WordPress vs Drupal vs Joomla vs Expression Engine

cms - wordpress - drupal - joomla - expression engineI often am asked which CMS a client should use, and while I’m not a developer I know plenty of developers and somehow have been given the status of “objective recommender.” This morning I woke to find just such an email request:

Paul, If you woke up this morning and you Boss said lets blow up the website, start over will all things new and I want it done in 2 months, besides the panic, which CMS would you choose? WordPress versus Drupal verus Joomla versus EE? Or something else for a 2000 Page site…

Values placed on the selection:

  • Common development the ability to use what others have done
  • Flexible
  • Easy for admins/editors to edit
  • SEO friendly
  • Local developers
  • Manageable site of 2000+ pages

CMS Comparisons

The decisions as to which CMS are difficult. However the most important part of the CMS puzzle is your developers. All of these are written in PHP and can have plugins/modules written for it, however some are friendlier to developers than others. The reason it’s about your developers: None of these will work off the shelf and with existing plugins. All will have to be customized up front and tweaked as you make changes.

WordPress (aka WP)

  • Developers: Developers don’t love this as much as Drupal, but the ease of use for the user and the common use of this cms has attracted a lot of developers.
  • Quantity of local developers: Far and away the clear winner in this space. Just about every developer has experience with WP.
  • Editor/admin Usability: Bar none the most user friendly CMS in this list
  • Can it handle 2000 pages: yes easily – its not just a blog anymore
  • Common Development – plugins: tons, a lot of bad ones, but there are tons of plugins out there.
  • Common Development – themes: tons, costs are in the $100 range, buy one, modify it, life is good.
  • Flexible: Very flexible, i’ve seen WordPress do pretty crazy things, but yet at it’s core it’s a loop based blogging cms so not the best in this list for flexibility
  • Out of the box SEO: Best in this list. It’s baked into the base code
  • Plugin SEO: Even better. – tons of options
  • Typical Dev needs: Heavy upfront, very little after launch most of the tweaks can happen by a junior level developer
  • Sites using WP

Joomla

  • Developers: Typically they struggle. I have not found a really, really good developer who develops for Joomla (they can and will, but they curse while doing it)
  • Quantity of local developers: Joomla Users Groups are mostly end users trying to figure out how to use it – this ranks 3rd.
  • Editor/admin Usability: the worst on this list
  • Can it handle 2000 pages: yes but it’d be really complicated on the admin to find them all.
  • Common Development – plugins: out there. not great, not a huge selection — typically devs roll their own
  • Common Development – themes: some, not great.
  • Flexible: least in this list. combine the limited plugins, limited developers, with the frustration for devs and the limited functions out of the box — its pretty limited.
  • Out of the box SEO: Good luck
  • Plugin SEO: only comes half way to where it needs to be
  • Typical Dev needs: Steady
  • Sites using Joomla

Drupal

  • Developers: They love this CMS, I don’t know why yet, but I know really good developers who Drupal out all day. — the learning curve is higher than in WordPress, but makes sense after learning
  • Quantity of local developers: More than I would expect. 2nd place behind WordPress
  • Editor/admin Usability: not the best, but it’s fair/good probably tied with EE
  • Can it handle 2000 pages: yes easily
  • Common Development – plugins: yes, and growing more each day.
  • Common Development – themes: yes and growing more each day
  • Flexible: Probably the most flexible on this list.
  • Out of the box SEO: #2, right behind WordPress
  • Plugin SEO: makes it neck and neck with WordPress
  • Typical Dev needs: Heavy upfront, weekly/monthly after
  • Sites using Drupal

Expression Engine (aka EE)

  • Developers: Those who do EE do it well, but there is a huge barrier to entry. I do know smart developers on the EE platform — also the company who makes it is available to support/develop on EE. Probably one of the only CMSs in this list that can say that
  • Quantity of Local Developers: One of the top Experts on EE is local, but overall this CMS has the lowest quantity available in this list
  • Editor/admin Usability: Again tied with Drupal
  • Can it handle 2000 pages: yes easily
  • Common Development – plugins: the lowest quantity on this list – but best quality. However if you want to display twitter feed in a specific way (for example), since there are only 2 plugins, you’ll typically have to roll your own
  • Common Development – themes: the lowest quantity on this list – but typically beautiful sites!
  • Flexible: Limited but not by much, it’s neck and neck with WordPress for 2nd/3rd place
  • Out of the box SEO: ok, though most EE sites don’t take SEO into consideration
  • Plugin SEO: makes it better, but still in 3rd position
  • Typical Dev needs: Heavy upfront, weekly/monthly after
  • Sites using EE

Winning CMS in Each Category:

  • Developers: Drupal
  • Quantity of Local Developers: WordPress
  • Editor/admin Usability: WordPress
  • Can it handle 2000 pages: Drupal WordPress and EE tied at this level… at 10K pages it’s Drupal left standing, no other CMS (in this list) comes close to that robustness.
  • Common Development – plugins: WordPress
  • Common Development – themes: WordPress
  • Flexible: Drupal
  • Out of the box SEO: WordPress
  • Plugin SEO: Drupal and WordPress tied
  • Typical Dev needs: WordPress

Which CMS is right for you?

No doubt it’s the one that you have a good relationship with multiple developers on. I’s love for you to choose WordPress. But I bet that since the impression that “WP is just a blogging cms and cannot handle a robust site” they’ll shake out in this order:

  1. Drupal
  2. WordPress
  3. EE
  4. Joomla

Let the Hate Mail Ensue

This is of course all my opinion, I use and love WordPress. I’d love to get into Drupal. I’ve hated dealing with Joomla, and I’ve personally never used an EE CMS site (remember that barrier to entry) . That being said, I’d love to be corrected, I will adjust this post as needed, feel free to shout out in the comments as to what needs adjusting and I’ll fix it.

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  • GRDude

    Nice article, what did you based this on? from experience, from talking to others who have used these tools.

    Personally at the end of the day it is all about finding the right solution for the client, open source or not, php or dotnet, mysql or sql server or oracle. The client really drives what solution will work, because at the end of the day, they are paying for it and they will use it within their environment or host it externally.

    • http://paulkortman.com/ Paul Kortman

      Agreed that it depends on the client and their needs, but I have never recommended EE or Joomla. never.

      This is based on personal experience, research, reading other comparison articles, and discussions had with the local developer community. As most comparisons with CMS there is no standard. If I were to say WordPress has 4,000 twitter plugins, where as Drupal only has 3 you would assume WordPress is better, but the truth is in quality Drupal is better. How can you research/quantify qualitative subjective data on CMS’?

    • GRDude

      I always use the car analogy…..where you cant fit a ferrai engine into a mini, it really comes down to what you want.

