fast and handles a very high volume.

    • 21

      Opsie, It’s the second in google results –

    • 22

      My question to you is, are you doing anything else to manage your page speed, like minify your javascript or offload calls to images to a CDN and use page caching? It doesn’t matter what CMS you use, it’s up to you as a developer to code your themes correctly and use the tools and host providers that can help you improve your page speed. I ran a news site that used large images on the home page and I got WordPress loading the full home down into the 9 second range, and that wasn’t even fully optimized. I’m not working on that site anymore, but if I was, I’m sure we could have shaved off another few seconds.

    • 23

      Daniel Chatfield

      December 20, 2011 12:50 pm

      Well as a WordPress core developer I am offended. WordPress is slow in the sense that any CMS programmed in an interpreted language is slow, but that is what makes it so powerful and extensible – no need to recompile after tweaking a plugin. Any web developer worth his weight in turd would set up caching and thus make it blazingly fast. You say the APIs are inconsistent – examples please? It is a hell of a lot more consistent than PHP. Sure it has a lot of depracated arguments in functions but that is testament to its age and any CMS that has to have backward-compatibility will soon get like that. The database structure is optimized for speed, not how pretty it looks.

      There is a reason why 14.7% of top million websites use WordPress.

    • 24

      Adam Elleston

      January 16, 2012 6:50 am

      So to sum this up

      WordPress is written badly, code and database but popular
      MODx is fast but lacks some things like revision and moderation
      Drupal is bloated and not as fast as MODx but has more enterprise features

      At my work we use Drupal for 90% of our PHP projects because the type of projects we work on can use technologies like Varnish and Memcache which can help overcome some of Drupals short fallings with speed. We would use MODx for smaller sites, due to its previous version having a realistic page limit of around 4-5k but we do have some WordPress sites.

      So isn’t it right tool for the right job. All this “my favourite cms is better” is just personal interest. If we had a spec to decide which CMS would be best for the job that.s fine but there would still be projects the CMS would not be the best choice for.

  7. 25

    I love WordPress because it’s easy to use, very simple, and it has great support community!
    Yet, there was a wrong argument about why Drupal doesn’t implement WYSIWYG editor out of the box. The idea of Drupal is to give high level of control, and customization to the developer. The end result is a CMS with only most needed things, simplified to the bone which makes the site much faster. But on the other hand, it was very hard for me to start learning Drupal, when the first thing I had to do was to find a proper WYSIWYG instead of adding content.

  8. 26

    @Yasen – It can definitely be a pain to use Drupal out of the box if you don’t go in the the expectation that ‘everything is a piece of something.’ Drupal was created by a bunch of developers who wanted total control over every possible moving part they could. This works really well for a lot of sites, and not so great for others.

    I’m a total Drupal geek and even I can attest to the fact that WordPress does have a higher CLIENT satisfaction rate than Drupal in my years of experience. I don’t think it’s fair to measure a CMS based on how many developers think it rules because all that does it get everyone into an ‘I’m better than you’ contest which just becomes an infinite loop. When you are in business to build websites, the CMS you use should be chosen based on the client’s needs. We use 4 different CMS’ in my office and there are uses and situations where each one trumps another. I don’t think that’s really the point of the article though, it’s about market share.

    WordPress definitely did the best job marketing and they continue to do so. That can be proven with something as simple as these URL’s..

  9. 27

    **And because of its corporate ties, WordPress never had the luxury of being able to tell its users to RTFM, nor could it shrug and say, “It works for me.” Rather, the features of WordPress were driven by content people, not techies.**

    For the record, WordPress doesn’t have corporate ties. has a separate user base, separate support forums, separate people deciding on features (there are many that .com makes on its own that aren’t in core), etc.

    While I like to think that all the people volunteering in the forums are too polite to ever say RTFM, it’s not because of a corporate tie, we just don’t like it when people are rude or mean. We try to remember what it was like to be new. That said, it does happen on occasion. Also, our Trac installation has a “worksforme” resolution label that does not go unused. :)

    The scope of each release is decided on by the core team: that’s one ux person (me) and about 8-10 developers with input from additional contributing developers. We do look at the Ideas and Feedback/Requests forums on to see what people are talking about, but we don’t really have “content people” involved in making the feature decisions, unless you count everyone on the team as a content person by virtue of having a WP blog/site.

  10. 28

    I develop websites using both WordPress and Drupal and I choose which CMS to use based on the clients requirements. If the client wants a simple website that doesn’t require too many features then WordPress is the way to go. However if they want a serious website then Drupal is the answer because it is extremely flexible. In my experience WordPress while easy to set up, it lacks basic functionality that make it an inappropriate choice for large scale websites. For example, it lacks a proper events calendar which is now a days a basic functionality that most website could use or need. Also after years of development, WordPress’ search functionality is abysmal. Try searching for anything on a WordPress website and chances are you will not receive any results. Take this site for example: type ‘typography’ into the searchbox and you will get nothing as a result (despite that there are alot of articles about this topic on this website). I don’t know why WordPress haven’t fixed this issue after all these years.

    Don’t get me wrong, you can make some really nice websites with WordPress – but it only works well in limited use cases.

    Drupal may not be popular, but it is by far the better platform for developing websites compared to WordPress. Drupal is not without it drawbacks as well, but I find its issues are less significant then WordPress’. It offers more flexibility and in my opinion is easier to create a great website. The search function actually works in Drupal (and is quite powerful) but that is the least of the benefits that Drupal brings. The ability to easily create custom content types combined with custom views is what makes Drupal shine.

    Popularity does not signify whether a certain CMS is better than another. They both fill certain niches, and I will continue to use both based on the clients needs. After all, I am here to solve their specific problem using the best tool for them.

    • 29

      > Popularity does not signify whether a certain CMS is better than another.

      Well stated!

    • 30

      Aniket Mohite

      May 31, 2013 7:11 pm

      “Popularity does not signify whether a certain CMS is better than another. They both fill certain niches, and I will continue to use both based on the clients needs. After all, I am here to solve their specific problem using the best tool for them.”

      Really Well Said.

      I have been using drupal for 3 years now. Its surely based on a person’s requirement that which CMS platform should be used. Drupal provides high level of customization thanks to modules like Views, cck, panels, etc. Drupal, is now going great with drupal-commerce as well.
      So hope people understand, that drupal is highly extensible & hence such things are getting incorporated in the platform.

      But in the end it comes down to the requirement (end user) & what a person (developer) is comfortable with providing to his client.

  11. 31

    Vassilis Koutouvalis

    November 30, 2011 2:03 am

    Just a heads up, correct the link url of W3Techs top20 CMS.

  12. 32

    Vassilis – Good catch. I’ve put that into the system and it should be fixed soon. Thanks for the heads up.

