This is part of our ongoing series comparing Content Management Systems (CMS) to help you identify which is the right fit for you.
WordPress and Joomla: A Comparison
With a litany of CMS platforms available on the Internet today, it’s difficult to suss out which can best suit your needs. WordPress, of course, is one of the most popular web-hosting and site-generating platforms in operation. However, Joomla, as an open-source CMS, offers platform customization that a more tech-savvy web designer may appreciate.
With all that said – which is better? Which should you choose? In this guide, you can compare WordPress and Joomla to determine for yourself if one stacks higher than the other.
Getting to Know Joomla
Joomla is one of the more community-oriented CMS’s available on the Internet today. The platform was created in 2005 by Open Source Matters Inc., as well as by what’s called “the Joomla Community.” As the platform is free to use and open-source, multiple developers have the ability to contribute to the site’s build, meaning that the platform itself has been hyper-customized and made accessible to users everywhere.
For the most part, WordPress and Joomla are similar in their structure – a point which we’ll elaborate on later. How does Joomla distinguish itself from the crowd? With a litany of unique features – including but not limited to those detailed below.
Creating content through Joomla relies heavily on the program’s extensions. At this point in time, there are nearly 8,000 extensions available through Joomla, which makes it easier for you to develop the perfect site for whatever content you intend to host. These extensions can be broken down into five parts:
Joomla’s components help you develop the content body of your website. You can access Joomla’s variety of components under its site architecture tools tag. As such, you can expect to use Joomla components in the initial structuring of your site.
Where do you want your header, sidebar, and footer to go? Do you want them to float or stay static? How do you want your content to be arranged? You’ll be able to manage all of these elements courtesy of Joomla’s components.
Joomla’s modules are used to render your web pages’ content. These lightweight extensions will surround your content in boxes and ensure that your page loading times are relatively short.
As will be discussed in the WordPress section of this guide, WordPress is the king of plugins. Joomla has some of its own, but they serve a different purpose than WordPress’s. Whereas WordPress uses its plugins to help you build the actual architecture of your website, Joomla uses them as executors. Plugins with Joomla will trigger sequenced events around your site, helping overall with website operations.
As you might suspect, Joomla’s templates will help you control the aesthetic and overall appearance of your website. You’ll be able to choose a particular one from Joomla’s selection of templates and modify it to fit your unique preferences. It’s worth noting, however, that you’ll need to install a template for your website using its URL.
Finally, language extensions offer you the opportunity to translate your web content into different international languages. These extensions will also enable you to use different fonts on your web pages.
Editing the content you share and the templates you choose on Joomla isn’t exactly straightforward, but once you have the process down, it’s hard to forget. You’ll have to install an extension, called “template manager,” in order to edit any template you install with Joomla. Once you’ve done so, you can choose the file to edit and do so in the pop-up box that appears. Save your changes, and your altered web page will be ready to go.
Joomla Pros and Cons
With all of that in mind, how does Joomla stack up on its own as a CMS?
- While hosting is a little different through Joomla, you’ll be able to choose a hosting site easily and quickly after Joomla’s installation.
- Joomla’s multiple extensions allow you to customize your website as you please.
- As an open-source CMS, Joomla is constantly being improved upon, and the community that’s built the platform up is always looking for ways to make it more accessible.
- Editing your content and templates through Joomla is a bit complicated if you’re not used to the process.
- When using Joomla, you’ll need to install an extension to do just about anything. While the platform’s extensions are numerous, this process can become trying, especially if you can’t find the extension you’re after.
Getting to Know WordPress
Joomla is older than WordPress by two years, but WordPress’s abundant popularity has seen it rise as one of the most reliable CMS platforms on the Internet today. WordPress was founded in 2007 by Mike Little and Matt Mullenweg. It’s an open-source content management system, like Joomla, that is free to use and which currently houses up to 70 percent of independent web content online.
How did WordPress manage to enchant so many users? It has a litany of accessible and straightforward features that make the platform not only easy to use, but convenient.
Joomla, as has been mentioned, uses components, modules, plugins, templates, and languages to help you customize the sites you develop on its platform. WordPress functions similarly. You’ll be working primarily with themes and plugins when you create a website through WordPress, and doing so is a straightforward process.