      I only started using EE recently, and apart from the fact that it is php/mysql which I have no experience in, it really isnt that bad. As most of the work takes place in the templates, as with any site, you have to determine is it cms based or not, and then determine the best course of action on it.

      I used to be very pro dotnet, but I have mellowed quite a bit, customer first and for the most part they really dont care what the technology it is built on. As long as it is easy to maintain and they don’t have to do too much heavy lifting, then they will be happy.

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  • http://hogueweb.com rissajeanne

    Great review, Paul. I would argue that with the usability improvements in Drupal 7 (more drag-and-drop for administrative tasks, built-in cron job configuration, edit links on page elements, admin pages in an overlay theme), the gap between WordPress and Drupal UX has closed completely. Here’s a great (though not exhaustive) list of what’s new in Drupal 7: http://drupal.org/about/new-in-drupal-7

    • http://paulkortman.com/ Paul Kortman

      Marissa,

      I’d love to get more hands on with Drupal 7. I have a project I’m working on that I might try to push in that direction. What sites or who are good theme resources?

      • http://hogueweb.com rissajeanne

        Check out http://drupal.org/project/themes for contributed themes. Zen is a great theme if you want a minimal base upon which to build. Also refer to the theming guide (helpful when starting from scratch, too): http://drupal.org/theme-guide/6-7. The following will be helpful, considering it will be a while before Drupal 6 themes are updated for version 7: http://drupal.org/update/themes/6/7. And last but not least, http://themegarden.org. Don’t be overwhelmed. ;-) For your first run, I recommend building on top of Zen.

        • http://paulkortman.com/ Paul Kortman

          Awesome! Thanks for the advice/links

      • http://route66mc.com Dan Allen

        For Drupal theme development, you might try Signalz, Montpelier, VT. signalz.com.

  • http://derosia.com Topher

    Every experience I’ve ever had with Drupal has made me never want to touch it again. I know people who love it, and I’m happy for them. Joomla has a terrible reputation for security, and I don’t know a ton about EE, though I’ve heard you have to do all your coding inside their editor, which doesn’t sound any fun at all.

    WordPress on the other hand can do ANYTHING. It’s just a wonderful base for any web site. +1 wordpress.

    • http://paulkortman.com/ Paul Kortman

      WordPress has had security issues in the past too, not as many as Joomla tho.

      Finally a developer who comments pro WordPress!!

      • http://www.mmjtech.com Jesper Dinesen

        As with any system, you should always make sure you update your version of Joomla to the newest security release, to avoid any known security issues.

    • Adam

      I have created 3 WordPress sites, 3 Joomla a 2 Droopal. I even tried a Chinese version called XOOPS.

      WordPress ins simplistic in nature allowing anyone to create a site. Integration of simple apps including SEO make it the best. I now you have plenty of time with it so on to Joomla.

      Joomla allows for a variety of apps, so there is rarely any development time needed to get any numerous type of sites up that are not as available to do as it would be in WordPress, this is where I think Joomla excels. You can mold the site to be anything you want it to be through paid and unpaid extensions.

      Drupal – I did not enjoy the navigation and after creating another site last month that I haven’t touched after adding one page. I going to drop it and change it to Joomla when I get the time. Drupal is not bad it is just a learning curve that I do not have the time to learn at the moment. Out of all three if you are a master web developer it is the one to choose.
      I need to look into Dupal7.

      Never used EE and probably never with as long as the other 3 are available. For social networking there is ELGG some colleges and businesses use it internally.

    • http://astuteo.com Matt Everson

      EE has a “Save Template to File” function (which pretty much every EE dev uses) that allows you to work in your own text editor.

  • nick defoe

    I think that there is a tool for every job – you wouldn’t want to take the wheel off your car with a hacksaw, right?

    From our experience WP fits a lot of our client’s needs well. The usability has been by far the best (though we are looking into Drupal7 a lot more now) and the availability of high quality plugins and themes is really valuable.

    I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for a site with over 100+ pages though – the admin interface just doesn’t feel like it was ment to handle a site of that scope, even though it can probably handle it fine.

    • http://paulkortman.com/ Paul Kortman

      If you own a 2010 Ford Fusion you may be taking the wheel studs off of your car with a hacksaw ;) http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2011/01/feds-probe-reports-of-ford-fusion-wheel-studs-breaking/1

      But I agree that there is a tool for every job. In writing this review it seems to come down to WordPress is still the entry level and Drupal is the clear winner for more advanced sites/needs (limiting to this list and no dotNET or other CMS variations)

      Are there other CMS’s that should be added?

      • nick defoe

        Nice reference ;)

        Aside from what you have mentioned I would say that the only other paths you might need to look at are .asp requirements (as you also said) or custom development.

        Sometimes custom is the only way to go, and if it is done right using modern frameworks (Ruby on Rails or CodeIgniter for example) you can avoid having a nightmarish mess of code when you are done.

        • http://paulkortman.com/ Paul Kortman

          agreed.

          but comparing these 4 to self-rolled RoR or other framework based Custom CMS’ would be insane and stupid for a blog post.

    • http://www.rumleydesign.com Luke

      If WordPress were a hacksaw, yes I would use it to remove all of my clients’ proverbial tires. ;)

      • http://blueskysessions.com nick defoe

        The issue we are starting to run into is that when WordPress sites grow to a certain level of complexity / features, they eventually require so many plugins that more of the site is being driven by the plugins than WP Core.

        At that point I become less comfortable using WP because you start to run into incompatibilities between plugins, javascripts, etc. where from what I can tell you could alternatively build the complexity from the ground up using clean code in a system like Drupal or Expression Engine.

        From what I have seen recently WP has greatly raised the bar for when this becomes an issue by introducing Custom Post Types & Custom Taxonomies, but it can still be an issue none the less.

        I will also cavaeat this statement by saying that WP has worked for every (content management) project we have thrown at it, which has been just about all of them from what I remember, but some projects we are in the planning phases for now I don’t think WP would be the wise choice.

        • http://www.rumleydesign.com Luke Rumley

          I think you are right…Drupal and EE are just a new arena for me personally, and come with a learning curve I haven’t had a need to overcome. Plugin infighting is a big issue in the WordPress (no, I don’t capitalize the P like I am supposed to) community. Not sure it is a WordPress issue, or just the wild wild west nature of plugin development.

          I love how the community works though – Chicago’s WordCamp was a really interesting experience this past year as plugin developers, core contributers, users, and designers came together to make the platform better.