  13. 33

    I love WordPress. In my experience, WordPress is the easiest if you’re ready to just buy a pre-cut theme and get your content up fast.

    However, if I want to have a custom graphic design with custom content types for a site that isn’t a blog, I would pick ExpressionEngine or Modx over WordPress any day.

    • 34


      Why you would say this doesn’t make any sense to me. WordPress has custom post types, custom post formats, and custom post taxonomies. Where is it written that custom content types are not possible in WordPress?

      Also, if coding WordPress themes was hard, then tell me…why are there 20+ theme dev shops listed under the commercial themes directory on And, why are there a few thousand free themes listed on the free directory?

      My developers at Digital Strategy Works, my WordPress consulting shop, have built many themes for WordPress is standards compliant HTML5 and CSS3 with jQuery and other technologies. WordPress provides functions.php as an entry-way to build tools within your theme. And, many WordPress themes today have their own c-panels.

      I have no idea what you’re drinking, but I would surely make your case for Expression Engine (which was absolutely a horrible UI the last time I checked…I know they’ve updated since then, but I’m too far gone into WordPress to work with it) by citing some rock solid examples, before you go sprouting off that WordPress doesn’t do something that it actually does.

      • 35

        Erich’s comments make perfect sense to me. Also “I have no idea what you’re drinking”, get over yourself! just because someone has a different opinion to you doesn’t make them drunk.

        For a simple site use WordPress. If you are going to need a great deal of custom work then WordPress is terrible. Custom content types in WordPress suck.

  14. 36

    If you unwrap WP and take a deep look, you will find the codes are messy. If you ever need to customize it, you often have to switch back and forth among different files just trying to find for a specific spot…… This makes it hard to maintain.
    Another problem I encountered is regarding the WP plugins. I usually have about 15 plugins installed for each of my site. A lot of WP plugins are poorly written, have sneaky callbacks, poor dependency management and they can really slow your site down. Because WP is extremely easy to install & setup, this makes testing any biz idea using WP very easy. But would I build a high authority website using WP? Probably not , the cost for maintenance and customization could escalated as the site grows. But on the other hand, I haven’t tried other CMS yet, so this assumption could be wrong.

    • 37


      All custom plug-ins for any CMS are usually written by external developers. I’m sure there are plug-ins for Drupal or Joomla that are poorly written. What does this mean? Work with trusted plug-in developer who update often and participate in the WordPress community. Or, work with 3rd party companies and use their plug-ins. For example, if you’re looking for a mailing list plug-in, then use Mail Chimp or Contstant Contact’s WordPress plug-in, instead of a full on mailing list plugin, even though good ones like Newsletter exist.

      I have over 8-years of experience working with WordPress. I have given presentations on WordPress and Social Media and WordPress and Multimedia at WordCamp’s in NYC and Raleigh. There isn’t yet anything I have tried to do on WordPress that is not possible. I have run a WordPress site with 90+ plug-ins and haven’t had nary a problem. Well, maybe I had a problem then removed the issue and asked a developer to update their plug-ins code, or something like that. But, that’s open source.

      I’m sure in the Drupal and Joomla world, you are going to run into the same issue. I surely did with Joomla, which is why I switched over to WordPress 8-years ago.

      Now, I am not a developer–more of a program manager and ia/uxd, but in my extensive and exhaustive research, I’m quite comfortable using WordPress as my primary CMS for client sites and my own sites.

      • 38

        Just as a point to Drupal – all module maintainers on (where pretty much all Drupal modules can be found) must go through a pretty thorough code review of their first module in order for it to be listed on It has served as a very effective way to enforce good coding practices on third-party modules in Drupal.

  15. 39

    to be the best, wordpress, just needs something else: a succesful equivalent of Drupal Views and Custom Content Types, that, would give them a lot more power and ease of use for non hard-code developers.

    • 40

      You can create custom content types and fields as of wordpress 3+, somebody just needs to write a good views plugin ;)

    • 41

      Custom Post Types already exists and is dead simple to use. You can even incorporate them into themes without any extra plugins!

      Custom fields can be used in any post type, and templating them is dead simple.

      Query Wrangler is views for WordPress. But honestly, is it even necessary? In most cases it is so simple to code a template for my post type with custom fields that the time it would take to set up a custom query (or a view) would be the same to just create a custom template. While Views is cool, it is usually not even a necessary concept in WordPress. Just create a custom query with whatever parameters to achieve the exact same thing. In Views you still have to template your view in most cases. WordPress just simplifies the entire process.

      I’ve worked with Drupal Joomla and WordPress. All are good. WordPress has improved so much over the last couple of years that I can say that there really is nothing I cannot do in WordPress that I can do in Joomla or Drupal. And Joomla in many cases will be expensive for functionality, and Drupal will just take way too long to develop and configure everything. WordPress is a good balance. And clients prefer it by far because the backend is so user-friendly. Clients barely require any training and they “get it” the first time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had clients call me back asking questions, totally frustrated with the administrative side of Joomla, and especially Drupal, despite having dumbed it down.

      WordPress’ workflow is much more natural and custom post types can have their own buttons in the menu even. It does not get any more simple than that.

      I have been told that the Drupal community is what makes it so good. Well, many of the people in the “community” are totally rude and snobby. If you ask a simple question, good luck with getting a simple answer, if any one at all for months. WordPress on the other hand is extremely friendly and well documented.

      • 42

        Jay Collier

        July 12, 2012 3:13 pm

        WP Types & Views provide Drupal’s CCK/Views/Blocks functions in WordPress.

  16. 43

    Nice post, never actually seen it broken down like that.

    ps: your link to the top 20 CMS is broken (there’s a bracket at the end of the link address that shouldn’t be there)

  17. 45

    Betamax and VHS all over again, history repeats itself. Quality vs quantity…

  18. 46

    Just want to mention Expression Engine. I’ve used WP, Joomla and Drupal but recently made the switch to Expression Engine because from a development point of view it gives me far more control than these other 3. It’s a blank slate to work with, rather than overbloated code to cut back. Not free and no templates, so difficult for newbies and cheap sites, but good for developers and bespoke designs. Admin interface is even easier than WP (when only edit content is provided).

  19. 47

    It is important to note that in some ways Drupal and WordPress are not competing directly. Drupal is a bit overkill for a simple blog, but if you are making a complex social-network style site than its ‘abstract’-ness and ‘techy’ nature make it a much better option than WordPress.

    Each platform can succeed individually in their own niches.

    • 48

      “…but if you are making a complex social-network style site than its ‘abstract’-ness and ‘techy’ nature make it a much better option than WordPress.”

