Joomla vs WordPress. Trying to decide which one to use? Then you are in the right place.
First of all, we’ll do a quick introduction to WordPress and Joomla. Then we’ll do a comprehensive features comparison in nine categories. As a bonus, there is the tenth chapter where we talk about migration.
By the end of this article, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on which platform is most suitable for your website.
What are WordPress and Joomla?
Both Joomla and WordPress are content management systems. In general, CMS technology can be used to build a website with little to no programming knowledge. For this reason, CMSs are really popular, 57% of all the websites on the internet use a CMS.
Out all content managers WordPress is by far the most popular one. The first release of WordPress was in 2003. WordPress started as a blogging platform. Over time developers have added features to support almost any type of website.
This flexibility is introduced through thousands of plugins that can add almost any functionality. Also, there is a large selection of free and premium themes that cover almost any niche. All this makes launching a new website a breeze.
Things get even better WordPress is free and open-source software that anyone can download and use as they see fit. All you need is a server to host your website. We’ll take a look at hosting options later on.
WordPress is based on PHP and MySQL databases. If you know how to write programs in PHP you can make your plugins to extend the functionality. To make themes you also need to learn CSS and HTML.
Joomla is very similar to WordPress. It’s also a free open-source popular content manager that anyone can download and install. On the CMS market, Joomla comes in second place after WordPress.
The first release of Joomla was in 2005. Joomla started as CMS design for websites that need login forms and memberships. However, it evolved to support almost any type of website.
Joomla is written in PHP and uses various database formats making it a bit more flexible compared to WordPress. The choice of databases includes MySQL, MS SQL (since version 2.5), or PostgreSQL (since version 3.0).
Full CMS Comparison WordPress vs Joomla
Categories that we are using to compare WordPress and Joomla are:
- Learning Curve
- Design and Functionality
- Support and Community
- Multilingual sites
By far WordPress is the most popular CMS holding 62% of all CMS market share. Out of all websites on the internet, 35.3% use WordPress.
If compare WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal in this category WordPress is the king of market share. Joomla has around 5% and Drupal has a 3% market share. While Joomla and Drupal don’t have a large market share they are still good CMS platforms that might fit some websites better than WordPress.
It’s a good thing to also check popularity over time. This is so we can see if the platform is growing or not. We can do this with google trends. We can see that Drupal and Joomla’s popularity is declined in the past few years. Where WordPress is holding or even increasing its market share. In Jul of 2014 WordPress has seen a large spike in popularity. So what happened in 2014? WordPress team released a 3.7 version of WordPress with automatic updates been added and many more features. However, in recent years WordPress has also seen just a bit of decline in popularity. We can guess that it is because of all in one solution like Wix, Squarespace, and others.
One other thing that we can check is who is using WordPress and Joomla for there websites.
Popular sites that use WordPress
The New Yorker
The Walt Disney Company
We could list even more WordPress websites the list is long.
Popular sites that use Joomla
We can see that large organizations use Joomla and WordPress. While this is the case you have to consider that they can pay for developers and implement custom features they need. When considering to choose Joomla over WordPress you really should not decide to use one CMS over other just because some company is using one or the other. Instead, make sure the CMS you choose has all the necessary features you’ll need for your website.
All in all, WordPress wins in this category by a landslide. When deciding which CMS to choose it’s a good idea to go with a popular one. There are a lot of developers so if you need to hire a developer it’s going to be less expensive. Also, because of its popularity, there are a lot of WordPress themes and plugins. All this means that using WordPress to make a site is much easier than using Joomla or Drupal.
Let’s start the second round of Joomla vs WordPress. Since WordPress, Joomla and for that matter Drupal are self-hosted solutions you’ll need to buy hosting and domain name for them. The price is the same for all self-hosted CMSs. You are just buying server space if you are going to install WordPress or Joomla is totally up to you. Generally, you can find hosting for as low as $3 per month and you need to get a domain name that usually costs around $10 per year. This means that you can host a website for around $50 per year. Of course, there are better hosting options for more money that will give you better performance and more storage.
In this category, Joomla and WordPress are somewhat tied since they are free to download and install. That said there can be a difference in price when we account for some other things. This can be a plugin that you need or you might need a freelance developer to work on your website.
WordPress users will have some privileges since hosting companies have better support for WordPress. This for obvious reasons WordPress has a larger market share and they get better ROI if they support WordPress.
Some of the features that hosting companies offer more often for WordPress are:
- One-click install option
- Automatic updates and backups
- Hosting plan with managed WordPress hosting.
Again since WordPress is more popular there are many WordPress developers. This means finding a developer is much easier and costs less money.
While there no cons for WordPress in this category there are a few for Joomla.
First of all, when you choosing host provider there are a limited number of hosting companies that offer a one-click install for Joomla sites so your options are limited. Also, you will be more responsible for maintaining your website. Not many companies offer managed Joomla hosting.
There less Joomla developers out there. So even if you find one it’s going to be more expensive.