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  • http://capitolwebdesign.net Lisa

    Count me in as a 2 thumbs up for WordPress. Having worked with Joomla (mambo), and Drupal (only once), in my opinion WP is the most user-friendly and relatively easy to customize. I have one client who is still using Joomla and I find it to be a big, fat elephant waiting to explode every time I need to log into do something. I’ve never had to customize Drupal but I hear that of all the CMS’s, it’s probably the most scalable.

    I’ve never had a client yet who didn’t like WP. I can’t say the same for Drupal or Joomla.

    • http://paulkortman.com/ Paul Kortman

      What’s the size of the largest site you have running on WP (by page count or visitors or something)?

      • http://capitolwebdesign.net Lisa

        2,706 pages (not posts)

        • http://paulkortman.com/ Paul Kortman

          Love it! Thanks!

  • http://www.mmjtech.com Jesper Dinesen

    ok.. So why do I feel thrown under the bus after reading this blog ? Paul, I could not disagree more with you evaluation. I know this is most based on your personal preference, but I disagree with almost all your statements about Joomla. Here is how I would have answered those same points:

    # Developers: Any version of Joomla 1.5 and up is a breeze to develop in. All true core components is VMC. There is many good developers. Also many bad ones, but that can be said about any system.

    # Quantity of local developers: At least 1 local expert, but a fair amount of decent developers.

    # Editor/admin Usability: IMHO, the best on the list. This is purely preference and what you are used to.

    # Can it handle 2000 pages: Easily, and in 1.6 or with Components everything gets easier.

    # Common Development – plugins: TONS: extensions.joomla.org has over 4000 listed. More coming every day.

    # Common Development – themes: Again Tons. Google Joomla Themes; I got 8+million results.

    # Flexible: I think all my points above proves Joomla is very Flexible.

    # Out of the box SEO: Decent. Problem is here, some of the options is up to how the template is developed. If you get a well developed template you will no issue.

    # Plugin SEO: only comes half way to where it needs to be: Paul. Paul please let me know what else you need here.

    # Typical Dev needs: Like with Drupal, Heavy upfront, not needed afterwards unless extra functionality is needed.

    My goal is not to flame, but to show another side.

    • http://paulkortman.com/ Paul Kortman

      Jesper, not thrown under the bus, but if you align yourself to one software it better be the best or else prospective clients will choose other developers. (Has happened to me before)

      These 4 CMS’ are best in class, no doubt. All right up there. But they have to have their quirks and benefits. Joomla does not have as many benefits as the other three, so it gets spot 4. It also has many quirks.

      1. Developers, just looking at where they flock to (en masse) and we’re looking at Drupal and WordPress

      2. Quantity of local — same as #1

      3. Preference yes, but I am no alone in saying that (outside Drupal v7) WordPress is the most usable interface for non developers.

      4. No doubt it can, but it goes to #3, difficult to manage

      5. 4,000 plugins pales in comparison to wordpress’s official list (12,000)

      6. Themes, google results cannot be the qualifier here, I am not saying that there are not options for Themes in Joomla, just far less than in the other CMS’

      7. Joomla is flexible by definition, but the ease of making it do what most people require tends to involve developers. Not true in WordPress.

      8. The standard template/functions with no customizations do not work well for SEO

      9. Custom SEO, I understand that you want to fix this problem, but using what is there today shows that Joomla is lacking

      10. Agreed that Drupal and Joomla are equivalent in this area.

      The key: don’t be offended if your CMS is in spot #4 and not spot #1.

      • http://www.mmjtech.com Jesper Dinesen

        Paul:

        1. I disagree that just because of what People most use, that is the best. Lets go back to Betamax and VHS. Betamax was the best, but VHS won ?!?.

        2. You are right that there is less local developers. But nonetheless there is GREAT Local developers.

        3. I hear the opposite. It is solely up to what people are used to.

        4. I disagree – it just takes getting used to. So does Drupal and WP.

        5. In your first list you stated not a huge selection. Now you say 4000 pales in comparison to WordPress official list. I wonder how many of WPs 12000 plugins works for the newest version ? Joomla’s in comparison low number is because they cleaned up their official list late last year and removed all 1.0 plugins. Their list went from well over 15000 plugins to 4000. Wonder if WP should do the same ?!?

        6. Give me some numbers here.. If you make these statements be prepared to defend them.

        7. This will depend on what most people require. Again, here I disagree.

        8. This is easily fixed. I dont know anybody who would use the standard template.

        9. There is several very widely used 3rd party components to fix these issues. And they are supported by great teams. I dont know what else you could ask for here ?

        10. …

        I guess my point is that you simply throw Joomla out due to personal preference. Have you really worked with Joomla this much in the past to know for a fact that it is such a bad system ? Its like you are willing to give the other systems the benefit of the doubt, but not Joomla or EE.. that is weird to me.

        I dont know Drupal or EE well enough to compare them, but I have worked with WP in the past, and in my opinion WP is very limited and not flexible at all.

        • http://paulkortman.com/ Paul Kortman

          Jesper, to your point, WordPress is not as capable for a large site as Joomla, but due to the larger community and ease of use for both developers and admin/editors I rank it higher.

          You view Joomla higher than WordPress, and if those were the only two options I would say yes wordpress is for smaller sites whereas Joomla can do more. But when you throw EE and Drupal into the mix the winner on heavy lifting, security, and ease of development is Drupal. And yes those are opinions.

          There are many different ways to compare these CMS’, like number of popular sites on each platform, or cost of developers on odesk for each platform, or other factors such as that. I based it on my experience with developers, and no they don’t all agree, but I have to make a recommendation somewhere.

          In order of my experience (hands on) level:
          1. WordPress
          2. Joomla
          3. Drupal
          4 .EE

          Yes I have had plenty of experience with Joomla, more than that of Drupal. Yet I recommend Drupal.

          • http://www.mmjtech.com Jesper Dinesen

            Paul,

            I never had an issue with your ranking. That is fine. My problem was always with your reasons, which is flawed in my opinion. I fear you are not giving the Joomla Core Team any credit, when it comes to the tremendous updates they have done in the past, and that comes with J1.6.

      • http://www.mmjtech.com Jesper Dinesen

        I dont feel offended due to your placing Joomla as 4. Im offended because your points are flawed.

        • León

          Knowing that my coment is based purely on my own experience working with joomla and wordpress, I would say that for business driven websites joomla fits the bill way better than WP. More relevant extensions, more relevant themes. 12,000 apps means nothing to me if they are not relevant to my projects. Well, actually means that I will spend more time looking for what I need.

  • http://intensewebsites.com/ Derek Moore

    Very good comparison, though Expression Engine hasn’t had near the exposure of the other three and is this respect, I know little or nothing about it and won’t comment on it, but will definitely look further into it.

    As far as your review, I’d tie Joomla and Drupla as tied for #1. I have active websites with both and also WordPress sites.