      I have to say I disagree entirely. I just finished a v2 upgrade of a social intranet for a large hotel chain that has 1650 posts, 182 pages, 5,126 photo galleries, 981 video galleries, 26,640 comments, and 34,029 users. Users are can upload photo galleries, videos, submit blog posts, maintain public profiles, etc. This is all done from a basic install of WP with a few plugins I developed.

      A valid point to make would be, WordPress doesn’t have a “niche” per say. It is flexible enough to handle a wide range of projects.

      • 49

        I don’t think your list of ‘social network’ features was what Nicolas had in mind. I think he means real social networking site (think facebook). The kind only drupal is up to.

    • 50

      BuddyPress for WordPress turns WordPress into a complete social platform. See

      • 51

        “jomsocial” and “joomla community builder” are far more powerful than buddypress

  20. 52

    Christopher Anderton

    December 2, 2011 7:03 pm

    For me is all about the community. In that case WordPress wins hands down. Now, i gonna get some popcorn and watch the upcoming WP vs Joomla Vs Drupal Vs Something else Fanboy war.

  21. 53

    Interesting post. I’m a Drupal developer who hadn’t looked at WordPress for a couple of years until today, but was curious to see if it could do a job for me on some of the basic projects that come my way. It’s inflexibility and blogging mindset are already driving me nuts, for example a lack of custom content types and very crude permalink rules (and apparently performance issues if you tweak them.)
    Oh and I HATE “Howdy, admin”! I’m in the UK and we don’t talk like that. It really does make the whole thing look like it’s aimed at Texan kids :/ Apparently I can hack the source code to change it but as an essentially language issue shouldn’t it be in the database? That way it is kept when the next update comes out. Yes I’ve changed my language to enGB – another php file tweak – but that doesn’t change it, or anything else as far as I can see.
    As for the community support, I had an installation issues which I Googled and found 5 references to people who had the same problem, all of whom asked questions on the WP site but didn’t get an answer and gave up. Fortunately I worked it out for myself, but it’s not a good first impression :( However, I will keep plugging on with it… I’m sure there is a win in there somewhere if only I could find it!

    • 54

      “…for example a lack of custom content types”

      What are you referring to? There’s an entire section in the Codex on custom content types:

      With the latest versions of WP you can register custom content types _and_ custom taxonomies. It takes longer than a cursory once-over before signing off on any CMS, let along the web’s largest.

    • 55

      It’s probably a good exercise to try out some WP sites to expand your horizon, but don’t feel compelled to change from Drupal if it’s working well for you. It all comes down to functionality and workflow. I’m SURE that WP does all those things that you want it to do, and while there are some UI choices I find idiotic, it also has many UI improvements over Drupal.

      The question for you is: Are those advantages worth the time/cost for you to learn a new dev environment?

      • 56

        I have pretty well mastered drupal, joomla a tad and now going to dig into WordPress. is my drupal site. Nice cms system. Looking forward to wp, nice comments, thanks for inputs on cms.

  22. 57

    I have been a Joomla Developer for a couple of years now a had largely ignored WordPress up until a few months ago when I decided to give it a shot. I was extremely surprised at how powerful the platform is and how much power it gives to developers.

    It felt like a breath of fresh air. I can now confidently say that its a better platform. Its easier to use and at the same time extremely powerful and actually.

    I am open minded and always willing to learn new ways of solving problem more efficiently.

  23. 58

    I honestly don’t believe they took the crown because WordPress is not developed to be a full cms as drupal and Joomla! are and it’s very hard to compare WP to these two as its classified as a “blogging” cms. However, WordPress definitely took the blogging world easily from the start. Too bad SixApart messed up with Movable Type in the past because I can say I actually liked MT much better, which is why so many brand name companies used it…but again, WordPress did the very smart thing with open source.

  24. 59

    If I had to pick one thing that I would say makes the difference, it’s “Ease of Development”.

    I’ve been writing code professionally for 15 years now. Longer total, of course (high school, college, etc). What I find in these kind of discussions is that some developers forget what it was like to be a newbie developer from time to time.

    Your new developers are those who have written simple code before. They may be learning PHP for the first time, or only know one or two other languages. Mostly they have written primarily procedural code, not dealt with a lot of Object Oriented programming, and some of the more advanced concepts in programming are a bit of a steep learning curve to them. For these developers, having a very simple way to create plugins or themes is a good thing and encourages participation. They can work with messy code, what they can’t work with is code with high barriers to entry.

    More intermediate and advanced developers tend to prefer well-organized structures. For these developers, code that has been written from the ground-up with a specific and overarching design in mind is very appealing to them. They tend to like OOP, they tend to like well-crafted frameworks, they tend to like structures with organization and hierarchy (in the code).

    Finally, there’s the master programmer. They have trancended beyond the need for design. Occassionally, they are beyond even the need for testing; their programs simply work in the most direct way possible. Such a programmer no longer requires frameworks or even organized structures, because they have seen through to the heart of the system presented to them, and thus can manipulate it directly in the style most suitable to it. They will no longer claim to know specific programming languages, because they have realized that all languages are the same; they are merely interfaces by which they express their will onto the machine and thus are irrelevant. Truly, they have entered into the mystery of the Tao. ;)

    New programmers like WordPress because it’s easier to start using, without having a learning curve like the Matterhorn. Other platforms that are designed with an overarching plan are actually much harder to start learning to use (because you have to learn the framework itself first), but are much more appealing after you have lots of experience developing on “messy” code. Master programmers will just use whatever works the fastest for whatever it is that they are trying to do, and don’t much care about whether or not it’s “pretty”.

    Just my 2 cents, as a novice in The Tao Of Programming. :)

    • 60

      Manuel Vicedo

      January 11, 2012 1:08 pm

      Yes, but you have to keep in mind that, most of the time, the programmer is working for someone else. And chances are, that someone won’t be remotely as knowledgeable as the programmer. It’s all great and nice when a programmer just knows how to cut through all the useless options in a framework and can go straight to the point in order to solve a problem, but in the end they must create something the end user can work with smoothly.

      I think WordPress’ success is in great part (even more than what most give it credit for) due to its simplicity and usability. In contrast with other platforms, I’ve had little trouble guiding my clients through the WordPress admin panel and they have used it with even less effort.

  25. 61

    I started with Joomla, then discovered Drupal.
    I fell in love with Drupal, after many years discovered WordPress,
    I dumped Drupal very fast for my new girlfriend WordPress.
    I fell in love with WordPress because I don’t have to be a PHP expert to code amazing sites of every kind possible. For every functionality I want to add to a site there are 10 or more plugins ready to give service.
    With Joomla and Drupal I got very few jobs as a coder. With WordPress I am swamped.
    These days everybody and their Mama want to convert their websites to WordPress!

