You can make a business survive without digital marketing. However, it will never grow to its full potential without the reach and reliability that digital marketing methods can provide. That’s why it’s so important to create a functional, beautiful website as a small business.
Part of this process is choosing the right hosting platform. With so many options on the market claiming to be the best, it can be hard to make that decision.
So, let’s talk about the differences between the 3 major players in that arena. WordPress vs. Drupal vs. Magento: What are the differences between them, and which one would work best for you? Here’s what you should know.
What You Should Know About WordPress
WordPress is by far the most common hosting platform for many would-be bloggers and small businesses. Once upon a time, WordPress served as a blogging platform. Now, however, it’s a popular, fully-featured content management system.
So, what are these features that WordPress boasts? For one, they have an extensive library of both plugins and themes that make it easy to customize your WordPress site. The plugin suites can also make running the site easier on the back end, handling multiple difficult-to-parse features like:
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- SEO optimization
- Mobile optimization
- Dashboard automation
- Page speed checks and increases
- Specialized plugins for marketing, sales, and content releases
This way, even someone without extensive knowledge of the website development process can create something functional and well-ranking.
WordPress Price Point
WordPress, or the core software behind it, won’t cost you any money. Creating a website with WordPress software is free. However, you will only have 3GB of space you can use if you choose a free WordPress.com hosting plan.
Worse, you’ll have to deal with ads popping up everywhere. Plus, your site could get deleted at any given moment if someone deems it in violation of the terms of service. To avoid that you need to upgrade to a paid plan, which costs (at a minimum) $48 a year.
WordPress Learning Curve
The best thing about WordPress as a web development platform is that you don’t need to know any code to get started with it. Themes and plugins can handle most of the work for you.
With an intuitive user interface, it’s easy for even beginners to create beautiful, functional blogs. What’s even better is that they have exceptional community support, especially for their most common plugins. So, even if you encounter errors during setup, you can get answers quickly.
WordPress sits at the top of the website builder market for a reason. It has loads of e-commerce solutions at its back and call, giving your business the luxury of choice. However, if you want to use those functions, you’ll need to upgrade to an e-commerce plan. These plans cost around $45/month.
One of WordPress’s greatest strengths- its accessibility to non-coders- can also prove its greatest weakness. Since it relies on chains of plugins to function, sites running on WordPress have unique vulnerabilities to hacker attacks. If you don’t want your company to leak consumer data, you’ll need to beef up your security.
What You Should Know About Drupal
Sometimes, your website needs functions or design elements that templates can’t cover. That’s where Drupal comes into play. This CMS gives the website builder greater flexibility. However, when you compare WordPress vs Drupal, Drupal isn’t quite as accessible.
What does that mean for your business? Let’s dig deeper below.
Drupal’s greatest strengths are its security measures and ability to scale. This is an exceptional CMS for businesses that intend to grow exponentially in their first few years or larger businesses that need a better solution for managing their information. That’s one of the reasons why many universities and governmental agencies will use Drupal as their web development platform of choice.
Drupal Price Point
Here’s the thing about Drupal: Like WordPress, it comes in free/open-source software form. You can, if you’re on a lean budget, throw together a simple website without paying out of pocket.
That’s fine if you’re a blogger, but a serious problem if you want to build a consistent web presence across all channels with specialized functions and heightened security measures. However, due to its steep learning curve, you’re almost certainly going to need to pay a team of skilled web designers like those at DuPont Creative to get the job done.
These costs can vary wildly depending on how many bells and whistles you need, and can quickly reach $100,000 for a project.
Drupal Learning Curve
Let’s discuss the elephant in the room: Drupal is not what one would call a user-friendly system. It requires that you have a working knowledge of HTTP and PHP at the least. If you have that information, you can work with the latest version’s take on a drag-and-drop interface.
It’s flexible, but not intuitive. There are plenty of plugins for this website builder as well, but they’ll be tougher to implement than they would in WordPress.
Drupal’s extensive security features make it an exceptional platform for any e-commerce solution you need. They’re designed with flexibility and customization in mind, so you can provide a purchasing experience unlike any of your competitors.
As we’ve mentioned repeatedly, Drupal is a platform meant for developers, not basic users. As such, you need an extensive knowledge base and budget before you develop a website with it.
Even plugins made for Drupal may not work or be compatible with the sites you build. All of this can result in a website that runs slowly without the right optimization.
What You Should Know About Magento
Many websites these days will crowd their users with blog pages, articles, and other unrelated information.
You’re selling a product. Your customers want the product. So, you just want them to get to the store page already!
