When starting an online business or website, lots of people are usually stuck between options to choose from. This is so because there are lots of platforms out there that you can simply use to build and manage your online website or blog and they include WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Wix. However, the options are not limited to these four platforms alone but we are going to keep our focus on these platforms as they have proven to be the major ones out there in the market.
WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Wix are all known as Content Management System (CMS). Content management systems are systems that help you build and manage your online websites or blogs without having to go through the hard and rigorous activity of writing codes in HTML or the like. With CMS systems, you simply drag and drop and you are done.
Although WordPress powers over 40% of all websites on the internet, it’s not the only open source content management system (CMS) out there in the market. The likes of Joomla, Drupal, and Wix are all open-source platforms that are being used to build and manage powerful websites and blogs as well.
The four open-source platforms mentioned above have a lot in common and lots of differences too. Each one of them is unique in its own way and has its pros and cons.
In this article, we will compare WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal vs Wix to find out which one is the best choice for your online business, website, and blog.
Usage and Beginner Friendliness
Ease of use and beginner friendliness is some of the most important factors that a lot of people creating websites or blogs tend to look out for. The reason is simply that most of them are not web developers, programmers, or even designers. They just want something they can easily do without going through a difficult route.
As a result of that, let’s look at which one of them is easier to use for beginners with no coding experience at all.
WordPress is a powerful open-source platform that comes with an amazing five-minute installation process. To make things interesting, most WordPress hosting providers even offer a one-click install of WordPress. This makes it very easy for a new user to build and launch a WordPress website or blog or in just a few minutes.
After installing WordPress, you are presented with the WP dashboard when you log in to your admin panel using the link yoursitename.com/wp-admin. The WP dashboard is simple, clean, and very easy to navigate. What’s more, you get a clean-cut user interface with the menus to create posts, pages, or start customizing appearance and themes all with ease.
With Joomla, your installation process may not be as quick as WordPress but comes with almost the same steps. Also, lots of the shared hosting providers that support Joomla offer one-click installation process packages for Joomla as well that can help you get your site up and running within few minutes.
After the installation process, you will need to log in to your admin panel by visiting mydomain.com/administrator. Once this is done, you are presented with a control panel that is not as straightforward as WordPress. The Joomla dashboard comes with too many menus to click on and customize your site. This sometimes may get you confused at first and you may need some beginner’s tutorial to get you started.
Drupal’s installation process is no different from either Joomla or WordPress. With Drupal, you simply download and upload the package and run the installation script. However, it does not come with a one-click install like WordPress or Joomla and may pose some challenges to beginners.
Drupal comes with distributions. These are pre-packaged Drupal bundles with modules and configurations that will help a user create specific types of websites depending on your need.
After installing Drupal, beginners may find it a bit complicated as it is not very beginner-friendly. As a new-users, you may find it difficult to figure out how to change things on your site and may need some tutorials to get started. Although Drupal makes it very easy for you to add content to your site, however, changing appearance and adding non-content elements is not easy to do.
Wix on the other hand is a self-hosted platform that runs on the Wix.com hosted server. With Wix, you don’t need a domain, a hosting service provider, and any of those. All you need to do is to choose your plan, get subscribed and you are good to go.
When you sign-up with Wix, you get some great and easy-to-use tools to build your own website as easily and quickly as possible. The dashboard offers a simple drag and drop interface that allows you to select any element on your site and start editing it in a WYSIWYG interface.
You can easily drag and drop items anywhere on your site, changes anything you want including pages, write content, and add media in a user-friendly environment. beginners would really find this feature a blessing as it saves them time and the stress of dealing with code.
Themes, Plugins, and Addons
WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Wix all come with themes, plugins, and add-ons that you can use as a developer or a designer to extend the features, functionality, and appearance of your website.
Themes are what controls the look, feel, and general appearance of your website and how your users can interact with it. On the other hand, Plugins or Addons are like apps that you use to enhance the functionality of your website.
WordPress Themes and Plugins
With WordPress, you can change your site’s appearance using themes. Although WordPress comes with some default themes, there are a bunch of third-party themes out there that can greatly help you improve the appearance of your WordPress site.
WordPress has a vast repository of themes and plugins; you can easily click on the appearance sections, go to theme from your Appearance page and install new free WordPress themes from the official WordPress.org theme directory or upload a premium theme from third parties, it’s all your choice.
As stated earlier, aside from the free themes, there are so many premium WordPress themes developed by third-party theme shops like StudioPress, Astra Theme, Elegant Themes, and many more developers. The only thing is that they are all paid themes and come with premium support options from the developers.
According to starts, there are more than 58,000 WordPress plugins available for free in the official WordPress plugin directory. However, you can always buy premium plugins to suit your need if you feel the need to. One great thing about these plugins is that they all come with paid premium support provided by the plugin developers.
Joomla Templates and Extensions
Joomla on the other hand comes with templates and extensions. With Joomla, you are offered great extensions that can tackle just about anything from creating an eCommerce store to managing email and other online applications.
