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Examining Content Management Systems by Comparing Drupal and Joomla

March 25, 2011 by Dustin

Content Management Systems (CMS) are a collection of procedures that are used to organize data such as a website, so that it is easily searched, accessed, retrieved, updated, and shared within a collaborative environment.
content management system Examining Content Management Systems by Comparing Drupal and Joomla
A Content Management System provides tremendous benefits for websites that have huge amounts of data that needs to be clearly organized and updated frequently. The data that a CMS manages may consist of documents, movies, pictures, contact information, as well as any other type of data a website may need to display.

The following is a breakdown of the main functions a content management system provides.

  • Allows large groups of people to add and share data
  • Improves the ease of documenting
  • Improves the communication between users
  • Eliminates some of the duplicate content
  • Assists in data storage and retrieval
  • Restricts and grants access to users based on predefined user authority
  • Ability to update and change your content
  • Reduces maintenance costs
  • Faster creation and change processes
  • More consistency

Web content management keeps track of all the information and data contained within your website and applies any processes to the creation and maintenance of your website. Now that we have the basic understanding of what a CMS actually does let’s take a closer look at two different web CMS software. The two web content management systems that we compared were Drupal and Joomla.

System Requirements:

Both the Drupal and Joomla content management systems are open source, free of cost, and use the PHP programming language. They allow you to build everything from personal blogs to enterprise applications and offer a ton of add-on modules and designs. Drupal uses Apache application server as well as an Apache web server where Joomla uses a CGI application server and is compatible with any web server. In addition both Drupal and Joomla operate using the MySQL database.


Joomla and Drupal seem to be equally balanced when it comes to security elements. In this category there are only two elements that only Drupal has and they are audit trails and NTML authentication. However Joomla has SSL logins and SSL pages which are two elements Drupal doesn’t offer. Other than those, Joomla and Drupal offer many of the same features like Captcha add-ons, content approval, email verification, Granular Privileges, LDAP authentication, pluggable authentication, problem notification, session management, and they are both SSL compatible.


There is a ton of support provided on both platforms but neither of the CMS’s incorporates a certification program. They do however offer the following:

  • Commercial support and training
  • Code skeletons of templates
  • Manuals
  • Extensive developer communities
  • Documented application programming interface
  • Professional hosting
  • Public forum and mailing list
  • Test framework
  • Third party developers
  • User conferences

Ease of use:

Regarding ease of use it seems that Drupal offers more features that enable a user to have an easier and more enjoyable user experience. Although many of Drupal’s ease of use features are add-ons, it is better than Joomla which doesn’t have these features at all. For example Joomla does not have the ability to drag and drop content, has no style wizard, no site setup wizard, and no undo capabilities. Some of the ease of use features that both of the CMS’s offer include friendly URLs, discussion email messages, image resizing, macro language, mass upload, prototyping, spell checker, subscriptions, web based rich text editor, and server page language.


Both systems go beyond simple page caching and utilize advances caching that not only remembers the simple page contents to save load time but it remembers navigation, templates, and content objects. Each system also is capable of load balancing or splitting the load between multiple servers. Drupal again pulls ahead of Joomla by offering limited database replication where Joomla doesn’t.


The three main differences of the Drupal and Joomla management features are that Drupal doesn’t offer a trash system where users can trash, restore, or permanently delete items, Joomla doesn’t provide a workflow engine, and Joomla doesn’t offer content staging, both of which are part of the Drupal CMS. The features they have in common are as follows:

  • Advertising management
  • Asset management
  • Content scheduling
  • Inline administration
  • Sub-sites/roots
  • Themes and skins
  • Web stats
  • Web based style, template, and translation management

Interoperability and Flexibility:

Drupal and Joomla are equally matched in these two categories because they have content syndication, FTP support, iCal, UTF-8 support and are XHTML compliant. In addition they also support a CGI-mode, enable the mirroring of content, provide user profiles, localize the interface, allow for multi-site development, capable of rewriting URL’s and utilize multi-lingual content and content integration.

Built-in Applications:

This category is the largest however it is also the easiest to compare because the majority of the built-in applications are almost the same across the two platforms. They both have the following built in applications:

  • Blog
  • Chat
  • Classifieds
  • Contact management
  • Data entry
  • Database reports (Joomla Only)
  • Discussion forum
  • Document management
  • Event calendar
  • Event management
  • Expense reports (Joomla only)
  • FAQ management
  • File distribution
  • Graphs and charts (Joomla only)
  • Groupware
  • Guest book
  • Help desk
  • Job postings
  • Link management


  • Newsletter
  • Photo gallery
  • Polls
  • Product management
  • Project tracking
  • Search engine
  • Site map
  • Stock quotes
  • Surveys
  • RSS
  • Test
  • Time tracking
  • User contributions
  • Weather
  • Web services
  • Wiki
  • Mail form
  • Dashboard (Drupal only)


The last category is commerce and again each of the platforms has the same features except for one element. Drupal lacks the point of sale feature that lets a user merge their brick and mortar store sales and invoices with their online transactions and inventory. Besides that one exception Drupal and Joomla both incorporate shopping carts, subscriptions, wish lists, pluggable tax, pluggable shipping, pluggable payments, inventory management, and affiliate tracking commerce features.

In conclusion when considering a content management system both Drupal and Joomla are excellent candidates. For the most part they utilize the same elements and offer individuals the same user experiences. However users should still carefully consider what their specific needs are before deciding on which CMS to use. It is hard to say which is better between Drupal and Joomla because it all depends on the preferences of the user and the system’s compatibility.

To compare these or other Content Management Systems visit CMS Matrix.

Thanks for reading!

Internet Beacon

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