Well, you’re in luck. Magento is the platform for you because it trims all the blogging fat in favor of focusing on one niche: e-commerce. It will make sales the star of your platform, rather than a bolted-on afterthought.
Now in the hands of creative giant Adobe, the future looks bright for this open-source program.
Do you have multiple online storefronts that you need to manage? One of Magento’s best features is its coded-in ability to operate multiple stores from one admin page. This program also offers extensive analysis, product management, and mobile-friendly payment systems.
Plus, thanks to its new Adobe owners, Magento now features native integration with the Adobe Creative Cloud. This makes it easier than ever to create gorgeous websites that will function as designed.
Magento Price Point
Magento open-source still exists as an option for those with tight purse strings. This will still include the costing of Magento hosting providers, its development charges, and bug-fixing should problems arise. Those costs can total around $15,000.
However, if you want access to the features that Adobe has added to the program since taking over, you’ll need to purchase either a Commerce or Commerce Cloud license. If your business makes less than a million dollars in gross revenue, those licenses will cost you $22,000 and $40,000, respectively.
This does not include hosting costs, development costs, Magento support and maintenance, and a host of other expenses. Nor does it account for Magento’s the more you earn, the more you pay policy, which can shove costs even higher.
Magento Learning Curve
As a web development program, Magento can prove difficult to parse. As with Drupal, you’ll need someone with some extensive coding knowledge to help you construct your website. Or else, get support from the team running Magento itself.
Alas, you can’t get that kind of support unless you pay for the Adobe-owned Commerce and Commerce Cloud versions of the software.
As we’ve mentioned before, e-commerce is Magento’s greatest advantage. Where other CMS options focus on content creation and bolt on e-commerce functions, Magento makes e-commerce its main function.
As such, it has exceptional security protocols and the ability to handle vast numbers of daily transactions. If you have a larger business that needs a strong storefront with exceptional customer engagement options available, you need Magento.
The biggest drawbacks to this program lie in its cost and its steep learning curve. In fact, these two go hand-in-hand. Launching a website with Magento will take a large investment of time and money due to its complexity.
So, if you need your business’ website up and running ASAP, Magento probably isn’t your platform of choice.
WordPress vs. Drupal vs. Magento: How Do They Compare?
We’ve spoken at length about each of these 3 incredible CMS programs and how they perform on an individual basis. Now, let’s talk about how they compare to one another. When you pit WordPress vs Drupal vs Magento, which web development platform comes out on top?
Let’s re-examine our main categories.
Best Suite of Features
As far as features go, it’s hard to pick a winner here.
WordPress has an incredible selection of plugins at its disposal but can look a bit templated as a result. Drupal offers greater flexibility and security than WordPress and gives users a chance to browse other content alongside the store. While Magento offers the most functional e-commerce designs available, they’re limited in many other respects.
So, the winner in this category goes to Drupal for its customization options.
Best Price Point
All three of these solutions come from open-source backgrounds. All three technically have an open-source version of them that you can use. However, in the case of Drupal and Magento, that won’t cover development costs, hosting fees, and other common expenses.
With basic functionality and e-commerce available at only $45/mo, we have to give this category to WordPress. Smaller businesses simply won’t have the budget to afford the tens of thousands of dollars that development with Drupal and Magento can cost.
Best Learning Curve
The winner in this category is pretty clear given the evidence shown. Drupal and Magento offer more custom solutions but require extensive technical know-how to make use of them. A business that’s just getting started in the e-commerce scene needs something that’s intuitive to work with and simple to use.
Therefore, despite its known safety risks, WordPress is the clear winner here. You can’t get any simpler than plug-and-play.
Best E-Commerce Functionality
Once again, this category has a clear winner from the outset. WordPress and Drupal have e-commerce functions tacked on to existing blogging or CMS software. While those function well enough, they cannot compare to a platform whose dedicated purpose is e-commerce.
We have to give this category to Magento. If all you need is a web-based storefront, and you can afford the expensive license and cost of development, then it’s the best choice on the market.
Overall Winner for Businesses
In the battle of WordPress vs Drupal vs Magento, WordPress ekes out a victory over its competitors due to its affordability and ease of use. This makes it the best choice for small businesses with limited budgets. However, if you need something capable of managing a larger operation and can afford it, Drupal is the better choice.
Looking for More Helpful Guides About Launching a Website?
Now that you know the differences between WordPress vs. Drupal vs. Magento, you may wonder what else you should know before launching a website. Fortunately, our blog is here to help you. Regardless of the size of your start-up, be sure to find the information you need in our Tools & Resources section.
Check us out today and learn everything you need to know about creating a website that works and will last.