At Itomic, we’re both Drupal and WordPress specialists. We’re not financially or technically biased or bound to either.
Which allows us to be honest and independent when comparing the two.
Drupal 7 is an excellent CMS (Content Management System) and is also referred to as a CMF (Content Management Framework). Many thousands of sites were built with Drupal 7.
But it’s got an expensive limitation. It’s the last major version of Drupal that DOESN’T support an easy, cost-effective upgrade path to higher major versions (8, 9, 10, etc.) of itself.
This means that to go from Drupal 7 to, say, Drupal 10, it’s more-or-less a full website re-build from (almost) first principles.
This presents as an opportunity to consider rebuilding your Drupal 7 website using another CMS other than Drupal. The most obvious choice is WordPress, which remains the most popular CMS on the planet by far.
The clock is ticking for Drupal 7 website owners to decide what to do. At time of typing (October 2023), Drupal 7 officially reaches EOL (End of Life) on 5 January 2025. This means that it will no longer be officially supported by the Drupal Security Team, and community and commercial support/expertise in general for this legacy version of Drupal will continue to plummet.
Generally speaking, WordPress websites are more economical to build and support than Drupal sites. This is partly due to the fact that expert WordPress designer/developer talent is globally abundant, whereas Drupal talent is far less abundant, i.e. far more niche. Also, Drupal is generally considered to be a more complex, more hefty software system to work with, less supported by thousands of feature-boosting add-ons that the WordPress community enjoys.
So if you’re a Drupal 7 site owner, how to decide whether to stick with Drupal for your next website, or switch to WordPress?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer. It will depend on a variety of factors: subjective/objective, technical, financial, show stopping or not, etc.
Here are some factors for you to consider, in no particular order:
- Budget. If you perceive that your budget is towards the economical end of town (initial and ongoing), you should favour WordPress
- Fine-grained User Permissions. Drupal’s role-based permission system is more granular and flexible than WordPress’s. You can define custom user roles and set specific permissions for each content type or operation.
- Custom Content Types and Views. While WordPress focuses on posts and pages, Drupal has a flexible content architecture allowing users to create custom content types without the need for plugins. With Drupal’s Views module, users can easily create lists, blocks, admin pages, and more, using a GUI-based query builder. But note that many excellent WordPress ‘page builder’ plugins like Elementor, WPBakery and Beaver Builder provide highly flexible drag ‘n drop page building and design features.
- Familiarity and Ease of Use. If you and your team have built up a lot of familiarity with Drupal over the years, authoring and/or developing, you’ll find the latest version of Drupal to be more recognisable than WordPress. That said, many would say that WordPress is more user-friendly than Drupal, especially to first-timers.
- Maximum flexibility to customise. As previously mentioned, Drupal is more of a ‘framework’ than WordPress. Roughly translated this means that it lends itself to custom coding/development more so than WordPress. If you know your site does, or will have, highly custom, non-standard functional requirements, you should favour Drupal.
- Custom Fields: While both CMSs support custom fields, Drupal’s Field API allows for attaching custom data fields to more entities (like users, terms, and more), not just content types.
- Enterprise Integration: Drupal is often considered more suitable for complex enterprise integrations because of its extensible architecture.
- Scalability: Drupal is designed to be scalable and performant for large websites with a lot of traffic, although with the right hosting and plugins, WordPress can also be scaled to handle high traffic.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Content marketers, SEO experts, and related plugins/configurations are abundant for WordPress, far less for Drupal.
- Security. This is a tricky one. There was a reasonable argument in the past that Drupal was inherently more secure than WordPress. One reason given for this was because a typical WordPress website relies on more plugins from a wide variety of variable quality 3rd party providers than does Drupal. Another reason given is that WordPress is far more attractive to hack than Drupal becuase of the former’s far bigger global footprint. But assuming that best security practices are followed (that’s another article!), and your WordPress site is hosted with a quality hosting provider (like Itomic!), then security should only be a minor factor in favour of Drupal these days.
Are you a Drupal 7 owner, uncertain of whether to stick with Drupal, or favour WordPress, for your next site? Have a think about how the above factors relate to your business needs, and please do reach out to Itomic to discuss further.