Drupal, Joomla! and WordPress Content Management Systems
Many webhosts offer the choice of Drupal, Joomla! or WordPress to create a website, and deciding which platform to use can be confusing and difficult.
Drupal and Joomla! have long been rivals in content management systems (CMSs), but WordPress has until recently been seen as a blogging platform, and only the last couple of years has seen it develop to become a true CMS.
All three are open source and have been developed with the help of hundreds or thousands of members in their respective communities. Each has advantages and disadvantages, but you can actually use any of the three to build an effective and professional-looking website for a range of purposes, from a simple blog to a full e-commerce site.
Drupal is an advanced content management system that developers tend to love, although other users can also learn to use the system. Drupal has many more tags and functions than Joomla, which can make this a much more powerful program to use. If you are not used to dealing in code, the experience can be a trial, but if you are used to coding, you can create a more highly effective website using Drupal than with anything else.
Drupal has a strong community for support, but creating your website and getting the most out of it with Drupal could take more time and cost more money than the alternatives. On the plus side, Drupal can be used to run a number of websites with one backend and database, and this can then save you money and time.
You can see a selection of sites made with Drupal by going to http://drupal.org/cases and clicking on the links. (In case you are interested, this site was created using Drupal.)
Joomla! is often the first choice of web designers because of its powerful design capabilities. For a non-developer unused to code it is easier to use and customize than Drupal, but it is not as flexible or as sophisticated as Drupal and it cannot be used to run higher-end sites or multiple sites with one backend, as Drupal can. Joomla! is also not as SEO-friendly as Drupal.
Joomla! has a strong community for support, and is constantly growing and improving. You can see what Joomla! is capable of by browsing the sites on Joomla!’s showcase at http://community.joomla.org/showcase/.
WordPress can be used to quickly create static or dynamic pages, with plug-ins to allow you to do e-commerce, monitor site statistics, improve SEO, and much more. There are thousands of themes and plug-ins to use to start creating an effective, professional-looking website in just a few minutes.
WordPress is the simplest of the three to set up and use, and a wide range of features are built-in, so you do not need to worry about setting up things like pinging services, trackbacks, or allowing comments as it is all done for you.
WordPress plug-ins are available for e-commerce applications, but they are at present limited, and WordPress would therefore not be a good choice if your main business is e-commerce or you want to do a great deal of selling online.
WordPress is also a poor choice if you want to do a lot of customizing, because the reason WordPress was created was to avoid the need for customization. It is deliberately developer-unfriendly, and any modifications beyond those inherent in WordPress (such as adding plug-ins and doing simple adjustments to the html code) might be lost or damaged when you later upgrade the software.
You can view a sample of WordPress sites here: http://wordpress.org/showcase/
There is no single best choice of which CMS to use for building your websites. All three are developing over time and building upon what has gone before, and your choice will depend on your particular needs, likes and dislikes.