WordPress vs. Craft vs. Drupal – How to Pick the Best CMS for Your Website

The SCG web team (myself included) loves web content management systems, and we always select the best CMS for the project. Questions pertaining to budget, business needs, website features and structural requirements all need to be addressed before we make our recommendation.

Like many agencies, we do a ton of work with WordPress – whether it’s developing full-custom themes built from the ground up or finding the right turnkey solution with a pre-built theme to get smaller sites up fast. We’ve worked with other great CMSes as well, including MODX, Drupal, ProcessWire and others. But I’m here once again to talk about our new darling for nearly all custom sites: Craft. Craft has proven itself to be the best CMS for website development for a number of clients, often unseating WordPress as our go-to CMS.

We’ve written blogs about Craft CMS previously, but this time I’m here to do a snapshot comparison of Craft to WordPress and Drupal.

 

Content Customization & Flexibility

  • Craft — Extremely customizable and flexible out of the box, build to suit
  • WordPress — Very customizable but requires a handful of paid plugins and many changes to out-of-box functionality
  • Drupal — Extremely customizable, a handful of mostly free plugins/modules will help extend customization

Ease of Use in Admin Area

  • Craft — Super awesome
  • WordPress — Awesome
  • Drupal — Can take time for editors to learn

Backend Speed

  • Craft — Insanely fast
  • WordPress — Usually slow
  • Drupal — Fast

Front-End Speed

  • Craft — Fast (caching support out of box)
  • WordPress — Fast (with proper config, plugins and/or hosting)
  • Drupal — Fast (caching support out of box)

Security

  • Craft — Very secure
  • WordPress — Can be difficult to secure properly (frequent vulnerabilities due to popularity)
  • Drupal — Very secure

Themes and Templates

  • Craft — Full-custom design only (Bring Your Own HTML)
  • WordPress — Wins hands down for pre-built design/themes and website builders
  • Drupal — Great selection of quality themes and builders

Custom Design Integration

  • Craft — Very easy to learn, very powerful and flexible, uses Twig templating language
  • WordPress — Moderate learning curve, flexible but often requires heavy customizing being a blogging platform at its core (PHP templating by default, can use Twig with the awesome plugin – Timber)
  • Drupal — Steep learning curve but very powerful and flexible, uses Twig templating language (version 8)

Plugins

  • Craft — 500+ (free and paid)
  • WordPress — 50,000+ (free and paid, usually very affordable, hard to choose!)
  • Drupal — 14,000+ (version 7), 6,800 (version 8), free and paid, most are free

SEO

  • Craft — Great support with paid or free plugins
  • WordPress — Great support with paid or free plugins
  • Drupal — Great support with paid or free plugins/modules

Multilingual Capabilities

  • Craft — Supported out of box
  • WordPress — Support with plugin(s) only
  • Drupal — Supported out of box (version 8+)

Multisite

  • Craft — Supported out of box
  • WordPress — Supported out of box
  • Drupal — Supported out of box

Ecommerce

  • Craft — Supported with first-party plugin (Craft Commerce)
  • WordPress — Supported with plugin(s)
  • Drupal — Supported with plugin(s)/module(s)

Community

  • Craft — Very friendly and helpful global community of highly-skilled developers
  • WordPress — Vast global community at all skill levels and very easy to find help online, can be difficult to find the right folks due to size
  • Drupal — Large and helpful global community of highly-skilled developers

User Permissions/Access Control

  • Craft — Highly flexible out of box
  • WordPress — Cumbersome, plugin(s) required
  • Drupal — Highly flexible out of box

First-Party Support

  • Craft — Stellar first-party support included with paid versions
  • WordPress — Very expensive (built for enterprise, find quality third-party)
  • Drupal — Very expensive (built for enterprise, find quality third-party)

Third-Party Support

  • Craft — Can be difficult to find, usually easy to choose
  • WordPress — Very easy to find, hard to choose due to volume
  • Drupal — Easy to find, sometimes hard to choose

License

  • Craft — Open source (paid)
  • WordPress — Open source (free)
  • Drupal — Open source (free)

Pricing

  • Craft — $299 one-time, $59/yr (per site, includes first-party support), free for non-commercial/personal use (as of this writing)
  • WordPress — Free!
  • Drupal — Free!

Primary Audience

  • Craft — SMBs and most companies that need a custom website or network of sites
  • WordPress — Small businesses, bloggers, publishers (large and small), entrepreneurs, small startups
  • Drupal — Non-profit institutions, government, custom websites, businesses big and small

 

If you’re in the market for a new web CMS, this list should help give you an idea of which would be the best CMS for your website. If you’re also evaluating hosted solutions, you can check out my article about choosing between an open source CMS vs. a proprietary CMS.

If you’re looking for help selecting a web CMS or have questions about any CMS after reading this, please drop the web folks a line at SCG at nerds@scgpr.com and we’ll try not to geek out with too many acronyms.

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Brian Larson

In an industry that changes nearly every second, Brian somehow manages to both stay on and ahead of that elusive “cutting edge.” With 16 years of experience specifically in interactive, Brian applies his geeky knack for a wide array of B2B and B2C clients and brands. Brian’s keen focus is on responsive front end web design and […] Read Bio »

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