WordPress wins this round. We only recommend Joomla if you are a developer or are willing to learn ins and outs of Joomla.
3. Learning Curve
To get started you need to install CMS on the server. Installing WordPress or Joomla is not that hard hosting companies offer one-click install. Even by some chance, if there is no one-click install there are tutorials on how to install Joomla or WordPress manually. So in this regard, you can start with either Joomla or WordPress easily.
Both Joomla and WordPress offer web management consoles. However, there are differences between the WordPress Dashboard and Joomlas Control Panel.
Getting started with WordPress Dashboard is relatively straightforward. The layout is simple to navigate all the menus are on the left side and are logically grouped. For this reason, it does not take much time to get used to the WordPress user interface.
Making blog posts is easy in WordPress just click Posts/Add New. When it comes to editing blog posts you have an option of using the classic editor or new visual website builder called Gutenberg. The classic editor is an implementation of the TinyMCE article editor. Joomla also uses there spin of TinyMCE article editor so you’ll feel at home if you switched from Joomla to WordPress and vice versa.
New versions of WordPress are using Gutenberg as a default editor. Gutenberg is more of a visual website builder. Since it’s a relatively new addition to WordPress it does not have as many features yet. However, you can install premium website builder plugins that have more features. Some of the popular ones include:
If you have a budget to get one of these plugins you can edit your website easily. You get more themes with these plugins and the ability to edit them with visual tools. The prices are reasonable for Elementor you pay $49 per year. That said you can achieve a lot with the default WordPress editor.
Joomla Control Panel
Unlike WordPress Dashboard organizations of Joomla Control Panel is all over the place. There are menus on the left side and in the header. Also compared to WordPress there are more options out of the box. This can make navigating Joomlas Control Panel difficult for new users.
Joomla site owners will have to jump through a few hoops when creating articles. When creating articles you also have to make a Category for your Article. Some users might like this approach but still, in WordPress, you can just add a new post without worrying about categories. As we mentioned in the WordPress section Joomla and WordPress have similar text editors based on TinyMCE editor. When it comes to website builders you’ll need to add that functionality through Joomla extensions.
New users will learn WordPress faster and have a more enjoyable experience. So like in the previous category WordPress wins again. You can use Joomla and achieve the same result it’s just more work.
4. Design and Functionality
Changing the design of your website can be done through WordPress themes or Joomla templates. They are called differently on each CMS but they do the same thing. That is changing the look of your website without the need to touch code.
When it comes to functionality WordPress can be extended through plugins and Joomla trough extensions. Plugins and extensions are the same it’s just different naming systems.
Ok so how good is Joomla compared to WordPress in this category? Let’s first look at WordPress.
There are 55,000+ free plugins available in the WordPress official plugin directory. If you need some functionality someone has already made a plugin for it. Want to add forum, e-commerce or something else, just open WordPress Dashboard and install plugins.
If those 55,000+ plugins don’t do the job there are more premium plugins on various websites.
Similarly to plugins, you can install themes by going to Appearance then Themes.
There are over 7,000+ free themes in the WordPress official library. They are nicely categorized and you have various other filters to help you find the perfect theme for your website. However, if you can’t find the perfect theme in WordPress’s official library many websites sell premium themes. Some of the popular websites to buy themes are:
When it comes to themes there might even be too many options. You can easily spend days looking for a perfect theme for your new website.
So what about Joomla how does it compare to WordPress? Well, the selection is not as good. Tho we have to say that Joomla has way more functionality out of the box. So you might not need as many Joomla extensions. That said there are only around 8,000 extensions listed at Joomlas official directory.
When it comes to templates you just get two official ones. There are premium templates on various websites that you can pick up. This means that you will end up spending money if you want a decent looking website.
While there are not as many Joomla templates as there are WordPress themes Joomla has some extra functionality. Unlike WordPress, that limits you to one theme at time Joomla allows for mixing of templates. If you need that functionality and are willing to pay for templates, hire a website designer to make one or make one your self Joomla is a good option.
Joomla has more out of box functionality and you can mix templates. However, WordPress has way more plugins and themes compared to Joomla. For this reason, WordPress wins in this category.
Having the best-looking site on the internet is cool and all but if no one can find your website it’s worthless. This is where search engine optimizations come to play. Doing SEO for website helps with SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) meaning you’ll rank higher in Google search results.
Ok, so which CMSs is better for this? Let’s see what each can offer fist.
Out of the box, WordPress has some basic SEO functionality. If you need more SEO power there are premium SEO plugins. By far the best plugin that you can get for WordPress SEO is Yoast SEO. This plugin will scan your article as you writing and come up with suggestions to improve your SEO. It does readability checks, meta description, key phrases, images alt attributes, internal link suggestions, and the list goes on. Also, check out our Ultimate SEO Guide to supercharge your SEO.
Compared to WordPress Joomla has a bit more options out of the box without any extensions. If you need more powerful SEO tools there is an extension called EFSEO – Easy Frontend SEO that you can install. When comparing Yoast SEO to EFSEO Yoast SEO is a better option.
