Is WordPress really the best CMS?

In this post we explore the peaks and pitfalls of the most popular CMS platforms, and debunk the myth of the existence of a superior content management system.

It’s an age-old debate that’s been sweeping the web for the best part of the last 13 years (that’s how old WordPress is, by the way). Web designers, developers and site administrators have been battling on the subject ever since the dawn of the 3 most popular CMS platforms — WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.

It’s no secret that WordPress, particularly in recent years, has taken the web by storm. The uber-popular blogging platform now powers an impressive 75 million websites. To put that into perspective, there is an estimated total of 1 billion websites at present, meaning that WordPress powers around 7.5% of websites internationally. Joomla powers around 3.3% (33 million) of all websites, and Drupal is known to power around 2.2% (22 million).

Rather than viewing these statistics as measurements of the competency of each CMS, you should alternatively interpret them as an indicator of different site needs. WordPress holds the largest market share, in terms of the volume of sites running the platform, but rather than this being an indicator that WordPress is superior in performance to its counterparts, perhaps it simply means that the platform meets its users’ specific needs better than, say, Joomla or Drupal would. And the same would apply to Joomla or Drupal — in the sense that Joomla meets the needs of its 33 million users far better than WordPress would, and the needs of Drupal’s 22 million users are met with superiority to Joomla or WordPress.

Ultimately, choosing the appropriate CMS comes down to the needs of the website and how it’s going to be required to perform. Each platform has strengths and weaknesses in different areas, which is why it’s key to carefully consider your CMS of choice.

It’s no secret that WordPress was initially launched as a blogging platform, and that legacy has followed it throughout the last 13 years. However, over the last 5 years WordPress use has sky-rocketed and subsequently the CMS has been further developed and expanded to allow for more complex setups, far beyond a simple blog. Some of the great plugins now available for WordPress include WooCommerce, Visual Composer, Redux Framework and Slider Revolution, which all serve to further WordPress’ capabilities as a fully-fledged content management system.

In fact, our latest WordPress theme Purefive includes full support for each of these WordPress plugins, making it one of the most flexible and feature-rich themes on the market. With 12 stunning design concepts, Purefive can be used for just about any type of website.

Whilst ‘the big 3’ certainly hold the monopoly as far as content management systems go, don’t forget that there are also other great open source platforms to build your site with, respective of the needs of your site and audience. Mura CMS is a superb platform for building sites with a lot of intricate content, as its setup allows you to create different classes of content and display options, using Components and Class Extensions (more on that here). ExpressionEngine is a great choice for corporate websites who want to utilise a CMS that claims not to ‘get in the way’, allowing you to build around the CMS and develop the site in the way you want. Other niche open source CMSs include Moodle and phpBB, which are stellar for learning/education management and forum-based sites respectively.

We hope this article has been insightful and that you’ve learnt more about the differences between the most popular open source CMSs, and the functional differences between them. The key takeaway from this post is to highlight that in spite of numbers, you can’t really compare one CMS to another. In a way, it’s akin to comparing one website to another. Every open source CMS has its own peaks and pitfalls, none more than another — the point is choosing the right one for the needs of the website, its administrators, and its audience.

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