    To me, WordPress is not a CMS, its a blog system, but has tons of useful addons. I agree with your flexibility comments on WP. I’d have to add I think it is by far the fastest to add your comments (blog) and then theme it, with plugins for a functioning beautiful site. You are dead-on on the easy admin menu. I wouldn’t use it if I had to manage users or have an app that users sign it to use for extra features. Tons of free (and paid) themes.

    Joomla, I tie for number one because of its theme availability and for it having easy to install demo websites with themes, such as the VirtueMart shopping cart. Themes in Joomla are crazy, but powerful. It has powerful free theme framework add-ons from commercial theme vendors, which many of them give away their theme framework to you at no cost. Plugins I’d have to disagree on one point. There are lots of them, but many of the good ones are commercial, which you usually get with a paid theme. Yes, I do curse Joomla, especially when moving my content/menus around.

    Drupal ties for number one and would be solely number one if its theme frameworks were slightly stronger, but this is advantageous in that they are not quite as confusing. I’d say it is the most powerful and strives to be most compliant with standards. I think its Dev community is stronger and more likely to help you. It is my current favorite and I’m about to roll out a Drupal site in 25 Languages. Its bad reputation comes from its very stark initial install not seeing much on your first pages.

    Great review on your part. You just got bookmarked!

    @rissajeanne – For Drupla I’d say start with Fusion (core) with Mix and Match theme.

    • http://paulkortman.com/ Paul Kortman

      Thanks Derek!

    • http://hogueweb.com rissajeanne

      I’ve heard good things about Fusion as well, though I couldn’t recommend it because I’ve never used it myself. I’ll probably check it out soon. Right now I’m working with Boron, which is an HTML5 base theme, and I like it so far.

    • http://intensewebsites.com/ IntenseWebsites.com

      Ahem . . . and I’d have to add if anybody needs a hosting provider that supports the FULL feature set of all these CMS’s. Click on my name or go to: http://intensewebsites.com/ .

      Hahaha – feel free to delete this comment if it offends. Still love the discussion!

      • http://paulkortman.com/ Paul Kortman

        Derek, Thanks for the offer/link/recommendation/flagrant self promotion :)

        This is a do-follow blog for a reason, I will remove spam and bots, but humans adding to the discourse are welcome (and pimps are too ;) ).

  • http://network.crcna.org Tim Postuma

    At the CRCNA (Christian Reformed Church) we’re moving things over to Drupal. It’s started with our network.crcna.org site and a few smaller ones, but based on that experience we’re looking at migrating more and more over.

    If I was just looking at a single site, I’d definitely go with WP if it meets the need. But for a robust system that can do everything our ministries currently need and anything that comes up in the foreseeable future…Drupal seemed like the best long-term bet.

    In the past year since we made that decision, a number of things have reinforced it. One was seeing how Drupal was often near the top of vendor’s priority list in terms of integration. Yes, the plug-ins vary in quality. But it’s at least nice to have that option instead of rolling your own every time. It’s one of the benefits of going with a widely-used system.

    EE also had some strange licensing stuff with regard to social sites (e.g. you couldn’t let people host their own blogs?!). We weren’t sure it would be an issue for our needs, but it did make us a bit leery about using a semi-open, semi-proprietary system. But the usability of EE seemed good and the plugins, while more limited, were of more consistent quality.

    So we’re happy with the Drupal choice. Especially after seeing version 7 which addresses some of the learning-curve criticisms of the past.

    • http://paulkortman.com/ Paul Kortman

      Thanks for the feedback Tim! It makes a difference to see/hear how real clients are using/experiencing the various CMS tools. Be sure to let us know what your experience is with Drupal7 when you get it.

  • Amy Stephen

    I’ve used all three free software applications and I think they each rock. My preferred development platform is Joomla!. I have a lot of experience with Drupal and WordPress and both rock. Had I started with either of those, that is likely the one I would be using today. All three are excellent PHP development tools.

    I do have expertise in this field with 25 years in the IT industry. With respect, this is what I would characterize as a fanboy post, not a technical evaluation.

    A couple of years ago, I participated as the lead of the Joomla! team in the SxSW CMS challenge with our Drupal and Joomla! neighbors. Each team produced outstanding results with free software. In the numerical analysis, Joomla! won, although I am not even convinced that was very scientific.

    It’s a good time to be a user of free software.

    • http://paulkortman.com/ Paul Kortman

      Amy, I appreciate your expertise and experience, and while I do enjoy WordPress I don’t characterize this as a fanboy post. Instead a non-developers experience trying to deploy each one and listening to the local developer community, seeing their skills and knowing what they can and cannot do.

      But yes it is a great time to be a user of free software!

  • http://www.rumleydesign.com Luke

    WordPress, because it is more about the end-users’ and site admins experience than the developers. The theme development and power of plugins is tough to hold a candle to. I’ve heard people shy away from WP for performance reasons with thousands of pages…I can’t speak to that.

    I rank EE with Textpattern in terms of admin usability, though it is powerful. We use it to drive the front-end of the Steelcase Store(s).

    I have no experience with Drupal, because it was too complicated (I don’t really consider myself a developer).

    Joomla should be taken out back and shot. MVC sounds great…does it get me more visitors? Drive more conversions? I just paid a local developer to extract page and post content to port over to wordpress, the admin interface was that hard to use.

  • http://bitmanic.com Ray Brown

    So, I’m a little late to the game, but I just wanted to make a quick plug for ExpressionEngine. I use it almost exclusively when I’m not working on contract jobs, and I prefer it over any other CMS out there for most cases. I’ve used WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and a few smaller CMS solutions (some extensively, some only once or twice), so I’ve had a taste of each of the ones you’ve listed and have noticed that each CMS has its place in the market.

    One thing that sets EE apart from the others is the lack of themes. There are none. Many would consider this to be laughably shortsighted, but it’s very much intentional. EE developers code from the ground up, as opposed to modifying someone else’s theme (Oh, hello, WordPress) or letting the CMS poop out a plethora of tags (I’m looking at you, Drupal).

    EE’s templating engine is crazy powerful. In addition to rendering HTML via EE templates, you can also generate CSS, JS, XML, and RSS. Each of these template types allows for embedding other templates, integrating EE tags, or even using PHP code. All of these files are cacheable and (contrary to Topher’s comment above) editable with any text editor.

    EE leaves the developer with complete control over how their site’s design is implemented, as well as how their site functions and responds to user interaction. This control extends to all of EE’s add-ons, which also allow the developer to finely tune configuration and output. In the event that the site needs super complex or custom functionality, the developer can break out of EE and use the CodeIgniter framework, which powers each EE installation.