    • 62

      Linda Sherman

      December 7, 2011 8:29 am

      Very true. What I am seeing in my client-sphere is is a huge demand for conversion from everything else to WordPress. Usually from relatively small, static sites.

      Regardless of developer preference, in most cases, if a non-techie client wants to independently maintain, possibly tweak their website, blog for SEO and be social, WordPress is usually a better CMS for them.

      I have had social marketing clients on JoomLA and every addition we needed was more challenging than on WordPress. Yes, there was an interface for adding meta-tags to posts but more time consuming than on WordPress. One client started a radio pod-cast. With WordPress, there are very easy plug-ins to post on iTunes. On JoomLA, it was a hideous manual process.

      Jzigbe – your advantage is that you Know all three platforms so conversion should be easier for you. Have you encountered JoomLA sites with intense blogging activity and found a way to import those posts?

  26. 63


    Good analysis and good reason not to minimize the blogging aspect of WordPress.

    Not all 60 year old IT people are behind on new technology. Don’t forget that the some of those 60 year old IT people put the internet together. I guess they did it so today’s technology people would have new toys like Twitter.

    • 64

      Ha ha! Life starts at 60.
      There are many 60 year olds with a very active mind. [And not to forget all that accumulated wisdom!]

    • 65

      Point taken. Was based on some experiences I had with some very “web resistant” IT people who fell in love with how simple WordPress is.

      No slight intended and hopefully none felt.

  27. 66

    Harmony Steel

    December 5, 2011 6:40 pm

    I have to throw my hat into the ring for MODx as well.

    I’ve worked with WordPress, Joomla (ack, hate it!), Objectify, and more custom CMS systems than I can count, and MODx beats them all hands down in my experience. It’s just so easy to design and develop for, doesn’t interfere with your code, and is super easy for client’s to use plus the support and docs are getting better by the day.

    Also, and this is just a hunch but a pretty strong one for me, I think blogs are on the way out. Online interaction is so much more about a personal connection these days, e.g. following your favourite band or clothing label or writer friend on Facebook or Google Plus.

    Just my 2 cents anyway. Thanks for the thought-provoking article :)


    • 67

      I will look into ModX at your suggestion, to test and see what it’s capable of. Thanks for sharing.

    • 68

      Respectfully, I disagree.

      Blogs and the like are popular and will remain popular because people like to have an outlet. When you author a post, send it out into the web and see that people are reading, responding to and sharing it, it’s extremely validating.

      Social networking is important and will continue to be because it satisfies a basic human need for companionship that many people can’t get enough of in the real world. However, it will not replace blogging in the short term. There are millions of active Tumblrs and WordPress blogs to prove my point.

  28. 69

    From my experience as an agency project manager, I’ve seen how it takes longer for clients to learn how to administer Drupal than WordPress. But I also tend to see Drupal used to build fairly complex sites, which probably exacerbates the ease-of-use comparison — my personal WordPress blog doesn’t need to do what my clients’ Drupal sites need to do.

    Ultimately, clients will probably be happiest when they find an interactive agency they like and where they’ve confirmed the agency has experience in the technology it recommends.

    Jason, thanks for a thoughtful, data-driven article!

  29. 70

    The author will have you believe that the size of installed base is a testament to refinement and quality. It is certainly not. I have only two word for the author: Internet Explorer.

    • 71

      No one is forcing anyone to use WordPress, so your analogy is somewhat misguided. IE has such high market share for a number of reasons, from ignorance of other browsers (or technology in general) to corporate lockdown for security purposes.

      In any case, people choose WordPress because it’s simple to use and gets the job done. I’ve personally built 20+ websites on the CMS, ranging from corporate websites to micro social networks to online stores, all running flawlessly on WP.

  30. 72

    “Drupal doesn’t even include a default WYSIWYG editor, because… um, why? It’s not like doing it would be expensive or a lot of work.”

    The lack of a core Drupal WYSIWYG editor is but one of many of the manifestations of the different philosophies between the two projects. As you have stated, WP’s bread and butter is bloggers. A lack of vision for more robust sties means some have come to think of it as an essential tool for every CMS.

    I for one hope a WYSIWYG never becomes part of Drupal core.

    If a Drupal developer wants WYSIWYG functionality, it is a quick and easy install (several options are available including CKEditor and the WYSIWYG modules). These full-feature modules include an accompanying .js file which makes it very simple to provide unique toolbars based on the user’s role. An anonymous visitor may only be presented bold and italic buttons, a mid-grade user may be allowed to choose from a list of predetermined styles, while the admins get a complete panel with full font control, media embed and teaser break buttons, etc. However, users on other sites may prefer lighter options which although they still render buttons, they omit the visual preview such as BUEditor (Native support for .html tags, bbcode tags, and other markup systems) or the Markdown Filter (It is meant to be as human-readable as possible when left as “source”.) And other developers may wish to simply enter the HTML tags as needed. Core Drupal allows the developer to select which tags can be used, again based on user role.

    However, the larger issue is most of Drupal’s content may never need any inline styles at all! From your above graph, the majority of Drupal’s sites are not blog/news. In sites with structured data, the developer will always know what the field will contain. Thus from a data integrity standpoint, it is much better to store as plain text, pass it through a template to assign an id/class, and style with .css. If you are building a store, you will easily be able to control how the title, description, caption and price will be styled. It will always be consistent from product to product and should this data ever need to be presented in another place (like a teaser list, block of new or related content, sale or bundled items, etc.) it can simply be restyled as appropriate.

    Drupal core’s lack of WYSIWYG functionality is a feature…not a bug!

  31. 73

    Thanks for your post. You make an statement near the beginning of the article that I can’t imagine you standing by on a day-to-day basis. You say “Let’s be honest. It probably doesn’t matter which of the top 20 CMS’ you choose.” In my experience, after going through the discovery process for any particular project, it probably matters intensely which CMS you choose.

  32. 74

    This is not to say which is better, but more a fun fact. Many US government sites are made with Drupal including

  33. 75

    I very love WordPress because it easy to use than Joomla, Drupal, special Joomla is very hard to modify something and we must know hundreds funtions joomla, knowledge about mvc, xml… and do a lot step by step before we reach what something you want.

    WordPress is much different it natural and comfortable we just go straight what we want and not to do a lot of requirement from joomla, drupal , than more we haven’t learn so much about new functions we just some know about PHP language and some functions of WordPress that all

    Final I lost three hour for make a new site with WordPress after fnish HTML+CSS

    In joomla I can’t and never dream about that, with WordPress I can make it so easy. Simple is better

  34. 76

    alexandru furculita

    March 6, 2012 1:57 pm

    the only alternative to wordpress is wordpress

  35. 77

    Franco Iavicoli

    March 28, 2012 12:00 am

    I use Joomla but the WordPress idea has always been attractive for me… time for a change?
    I agree with the age of contents as a must and in my sites, in most cases (if I want a better seo), i bet on unique contents;
    but one thing has always surprised me: it looks like if WP (maybe easier code), permits a better PR, is it true? Also for example for a 400pages web site?
    Thanks for you welcome suggestions!
    :-) frnk

  36. 78

    Great post! Thanks for that!

