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May 15, 2023 by Jesse Mutzebaugh

Drupal and WordPress are both popular content management systems (CMS) that are widely used to create websites. However, they have different strengths and are suited for different types of projects. More often than not, we can make a case that Drupal is a better fit for your project.

Drupal is much more scalable

Drupal is designed for large, complex websites with high traffic. It can handle a large amount of content and users, making it ideal for enterprise-level websites. WordPress, on the other hand, is better suited for small to medium-sized websites.

Maybe you don't have a large or complex website. If you're doing anything beyond a simple blog (which is what WordPress was built for), then you can benefit from Drupal more than you think.

Plus, where you are now is not where you'll be in 1 to 5 to 10 years. Your business will almost surely look different, and you'll want to be on a system that can evolve with you without having to start from scratch every time your business shifts.

Drupal is Extremely Customizable

Drupal offers a high degree of customization options, allowing developers to create unique, custom functionality. WordPress is more limited in this regard, and many customization options require the use of third-party plugins.

More often than not, the "customizations" required to make your ideas happen require little more than installing one of the 40,000 modules available.

95% of the time your request won't require custom code or senior developers. The trick is knowing which modules are available and which ones fit the request.

Drupal is extremely secure

Drupal has built-in security layers that make it more secure than WordPress. Drupal also has a dedicated security team that regularly releases updates and patches to fix any vulnerabilities.

The Drupal community is comprised of over 100,000 active developers, all actively involved in staying on top of best practices, coding standards, and the latest in security vulnerabilities and fixes.

Nearly half of all traffic on the web came from bots in 2022. If you run a WordPress site now, I'm sure you've noticed that much of your traffic is coming from bots trying to gain access to your site. Fixing a hacked site is no small task.

WordPress is also known to have a higher number of security issues due to the large number of third-party plugins available. Anyone can publish a WordPress plugin with no oversight or input from other developers. Open source Drupal modules are all held to a very high coding and security standard, and are often fixed by members of the Drupal community, making them much more secure than Wordpress.

Drupal has much better access control

Drupal has an advanced access control system that allows administrators to create as many roles as needed to control who can view and edit content on the website. This allows you to control who and what is accessed on the site so nobody can break anything or take the site down.

Some common scenarios include creating some of the following roles:

  1. Super admin - reserved for developers who have unlimited access to all features.
  2. Site admins - used by IT department to administer and edit all site content, users, privileges and access.
  3. Site editors - allows users to create and edit content, but not edit any site configuration.
    • Advanced workflows can be created where team members can create content but not publish. A department head can then review the content and either approve for publishing or send it back to the team member for editing.
  4. Authenticated users - someone who can log in but not create content. Perhaps this is to allow customers to log in and view or update support tickets with your team.
  5. Anonymous users - anyone not logged into the site. Used for logging errors and 404 pages.

Better control over SEO

Drupal has built-in SEO features that make it easier for search engines to crawl and index the website. Wordpress relies on plugins like Yoast to take care of your SEO.

With Drupal, you can set your metatags to pull from your content automatically per content type. You can also tweak this on a per-page level.

You can also customize the admin pages to include help and guides on SEO best-practices for each field, so your entire team is able to be SEO experts.

Multilingual Support

Drupal has built-in support for multiple languages. Instead of relying on software to translate your pages (which is another option), you can have native speakers create separate versions of each page, menu, and content, and serve the correct page(s) dynamically based on the users' preferences or location.

WordPress has multilingual available, but it requires additional plugins to be installed with their own potential security vulnerabilities.

A Cleaner, Quicker Database

Wordpress stores all content in a single table. If you know, you know. For sites with a lot of content, that creates a ton of unnecessary bloat and can significantly slow down your site as your content library grows.

Drupal can store content on a per-field and per-entity basis. This means that for each query you run, you are only accessing tables you need instead of the entire site, making everything load extremely fast, regardless of the size of your database.

Page builders make migration nearly impossible.

Most Wordpress sites are built using page builders like Elementor or WPBakery. These are great to give your site editors unlimited control over the design of each page (which is a terrible idea for consistency and maintainability). These page builders overload the content with shortcodes.

All of these shortcodes basically lock you into the Wordpress theme you choose and make migrating to another CMS or even another Wordpress theme nearly impossible without a ton of work to clean up your content.

With Drupal storing only what you need on a per-field basis, this keeps your content squeaky clean and able to migrate to any CMS with very little effort.

In conclusion, Drupal is a better option for large, complex websites with high traffic, while WordPress is better suited for small brochure websites and blogs. Drupal offers more customization options, better security, advanced access control, and multilingual support.

Ultimately, the choice between Drupal and WordPress will depend on the specific needs of the project. We prefer working with Drupal, but many of our clients are on Wordpress, and we have even recommended site builders like Squarespace to clients based on their needs.

If you're not sure what best fits your project or goals, we can often give you guidance for free with no pressure to hire New Vista Digital. Contact us today to see what best fits your needs.