Even for those who’ve only dipped their toes in web development, WordPress and Joomla should be familiar names.
And with good reason:
Both are renowned for being easy to use yet surprisingly flexible.
The similarities don’t end there:
They’re both self-hosted, as well as open source.
But which one is better?
That’s a bit of a loaded question since it depends on what your preferences are. However, since these two content management systems are quite alike, there is merit in contrasting their strong and weak suits, so you can see which one matches your needs better.
In this article we’ll cover the most important aspects you need to consider when looking for a good CMS:
- ease of use
- customization options
- SEO capabilities
WordPress is very much geared towards beginners. Ease of use is its middle name, and it shows. You can start a blog from scratch in a matter of hours, even if you have little experience. What’s more, the drag and drop system really simplifies matters. Auto Installers and customizers make creating a relatively competent website a piece of cake.
Joomla also has a reputation for being easy to handle. It’s well deserved since the interface is intuitive. But WordPress scores a win here, albeit by a hair’s breadth. Joomla does overwhelm its users with options a bit, making the dashboard look a bit cluttered.
WordPress is widely known as one of the most customizable content management systems around. You’ll be hard pressed to find something you can’t change in some way. Beyond that, there’s a treasure trove of diverse specialized themes to choose from, as well as over 50,000 plugins that add unique features to your site.
Joomla is quite similar to WordPress when it comes to how much you can do to your website. There are loads of different themes and plugins to choose from, and you can tinker with basically any aspect of your site. The two CMSs are basically on equal ground here, though you could argue that Joomla lacks a centralized directory from which you can safely download what you need. WordPress also offers a greater variety of plugins, as it’s more widespread.
WordPress does fairly well on its own when it comes to search engine optimization. However, its SEO powers truly shine when you apply specific plugins. All in One SEO, and, of course, Yoast SEO provide many more tools and features to optimize your site, and they tend to be incredibly ease to use.
Joomla fares a bit better than WordPress right out of the box, as it provides more tweaking options. For example, you can set meta descriptions and keywords for your articles. Joomla also has plugins that greatly increase its SEO potency. Easy Frontend SEO is likely the best one you can find, and it works really well. However, it can’t quite match Yoast. So in this regard, WordPress comes out on top.
WordPress is massive, with 34% of all indexed websites being run on it. So, it makes sense that it has to endure constant hacking attempts and successes. And it counters this onslaught with a vast array of plugins. What’s more, there are as many unique configurations as there are people using WordPress.
As good as that sounds, however, it’s not ideal.
Lots of plugins means lots of weak spots if these plugins are not updated. The core problem is that without the plugins, WordPress has little in the way of security, not even SSL or 2FA. This makes it hard to keep up with security, since you ultimately have to check every single plugin to make sure it’s been updated.
Joomla does a bit better in this department. For one thing, it has the obvious advantage of being a smaller target for cyber attackers, since it isn’t used as often as WordPress. Besides that, it gives you a bit more to fight back with, such as the aforementioned SSL and 2FA. It also gives you a handy checklist of everything you can do to make your website safer, from hosting to setup. It will even advise you how to deal with a successful hack.
WordPress is open source, meaning that the software itself is completely free of charge. With that in mind, not everything about it is free. Sure, it has a lot of free features, but things like hosting, some themes, plugins and extensions will knock some bucks out of your wallet. Its popularity also comes with an abundance of people you can hire for various services.
Depending on what you choose to purchase, the cost of your site can vary dramatically. Starting a site can cost you as little as $100 or as much as $30,000. SiteBegginer has a terrific guide on how to make cheap and expensive WordPress sites.
Joomla plays a similar hand to WordPress in that it’s also open source. It, too, requires you to pay for many themes, plugins, extensions, and services like hosting or making specialized, complicated features or themes.
That being said:
A Joomla site will cost you less – on paper, at least. While you can expect budget websites to set you back by up to $700 USD, a high-end budget will come out costing you around $7000.
The thing is:
Expenses for both can vary so much that it’s hard to say which one’s better. On average, they’ll cost around the same amount, give or take. It mostly comes down to what you want out of your site, and the services you need to accomplish those goals.
Joomla and WordPress are fairly similar on the surface. It largely comes down to what kind of tools you need for what you want to create.
At this level of similarity, you might want to consider additional factors, such as community support or availability of services related to each CMS.