    But there are some mistakes in numbers I think:

    1) “ is the 18th most visited website in the world. Its tagline is “A better way to blog,” and it claims to have “355,355 bloggers.””

    355K – I believe that was the number of how many bloggers have posted at that day (when you have checked it up). Actually, home page shows the number of “TODAY”s bloggers. has much more bloggers – tens of millions (about 30-35M).

    2) “And yet WordPress is also a CMS. Remember that 58,000 websites in the top 1 million are not blogs or news websites but are powered by WordPress.”

    58K Seems to be very small to me. I mean, 55% of top 1 million web-sites is 550 000 I think..

  37. 79

    As an internet profesionnal and one of the administrator of, I read tons of blogs and websites, and most of the time,
    It is the same useless, « listen to me talk » kind of flappy articles.
    But THIS one, is the first one that really has something to say and truly educates its readers.
    Thanks you for making my day
    Keep it up

  38. 80

    Micke Svensson

    May 12, 2012 2:51 pm

    After working in Joomla, Worpress, Concrete5 and ModX … I say Modx rocks.

    • No need for “templating” – just do it in HTML/CSS and pull [[*content]] etc in there.
    • Modifers are making my day: [[*id:is=`1`:then=`[[*content]]`:else=`[[*pagetiltle]]`]] … (there are tons of other ways to use this)
    • Custom post with “TV” makes it super easy to make custom pages.
    • Caching is super flexible and you can cache parts of page or the hole page. There are more caching options than I ever seen before.
    • Manager – you can downscale the admin area so end users just see the parts they need to see. You have total controll over every singel part of the manager – down to every checkbox. You can also rename the tabs and the menus to fit your client.
    • Safety! The fact that you can put your core and manager outside (!!) if the /root-map is more than safe in my view.
    • Permission: Modx gives you controll over who can do what down to the level were you never been before :)
    • No PHP can come in exept from “snippets” inside from Modx and that makes SQL-Injections more or less impossible as I understand it.
    • All the major add-ons are there – and if you take time to read the instructions you can do everything you dream of.

    • No out of the box solutions
    • Not for people who can´t write HTML

    I will strongly recomend all developers to look into ModX and take the time to learn it. After the steep hill is a sweeeet ride downhill :)


    • 81

      Ralph Hardwick

      September 7, 2012 2:08 am

      If you really want to blow your mind with what is possible from a CMS look into TYPO3.

  39. 82

    I have a question…..

    If the only coding i know is HTML & CSS what is the best CMS for me to work with?

    • 83

      Use any of them. CSS knowledge can be handy for many CMS users but you don’t really need html or css knowledge with Joomla (a bit archaic now, it sounds like knowing how to page someone). CMS stands for content management system so everything is pre-defined for ease of use, this includes html and css codes. Joomla templates are so easy to edit as they usually come with professional frameworks. Visit rockettheme website. You can also find free but professional templates at

      • 84

        Ralph Hardwick

        September 7, 2012 2:07 am

        Content Management System means the information displayed on the website. The presentation layer (CSS) should not be handled by a CMS.

        Technically, WordPress is more of a website management / builder system than a CMS.

  40. 85

    The point is webhosting is not free and for fan bloggers there are twitter and facebook for more uptodate and quick sharing. You also have google and msn services. So why pay for domain and webhosting just to have a wordpress website?

    I agree that WordPress has expanded its services (plugins) and functionality but that is to be able to compete against Joomla. Drupal is a past and I cannot say much about them. I am sure it is a stable CMS but I suppose you can stick to it if it answers your websites needs.

    The bottom line is Joomla invents, others try to catch up or re-invent. For those who find joomla difficult to use, please, my grandma can use it…just dedicate some time and follow the guidelines when installing addons.

    The only thing I don’t like about Joomla at the moment is its speed. You have to be careful when you are installing addons to Joomla since they can be heavy on the server depending on how many of them are in use. I suppose commercial and popular websites can solve this issue by opting for a VPS rather than a shared hosting. Finally, there are numberless free addons for Joomla and some of them does not follow clean html guidelines. This can be an issue for Wp as well. But luckily i have found a free plugin on joomla to sort this out the other day.

  41. 86

    Sandy Coops

    July 24, 2012 3:18 am

    There is no wonder about this one. WordPress has the best and easiest of all platforms. This makes it user friendly and time consuming. Hence it has the best market share. Even I would be using wordpress any given day.

  42. 87

    Tom Kisielewski

    August 17, 2012 4:30 am

    Eveything is up to you,your skills, or your clients. Drupal 7 is fantastic, huge flexibility without doing any code, just gui. a bit lack of “cool” modules, but everything is excellent. Clean and intuitive user experience, easy updates ( excluding CORE which needs FTP access), but lack of wysisyg build in editor. Good SEO out of the box, free modules to enhance it! Joomla, easier for clients, great with “cool stuff”, some modules poor quality, even paid ones. A bit messy back end development if compare to Drupal ( my opinion ). Both are good CMS out of the box, the rest depends on your skills.
    Wordpress…well, gave me nothing what I couldn’t done in Drupal or Joomla. I builded few sites, but I have never felt comfortable with it.
    Summing up: Because it is the most popular CMS on the planet Earth, doesn’t mean it is the best.
    Popularity doesn’t mean quality. 90% poeople use Windows, I try not to, got freedom of choice that is why I like OpenSource !!!

  43. 88

    Antonio Madonna

    August 30, 2012 2:11 am

    In my opinion, WordPress is fantastic for low budget websites. There a lot of high quality cool themes and you can create a simple website in less than an hour. Also the user interface is much more friendly.

    However, for complex websites Drupal is the best choice. WordPress have nothing comparable to Drupal custom content types (please don’t tell me WP has custom fields!), Views and ImageStyles. The last one is a must for any website with 10+ pages which is not a blog. I have seen a lot of WP websites that resize images via img’s width and height attributes and this says a lot about the professionality of the people who built them!

    Of course, being written in PHP, WP can be customized to do anything, even complex wesites, but that doesn’t mean it is built for that.

    Finally, Drupal modules are of very high quality. It is hard to find a serious bug in a Drupal module. The same can’t be said for WP.

