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Best Open Source CMS: WordPress, Joomla or Drupal?

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The best open source CMS is a subject of heavy debate. Which one to use is a big factor in how a site evolves.

Web content management starts with picking the right system for publishing.

Go to a webmaster forum on the Internet and ask, “What is the best Web CMS for me to use for my site?” Differences of opinion will sprout faster than crabcrass in a front yard.

Following are three brief reviews of what are arguably the most popular free and open-source content management systems available on the Internet — WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.

These briefs are the opinions of a webmaster who has built and maintained sites on all three systems.

WordPress

Pros: Anyone venturing into building a site on a Web CMS for the first time should consider WordPress as a strong choice. It is simple, intuitive, easy to use and easy to install.

Templates and plugins are readily available on WordPress.org and easy to install as well. This system is ideal for someone with light technical skills.

Cons: Being one of the simplest systems also makes it one of the most limited systems. As sites grow, they require more features and functionality.

WordPress is largely known as software ideally used for blogging; anything beyond blogging requires something more sophisticated. The community forums at WordPress.org are moderately helpful for new and inexperienced users.

Joomla

Pros: Joomla is designed for the masses, just like WordPress. It is extremely popular in part because it has a nice visual interface that makes it easier to use than other systems.

The community forums at Joomla.org are extremely active and helpful for new users. The site also has an extensive number of available plugins, which are easy to install. Joomla is best suited for someone with moderate technical skills.

Cons: The quantity of plugins is weakened by the quality of plugins. Not all of the plugins integrate effectively and must be discarded. The HTML editing interface is quirky at best.

Security also is an issue; the community forums tend to show a high number of hacking problems on member sites. Like WordPress, the software is limited in what it can do with the layout and presentation of pages.

Drupal

Pros: By far, Drupal is the most technically advanced of the three systems. It is highly respected for its tightly built architecture, speed and effectiveness. Security clearly is a top concern.

Layout and presentation are less limited than WordPress or Joomla. As a result, Drupal is a CMS that appeals to webmasters with strong technical skills.

Cons: The interface is the least intuitive of the three systems. Drupal is well-known for having “a steep uphill learning curve,” a quote that has appeared often in discussions about its strong points and weak points.

In addition, the forums are the least helpful of the three systems if the post comes from a new and inexperienced user with weak to moderate technical skills.

Bottom line: Choosing a Web content management system depends in part on your level of technical skills, whether you are a solo publisher or have other people to help, and an understanding that each Web CMS has different strengths and weaknesses.

One Response to “Best Open Source CMS: WordPress, Joomla or Drupal?”

  1. ezymedia Says:

    Yes, it is a question we get asked which CMS is the best almost weekly. We chose WordPress because it is easy for our customers to learn and highly expandable with recent multisite functionality. I don’t agree that it is for bloggers only, indeed the New York Post has a WordPress site in it’s stable.
    Otherwise I concur with the opinions expressed above – it is refreshing to read an unbiased review of all the big 3.
    Cheers,
    John
    CEO
    http://ezymedia.com

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