    Granted, this approach isn’t for everybody. The end product will vary tremendously depending on the developer’s ability to execute design and functionality. All of this responsibility can be quite daunting at first; with other CMS packages, it can be very easy to find a plugin that does mostly what you want it to. However, doing so usually means relinquishing control over features, code quality, and support. With EE, this isn’t the case.

    This makes EE great for high-level marketing websites, editorial websites, and websites with complex content structures. By installing an add-on or two, EE can also power small to mid-level ecommerce websites. EE can, of course, also power blogs and small business sites, but you would probably be better off using WordPress for simple sites like that.

    Anyway, while I think your understanding of EE is a little flawed, your overall comparison is put together quite well. Good work, Paul!

    • http://paulkortman.com/ Paul Kortman

      Ray,

      Not late at all, I still have people talking to me irl about this post :) And yes the hate mail did ensue. :(

      I admit I don’t know EE as well as you do, and I appreciate the education.

      Thanks for the visit and the comment! I look forward to more.

      • http://route66mc.com Dan Allen

        Paul, this is the best discussion of CMSs I can find! Thank you for your excellent article and keeping up with the discussion.

        I have developed sites with all four of these CMSs. In a way, I find the whole field of CMS bewildering.

        The most practical advice is to stick with something with a lot of local development support, but that has pretty little to do with the functional differences among these products.

        FRONT ENDs
        EE’s blank slate on the front end is its most distinguishing feature. I don’t see how that entered your analysis. The other three all come with front ends blocked into a few columns, with a banner and footer. To extend those front ends, the main task is to find widgets and templates from 3rd parties, or to make your own. Seems like a whole degree program could be created for WordPress/Drupal/Joomla widgets and themes, so none of those CMSs by themselves generate solutions, without 3rd party widgets and/or themes.

        BACK ENDs
        To me, none of the backends on any of these CMS makes any damned sense, especially with regard to editing content. Their best feature is they are secure, but working with them always requires a confusing translation of requirements into a non-intuitive structure/taxonomy, that makes sense only to people who have invested substantial time. The learning curve consists largely of learning the non-intuitive structure of the backend and its relationship to the front end. Developers naturally gravitate to whichever of these they pick up first or best, without regard to the impact on their clients.

        Whenever I show my clients any of these backends, they always say they are non-intuitive. Their willingness to deal with the alien world of the back end is one of the key success factors on projects.

        SMARTER WAY TO EDIT CONTENT
        None of these CMSs are setup for what seems like the most logical, intuitive approach to site editing: edit links right on the front end, visible/operable only for logged in editors. When the editor clicks the edit link, they can edit right in the page, instead of having to flip between front end and back end. The back end still can be used for user management, system configuration, but not entering/editing content. Using a back end for entering data is an old idea we should have outgrown by now.

        • http://www.paulkortman.com Paul Kortman

          Dan have you played with squarespace at all? They have the best wysiwyg editor similar to how you’ve described here. I find that to be the biggest hurdle for clients is seeing something on a page and knowing where to go in their CMS to affect it.

          However EE is not exempt from the backend issue.

          Thanks for the compliments, I’m happy to contribute!

          • http://route66mc.com Dan Allen

            Paul, thank you for that tip on Squarespaces! I just watched the demo on their site. I am going to present it to my client once we complete the custom prototype I am putting together with them on EE. I already told the client, his site needs to be implemented in WordPress, but if he can get what he wants with squarespaces, maybe doing it on his own with just a demo from me, I think I owe it to him to at least present the possibility of saving him some money.

          • http://www.paulkortman.com Paul Kortman

            Happy to help! Clients love saving money!

  • Jason

    Well said Ray,

    To even mention ExpressionEngine in the same article as those other 3 is a mistake in my opinion.

    EE is more of a system to build your own CMS, that exactly meets the needs of the project at hand. No 2 builds of EE are the same.

    EE assumes nothing about your content, and allows you to shape your site the way you intended. Ranking EE 2nd or 3rd for flexibility is just laughable.

    On the other hand, half of me wants everyone to remain ignorant of EE, allowing me to keep run circles around devs using WP/Joomla/Drupal.

    Paul, I applaud your bravery.

  • http://www.moogaloo.com andy

    Very pro EE myself… not gonna get into a list of points, other than to address the “barrier if entry”

    I’m a web designer. I can do html, css… I can’t do a single line of php, mysql, asp etc.

    EE is the only one of the four sites listed here that let’s me make fully featured sites (check our portfolio for examples) without learning a programming language.

    For this reason, I would argue that EE has, for someone like me at least, by far the lowest barrier to entry.

    • http://houston-data.com Dan Allen

      The funny thing about this comment is that you actually use the EE programming language very much the same way you would use PHP if you were using that instead. All those commands in {}, all the decisions you make defining channels, channel fields, templates, file uploads, etc. in EE are every bit as much “programming” as anything programed in PHP. You are just programming in EE instead of PHP.

  • Listen2Me

    I think your depth on knowledge on WordPress vs your lack of depth in the other CMS’s are reflected by this post. I’m sure that in most cases, a developer that knows any of these CMS’s well would deliver an outstanding product (except for Joomla… yuk).

    Your points regarding Add-ons and the CMS’s ability to handle large sites are excellent for new developers looking for a CMS to cut their teeth on. Likewise your points regarding Local developers and perhaps Themes would be valuable to a potential client who is needs to consider these things.

    In terms of User-friendliness, SEO, Dev Needs and flexibility, I think this comes down to the quality of your developer. As an EE developer, our clients have very low dev needs, their sites perform excellently in SEO terms and we win contracts by demonstrating how easily it is to tailor the EE CMS to the clients needs. I won’t even start on how flexible EE is other than to say there’s not yet been a project that EE hasn’t been a perfect fit for.

    Any way, that’s my two cents. I’m off to fill my EE mug is needs more coff-EE…

  • http://hambodevelopment.com Steven Hambleton

    You forgot to mention security which would make ExpressionEngine (notice there is no gap in the name much like WordPress) the clear winner in that section.

  • http://astuteo.com Matt Everson

    I would also throw in the fact that EE naturally skews a bit toward higher quality clients because of the $300-600 licensing on each project. But the main differentiator – as Ray, Jason, and Andy all mentioned above – is that EE is a blank slate.

    For designer/devs, this makes for a hell of a CMS experience because we don’t have to worry about fitting any sort of predetermined mold or reverse engineering anything. Not only will my particular layout work in EE, in many cases there’s 10 different ways I can assemble it (which makes for a much easier learning curve).

    I switched from WP to EE about 3 years ago after big time recommendations from other designer/developers. If you’re a designer, you’ll be gaga over EE. If you’re more on the dev side, the water will be muddier.