  44. 89

    Ralph Hardwick

    September 7, 2012 2:04 am

    There is nothing wrong with using WordPress as a CMS, but it would never be my first choice as one. The codebase is mature, but not designed to handle complex websites very well. It also has numerous functionality problems that can be overcome, but why should you have to do that?

    As already mentioned, being ubiquitous doesn’t necessarily mean something is any good. Quantity over quality and all that.

    To summarise, WordPress is great if you are a non-techie and need to get something working but I doubt you’d find many a digital project manager suggesting it.

    Personally I spec TYPO3 for large sites / e-commerce systems and Drupal for brochure sites and lower budget work. However, if a client demands WordPress then I have no problem using it.

  45. 90

    What CMS is running on and if it’s WordPress, why does “WordPress” not show up in Wappalyzer ?

  46. 91

    What about the bloat factor. I am currently moving a fairly simple Drupal site from one server to another and I’m looking at tens of megabytes of files, most of which I am guessing are not even needed.

  47. 92

    You Made Me Smile

    Aside from being a wonderful article, you said:

    “It’s easy enough that a 60-year-old IT employee can set up a company CMS without losing face for not being up to date on the newest technology.”

    Trust me, that line made me smile.

  48. 93

    Can someone name one Fortune 1000 that has their .com on wordpress? This is so ridiculous Drupal is the only enterprise ready CMS of all of these and it isn’t even close. Large companies use wordpress for their blogs that is it. You say that top websites are using WordPress – what top websites (don’t say anything that begins with blog.)

    • 94

      Let’s see here…

      CNN, Time Magazine, Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, Wired, Forbes, Reader’s Digest, MTV, Spotify, BoingBoing, Mashable, TechCrunch, InfoWars… the list goes on. Google “list of sites that use wordpress” to see a ton of great articles that show who uses what.

      54% of the Alexa top 10,000 sites use WordPress. To see how it breaks down, take a look at this page (updated weekly):

      Foot, meet mouth. Mouth, meet foot.

  49. 95

    Hmmm..sounds like an argument between Coke, Pepsi and Nestle! :)

    Seriously, to each his own. Drupal, Joomla and WordPress are all fine CMS applications and, in the right hands, can do the job!

  50. 96

    Most of the comments above seem to be from developers rooting for a specific CMS. I have 2 sites in Drupal that were made 4 years back (Drupal 5). I a complete non-techie but I just love the way Drupal presents ‘building blocks’ that you craft it into. As an architect, the slateboard is mine.

    But I just find stuff too difficult to setup – like having a nice design, plugins falling apart, installation issues.

    I also have another blog setup in WP and I find it too simple to use, especially after I’ve used Drupal. Maybe too simple for a webmaster / site architect to really tweak. That said, the front is really easy for anyone to appreciate with the millions of themes and all.

    Now I need suggestions, I’m building a traditional – content site plus social networking features. Essentially the site would be driven by user generated content (travel reviews) plus editorial content (travel guides). I’m attracted to using Drupal again (+ Drupal Commons) but as a non-geek this would take me days of preparation to the minutest detail. I’m pulled in WordPress MU + Buddypress. Would business owners recommend going the WP way or ?


  51. 97

    christian gibson

    November 15, 2012 2:54 pm

    Wpress is clearly the most popular CMS – but who are the users? If the ca. 9% Joomla users and 8% Drupal users are primarily businesses and the ca. 54% Wpress users are primarily private bloggers then that would be a good reason for new companies to look at Joomla or Drupal rather than Wpress. Suppose the average income of Wpress site owners is US$ 20,000.00 (largely private bloggers), the average income of Joomla site owners is US$ 2,000,000.00 (many more company owners) and the average income of Drupal site owners is US$ 2,500,000.00 (slightly larger companies). If you then multiply the average income of site owners by the numbers of sites on the market then the pie chart could look radically different to what we are currently seeing as an analysis of ‘market share’ …… “there are lies, damned lies and statistics” :)

  52. 98

    WordPress is well known for being the least protected CMS.Furthermore,WP plug-ins and styles too come with their discuss of hackers and uses.

    while in Drupal Development, however, seems to be the most protected CMS of the three, with the least variety of hackers and uses, on an average.

  53. 99

    Great Comparison!!! WordPress is best CMS if you want to learn and build website fast. Create blog more magic.

  54. 100

    LOL! ROFL!

    Putting wordpress in a category with drupal “because there are lots of non-blog sites” is like “hey, there is an office app fopr the iphone, now it’s a desktop computer!”

  55. 101

    The last time I am working with Joomla just because I want to make a ”random website” to see whats coming out.
    Wordpress is my favourite CMS that represents my idea’s very easily and I am preferring other people to use WP in stead of Joomla!

  56. 102

    Too may Toyota on the road does not mean Mercedes is crummy!!!

  57. 103

    David Martinez

    February 20, 2013 1:20 pm

    YAY! I’m comment 100.

    WordPress is awesome. One big issue. Since it is so ubiquitous, it can get hacked easily – so locking it down or ‘hardening’ it is essential.

    IMHO (and after tooling with websites for 15 years)
    Drupal for 90% of small businesses is over kill. Most small business clients need store front content, i.e. pages such as: services, about us, contact us, mission statement, etc. They also need a way to get their news out which they can use the blogging feature for.

    For the other 10% of small businesses that need customization and total control for their engineers (or consultants), then there is Drupal.

    My 2 cents.

  58. 104

    Joomla is powerfull and gets hacked a LOT less than WP. Not as geeky as drupal and not as bloggy as WP admin.

    Joomla can be set up to run for the client and not the geek.

    I have successfully created admin template overrides that make adding an article so easy that even a monkey could do it. No bloated wysywigs , and full CCK style structures where styles and content can NOT break. No short codes – nothing of the sort. Just point and click , choose media,docs,photos etc… wizard style steps. Just like the future of any GUI stuff is and will be.

    No matter what you do with word press or drupal you are still stuck with the most clunky and confusing interface for the end user ( The client )

    The reason wordpress is more popular is because so many designers grabbed a free blog and thought wow! look at all these themes. They will even use plugins to build a great interface like custom fields etc.. but then if they have to do something to the code they have no idea at all.

    Joomla allows you to over-ride the entire system and create very powerful and very lean coded front end and back-end custom templates to suit the client not the geek.

    WordPress is overrated by gen y web junkies. Drupal for geeks. Mambo / Joomla the original and best OpenSource cms in the world.

  59. 105

    Centralpoint(through a company named Oxcyon) is the best CMS my employees and I have used thus far. We range from people with IT experience, techies and people with no IT training. Centralpoint has been compatible for us all. If I had to describe the program itself in one word, I’d say ‘modules’. There’s so many of them. It’s not a bad thing. WIth many modules, all your needs will be covered with ease. Centralpoint has a lot to offer. I was exploring their site and there was this banner that said “modular so anyone can build”. After using this program for 5+ years now, it’s so true. You can move the module fields anywhere you want. The functions such as print, comment, rate, etc, are done as standard scripts so you just paste it where you want it.

