Within a short span of time, content management systems (CMS) have become an integral part of website development. The themes, plugins and extensions provided by various open source CMS make it easier for users to reduce website development time and cost significantly. At the same time, the CMS also enable many users to build and run websites smoothly without being proficient in widely used web technologies. A user has option to choose from a wide range of open source CMS including WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.

According to the latest market share trends posted on W3Techs.com, WordPress has a much larger worldwide market share than Drupal and Joomla. At present, WordPress is being used by 29.4% websites, whereas Joomla is being used by 3.1% of websites and Drupal is being used by 2.2% of websites. Lets take a look at WordPress by numbers. But the smart web application developers do not choose a CMS based on its worldwide market share and popularity. They understand the simple fact that each of the three CMS has its own pros and cons.  They always compare WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal based on a number of factors to choose the right CMS.

Comparing Top 3 CMS in 2018: WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal

Number of Free Themes and Plugins

Despite being open source CMS, WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are backed by robust communities. The members of the respective communities frequently upload new themes and plugins to accelerate custom web application development. However, some of these themes and plugins are free, whereas others are licensed and commercial. While using WordPress, the developers can choose from 4000+ free themes and 45000+ free plugins. Drupal web developers can choose from 2000+ free themes and 34000+ free plugins. Similarly Joomla developers can choose from 1000+ free themes and 7000+ free plugins. Hence, many developers opt for WordPress to avail more themes and plugins without increasing website development cost.

Design and Functionality

Many developers prefer WordPress to other CMS to avail more themes and plugins. They even have option to choose from both official and third-party WordPress themes. The dashboard provided by WordPress even makes it easier for users to add new themes directly. Unlike WordPress, Drupal and Joomla do not provide any option to install themes directly. While using Joomla, the users have to download themes and templates from external sources. But they can add functionality to the website by choosing from both paid and free official Joomla extensions. Drupal also allows developers to choose from several official themes. Drupal developers can even use official Drupal modules to add functionality to the website easily. However, Drupal still has more powerful core software than other CMS. It even helps developers to prevent security threats by providing enterprise-grade security features.

Installation Process and Time

A user can install WordPress either manually or through the one-click installation option. But each of these installation options enables the user to install WordPress within 5 minutes. Both Joomla and Drupal also allow users to choose from two installation options – manual and one-click installation option provided by the hosting service provider. But a user has to spend additional time to install each of these CMS. Normally, a user has to spend about 10 minutes to install Drupal or Joomla. However, the user has to spend additional time to download and install the themes or plugins regardless of his choice of CMS.


Many users find it easier to install and use WordPress than other CMS. But the skilled web developers opt for Drupal to take advantage of its robust features. At the same time, Joomla is less complex than Drupal, but not as user-friendly as WordPress. The simple user interface provided by WordPress further make it easier for users to set up and manage websites. The users can even download and install WordPress plugins easily. But many users find it daunting to change the plugin settings. Also, they need to spend some time in evaluating the quality and security of external plugins and themes. The user interface provided by Joomla is not user-friendly. The users even have to put extra time and effort to use and maintain Joomla modules.


As noted earlier, WordPress is both faster to install and easier to use than Joomla and Drupal. Also, a person can use WordPress to set up websites without being proficient in commonly used web technologies. Hence, beginners often find it easier to learn and use WordPress than other CMS. But the user must be proficient in various web technologies to learn and use Drupal efficiently. Also, coding skills will help the website to build complex websites with Drupal. Joomla, at the same time, is more beginner-friendly than Drupal. But the non-developers have to put extra time and effort to use Joomla efficiently.

Technical Skill Requirements

Many users opt for WordPress due to its simple and easy-to-use nature. A professional can use WordPress to build and set up websites without being proficient in various web technologies. On the other hand, Drupal is popularly referred as the developer-friendly content management system. The users proficient in commonly used web technologies can take advantage of Drupal to build complex and large websites. Joomla is not as user-friendly as WordPress. But it is still less complex than Drupal. The users can install and set up Joomla without putting extra time and effort. They must be proficient in commonly used web technologies to use Joomla for customizing websites according to complex business requirements.

Use Cases

At present, developers use the three CMS for building a variety of websites. But many developers prefer WordPress to Joomla and Drupal due to its user-friendly nature. The simple and user-friendly nature of WordPress enables developers and non-developers to build both simple and complex websites without writing additional lines of code. At the same time, the skilled web application developers opt for Drupal to build websites that need customization, scalability, and complex content organization. Web developers prefer Joomla for developing simple and small websites that do not need customization and complex content organization.

On the whole, WordPress is currently more popular than Joomla and Drupal. But each of the three widely used CMS has its own pros and cons. The same content management system may not meet the varied needs of individual projects. Hence, it is always important for developers to keep in mind precise project requirements while comparing WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.