About a decade ago, when you wanted to create a website you would have to pick up a book on HTML. You would skim through the guide and put together a few pages with some nice tables and texts, and if you wanted to really get your hands dirty you would add things like CSS and flash to spiff up your pages.
Nowadays, deploying your own website is as simple as running a script and installing a content management system (CMS) onto your server. No longer will you have to toil with editing HTML codes just to update a page, and you wouldn’t even have to mess with an FTP client to make sure all the files are in place.
So which CMS system should you tinker with to get your brank spanking new site up and running? If you’re new to the CMS scene then most likely you will Google ‘top CMS’ and the top choice would probably be WordPress. WordPress is so popular that even my word processing grammar check recognizes the term as a legitimate word!
Before you hop on over to your Cpanel to install WordPress, there’s something you should know—that is, you have choices! Wait, you mean to tell me that WordPress isn’t my only option to start a blog or website? Well, what else would I be telling you?
Just as you would have choices in which smartphone you want when you sign your name away on a two-year contract, there are many CMS out there for you to choose from. For simplicity sake, we’ll just stick with a single alternative to WordPress in this blog, Drupal.
Comparing CMS is like comparing apples and oranges. You consume it the same way, how it tastes and goes through your system is a different story.
WordPress is built as a simple, easy-to-adapt, CMS, and it’s so simple that your newborn is probably capable of installing and implementing the features. Most webhosts these days provide users with a simple 1-click install feature for WordPress, which means all the assets and database will install automatically for you. All you have to do is enter the location you want the files to be. From there, you would enter details such as site name tag line to get things rolling. Once the site is up it’s just a matter of adding blogs and other content and organizing them. Simple, right?
Now, for the serious bloggers and developers, there’s Drupal. What sets Drupal apart from WordPress is purely its security feature. While WordPress has just enough security features built-in to handle everything from a personal to a small-size business, it does not boast the enterprise-level security that Drupal has. Often times, a growing WordPress site will have to add an extra layer of security just to keep the site going. Drupal, on the other hand, scales very well in terms security and growth potential.
If you think about, if Drupal was just your run of the mill CMS, why would organizations like the US Whitehouse (whitehouse.gov) use Drupal as its CMS of choice. WordPress touts a huge library of plugins to add more functionalities to the CMS, but that creates an issue when it comes to vulnerabilities and holes that attackers can target. Think of it like Windows vs. Mac OSX, whereby Windows users are more prone to malicious attacks than OSX users. Why? It has a lot to do with market share, WordPress leaves Drupal in the dust in terms of market share, and hackers have more incentives to go after WordPress users than Drupal.
So aside from security, is there much of a difference between Drupal and WordPress? Of course there is, but the takeaway message here is Drupal will always offer more in terms of scalability—meaning you don’t have to swap out CMS as your blog or organization grows. There’s also a steeper learning curve when it comes to using Drupal, but dabble enough and it’ll become second nature. If you really get into the nitty-gritty, you’ll find out that all CMS offers essentially the same function. It’s just a matter of moving your mouse and keyboard a bit differently.
Should a newbie tackle Drupal and use it right off the bat? If you’re committed enough to take twice as long to get your site going, compared to using WordPress, then it’ll be worth the time investment.