  • http://www.stephaneblanchard.ca Stephane

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for the article but I’ll have to desagree. You can’t compare any of those CMS, It is like comparing apples and oranges.

    In my humble opinion
    SteF

  • sudip

    A good article but I disagree too. I am a developer. I have not used Drupal or EE. But, I have good experience on Joomla and wordpress.

    I dont know on which version of joomla your article is based on. But, I love working in it. I dont like developing plugin for WordPress because most of the time the WP API is not object oriented. Joomla is great….but, yeah on the shared hosting, joomla is slower in compare to wordpress.But, if you talk about feature, then joomla outweighs wordpress. WordPress is user friendly but very irritating while developing plugins or template while joomla is a breeze…

    I am going to try Drupal….

  • Richard

    I found joomla very unintuitive and having battled it for 2 days switched to drupal and what a difference!

    Drupal just clicked with my way of thinking and was so much easier to configure and make it work as I wanted.

    I’ve played with wp too, but yeah, its a blogging tool.

    Drupal all the way for me.

  • http://www.jamalnichols.com Jamal

    I’ve worked a lot with WP, a little with Joomla (never again), none with Drupal. I was on the fence about getting into ExpressionEngine, but the comments I read here convinced me that it’s exactly what I need. Thanks guys :)

  • Karen Thomas

    I am very pro EE, love love love the flexibility and that I don’t need to know PHP. The license fee question often comes up, so running across this post and the comments has been very helpful in putting into words what I love about the program … I have nothing new to add but want to be notified of any new comments!

  • http://webfeedcentral.com Tom Simpson

    I used to use Joomla (since Mambo). The barrage of constant updates to keep it secure was too much for me, though. I’ve never used EE, but I’m going to try it out and see how it stacks up against Concrete5. I recently moved all my Joomla sites over to Concrete5, and they seem to do the job.

    Concrete5 seems to fit all of the values that you would look for… especially the “easy for admins/editors to edit”. WordPress has always been a favorite of mine, though.

  • j03

    django

  • http://www.crcna.org Tim Postuma

    Of the 4 you mention, it looks like Drupal is growing the fastest (source1, source2). Which makes me extra happy since we’re migrating most of our CRCNA (Christian Reformed Church) ministry sites over to Drupal.

    • http://www.paulkortman.com Paul Kortman

      Tim, those are great resources, Thanks for the recommendations! I have a growing respect for Drupal.

  • Branden

    I wasn’t too happy myself using Joomla, so I decided to abandon my project with it and remove it in the end. After reading here plus elsewhere about Drupal, I decided it might serve well for my main website. WP will stick around for me to use as my blog under a subdomain since personally I find it does certain publishing rather nicely versus the competition. I’ve seen others take a similar approach before with websites such as CNN. Thank you gentlemen for your insight! Good luck with your future projects!

  • client ABC

    I am a client looking to move from WP to a more robust CMS. I just finished sending emails to two developers bidding on our project asking them why one recommended Drupal and the other recommended EE. I then took a chance and did a quick search as I do not know anything about either system but want to be sure to select the best product and the best developer. The developer recommending Drupal is half the price to migrate our existing WP site as we expand. My take is the clean slate that EE offers equates to higher costs. Is this typcial?

    Thanks from a curious potential Drupal?- EE? client. :)

    • http://www.paulkortman.com Paul Kortman

      EE is not a free and open source CMS, which means there is a licensing and support fee for the actual CMS content.

      Typically when dealing with a software which is not open source there are fewer developers developing plugins/modules for it. So if something is needed it has to be custom built (this statement depends on the specific needs of your project)

      I’m not surprised to find that your bid is higher from the EE shop, I recommend comparing apples to apples and contacting another Expression Engine Development firm. Have them give you a quote and see if the EE quotes are in a similar range, or if the 2nd EE quote can compete with the Drupal quote.

      (If you are looking for a second Drupal quote, try out this Drupal Development Firm :)

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  • Victor

    Can someone please direct me to a plugin that is similar to JomSocial (http://www.jomsocial.com/) for Drupal?

  • http://www.theadmen.com Floyd

    Ok..here it is. I’m gonna say it.

    The CMS you choose should vary based on whether or not you are doing client work. Let’s assume the majority of you on here are.

    The Best CMS for client work in order of low to high paying accounts.

    1. WordPress – For your sisters blog you helped her out with as trade for editing your wedding video. Simple to setup, extend, host and update. Set it and kinda forget it.

    2. EE – Build a nice site for a client that thinks people actually care what a website looks like from a design standpoint. (content is king) They will feel really good about paying $4,000 for a super slick site (sorry designers – nobody cares) but be bummed when nobody goes to it because the basic on page SEO work required just wasn’t in the budget.

    3. Joomla – Client has $5,000+ and can commit to a regular maintenance contract with an emphasis on SEO. *very powerful for SEO. Ahemm.. Did I say VERY..when modified properly, takes the cake with Drupal in close second…

    4. Drupal – Client knows nothing about the internet and you can totally run rough shot on them by billing out at $100 per hour even for phone calls. Design projects start at $7,500 and go up to $25,000. Clients tend to be well funded and respectful of your supposed Genius. Great for larger budgets. VERY effective for job security.

    5. Custom CMS – Client has DEEP pockets, at least for now and will be with you until they out grow you or go bankrupt because of your exorbitant fees. Charge as much as you want before, during and after development. Hosting and updates require a full time retainer with developers on call. Good luck staying out of hot water post launch… and if you do make great CMS’s you’d probably not be doing client work.

    A different view on this topic.

    Technologist building sites since pre-G..

  • Rich

    Great discussion! I’ve worked mainly on eCommerce platforms, but have built a few sites on WordPress and touched on EE. I have experience writing PHP, HTML and CSS.
    I have a new client that wants the flexibility to add pages and change content often in an easy, intuitive interface.

    At this point, I’m not sure which one to go with….

  • Frankie

    Just to throw $0.02 into this from a long time developers perspective.

    1. Drupal – Spaghetti code nightmare. I shudder when people recommend this platform. Documentation is at least somewhat in order.

    2. Joomla – A bit more cleaned up than Drupal, but still a lot of coding horrors. Documentation is abysmal.

    3. EE – In terms of underlying source code, the cleanest of the bunch.

    4. WP – No comment on this, haven’t worked with it enough. Not really a CMS though.

    • Rich

      Frankie, so if you were to build a website with a CMS platform for a client that wants editorial control and the ability to easily edit page content, upload images, videos, add pages etc; along with multiple page templates the client can choose to create a given page, which platform would you use?

