State of the CMS: WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla

“We’re switching from Joomla.”

After hearing this refrain from a number of nonprofits lately, I couldn’t help but wonder if one of the three big names in open source Content Management Systems (CMS) might be going the way of the dodo bird.

So, let’s take a tour through CMS land, shall we? The following stats are provided by

1. Over the past year (since July 2014), nearly half of all websites (that use a CMS) ran on WordPress.

The number of WordPress sites is still very much on the rise. There were more than one million new WordPress sites created in the past three months alone.* That’s more than all the Drupal sites on the internet.

2. Bigger sites use Drupal in much greater numbers.

Drupal currently constitutes a measly 2.1 percent of websites with a CMS. But peel back the layers of the internet onion, and you’ll see a different story. 14 percent of the top 10,000 websites (as measured by U.S.-sourced traffic, according to Quantcast) currently run on Drupal – including The White HouseOxfam InternationalFast Company, Amnesty International, and the Linux Foundation – to name a few.

3. Drupal is on the rise; Joomla is on the decline – albeit, slowly.

Today, Joomla sites outnumber Drupal sites by more than 3:1. But the number of Drupal sites grew over the past year (by about 5 percent), while Joomla sites shrank (by about 2 percent). These are modest changes, but still ones to watch.

The Bottom Line

Between WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla – WordPress is still the biggest game in town for CMS – by far. But Drupal is steadily gaining momentum.**

The differences between WordPress and Drupal are well documented by others. (See here, here and here.) But, to cap off our tour, here are a few quick and dirty tips to help you select the CMS that’s right for you – between the two systems du jour.

WordPress =

A CMS that’s currently ruling the internet for its flexibility, smorgasbord of templates, plug-ins, and available customizations – not to mention its great publishing features and handling of media files, and relatively small learning curve (for basic sites and content editors).

Drupal =

OK, so technically Drupal is an “application framework” with a CMS built on top. But for those of us who know it as a CMS: it’s great for sites with lots of users and complex taxonomies. It also features nice calendar and eCommerce options, plus fast loading time.

That’s it for our tour through CMS land. At DG+CO we help all kinds of nonprofit clients with web design and online engagement. Feel free to get in touch if we can help you.






*Note: If you look at the Wikipedia article for WordPress, you might see some slightly different numbers. Wikipedia says there are 60 million WordPress sites – and 100,000 new WordPress sites every day. This data comes from a 2012 Forbes article, which does not provide attribution. (However the company that runs WordPress – Automattic – was featured prominently in the article and may have provided numbers.) According to BuiltWith, there are currently some 16 million active WordPress sites. BuiltWith indexes all .com/.net/.org websites, but only 80 percent of sites with other endings (.au/.uk/.br, etc.) and no subdomains. Thanks to the nice folks at BuiltWith for clarifying this discrepancy!


**Full disclosure: My opinion about Drupal could be a little biased at the moment. The other week, I attended NYC Camp (pronounced “nice camp“) – a “Drupal-centric” gathering of developers and digital strategists from around the world. I came away from the conference with a few big impressions: The Drupal community is seriously smart, seriously committed, and seriously “nice!”