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Cagematch: Drupal Vs WordPress

Cagematch: Drupal Vs WordPress

Drupal vs wordpressWhen it comes to designing a worthwhile website, the choice of content management system (CMS) may not be readily apparent. Complicating this choice are the almost-tribal sentiments of each system’s loyalists, each convinced of the “rightness” of their favorite. But both are open source, free to use, and provide a multitude of plug-ins and modules.  So which is the real winner of a Drupal vs WordPress standoff?

Drupal 8 just saw release, but it’s definitely not for everyone. Based on our experience, the go-to for nearly one-third of all websites is WordPress. It dominates 60% of the CMS market. Why deviate?

To find the answer, let’s toss Drupal 8 and WordPress into a cage and see who comes out on top!

Ease of Use

WordPress is known for its 5-minute install and for low barrier-to-entry. Many newbies cut their teeth on WordPress and end up with an adequate and reasonably fast, if not glamorous, website. As noted below, themes are plentiful and can easily turn a plain-Jane sight into something you’d be proud to show the public.

To get there with Drupal, you’ll need the skills of a developer. What Drupal lacks in simplicity, it makes up for in power and flexibility, but this is a deal-breaker for people that just want to publish a blog or make a small, functional website for their fledgling business.


WordPress is the Winner

Themes and Plug-ins

The awesome thing about WordPress is the sheer number of plug-ins and themes, and the relative ease of deploying them. Many are free, though not all are created equal, and paying for premium items can yield better support and overall product. For example, WooCommerce is free and gives limited eCommerce capabilities to WordPress, but expect to dip into your wallet if you want to add features or payment types.

For brevity, we’ll extend the definition of “plug-ins” to include what Drupal calls “modules.” Drupal has plenty of options for plug-ins and themes, though nowhere near as many as WordPress, and you’ll once again need the “D” word to properly make use of them.


WordPress is the Winner


WordPress doesn’t have a great reputation for security. Its popularity makes it an attractive target for prospective attackers, as does its status as an amateur-friendly CMS. Furthermore, while WordPress is quick to respond to security threats, the same cannot be said from many of the same plug-ins that make it so popular.  The more you add, the greater the threat becomes, as each plug-in serves as a possible vector for attack. Is it possible to maintain a secure WordPress site? Absolutely. It starts by choosing an experienced web host (*cough* we might know one *cough* *cough*), and finishes by you taking steps to stay current on each and every theme and plug-in on your site.

As long as you’re running Drupal 7 or later, you’re as safe as New York State, the Government of Australia,, Twitter, eBay, and NASA, all of whom use Drupal. This should not be interpreted to mean that Drupal sites are immune to security threats. Rather, the smaller number of poorly-coded plug-ins and themes, combined with the more developer-centric requirements, make it less vulnerable to Internet villany.


Drupal is the Winner


WordPress was born as a blogging platform. It tends to be best suited for websites presenting most of their information within articles, as opposed to albums of interconnected information. Time and the devoted efforts of the open source community have diversified it considerably, although you’ll need to rely on plug-ins to broaden its functionality.

Drupal can do anything. We advise against choosing it as your blogging platform, but if you have developer know-how or the resources to hire one, the potential is virtually limitless. Drupal is also innately mobile-friendly and has stronger core support for multilingual content. Finally. WordPress plug-ins themselves tend to be “plug-and-play” solutions, while Drupal plug-ins offer richer customization capabilities.


Drupal is the Winner

Access Control

WordPress was designed with simplicity in mind, allowing for easy and swift editorial collaboration among a handful of team members. This is great for blogging, but won’t offer enough granularity for any enterprise requiring a team with numerous roles and permissions. This can be extended with a plug-in, of course, but that’s another one to find, watch for vulnerabilities, possibly even pay for.

With a built-in access control system that allows fine-tuned control, Drupal is the clear winner here. You can create custom roles, set multiple levels of user permissions with different degrees of access, and grant multiple roles to a single user. Even if such granularity doesn’t appeal to you now, it gives you scalability if and when your team grows.


Drupal is the Winner


Both WordPress and Drupal have eager and knowledgeable online communities that love nothing better than to bring others into the fold. You’ll find no shortage of online tutorials and documentation for either platform.

That said, if you’re looking for developer support — optional for WordPress but practically mandatory for Drupal — you’ll pay more for the latter than the former. This is simple supply and demand, as WordPress developers vastly outnumber their Drupal brethren.


WordPress is the Winner

Drupal vs WordPress: Who’s the Winner?

We know, we know! We don’t like ties, either.

Looks like you’ll have to play judge and cast the deciding vote for who has earned the right to build your site. If it helps, we’re happy to help you host WordPress or Drupal, and we’ll keep any “tribal sentiments” to ourselves.