      SEO also very important

      • http://www.pedrera.com/ Tim Carter

        For what it is worth, you can do pretty cool things for SEO in ExpessioEngine. In our website, http://www.pedrera.com, we updated the content channel in EE to allow editors to enter title and meta tags for each page in custom fields (very easy). This, in concert with ExressionEngine’s support for friendly URLs, works very well.

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  • http://www.binarybulls.com Apal

    1. Joomla – Evolved a lot. 1.7 is faster better and tighter on security part. Handling of pages ? Well we have more than 15000 pages on joomla 1.5 itself. ref. http://www.plasticsinfomart.com. Components list amazing and tons of plugins available. One of the most dedicated community in open source. Developed for lay man.

    2. WordPress – Ease of Use, Lot of Plugins and Ready to Use Templates. Lacks CMS part when you talk about enterprise level websites or portals. Developed for lay man.

    3. Drupal – Strong core. Close knitted community. Limited resources for themes and plugins. Developed for developers.

    4. Expression Engine – Not FREE, no community. limited resources and possibilities. Developed for Developers.

  • Greg Fensterman

    Just wanted to add my proverbial two cents. I am a designer creating web sites not a developer building complex online apps, so consider my comments from that context.

    I have built about half a dozen EE sites in the last year or so. Prior to that I had done some WP stuff but didn’t really get deep into it and I have no experience with WP 3.0.

    The first site I did with EE there was a learning curve of course but not really that bad. I did some basic database programming a loooong time ago (can you say dBaseIII?) so at least I was familiar with conditionals and other concepts. EE was easier to learn than expected, especially for what you are able to do with some basic skills.

    You can really do a lot with a little. With just some EE tags and no php at all you can add a lot of functionality to a site. The tag system is easy to learn and any designer already is going to be familiar with the idea of tags from HTML. Everything is done in the templates and you have total control with those. You don’t start from a theme or pre-defined template structure. I begin by creating a page in HTML then start replacing HTML with EE tags.

    So from my experience it’s a good solution for a designer who wants to build more advanced sites but without getting into any php, JS coding.

    On the downside, yes you have to spend a good $500+ for software. On the one hand I do feel that a few of the must have addons provide functionality that EE should have built in. And some of those must haves are a bit overpriced. But then again, I have been trying to get away from dealing with bottom feeding clients for whom a few hundred dollars is going to make a difference. So I agree with some one’s comments about getting a better class of client :-) Those clients for whom a few hundred dollars is a deciding factor are the ones who are going to want a boat load of features for bargain pricing. So those clients are going to cost you more in the long run.

    Anyway, I can recommend EE as being worth a look if you are in the market to learn a new CMS. I am an independent designer so I don’t really have time to climb the learning curve of several different platforms. I am pretty much using EE as my CMS solution. I understand the idea of using the best tool for a given job, but as an independent it’s pretty tough to find the time to invest in learning several different CMSs. Maybe at some point I’ll add Joomla or Drupal or some other to the mix.

    But at this point I would rather leverage my knowledge of EE than slog through the learning of a new system.

    If you like your current CMS and it’s meeting your needs then you can be more productive sticking with that. Saying that you should use the best tool for the job is hard to argue with, but the truth is we all have to limit the range of tools we use else we never truly master any of them. I find that the increased productivity of working with a limited toolset far outweighs the difference in cost of software. Constraints can be a good thing.

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  • Jorix

    I’d love to see how all above mentioned CMS score on theming (making custom designed themes)

  • http://www.netcodeman.com/ Developer

    I don’t think WP is a robust as you think. I also think Drupal is way too complicated and requires way too many modules to make it truly SEO friendly.

    I think for the average site something simpler is needed. I’m looking into ExpressionEngine. I’m familiar with Codeigniter and really like it. Codeigniter was created by the same people who created ExpressionEngine. I’m hoping for the same infrastructure.

    I’ve started to roll my own CMS, however to build in everything that is needed is a lot of work. ExpressionEngine just might make sense.

  • http://websitebuilderscoach.com Susanna

    This is a great post. I like the way you’ve laid out all of the information about each one of the CMS systems. Alot of the info in here is stuff that alot of people wouldn’t even think to consider.

    Personally, I’m glad wordpress isn’t #1. I find the updating to be really irritating…and the viruses one gets if you don’t even more irritating!

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  • Gaëlle

    Hi, would you keep the same review 1,5 year later? Or which improvement have you seen over that time? :)

    • http://www.paulkortman.com Paul Kortman

      Yes for the most part. I feel even more strongly about WordPress and it’s ability as a CMS. I also feel even stronger in my opinion that Joomla is the worst for SEO and UX (User eXperience). Expresion Engine and Drupal both require a lot of development and EE costs more due to licensing. Therefor Drupal Is in second place in my oponion. I’ve seen great sites built in both Drupal and EE but it’s more of a testament to the developers skills since both require alot of developer action.
      Thanks for the visit and the question!

      • Gaëlle

        Hi Paul, thanks a lot for your quick and very useful reply. :)
        Best regards from Oslo, Norway

  • http://www.heptasarim.com Hep Tasarım

    I haven’t ever heard of Expression Engine and just learnt that it’s paid. I know Drupal and WordPress. I used Drupal once and have been used Wordpres for years. Yes, Drupal has perfect and flexible core but WordPress is more attactive.

  • http://www.instantfruit.com TonyS

    Interesing article.

    I`ve been approached by a client to manage his medium sized website, he thought it was a WP site, turns out its Expression Engine.

    Hmmmm.

  • http://fridholm.net Marcus F

    To some extent I find this discussion amusing. Most sites, from those consisting of a simple blog and a few static pages up to those consisting of thousands of pages could probably be built successfully, and with reasonable quality in any of the systems mentioned.

    The ideal system promotes a reasonable architecture while introducing as few limitations and as little complexity as possible. The problem for CMSs is that the description better fits frameworks like for example django or ruby on rails, than roll-once-use-for-anything-cms’s – at least from a developers perspective.

    All the systems listed in the article ARE compromises. The compromise is between utility for most needs, and utility for YOUR needs.
    They have answered that compromise differently. Some by a simple but extensible core, others by emulating frameworks or swiss army knifes. Most by using some form of plugin architecture to compensate for bad guesses or unknown/flexible needs.

    The trick here is to actually listen to the customers needs, their comfort zone and their budget and then match them to the relevant system. And of course to try to have as few preconceptions about those systems as you can.

    I know which systems I like and not, but that’s neither here nor there, because I recognize that my bias has nothing to do with what they’re capable of. I use two of them daily in my work, which ones are not the point – I’ve tried them all.

    • http://route66mc.com Dan Allen

      Excellent. These comments are helping me focus my understanding of the CMS world.