When you first register for an account on the site, you’re prompted to choose a platform theme. This theme doesn’t impact the functionality of your site, but rather establishes its initial aesthetic or visual design. Though WordPress requires you to choose a prompt before continuing with your website creation, you can easily change your theme after moving forward.
Your WordPress theme will consist of four elements: a header, content area, sidebar, and footer. These features are staples on every WordPress site, but you can modify them to suit your unique design preferences or goals. With 70 percent of online websites leveraging WordPress – even some of your favorites, we’re sure – it’s safe to say you won’t be limited in making the exact website you please.
The Nature of WordPress Content
You can use WordPress to create a website that focuses on just about anything. It’s worth noting, however, that WordPress and Joomla handle eCommerce a little differently.
Creating a website marketplace for your business through Joomla requires you to work within the capacities of both Joomla itself and the third-party server you host on. To get started building a platform for your business, you can use extensions like jCart to install payment processing modules and business management tools in your website’s template.
WordPress works similarly. If you want to create a website that can sell an unlimited number of goods or offer your services to a consumer audience, you’ll need to install WordPress’s recently released WooCommerce plugin. Once you have, you can transform your WordPress space into an effective and easy-to-use payment gateway for any wares you have.
Modifying Your Content
How does WordPress allow you to fiddle with the content and templates you integrate into your site? With plugins, of course. At the moment, WordPress has made over 50,000 plugins available to its users, free of charge. These plugins allow you to make your site on WordPress entirely your own.
Examples of WordPress’s available plugins include:
- Akismet, a comment-checking plugin.
- bbPress, a forum management plugin.
- Jetpack, providing more design tools.
- BuddyPress, which adds community features like direct messaging.
- Theme Check, which verifies that self-created themes comply with WordPress’s standards.
- WP Super Cache, a caching engine that produces static HTML files.
You can also buy premium plugins on third-party websites – but with such a library available for free, you may not need to. WordPress goes to great lengths to ensure you have all the tools necessary to make your site look and function exactly how you please.
In this sense, the Joomla extension library and WordPress plugin library are rather similar – save for WordPress’s excessive size. Comparing the two, it’s safe to say that if you build a website through WordPress, you’ll have greater opportunity for customization than with Joomla.
WordPress Pros and Cons
Before diving into a “who’s best” rundown, how does WordPress stack up as a CMS platform on its own?
- WordPress is almost entirely free to use, and you can make beautiful sites without having to purchase a single theme or plugin.
- WordPress is extremely beginner-friendly – more-so than Joomla – so you can develop a functional site without having a lick of web design experience.
- Like Joomla’s extension library, WordPress’s plugin library is vast and will let you further customize your site.
- While WordPress makes eCommerce available through its WooCommerce plugin, you have to pay a fee to turn your website into a platform for your business.
- WordPress doesn’t let you create a website from a blank slate; you always have to begin the creation process with one of its basic themes.
- You will be charged a fee to create a website that doesn’t include “wordpress.com” in its URL.
Joomla vs. WordPress: The Line-Up
Now that both platforms have been assessed, how do they compare?
In Favor of Joomla
Joomla is a reasonably straightforward CMS platform. Its open-source status lets its community have a greater say over how it operates. While you may need a bit of web development experience to truly leverage its benefits, it’s readily accessible to web design’s newcomers.
In Favor of WordPress
As one of the most popular CMS platforms on the Internet today, creating a website with WordPress takes no more than five minutes. You’ll be able to customize your site however you please, and the available plugins serve as accessories to your content – rather than as essentials, like Joomla’s extensions are.
And the Winner is… WordPress
One of the biggest factors in our decision, is the widespread use of WordPress, as well as the significantly larger development community. Joomla has been trending downward for many years, and now only accounts for 3.6% of websites on the internet. That is compared to 38% for WordPress.
What that means in practical terms, is with WordPress, you have a huge group of developers, and an incredible amount of free resources (like this blog in fact) to help guide you through your website creation.
Not to mention the over 50,000 plugins available to add function, or help make the design of your site unique to you and your business.
Under speed testing, WordPress also tends to perform better. Not only that, but it is far easier to optimize WordPress for fast load times using various plugins and tools available for no cost. As Google’s search algorythm continues to factor page speed into their ranking, you definitely want to make sure your site is as fast as possible.
Talk to an WordPress Develeopr
Want to ask specific questions and get advice? Reach out to us today and we’ll help coach you on how to get your WordPress website just right. No obligation or cost!