Ease of UseNot user-friendly to lay persons; developer assistance advisedGets the job done easily and quickly; easy to install
Themes and Plug-insNot as many, harder to installMany and easy to install
SecurityFavored by governments; user knowledge tends to make it more resilient to attackEach theme and plug-in is a potential vulnerability; popularity makes it a favorite target of attackers
FlexibilityBetter at anything other than blogging, provided you have dev skills; innate mobile and multilingual functionalityGreat for blogging; needs plug-ins for everything else; effective plug-ins can be costly
Access ControlInnate fine-tuned controlLimited without plug-ins
SupportHelpful community, but developers are more costly than their WordPress counterpartsHelpful community, developers are optional and less costly

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Content, Drupal, WordPress

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What Is It and What Are the Advantages?

What Is It and What Are the Advantages?

Headless Drupal- What Is It and What Are the AdvantagesThis article looks at Headless Drupal, providing an overview of what it is, and what some of the pros and cons are to implementing it.

Traditional Drupal website have often been monolithic. This has meant that Drupal is responsible for both content management on the back-end and content rendering on the front-end.

Headless architecture changes this by implementing a decoupled approach to site design. For many, the new approach is seen as innovative and the future of web development. For others, headless architecture brings a worrying lack of clarity to development processes and business practices.

If you’re thinking about moving to a headless Drupal environment, then keep reading to find out what the pros, cons, and facts are.  

What is Headless Drupal?

Headless Drupal (also know as decoupled Drupal) is a new way to develop and deliver websites.

Traditional CMS website models use PHP rendering to deliver website content through a user’s browser.

Headless Drupal instead allows content to be delivered to users through a separate front-end application. This means that a Drupal instance does not decide on the styling for a website. Rather, a separate application decides how data from the Drupal instance is displayed. This allows for an added layer of functionality and customization. In the example below, that application runs on ReactJS.

Headless Drupal vs tradtitional CMS drupal Diagram

What this front-end application runs on is different depending on the developer.  We’ve displayed ReactJS above as it is currently one of the prefered technologies for headless implementations.

What Are the Benefits of Headless Drupal?

There are several reasons to adopt headless Drupal, the most common of which is because site owners and developers want to integrate technologies and designs that are otherwise incompatible with a standard Drupal installation.

This is especially true when a developer wants to implement multiple front-ends. There may be one desktop front-end, one mobile front-end, a widget front-end, and an app front-end. Each of these are able to render and display the same information in unique ways.

And when it comes to apps and widgets, headless also allows for offline access. Site contents can be downloaded and rendered quickly through the “application” front-end itself. This changes the typical web server / user connection relationship, and also means that content is delivered much more quickly, even when online.

Due the restructuring of the CMS / front-end relationship, security is also improved. It is easier for system administrators to limit access to areas of the infrastructure. Content is created and published through one system, and delivered to readers through another.

What Is Limiting Decoupled Drupal?

Fully decoupled Drupal has several advantages, but all new technologies come with downsides, and headless is no exception. One of the main disadvantages is that much of Drupal’s out-of-the-box functionality is lost instantly. The ability to preview content before it is published goes away without additional coding, as does control over styling through the editing interface.

From an application perspective, competition over which app is in charge of how and what content is displayed can also potentially become an issue. This especially true when you’re dealing with multiple front-ends.

A diagram Headless Drupal fontend vs backend

Which front-end delivers to mobile? Which delivers to desktop? Which delivers to an app? Managing this process can be complicated and requires additional work for it to be implemented properly.

From a business perspective, responsibilities take on a new meaning. Cooperation between web design and creation becomes more of a priority. Appropriate access also needs to be distributed to different teams, especially if there are multiple decoupled front-end interfaces present.

To avoid these issues, it’s important to understand the breadth of a move to headless and map out what the shift will look like from both a technology level, as well as a business one.

Headless Pros and Cons



Faster, more flexible content deliveryNew Implementation Procedures
Future-proof design for CMS/front-end updatesCan’t see live previews
Better securityRelies on multiple technologies
Easier 3rd party integrationsMore complex to to configure and deploy

Examples of Headless Drupal Projects

There are numerous examples of headless Drupal websites. A short list includes:

The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon – Uses Node.js and Backbone.js

Lullabot – Uses Node.js and ReactJS – Uses Angular.js

The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon

The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon is an example of a headless Drupal site

The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon makes use of a headless Drupal instance to great effect. The site loads quickly and you can see unique web design features and animations throughout the site.


Lullabot headless implemention came with routing problems

Lullabot also implemented a headless instance on their site. However, they encountered routing issues during the setup. Routing is where an application or CMS decides where to send a visitor’s requests. They go into more detail in their article on this, but it’s an important problem to keep in mind when thinking of making the move to a complex decoupled Drupal site.

Hostdedi and Headless Drupal

We are currently able to support headless Drupal instances on our cloud infrastructure. We also currently offer Node.js support. At this point in time we’re working to improve support for Node.js and other languages such as Python.

Don’t forget, if you’re going to spin up a headless Drupal site, we recommend testing on one of our dev sites. Learn how to spin up a Hostdedi dev site.

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