The shortcoming of Joomla is that the quantity of these templates and extensions is not so much, compared to that of WordPress. This might come as a limitation because it can make finding the perfect template and the perfect extensions for your site need a bit difficult.
Also, Joomla does not offer its users a feature that would allow them to search and install extensions or templates from the administration area directly like WordPress. They provided an extension that allows you to do that using the “install from web” feature for extensions. For templates, users will still have to manually search templates and then install them by adding their URL.
Drupal Themes and Modules
Drupal also has the same installation issue as with Joomla with the availability of themes and modules. For you to install a module or theme, you will have to leave your site, search for the module and theme you want to add or use for your site, once you have seen them, you then locate the project’s zip file URL. And then finally, enter the URL in the Modules or Themes page to install them.
With Drupal modules, you can do just about anything or add any functionality you want on your site. More interesting is that new modules are added on regular basis. However, it still cannot be compared to the number of themes and plugins that WordPress offers.
Wix Apps and Templates.
Wix is a self-hosted platform that comes with about 200+ apps and 900+ pre-made templates that you can choose from to design and make your site look amazing. All Wix designs are fully responsive and written in HTML5. With Wix’s built-in tools, you can tweak your site design, change the layout, and rearrange items as you dim fit.
Wix makes its template designs available for any site you want to build. They also divide their templates into categories like business, eCommerce, hobbies, arts & crafts, personal, etc.
Although once you select a template in Wix, you cannot change it. However, you can modify it and customize it as much as you want by using only the built-in tools, but you cannot switch to another template.
With Wix apps, you are presented with several options and features like contact forms, galleries, comments, social media buttons, email marketing, and so on.
Wix App Marketplace is where you find the apps that you can use for your website. Many of the apps are free or have a lite version. However, other apps require monthly subscriptions and vary in price. Even though there are very few collections of apps in the marketplace, be rest assured that those apps cover the most commonly requested features you will need.
Support Options for WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Wix
If you are starting out new or you are not a developer, you may want to rely on the help and support options that these platforms provide to you. Of course, there will surely be some hurdles when you are new to a system but as long as you have good support, you should be fine.
WordPress is very vast and has a strong and wide community of users. Since it powers about 40% of online platforms, there are several communities you can get help and support from. You can find WordPress help on official support forums, handbooks, codex, Slack channels, docs, Stack Exchange, YouTube, WPBeginner Engage, Facebook group, and almost every forum on the internet about web design and development.
There are sites that have a great repository of WordPress tutorials that you can easily lay hands-on and get things going when you feel stocked. These sites contain hundreds of tutorials, including video tutorials, articles that cover both beginner-level WordPress users and pro users. With WordPress, you can easily ask for support and you will get it.
You can also easily get paid support for WordPress if the free ones are not giving you what you want. Online platforms like Fiverr, Codeable, UpWork, etc. are some of the places that you can hire a professional WordPress developer to help you if you get stocked. Due to the immense popularity of WordPress, finding WordPress developers is easy and affordable for small businesses and individuals.
Joomla also has a large community of users that can provide help and support at the time you need it. The Joomla website also provides extensive documentation that is a very valuable resource for beginners. For more interactive support, users can join forums, mailing lists, user groups, etc.
Joomla users also provide third-party resources, paid training, and development agencies that can be of great help to you. Although, unlike WordPress, finding affordable expert help may be quite difficult for Joomla because hiring a developer or expert for Joomla development, troubleshooting or assistance can be very expensive
Drupal has a great community of users and fans who love to work with the platform. You will always find all the support and help you need from the community of users of Drupal. Drupal also provides extensive documentation, user groups, support forum, mailing lists, Internet Relay Chat (IRC) chatrooms. All good places to get advice and free help.
Drupal provides its user with a marketplace to help connect users who are looking for professionals to help them with their websites to Drupal developers. However, because there are limited numbers of developers, these developers seem to be very expensive when compared to WordPress.
Wix offers both a robust knowledge base as well as telephone (you can request a call-back) and support. This may be due to the fact that it is self-hosted so everything is managed properly. One common issue with Wix’s support is that they use templated messages a lot for their support. This usually causes their support system to be a bit slow as you may have to write them a few times to get your issue resolved especially when it is a more complex one. Response times from them are usually less than 24 hours, which is acceptable.
So, when you are using the Wix system, you may not find a large community of users or groups to help answer all of your questions like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. You may need to rely on the help and support that the support team provides to you.
To wrap things up, we looked at the key areas of these four website builders. Those areas are ease of use, themes and plugins, and their support system. These areas are the key areas that your website builder should provide for you as a beginner. If the platform is not user-friendly, does not provide you with themes, plugins, or apps to suit your need, and can’t give you good support as a backup, then you will have difficulty in using the platform. Most importantly the platform should give new users a simple and easy-to-use dashboard.
As a result of all this, we came to the conclusion that WordPress is the easiest and simplest website builder for every beginner looking to start their own website.
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