A Close Look at Joomla: How Does it Compare to WordPress and Drupal?


WordPress gets a fair bit of publicity as the most widely installed content management system (CMS). Drupal, another popular CMS, is widely known but technically thought of more as a “content management framework” because it is a little heavier on the technical side and taking advantage of it requires a bit of a learning curve.

Where does this put Joomla, the other major player in open source CMS? Joomla is installed on 8.5% of websites in which the CMS can be identified, which is 2.7% of websites overall. With its significant presence in the field of site management, let’s take a look at Joomla in reference to the alternatives.

Installation of Joomla is much like installation of WordPress or Drupal. Hosting providers typically present one-click install options that give a webmaster the ability to quickly deploy the CMS to a ny domain.

Joomla is very flexible but also takes a very friendly and guided approach to getting a website up and running. The default page under the administrator login provides a helpful, streamlined guide to getting started and puts heavy emphasis on providing sample sites in order for the webmaster to get a sense of what is possible. The administrator is pointed to helpful links on both using extensions and modifying templates.

Joomla’s main strength is that it provides much of the flexibility of Drupal but with a design rather than tech-oriented focus. WordPress is a blogging platform foremost, and extending it to function as a general enterprise website – as for e-commerce – takes about the same level of expertise as managing Drupal. Joomla allows the designer a great deal of plug and play flexibility to move away from the blog paradigm but without having to grind as much with configuration files, CSS, PHP concepts, and hunti ng down correct the right versions of modules as you would with the Drupal.

Unlike WordPress and Drupal, one drawback to Joomla (at least version 2.5) is that the admin interface is not as cleanly integrated into web browsing. WordPress uses a convenient top menu bar and side navigation pane. Drupal 7 uses an extremely intuitive top menu interface that calls up dropdowns and  hovering dialogue panes. Joomla 3.0, however, has an interface that is similar to that of Drupal 7.

Sometimes the choice of CMS is a matter of website needs, and other times it is a matter of preference, but as Joomla combines the best of all worlds in CMS it is an extremely safe bet for any website.

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