You want to start a new website, there are many content management systems (CMS), where WordPress and Joomla! are the two largest fish. In this article we explain what qualities distuinguish Joomla! and WordPress and several negative points of both CMS systems are made clear.
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WordPress started as a blogging system, which is why all functions are built around the WordPress blogging system. This becomes apparent during development and when managing a WordPress website. Therefore it’s easy to create a new blog post or a new page.
WordPress (bare version of WordPress without any plugins) hasn’t got many options, which actually makes WordPress so attractive (e.g. expandability for your own requirements).
25.2% of all websites are built with WordPress, making it by far the most popular CMS. Among the CMSs it has a marketshare of 58.8%, which means it’s used more than all other systems together.
Due to the large market of plugins (including plenty of free ones), it’s possible to provide a simple WordPress website with sliders, review forms, contact forms, and so on.
Free plugins are not necessarily bad, but they do offer fewer possiblities. This is generally not a problem as plug-ins can be adjusted. Paid plugins require little to no added functionalities to work. Paid plugins have more options/features which make it less likely you’re missing out on functionalities. Paid plugins usually have better customer support (not guaranteed).
Went in 2000 under the name Mambo, now it’s called Joomla!. This CMS is in the game for a while now.
One of the biggest disadvantages of Joomla! has always been that the interface is cluttered. This happened when there were many external plugins installed, which resulted in long searches through the settings. Fortunately, this changed significantly with the arrival of Joomla! 3, making the interface much cleaner.
Joomla! is the second most used CMS on the internet with 2.8% of all websites. The marketshare of 6.5% gives it a strong position among the CMSs.
Joomla! has been the most widely used CMS for quite some time. At the time this was due to a number of reasons. Although Joomla! didn’t always have an organized overview, it does have a friendly interface. This has drawn many users to try the system. Joomla! has built a large community, which is why a lot of information about Joomla! can be found on the internet.
Joomla! has existed for quite a while, but the CMS has stood still for a long time. Since the new name, there haven’t been many truly innovative functionalities added. Nowadays it’s better since the introduction of Joomla! 3. New features such as: Multi-language, auto-update feature, more options that give users specific rights. Joomla! now uses a newer way of updating.
Design of the website
Which CMS you choose has little to no effect for the appearance of the website. The appearance is determined by the theme. For both systems, there is a wide range of themes available, so there’s something for everyone. There’s always something that fits or can be adapted to your preferences. A theme is adaptable, there are no fixed typefaces, colors or images which mostly determine the look and feel of a website.
Since developing a CMS revolves around having a good, fitting theme, it is useful to keep in mind that WordPress has proportionally more themes available.
Ease of Use
When it comes to adding articles or pages, both CMS systems are well suited for this. Both systems use an editor that allows you to instantly see how your post will look like. These editors largely determine the ease of use.
Customizing the look of the website is largely depends on the theme itself. The CMS is not responsible for external adjustments. Updating the system itself is fairly easy for WordPress, which can be easily done through FTP or the WordPress admin panel. Joomla! updates less often as it has a smaller community and the website states clearly how the system needs to be updated.
Adding plugins for both WordPress and Joomla! is simple and both systems have a page where themes can be downloaded. For both sides, it’s also possible to buy plugins from external sites such as Codecanyon.
Both CMS systems have plugins available which enable caching. WordPress has a larger community, which makes plugins more likely to continue providing their service up to date. Often, to speed up websites, scripts are combined, which can be done with plugins. You can do this in the _Child file of the theme when using WordPress.
In general, the core of WordPress is lighter than Joomla!’s since it’s a light-based script (requires less computational power from your server). Joomla! does scale better for bigger websites, meaning you’ll require less from the servers than a large WordPress website.
Both systems optimize through plugins, there are many opportunities to optimize your website for Google and other search engines. Standard features such as creating a sitemap and adding meta tags are supported by both systems. Because the community of WordPress is larger, there are more plugins available.
Plugins like Yoast require less configuration and are kept simple to reflect WordPress’ values. The SEO plugins for Joomla! are maintained less than the plugins for WordPress.
As the most popular CMS in the world WordPress is often being targeted by hackers. Fortunately, WordPress built on secure code and reacts quickly to any explosed vulnerabilities. WordPress also has an update system which updates WordPress websites easily when a security patch is released.
WordPress websites can additionally be made more secure with automatic backups, two-factor authentication and other best practices.
There is a built-in system that shows when themes and plugins need to be updated in the admin panel. Vulnerabilities of older themes and plugins are resolved quickly this way.
Joomla is similar in many ways to WordPress when it comes to security. Joomla! is active in responding to vulnerabilities and fixes it pretty quickly as well. However, it’s up to the user to keep templates and extensions up to date.
There are extensions which allow you to make backups of your Joomla website. Security is also improved by applying the same best-practice security options like WordPress.
Since we are comparing two CMSs, it’s also necessary to elaborate on the plugins that are available for both systems.
For WordPress there are over 40.000 free plugins available at the official WordPress website (unfortunately this also encompasses lite which lack full functionality of said plugins). On Codecanyon WordPress has over 4.000 paid plugins. Of course, more doesn’t equal better, but it does indicate the activity of the community.
For Joomla! there are over 7.500 plugins available on the official Joomla! website of which almost 4.000 are paid. On Codecanyon Joomla! has over 180 paid plugins. This is considerably less when comparing it to the amount of WordPress plugins. This is a large problem for Joomla! since fewer people will start using Joomla! as there are so few plugins available compared to WordPress.
If you are going to use multiple plugins, depend on these and you’re not very good at adapting existing plugins WordPress is a better match, solely due to the amount of plugins.
Both CMS systems have free and paid themes (templates for Joomla!). These numbers are based on the largest themeprovider Themeforest and several theme directories. Furthermore there are many 3rd-party developers with homemade themes without an overview. The numbers are indicative.
On the official WordPress website there are over 2.100 free up-to-date themes available for direct use. ThemeForest has over 6.000 paid ones available.
On Themeforest, there are over 740 paid templates and the joomla24 collection has 720 free templates for version 3.x.
When to use?
As described in this article, there are several things that distinguish the two content management systems. To clarify we’ve set up advice for when it’s recommended to use it and when it’s not recommended.
When it comes to online shops both systems are less suitable (does not mean that small online shops are possible). A system like Magento or SEOshop are better choices for this.
When is WordPress recommended to use?
- Easy to manage websites.
- Blogs with or without multiple authors.
- Small to medium sized websites.
When is it not recommended to use WordPress?
- Websites containing sensitive data.
- Highly collaborative or social websites.
- Complex E-commerce websites.
How is using WordPress like?
WordPress is pretty easy to manage by the client, it has a low threshold in terms of complexity. It’s pretty easy to understand for people who have no experience with it. This makes it easy to manage.
When is Joomla! recommended to use?
- Social networks or intranets.
- Small to medium sized E-commerce websites.
- Web sites that require scalability.
When is it not recommended to use Joomla!?
- Small static websites with little maintenance.
- Websites that need to be managed without developers.
- Complex E-commerce websites.
Where there’s a will there’s a way. It ís possible to make such websites because with 3rd party plugins you obviously get a big end. But for those situations there are tools which fit the brief better.
How is using Joomla! like?
Average. The interface looks nice, several parts feel illogical and cluttered (especially the backend control panel). Joomla! requires, in contrast to WordPress, some more explanation to the customer if you’re not maintaining it.
When choosing a CMS you need to properly consider which functions are necessary to realize your website. Although Joomla can be used for larger, more complex websites, due to the much larger amount of themes and plugins, the growth and the marketshare WordPress is without a doubt the better choice in most cases.
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