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Drupal vs. Joomla



This is a comparison of two popular open source content management systems:  Drupal and Joomla.  There has always a debate in the open source community about which CMS is better.  This research and review analyzes and give recommendations on which CMS will best fit your company’s needs and goals.


Product Information
Product Name: Drupal

Company Name:

Supported Platform and System Requirements

Web Server:

Apache (Recommended): Drupal requires Apache 1.3 or Apache 2.x hosted on Unix/Linux,OSX, or Windows.  Apache is recommended since the majority of development and deployment is on an Apache environment, that said,  the Drupal community has tested and has more experience on  this server.  You can also take advantage of some Apache extensions, like mod_rewrite, which allows clean URLs that help sites in search engine rankings.

Microsoft IIS: Drupal will work using IIS5, IIS6, or IIS7 as long as PHP is configured correctly.  With IIS you can use Microsoft URL rewrite module or a third party solution.  Fastcgi must be used when using Drupal in IIS7.

Database Server:

MySQL: Drupal 5.x and earlier supports MySQL 3.23.17 or higher. MySQL 4.1 or higher is strongly recommended.

Drupal 6 supports MySQL 4.1 or higher.

Drupal 7 will only support MySQL 5.0.15 or higher, and requires the PDO database extension for PHP.

PostgreSQL: Drupal 6 supports PostgreSQL 7.1 or higher

Drupal 7 will only support PostgreSQL 8.3 or higher

PHP 5.2.6 for Windows has a bug in its pgsql extension. You will need to replace it with the php_pgsql.dll from version 5.2.5.

SQLite 3.x – Only supported on Drupal 7

Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle – supported by an additional module

PHP: PHP version 4.4.0 or higher for Drupal 5 and Drupal 6, PHP 5.2.5 or higher for Drupal 7

Price: Free

How to Order: Download at (


Drupal is an open source content management system that lets you build everything from simple information websites to enterprise applications.  It is free, powerful, flexible, robust, and has a big community that helps improve the software constantly.  It has a large collection of modules that are add-ons for Drupal, allowing it to extend, build, and customize the functionality.

Drupal is written in PHP which is a programming language popular in creating web sites.  It works well with Windows, Mac OS X and Linux and requires a database such as MySQL Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, and PostreSQL.

Key Features:

  • High quality platform, code, and API (easy to integrate with other solutions)
  • Can be used on multiple sites with one installation
  • Friendly URLs which helps in SEO
  • Very secure when installed
  • Good documentation
  • Very flexible and can run community and membership sites
  • High profile sites use Drupal (e.g., BBC, Nasa, Sony, FastCompany, NY Observer)

Technical Support: Drupal Community Forum, support mailing list, other drupal sites. There are several commercial companies providing Drupal support (e.g., Acquia).  They usually charge $50-150/hour.


Product Information
Product Name:  Joomla
Company Name:

Supported Platforms and System Requirements (Joomla 1.5):

Web Server:

Apache : Joomla  requires Apache 1.3 or above hosted

Microsoft IIS: Joomla will work with IIS 6,7, and 7.5


MySQL: MySQL is the principle choice but other types of database may work with the necessary configuration

PHP: PHP version 4.3.1 or higher

Price: Free

How to Order: Download at


Joomla is an open source content management system (CMS) for publishing content on the web.  It is written in PHP and uses object-oriented programming techniques and stores data in a MySQL database.  This CMS also comprises a model-view-controller (MVC) web application framework.

There are a lot of possibilities for Joomla given the fact that it has 6,000 free and commercial plug-ins available in the Joomla directory and other sources.  It also has a big selection of  design themes.

Key Features:

  • Easy learning curve, install, and setup
  • Intuitive admin user interface
  • Built in WYSIWIG editor
  • Developer community is large
  • Modules are easy to install
  • Editing the content is very simple and easy
  • Big selection of very well designed templates

Technical Support: Joomla community forum and other Joomla sites. There are several commercial companies that provide technical support.  They usually charge $50-150/hour.

Advantages and Drawbacks


Drupal – small codebase

Joomla – 8x bigger than Drupal

Content Management System:

Drupal – has a free add-on for workflow management and allows unlimited category levels, tagging, and categorization. Drupal has the ability to create multiple types of content with different features.

Joomla – very nice user interface admin.  Joomla has three levels of categorization versus unlimited levels in Drupal.  Flexibility in Joomla can be achieved using CCK module.

Template/Themes: One of Joomla’s biggest advantages is its big selection of free and commercial designs.  Drupal’s choices are limited by comparison and some of the choices are not as nicely designed as the Joomla themes.

Drupal and Joomla – Commercial templates price ranges from $50-$5,000. Custom built design can cost from $5,000-$50,000 depending on the scope of the project.

High Traffic: Joomla and Drupal can handle high traffic sites.  There are instances where Joomla destabilizes, but this has to do with the hosting and management of the site. It is always good to invest in a reputable hosting company and a site manager with considerable experience in handling Drupal and/or Joomla—supported sites.

Plugins (ability to extend CMS): Joomla has an edge on this. Drupal has enough plugins to do most of the job you will need in a CMS but it does not have as many plugins as Joomla.

Joomla has a vast range of free and commercial plugins: approximately 5,000.  This allows Joomla to extend its capability.  For example, some plugins can turn a Joomla site into a news portal, social media site, or travel site, among other things.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

Drupal – URLs work well without need of plugins. Also, the code is lightweight and optimized.

Joomla – It is not like Drupal where you can configure it out-of-the-box.  With Joomla you need various plugins to do well with SEO.

Multisites Management:

Drupal – included in the CMS

Joomla – there are plugins for multisite management but very unstable and expensive.

Learning Curve: The learning curve for Drupal is steeper than Joomla.  Drupal is known for its power and flexibility, not for ease of use.  Joomla is known for its ease of use and shallow learning curve.  It is one of the easiest CMS to configure.

Documentation: Drupal and Joomla both have good documentation.

Stability: Drupal has an advantage here.  Joomla is stable as long as you don’t load it with too many plugins when exposed to high loads.  There are so many plugins available in Joomla, which often results in a tendency to overload it with plugins.  Several of these plugins are not the highest quality and can cause instability.

Media Capability: Joomla has better media capability.  It is known in the open source community to have a big selection of plugins for streaming media.  Drupal has media capabilities but it is not as powerful as Joomla.

Event Calendars: Drupal’s selection is not as big as Joomla’s collection of event calendar plugins.   Joomla has high quality plugins that are available commercially and for free.


Drupal and Jooomla clearly have their strengths and weaknesses.

Joomla is excellent for basic to complex websites. It has a large community and a large user base. Joomla has proven to be a very good open source CMS.   The modules collection of Joomla is large, which allows Joomla to extend its capabilities to go from a regular site to community or ecommerce site.

Drupal is an excellent choice for companies looking to build not just websites but a community of sites.   A lot of high profile sites are using Drupal, which makes it a strong CMS with proven stability and reliability.

Both Drupal and Joomla are free but this does not mean that implementing it will have no cost.  Technical support, design, and hosting are the costs that will be involved in implementing the CMS.  Both of them have the same price range.

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