10 fundamental differences between WordPress and Drupal

Nowadays, WordPress, the blogging platform, offers some pretty advanced features such as static page caching, the media library, widgets and user management. Where to draw the line with a full blown CMS such as Drupal for instance? These platforms are not only both written in PHP, they also are more or less based upon the MVC platform.

So, that makes a comparison valid and therefore I would like to briefly address 10 differences between Drupal and WordPress, which I believe are worth knowing. The list below is certainly not written to prove which platform is best (that just depends on your requirements), nor is it an exhaustive list of the differences. It is rather an attempt to show the discrepancy from a technical perspective and a functional point of view.

  1. First of all, Drupal is a Content Management System. It is designed to handle multiple situations: you could build an e-commerce site, but also a blog or corporate website for instance. Although WordPress can (I do not agree with some that say it is a CMS) be used as a CMS, it is still a state-of-the-art publishing platform and is specifically targeted at weblogs. Drupal is much more complex and has much more features.
  2. As a result of the previous, the average end user will be okay with WordPress because it is far more simple, easy and user friendly (e.g. the admin interface which is much more intuitive). You also may need some reasonable understanding of Drupal to be able to hack into it. Due to Drupal its complexity, you are more likely to suffer from scalability problems (e.g. Allowed PHP Memory Size exhausted).
  3. Both platforms breath extensibility: you are able to add functionality to the core. Drupal works with modules, while wordpress makes use of plugins. The difference is that modules are more straight-forward and more advanced. To give an example: Drupal uses built-in paging and access control can be specified seperately. Thus, I would say that plugins are a lightweight version of the Drupal modules.
  4. WordPress is designed to only work with the MySQL database. On the contrary, Drupal works with a database abstraction layer which allows the platform to connect with basically any database.
  5. WordPress ships with Akismet by default, a spam filtering service that is free for personal use. Drupal also has its own spam filter which is called Mollom. The difference is that the latter relies on context analysis and CAPTCHAs.
  6. Both platforms allow to override the look and feel using template files. WordPress has its own template tags. Templates in Drupal can also be parsed using template languages such as Smarty, PHPTAL and PHPTemplate. WordPress does not currently support this.
  7. Blocks in Drupal allow you to have content in different parts of a page. You have the ability to configure blocks from the admin panel. WordPress also lacks this functionality.
  8. WordPress is built around posts, pages, comments, links, categories and tags. Drupal has a uniform structure called nodes. You could think of nodes as objects, with the same underlying data structure. They can represent a blog post, a recipe, a news item, a story, an article etc. Developers can add features like ratings, comments, geolocation information and so on.
  9. Although Drupal is highly customizable, the WordPress community has much more themes and plugins available. However, because WordPress releases a new version every once in a while, third party plugins are version dependable.
  10. WordPress.com is an online community, where everyone can have their own blog. The idea is that anyone should be able to publish on the web without hosting the blog yourself. Of course, Drupal has no such thing, because the concept of Drupal is quite different as stated before.

9 thoughts on “10 fundamental differences between WordPress and Drupal”

  1. This was helpful for the fundamentals. I came looking for a type of wordpress block. Is there any comparission? That would be helpful. Drupal has blocks, WordPress does not but it does has…

  2. Drupal is the better version of CMS compared to WordPress, with lots of additional features. Drupal is suitable for websites which act as a showcase. Thanks for this excellent comparison. It was very helpful.

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