  60. 106

    I feel like I’m in an Mac v. PC comments thread, here….

    But most commenters’ arguments center around what’s best for development — all well and good for us developers. After the site is launched and your contract ends, who’s updating the site on a daily basis? Our university had to re-migrate the entire site two years later because we couldn’t train anyone on the CMS — it was too difficult to use for non-techies. The one we have now is great, WYSIWYG interface, easily customizable and extensible templates, the list goes on, but everyday users STILL have a hard time updating content (most have never peeked into code view and wouldn’t even know what a “tag” is for). That means as IT staff, I often have to troubleshoot things like how to copy and paste, or insert a photograph.

    I’m sure this is why WP has gained ground. It’s not what we use here, but I know several small business owners and friends who use it, and friends who build sites with it. WP site owners can happily update their sites several times per day thanks to a thoughtful developer who’s set up easy and foolproof systems for them to do so.

  61. 107

    I really like Centralpoint for its document manager. It’s easily managed and I can find it within my site and I’m also able to search by taxonomy types. This specific module centralizes the management of media across different audience types and sites. Pretty cool. It really gives you control over all the current and archived documents. Using the taxonomy types for this module help manage your records easily. As far as site visitors, using those types allows them to ‘find’ the records easily as well. I know that this program has a lot of other modules which I have yet to monkey around in. So far, I’m very impressed. It’s been a smooth transition from me previous CMS program. I like Centralpoint by Oxcyon a whole lot better.

  62. 108

    After the few CMS programs I’ve tried not being able to provide me with everything I need and on top of that, provide me those things with ease, I was weary about trying yet another program. I began to do my research and came across some positives reviews about Centralpoint by Oxcyon. I think there’s always some positive reviews about every program out there, so I took it further and called their references. Those were all positive too. I then gave it a shot. I couldn’t be happier. So far, I have no complaints whatsoever.
    Something that struck me as really neat is the text broadcasting module(just one module out of many, many more). What it does is give you the ability to send emails or text alerts to your users cell phone. You can even go as far as personalizing those texts. Of course they have the option to “opt out” but you can still see how many of those messages were opened and by whom. I think in today’s technology driven world, it’s a good tactic to advertise and inform the customers about new things happening such as promotions and deals.

  63. 109

    I guess it comes down to what you are used to. If you have spent two years learning all there is to do with WordPress without learning Drupal or Joomla then you are hardly likely to find the advantages in other CMSs. I have used Joomla a little and found it really horrible, I have used WordPress somewhat and can most definitely understand why it has the market share and I have climbed the steep Drupal learning curve. I can’t imagine building a site in WordPress now because although the user interface seems logical to begin with, the drupal architecture is more logical in the long run. Its the old ‘windows/unix’ debate. Which is easier -click, click, click, right click, type, click, right click type…or just learn how to use the frickin command line.

  64. 110

    If I had to point in any direction regarding what CMS program to use, I’d say to go for Centralpoint. I have used countless of CMS programs in my time. Perhaps there’s no such thing as the ‘best’ program, because every person has different needs. However, Centralpoint by Oxcyon is my favorite. I believe that it will cater to any need or want you have with a CMS program. You also don’t need IT training to get around in it, either. The modules provided within the program are useful and will end up saving you a lot of time and effort. To name a few of my favorite modules, there’s microsite building, E-commerce, business intelligence an publishing modules. Definitely give this program a shot.

  65. 111

    I don’t think WordPress is the easiest to set up. I would recommend I searched for some time before I used it. It’s powerful for a decent pro looking site, but I’m probably going to switch due to lack of plugins for more functionality.

  66. 112

    Rafael Caceres

    May 13, 2013 2:40 pm

    First, I don’t use wordpress for about 6 years, so I’m really outdated. I have some questions.

    In past 3 years, drupal really grow up as an enterprise CMS/Framework. That’s a lot of distributions to several needs. Recently we create a distribution for travel product to a client in less then 1 day. It’s easy to build wordpress distros?

    Now drupal has an distribution to make distributions. With this distro (panel’s based), the content creator can make pages just picking a layout and drad’n’drop content.

    WordPress has drag’n’drop page creation?

    And how about changing layout without any CSS? (login as demo/demo)

    Drupal distros is app’s based, so we can get and app server and distribute features online. WordPress have something like that?

    How about wordpress deployment? Is there some configuration manager that can be versioned?

    Well, to finish my 2 cents, the “easy to use” CMS should be focused on the content editor, not on developers.

  67. 113

    Malik Merchant

    July 11, 2013 2:57 am

    There is no single factor on which you judge a CMS Platform. It’s like choosing a car and comparing the Engine, Handling, Safety, Features, Design, Price & 100 other things.

    But if you consider the following features and try to choose the best CMS with highest possible points – WordPress beats every other CMS Platform in market by high margin.

    #1) Easiest to use ( the best part of WP )
    #2) Highly customizable ( post, page, custom field type – everything works nicely )
    #3) Design customization ( amazing & beautiful – check )
    #4) Adding functionality ( hundreds of thousands of Plug-ins can do the job )
    #5) Speed ( never slows down – it depends on your Host )
    #6) Massive Data Volume ( runs with MILLIONS of pages, so it’s not the CMS – it’s the quality of host & your connection speed )
    #7) Customization ( corporate website, directory, portal, eCommerce, gallery, blog, social network, affiliate platform, forum or virtually anything is possible…! )

    I can only laugh on guys who say that it can’t handle large volume of data and it’s only good for 4 or 5 page websites. They simply don’t know how powerful & highly customizable WordPress is.

    It doesn’t mean Drupal or Joomla is not good – but considering all the above factors WordPress is the #1 & most obvious choice.

    • 114

      @Malik Merchant
      concerning #6: while your server specs (cpu, ram and disk i/o) do play a large role… there is something to be said for a) loading 30mb of php for every request, b) poorly optimised sql queries.

      concerning #7: while you might be able to shoehorn wordpress into doing something other than date based entries, it won’t excel at the workflow.

      To be honest, if I wanted a blog with a custom theme for a client, I’d sign them up to and pay for a custom theme. My time is too precious to be wasting on crappy shared hosting or installing wordpress and the related database. Just let the guys at handle it.

      For anything else where you’ll be installing and managing a server and a database.. you use Django and Amazon Ec2.

  68. 115

    ” It’s easy enough that a 60-year-old IT employee can set up a company CMS without losing face for not being up to date on the newest technology”

    Another example of everyday ageism. It’s easy enough that anyone who’s not up to date can set it up. Age has nothing to do with it. You wouldn’t say it’s easy enough for a woman to setup (please tell me you wouldn’t).

