Joomla vs. Wordpress: The Great Debate
The question of WordPress vs Joomla has been the focus of many online discussions. In this CMS comparison debate, each camp is usually convinced that their choice is the best platform. While I do have my favorite, it really comes down to which platform is best for your specific situation. They both enable you to build and manage websites. They are both open source and free to use. So how do you decide?
The most basic difference between WordPress and Joomla is how it’s meant to be used. Joomla is more of a portal- or community type site while WordPress is a blog focused CMS. Both WordPress and Joomla are self-hosted, open-source content management systems that have been around for well over 10 years.
Wordpress was originally launched as a blogging platform in 2003. It is now a multi-purpose content management system that powers over 31% of all the websites on the Internet. In terms of market share of the content management system market, WordPress holds an even more dominant 59.9% market share.
Launched in 2005, Joomla is almost just as old as WordPress. Joomla is the second most popular content management system, powering around 3% of all the websites on the Internet and holding 6.4% of the content management system market.
While Joomla still retains this second place for now, its content management system market share has been shrinking since at least 2010 and its overall share of the website market shrank for the first time ever in 2017.
I attribute a lot of that to the fact that wordpress is made to be simple and easy for a novice to use. It’s ease of use makes it a very popular platform. Wordpress also does a fair bit of marketing for their platform while other CMS platforms have grown through word of mouth. While Joomla may be less popular among the masses and may have a bigger learning curve, it’s a much more robust and customizable CMS with endless possibilities for expansion.
- More advanced user management – Joomla offers a more advanced system for user access controls and user management out of the box. This is one of it’s most useful features.
- Flexible for different content types – Joomla’s components and modules give you a more flexibility and ease for displaying all kinds of non-standard content types.
- Multilingual support – Joomla has multilingual support built-in, while WordPress requires you to use a third-party plugin.
- Multiple templates – Joomla lets you use different templates for different pieces of content, meaning each page could theoretically have a different template. You can only use one WordPress theme across the entire site.
- Ease of use – WordPress is generally regarded as being the easiest content management system to use, especially for non-developers. The fact that it is so simple is why I find it to be very limiting.
- Better suited for blogging – WordPress includes a distinction for “blog posts” vs “static pages” right out of the box, it’s set-up for this use. Joomla also functions well as a blog but requires a little more set-up.
- Extensibility – WordPress has, by far, the largest ecosystem of plugins and themes, which makes it easy to extend your site with a variety of different features. (although Joomla is not far behind and also boasts huge extendibility.
- Huge support community – because WordPress is so popular, it’s easy to find help via the massive third-party ecosystem of blogs, Facebook groups, and developers. Joomla also has this advantage.
- Lower development costs – this huge community also means you can generally get development work done a bit cheaper.
Some other things to consider
Your choice depends heavily on your goals, technical expertise, budget, and what to do with your site.
For a simple blog or brochure-type site, WordPress could be the best choice (while very friendly for non-developers, it’s a flexible platform also capable of creating very complex sites).
For a complex, highly customized site requiring scalability and complex content organization, Joomla might be the answer.
Each has passionate, dedicated, developer and user communities, making it easy to find support directly through their websites or through other online forums, articles, or books. In addition, paid support (consultants, developers, and designers) well versed with these platforms are readily available from many third-party sources.
Each system shows great long-term sustainability and longevity; support for both of them will continue to be readily available in the future.