Drupal vs Joomla: An Engineer’s Take

Posted By Rahul Mahida In Digital Strategy 01/28/2014

So, you’ve decided to evaluate an open source content management solution, and you’ve found that Drupal and Joomla stick out for being widely adopted and lauded by companies and developers alike. Both of them are full featured CMS platforms and if you require complex content hierarchy, tagging and authoring, these two platforms fit the bill.  So how do you decide which one is right for your company?

In a five part series, I will go through a brief overview of Drupal vs Joomla based on platform usage, project complexity, need of integration, required support and Ecommerce.

Drupal vs Joomla, Part One - Enterprise Level or Not Enterprise Level CMS

Although the usage of both platforms is on the rise, they have slightly different markets. 

Joomla has been favored by the small to medium business market largely due to the ease in theming. To that end many extensions for Joomla are plug and play requiring and offering less customization. Support and services for Joomla also reflect this, with many more theme shops available for Joomla in relation to enterprise level support groups. 

In contrast, Drupal has been widely accepted by the enterprise market for medium to large projects. In the words of Dries Buytaert, founder of Drupal: “Drupal has some (out-of-the-box) features and functionality that makes it a more natural choice in the enterprise (e.g. access control, custom content types, master-slave database configuration, Varnish support, MongoDB, etc). This functionality might exist in Joomla too, but maybe it hasn't reached the same level of maturity? Keep in mind, it is not only about the features. Even if Joomla and Drupal had the exact same features, I'd say Drupal's ecosystem is generally more in tune with the medium to high-end of the market. That is very important too. It is probably the combination of both that makes Drupal attract the larger projects relative to Joomla.”

Stats are courtesy of builthwith.com

There are pros and cons when reviewing any given systems usage statistics- what are your considerations? Drop us a line and tell us more.


Drupal vs Joomla, Part Two - Project Complexity is now live.


Joomla is Duplo.
Drupal is Lego.
That'all.... :-;

Considering the significant differences between major versions of the platform on an engineering level, can you clarify which versions of each platform you're using?

It would be excellent if you were basing your comparison on the pending release version 8 of Drupal.

just a note that considering this site is built with Drupal, there might be a bias to clarify.

Rahul Mahida's picture

Hello Ryan,

This was based off the current versions of Joomla 3 and Drupal 7. The points we made and will be making should hold true even for the upcoming Drupal 8 release. The comparison can get muddier with the addition of new projects such as Backdrop CMS, which is based on Drupal 7 but with a focus on ease of use like Joomla.

Both platforms are getting better with each release, and I personally am looking forward to working with the Symfony based Drupal 8.


Front-End Enginner


what would u think is the best system to build a site for a mall? (not online store) a shopping mall with a directory of tenants, events, deals, latest news from mall etc.. and look attractive

There is nothing here that is not cut/pasted from other articles. This is a 5-part article that is nothing more than a couple of paragraphs of content. If you have read part 1, do yourself a favor and don't bother with parts 2-5 but instead look elsewhere.

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