  69. 116

    I realize this post is not quite fresh, but can’t help putting my five cent in:)
    First – “anyone who says that WordPress isn’t a “real” CMS is smoking something strong” – I love how you put it, Jason, and love your style. Your post is really engaging and pleasantly different from traditional ‘vs posts’ that compare features and tech details.

    Still, there’s one thing I am not getting – what exactly type of WordPress are you talking about? There’s data on the .com version as well as self hosted WP – but they’re totally different. While is just a blogging resource, is much more than that. Plus, evidently you refer to self-hosted Joomla ( which actually is the only version), and self hosted Drupal, so I’d stick to standalone WordPress as well here…

    Last, but not least – in most cases, discussions which CMS is best turn into heated debates alike football fans attacks. But it’s not about the type of software you’re using or the brand (and I’m nowhere near to being first to state this), it’s about the purpose, the goals and the most suitable tool for developing your site. Period.
    I recently switched my own Joomla site over to WordPress when I decided to change the whole concept, and never regretted it (btw, used this plugin:

    In my experience, I build websites for clients on various CMS platforms, and happened to persuade them use this or that tool as it will be better fit than the one they preferred (even if it confronted my own preferences).
    So, WordPress caters for the biggest niche now, but who knows what it’s going to be like in the future..

  70. 117

    drupal is hard to learn, but once mastered it can easily beat to any other cms in every aspect. for example, if the writer is drupal CMS builder ,he wont use jpg image in market share article to represent graphical information, he would rather used graphical module in drupal to show dynamic way just like google analytics rather than simple jpg image created in photoshop.

  71. 118

    Missing in this excellent discussion is the interaction between designer and developer on a team in a web design firm. There seems to be consensus that Drupal appeals to geek-ier developers. But what about the designers who work in a team with a developer to DESIGN a website that will have the kind of consistent visual design, clear information hierarachy, and clean html that enables the DESIGNER to do her job well?

    In my limited experience, Drupal developers seem to be very stubborn in the way in which they want to set up and install a Drupal site. Maybe there are ways to make the interaction between design and development smoother in terms of how the developer uses Drupal. Maybe only some Drupal developers have that level of knowledge.

    If they don’t, I find it much easier to work with a WP install to implement a sound functional visual design and UI than I do working with a Drupal developer. It would be interesting to hear from other designers who team with developers on how they would compare the ease of being able to design well with Drupal vs WordPress when they are not also the developers.

  72. 119

    this is bullshit for one reason. wordpress was popular because it was good blog. that’s all the bloggers cared about. once it became a cms, what are the bloggers going to do with those extra features? it’s not like they need them or want them, since they didn’t need them or want them in the past. it’s not like they could handle the extra robust features of the cms parts of the code, since they couldn’t handle it in the other cms’s (for those that did try other cms’s), and for the one’s that didn’t try other cms’s, they didn’t care about the cms features, so there really wasn’t a need for wp to attach cms capability. and finally, wp went from specializing in blog to being an all-in-one solution, which is what they faulted the other cms’s for being, so essentially they became like the enemy/competition.

  73. 120

    rant, part 2… i don’t care that WordPress became a CMS then took CMS crown, i’m still going to use Joomla. furthermore, the ease of use argument just means there are tons of stupid and lazy people out there. just like the ease of use (and the “it just works”) argument for iPhones. tons of idiots that don’t want to fiddle around/dick around with settings and what-not. well, guess what…….Android blew up and surpassed iOS. how do you like them apples? now Apple and Microsoft have to sue Google because that’s the only place they can compete is in court. anyway back to the CMS topic….i’m still going to be loyal to Joomla just like i have been with Android.

  74. 121

    Does WordPress even support 1 of the following Joomla features out of the box?:

    1) i18n support out of the box
    In wordpress – would you really argue that gettext statements like: printf( _n( ‘We deleted one spam message.’, ‘We deleted %d spam messages.’, $count, ‘my-text-domain’ ), $count ); is “easy and intuitive for non techie users” that wish to translate their content?

    2) Responsive (mobile-friendly) design out of the box
    Finding and installing custom templates to accommodate your needs is not considered “out of the box”.

    3) 2 factor authentication out of the box.
    Again: Choosing amongst of myriad of wordpress plugins to enable 2 factor authentication, possibly requiring various configurations – is not considered “out of the box”

    4) Fine-grain ACL for every aspect of your site out of the box.
    Ref “WP doesn’t currently have a roles-based system”

    5) Easily override any system functionality out of the box
    The architecture of wordpress does not adhere to logic which allows overrides in a similar intuitive approach for every aspect of functionality.

    Just to mention a few..

    Of course I would agree that wordpress is also easy to use if your main goal is to have a small set of common requirements, and getting things up and running in a hurry.

    I would argue that a default Joomla installation is AT LEAST as straight forward – and if your goal is to meet a set of custom client requirements, and endorsing them in a way that you could easily upgrade (at the push of a button) without having to modify anything after a core upgrade – Joomla is a clear favourite. I use both – but as clients requirements often tend to escalate, I seem to always find it easier in the end to use Joomla.

  75. 122

    Can I simply just say what a comfort to find someone who truly knows what they are talking about on the internet. You definitely understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people should check this out and understand this side of the story. I was surprised you aren’t more popular because you most certainly possess the gift.

  76. 123

    Dinh Viet Hung

    March 13, 2014 7:02 pm

    Hi Guys,
    This post seem to be a bit outdated now. I wrote a quite complete comparison last night

  77. 124

    Sweet site, super pattern, rattling clean and use friendly.

  78. 125

    “When I want to understand how popular something is, one of the first places I go to is Google Trends. Based on WordPress’ market share, I expected to find that it is searched for about five times as often as Joomla and about nine times as often as Drupal.”

    Don’t know if you can assume every search is related to an adoption decision. They could be support searches. I probably did 50 help searches today alone about Drupal.

  79. 126

    Actually, WordPress took the crown from Joomla, and not from Drupal. Drupal’s usage (because of its complexity) is far lower than that of WordPress and Joomla and this was always the case.

    By the way, extremely large websites favor Drupal over Joomla and WordPress.

  80. 127

    I have a number of clients, initially we developed client sites with Joomla but after having so much hassle trying to get the sites working and the plugins working we decided to use something else…and that was WordPress. We’ve had no issues with the sites or the plugins. WordPress just works. We wish we’d used that from the start for all our clients. Seriously, Joomla is terrible. Use WordPress, please just use it – I wanted to save someone a LOT of hassle – stay clear of Joomla. It sucks.


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