There are many routes to take when you’re building a website, but one of the first decisions you need to make is what you’re going to use to create it. A popular method is to use a content management system (CMS), which are platforms that are used to upload and manage website content.

If you choose to use a CMS, another decision arises – which is the best CMS for you? The software used to create, manage and maintain website content is a critical element of any online presence, so choosing a suitable CMS platform is essential. While CMS platforms like WordPress are used by 45.8% of all websites on the internet – that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the only choice you should up for.

WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are three of the most popular CMS. All three have their own pros and cons, making your choice of CMS highly dependent on your circumstances and the requirements of your project. Today, we’ll dive into each of these three CMS platforms in detail, define their ease of use, features and much more to help you decide which is best for your use.

What do WordPress, Joomla and Drupal have in common?

All three of these content management systems are open-source platforms built using PHP. This means they all give developers free rein to access and modify the source code, encouraging a vibrant community and allowing far greater customisation than more closed systems. It also means they’re all available for free, at least in principle – in reality, there are almost always costs associated with building and maintaining a professional website with any CMS.

But the similarities don’t end there. WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are all written in the PHP programming language that enables dynamic features and advanced functionality. All three also support the popular MySQL database management system.

Importantly, these CMS platforms all share the ability to customise content with a wide range of themes and templates, and expand features and functionality with external plugins, extensions and modules. However, the degree to which this is possible, and how simple it is to achieve, varies significantly. Because of this, it’s worth taking a more detailed look at each content management system in turn.

Which CMS is easy to use?

When choosing a CMS – it’s got to be easy enough to use, but have a good number of features for more complex uses too. 

Of the three most popular CMS options, WordPress is generally considered the easiest for non-developers to learn and use, due to its lack of learning curve. Its intuitive dashboard interface enables users to create posts and pages with little training. There are also thousands of plug-ins available to add functionality without coding.

Joomla follows behind WordPress in terms of ease of use. While the interface is powerful, it can be more complex for beginners to grasp, which is often why it isn’t a first-choice CMS for some. However, Joomla does offer simplified templates to help users get up and running quickly.

We’d say Drupal is the most difficult of the three CMS platforms for non-technical users due to its steep learning curve. It offers tons of flexibility and extensibility but requires considerable development resources. The interface is geared towards experienced developers, with publishing basic content – taking more work than in WordPress or Joomla.

Let’s deep-dive into each CMS’s ease of use in more detail…

WordPress: easy to use with a huge choice of add-ons

Since its launch in 2003, the popularity of WordPress has skyrocketed, with it now powering over 33% of the top 10 million websites and more than 60 million sites overall.

So why is WordPress so adored? A big factor is ease of use. WordPress is the perfect choice for CMS beginners, with minimal technical knowledge required to create a professional website or blog and over 2,500 themes available for free. WordPress also has a huge repertoire of both free and paid plugins and extensions – allowing you to easily extend WordPress' functionality for things like ecommerce, security, SEO, social media integration, etc.After a simple installation, users can quickly and easily create blog posts and webpages, and even advanced maintenance is fairly straightforward.

But even with this focus on usability, WordPress still offers advanced options for experienced developers. In addition to free themes available in the WordPress Theme Directory, paid premium themes enable more customised design and layout options. WordPress functionality can also be expanded with a massive variety of plugins covering everything from ecommerce to SEO.

Joomla: easily create more advanced sites

Released in 2005, Joomla is a powerful and flexible CMS that’s ideal for everything from simple websites up to large corporate sites and online shops.

While Joomla isn’t too difficult to pick up, it might not be the best choice for a CMS novice. You don’t need programming knowledge to start using Joomla, but it does require a decent amount of time, effort and expertise to get the best results.

Installation is fairly simple, but the control panel has more features to play with than the WordPress dashboard. So if you’re not already up to speed, you’ll need to take longer to familiarise yourself with Joomla’s ins and outs. Once you do get to grips with Joomla, it’s capable of more advanced features, with very strong ecommerce and social media integration options, and over 8,000 different extensions currently available.

Drupal: a steep learning curve that pays off

The first version of Drupal debuted back in 2000, and since then this CMS has built up a reputation for high performance and scalability. Drupal is a powerful solution that provides developers with an immense range of tools for creating virtually any type of website.

Once installed, Drupal is something of a blank slate. Compared to WordPress or Joomla, it’s less straightforward to get the CMS up and running with default settings, since it assumes you’ll want a customised project from the start. To use Drupal to its full potential, you really need a detailed understanding of its extensive functionality, as well as knowledge of HTML and PHP.

Drupal is highly customisable with an active community contributing to over 45,000 modules that can be added to its core software and allow you to modify and extend Drupal's capabilities to customise it for your needs. The powerful views module, flexible taxonomy and options to tag and categorise large volumes of content enable projects to be efficiently scaled on an ongoing basis.

Use cases for each CMS – WordPress, Joomla and Drupal

While WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are all popular CMS options, each system has strengths and weaknesses that make it a better fit for certain types of websites. Here’s an overview of use cases where each platform has its strengths.



With its origins as a blogging platform, WordPress is ideal for both personal and professional blogs, publications and other types of sites where publishing content regularly is a priority. Its post and page functions make content creation easy. However, with the right plugins (such as WooCommerce or PrestaShop), it can work as a robust ecommerce platform too. Which lends itself to…

Small business websites

For small businesses like restaurants, apparel, salons etc, WordPress provides an affordable and user-friendly way to create a professional website with ecommerce capabilities. The multitude of WordPress themes and plugins make it easy to customise the design of your site too.


Medium to large business websites

For companies that need more complex features like user logins, member areas, online booking systems etc, Joomla's robust extensions catalogue enables advanced functionality.

Membership websites

Joomla's user management and access control features are ideal for sites relying on user-generated content and discussion forums. It can provide different access levels for members vs guests too, so you can control who views what.


Large-scale websites

Drupal is great for complex high-traffic sites and those operating in multiple territories due to its robust multilingual support. Its enterprise-level capabilities, extensibility, scalability and security features make it suitable for corporate, government, university and other large websites that work with sensitive data or high volumes of traffic.


Drupal allows you to run multiple sites/properties on a single Drupal installation. This allows large publishers and enterprises to efficiently manage hundreds of sites!

No such thing as ‘the best CMS’?

In a comparison of CMS software, the right solution will always vary by the needs of the project and the ability of the user. Depending on the context, WordPress, Joomla and Drupal can each be the perfect choice.

If you have no programming knowledge and need a quick way to build a simple blog, WordPress is the obvious choice – and extensive options still make it viable for more advanced projects. Whereas to build a highly customised web presence that needs to evolve over time, Drupal may be the way to go – assuming you have the expertise. For something in between, you might consider Joomla, with its relatively low technical demands and more complex features.

Whichever content management system you decide on, you’ll find the ideal development environment at Fasthosts. Get WordPress up and running instantly with our WordPress Hosting, or preload a Web Hosting package with Joomla or Drupal to get started straight away.