  • http://www.aristonkombiservis.gen.tr/ ariston kombi servisi

    thank you so much

  • Ruth

    As you wrote this article in 2011 I wonder if your oppinion changed as all systems have developed in 2 years?

    • Ruth

      ah. I see you already answered that one.

  • http://route66mc.com Dan Allen

    Seems like this discussion could branch into two:
    1. Comparing CMS technicalities, features, approach
    2. Comparing CMS development support.

    If you want complete control of your front end, EE is the best of the this group.

    If you want to be sure you can find someone who is familiar with your CMS, pick WordPress or Drupal.

    • http://www.paulkortman.com Paul Kortman

      Interesting… Complete control is also given in Drupal and considering some of the themes I’ve seen in WordPress there is at least a 90% controller there, if not more. I find WordPress to never be my limiting factor :)

      • http://route66mc.com Dan Allen

        I am using EE for the design/prototyping of my client’s new website. When the prototype is complete, I am going to need help figuring out how to put it into WordPress. I will be able to pay for that help, so if you are interested, I hope you will be available. Honestly, my efforts with WordPress have been a struggle, but I am sure you and the millions of others using WordPress are onto something I just need to learn.

        • http://www.paulkortman.com Paul Kortman

          I’d be happy to take a look. paul “at” paulkortman.com

          • http://houston-data.com Dan Allen

            Hi Paul, I have a link to a WordPress/EE demo that I am hoping explains the puzzle I am working through with WordPress. I have a feeling I am looking at the whole thing wrong, so I am hoping you can help get my head screwed on straight.

            This link leads to a new WordPress installation, with a post and a page explaining what I am trying to accomplish. The explanation includes a link to an EE installation that shows what I mean by “blank page”.

            I can hardly wait to find an answer to this puzzler, because I am very confused! Thank you taking time to check this out.
            LINK: http://houston-websites.org/prototypes/WordPress/sample/

          • http://houston-data.com Dan Allen

            Update: I got a solution from wordpress.org forum. All I needed was a blank template. I am going to use that to build up a page, using WP template tags.

  • http://electnewmedia.com/ Dougy Hunt

    Great article – I have a new business venture starting soon and not sure which CMS to dev on. I need an effective business directory/daily deals type set up. I dev on WordPress but thinking that it may need something more substantial – any ideas?

    • http://www.paulkortman.com Paul Kortman

      A business directory has been done with WordPress many tines, just use a custom post type or a modification of the user profile… A daily deals site has also been done in WordPress. I see no reason as to why the two couldn’t be accomplished together. Also why switch? No one anymore says that WordPress isn’t robust, at least those that are familiar with it.

  • http://cullenshouseclearance.co.uk/ Derrick Cullen

    Great article. Need to get a mobile site dev – what do cms would be ideal for this?

    • http://www.paulkortman.com Paul Kortman

      I recommend not doing a mobile site but instead a responsive site. There are plenty of themes in WordPress that are responsive. (You’ll have to pay $20-$75 for a theme but its well worth it!

  • Ian Callender

    Nice article. I would suggest that more developers look into EE the learning curve is not high at all to get started. In the past I was a WordPress guy all the way and for simple sites that do not need a lot of custom work where a cheap template can be used great. But if you want more control I would choose EE every time. As far as Joomla I do not like the setup of the CMS so I will never choose it until changes are made in that area. Drupal is the most robust based on the knowledge that the larger web development community is aware of. I do not think enough developers know about EE to understand the power that it has. Some my be afraid of the cost involve but recently EE brought back its free Core version that you can use for free. Some good EE resources are http://ellislab.com/expressionengine, training at http://devot-ee.com/expressionengine-tutorials/mijingo and for free and premium addons http://devot-ee.com/

    • Ahmed Bahgat

      I wonder about availability and performance of EE when number of profiles exceeds few thousands with possibility of extended user profile attributes to 100+ fields?
      I want to build a niche community site with minimal blog features and lots of features around profiles

  • http://houston-data.com Dan Allen

    Maybe someone can correct me, but I have the impression that moving WordPress or EE from one server to another is not much of a problem, whereas moving Drupal has much less clear path.

    WordPress is super easy to move, just copy the files, copy the database, and run the utility provided at wordpress.org to change the strings and serialization of the database, and boom, it’s done.

    EE is a bit more of a chore, requiring a tedious, but not so long and very reliable process for updating links and server paths.

    Drupal.. I dunno what to say. I cannot find a reference that says how to do it, except to rebuild your site and hack around with the modules you are running. I got one done tonight, but it took a few hours and I am not impressed with how this is supposed to work in Drupal. I would be glad to be corrected.

  • http://derosia.com Topher

    I was just re-reading this, and wondered how you measured impact of each CMS at 2000+ pages? I con’t imagine WordPress having any trouble at all at that level.

    • http://www.paulkortman.com Paul Kortman

      Perhaps I didn’t make it clear that at the time I hadn’t worked on sites at the 10k pages level but at the 2k WordPress is fine, the content “management” is a little lackluster for that size but plugins help. It was more about the general public assumes that wp cannot handle large sites, that its only a blogging platform. This was no longer true when I wrote this post and is further from that today! (Says the guy attempting to build a saas app using WP)

  • Kevin

    i use it all except EE but. i only use its core, CI.. hmm i dont know why joomla is my first choice on developing cms. i only use wp and drupal if client recommends. and also for me joomla is more easy to manage 2000+ page than others(i dont know on EE). the only problem on me on joomla is theming but joomla create beautiful sites.

  • MW

    I disagree with you. To me, drupal is the least developer-friendly. I guess it depends on whether you’re speaking about front-end development or not. It looks like you have little to no ExpressionEngine experience, or I would suspect your article would be different. To me, if a site has to be ecommerce, WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are out of the question for security alone.

    • http://houseclearanceslondon.com HCL Clearances

      After attempting to get my head around Drupal I found WordPress to be so much easier to build on our website with. Maybe it was my complete lack of experience as Youtube has been my teacher. However i will say that 3 months down the line i am struggling to be found on the 3 major search engines are the other CMS systems better for ranking well on Google etc?

      • http://rivertees.co.uk River Tees

        any improvement on the SERPS yet?

  • Gail Bourque

    You don’t mention load times, especialy on a large site. I have heard EE is a much faster loading site and that is important to the viewer.
    Further, WordPress, Joomla & Drupal all have regular updates that break their own “themes” Expression engine doesn’t require a “theme” in that sense, instead it just uses modern/standard architecture that you can simply change images and copy in without needing a “theme” to be a part of the architecture.

  • http://www.drupal-website-developer.com DWD

    My vote goes to Drupal, not just because of all those modules it offer, but also for its capability to handle e-commerce website perfectly.

    Moreover, most of the requests i receive for website are with Drupal.

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