While there are a large number of Content Management Systems (CMS) to choose from, few CMS platforms are more popular and more widely used than WordPress and Joomla. Some wrongly believe that Joomla and WordPress are popular simply because they are the oldest. In reality they are neither the oldest nor the pioneers of the CMS space. In fact, there are plenty of CMS platforms that existed before the turn of the millennium. WordPress didn’t appear until 2003 and Joomla didn’t show up until around 2005.
The popularity of either platform is largely due to its ease of use. The birth of the widely accepted open source CMS has given millions of users all around the power to create their own dynamic websites.
Even some giant brands have turned to open source content management to streamline the web content management process.
One way to evaluate a CMS package is to look at Web sites that run on it. It is impossible to say exactly how many Web sites run Joomla, but we do know that over 30 million copies of the software have been downloaded since March 2007. Joomla is the world's most popular full-featured Content Management System (CMS) and powers approximately 2.7% of the largest 1,000,000 Web sites in the world. Wordpress now is used on around 10 million websites worldwide
What is a Content Management System?
Before we dive into the world of WordPress and Joomla, it’s important to lay a foundation. If you don’t know what makes a CMS a CMS, it can be difficult to weigh the pros and cons of any CMS platform objectively. Generally speaking, a content management system is any piece of software – virtual or otherwise – that manages website content. While most CMS’s are open source and on-premises in nature, there is a growing number of CMS platforms that are hosted in the cloud.
WordPress Pros & Cons
- Open Source - The open source aspect of WordPress is what makes it a go-to for many beginner and advanced web developers. For the uninitiated, open source basically means you can download the source code for the CMS software, and modify it to meet your specific needs. This also means that the software itself doesn’t cost a cent.
- Easy Setup - This used to be a major marketing message attached to the platform, but the ease of setup is so commonplace that they’ve removed these advertisements from their marketing collateral. A WordPress platform can be setup in as little as five minutes.
- Customization - There are hundreds upon hundreds of free and paid themes available – either through the WordPress site or through a third-party provider – available for WordPress users. This allows even the most inexperienced users to customize their sites to meet their personal or business needs. Beyond themes there are thousands and thousands of plugins to choose from to enhance your site’s content.
- Security - Security has always been a major concern in the open source content management space, but it is especially present in any conversation about WordPress. The thing about open source code is that it can be accessed by anyone – even those with less than savoury motives for using the code.
- Cost of Maintenance - While downloading and using WordPress is 100% free, maintaining your WordPress site isn’t. You have to consider the cost of web hosting, eCommerce tools and specialized plugins that help you achieve very specific objectives.
Customization Complexity - Lastly, if you plan on customizing your WordPress site beyond the drag & drop tools included with your template you may be in trouble without some web development experience, or an experienced programmer at your disposal.
Joomla Pros & Cons
- Easy Setup - Much like WordPress, Joomla platforms can be setup and deployed in a matter of minutes.
- Powerful Extensions - Joomla offers users a wide range of extensions (plugins) to help enhance site content. This includes everything from plugins to site modules that are all predominantly open source in nature.
- Extensive User Permissions - If you’re running a site where a wide range of users access content, it’s important to have a way to setup dynamic user permissions. Joomla allows for up to nine different types of user permissions.
- More Secure: Joomla is less likely to be “hacked” by intruders. If your site is hacked, it can be a time consuming and/or expensive thing to fix.
- Advanced Customization - If you’re new to the world of Joomla, advanced customization will be a problem. If you want to make more advanced features like specialized buttons, flash-based content, etc, you’ll need to get some help from a developer or programmer.