While Joomla comes with some nice SEO tools without the need for extensions, WordPress has better plugins for SEO. For this reason, WordPress is a better choice when it comes to SEO.
One important aspect of CMS is how secure it is. When choosing CMS for your new website you should have security in mind.
So what do the numbers say? If we look at data for infected websites for 2017 and 2018 provided by Sucuri. We can see that WordPress is getting more hacks compared to 2017 it’s infection percentage in 2018 went up from 83% to 90% ouch. Where Joomla has seen a decrease in infections from 13.1% to 4.3%.
Ok, so what does all this mean? Well, don’t these numbers scare you away from WordPress.
We have to take into account that WordPress is simply more popular so making a hack for WordPress is a better ROI for hackers. Also, there more people that know how to do WordPress development so more potential for some of them to go rouge and make viruses.
If you take care to install WordPress security plugins and update your installation regularly you won’t get affected by hacks that easily. WordPress gets automatic updates since version 3.7 and they take security seriously. One plugin that can help with security issues is VaultPress is made by Automattic the same company that made WordPress. It’s paid plugin that you get trough JetPack subscription. With JetPack, you also get:
- Daily automated backup
- Real-time automated backups
- Brute force attack protection
- Downtime monitoring
- Automated spam filtering
- Automated malware scanning
- Automatic security fixes
There are four plans and the price starts at $0 and goes to $29 per month. With free you get:
- Brute force attack protection
- Downtime monitoring
Joomla comes with some out of box security built-in. You get SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) this ensures that the link between a web server and a browser is encrypted. This means that transmitted data is private and integral. However, need to install the SSL certificate on to a server. This is a bit out of the scope of this article.
There are additional extensions that you can add to Joomla for security. Some of the recommended ones are:
Admin tools extension is a one-stop-shop for securing the Joomla website. Some of the features that you get with this extension are:
- Detect, notify you about the new Joomla releases.
- Maintenance made easy with just a simple click.
- Advanced web application Firewall.
- Fix your files’ and directories’ permissions.
- Protect your administrator directory with a password.
- Change your database prefix.
- Migrate links pointing to your old domain on-the-fly.
- Emergency off-line switch.
- Perform database maintenance, all with a single click…
Other extensions offer similar functionality. You defiantly have options when it comes to security with Joomla. Maybe not as many as with WordPress but still good selection.
Joomla is not bad when it comes to security. That said if you take care to install additional security plugins WordPress is also a good option. Let’s call this round a tie. Regardless if you decided to use Joomla or WordPress, security and maintenance are important. So make sure you take all extra steps to make your websites as secure as possible.
If you are making business sites with online stores WordPress and Joomla have plugins and extensions for that. We’ll take a look at Joomla vs WordPress for eCommerce in this section. Let’s start with WordPress first.
When it comes to setting up an online store WordPress offers a variety of eCommerce plugins. By far the most popular is WooCommerce. When looking at market share WooCommerce holds 26% out of all online stores. Other WordPress plugin with good market share is BigCommerce but it’s at only 3% market share.
WooCommerce is made by Automattic the company behind WordPress.org so it’s well made. You can’t go wrong with this plugin. WordPress also has integrations for some other online stores like Shopify with WP Shopify plugin.
With all this WordPress is a really good option for an online store. You can’t go wrong with WordPress if you are making an online shop.
For eCommerce, Joomla has few extensions. Some of the more popular ones are:
VirtueMart was one of the first eCommerce plugins for Joomla. With VirtueMart, you can start an e-shop without installing additional modules. While VirtueMart is not as popular as WordPress offerings it’s still a good option. Some of the features offered by this plugin include:
- An unlimited number of products, categories, and customers.
- Coupon and discount system.
- Various checkout options.
- There are many SEO features to help you get rank on Google search.
In this category, WordPress WooCommerce is the king. If you are making an online store and want to do it without coding best option is WooCommerce.
8. Support and Community
In this section, we’ll take a look at how good each CMS is when you need to find an answer to a problem.
WordPress has an official support page on their website. You can find instructions on how to install WordPress, getting started, maintenance, and administration guides. If you need to ask a question you can do that on user forums. One thing that you can’t find is an official number or email to get support from the makers of WordPress. This is because WordPress is an open-source project that anyone can contribute to. That said if you need dedicated support you can hire a professional WordPress help and WP support by our experts.
If you can’t figure out a problem finding a developer might be a bit harder then with WordPress.
WordPress and Joomla have good support and community. You won’t have a problem with either CMS in this regard. The only edge that WordPress has is with finding a developer to work for you. So even in this category, we have to give the win to WordPress.
9. Multilingual sites
Multilingual sites are getting more popular after all you want to reach more people that speak different languages. So how does Joomla compare to WordPress in this department?
When it comes to multilingual sites this is a category where Joomla shines. Out of the box, you get support for multilingual sites. You just pick an additional language and start translating. You won’t need to install an extension for this feature.
While WordPress does not have this feature out of the box it can be added via plugins. The only thing is that you might need to spend some money on a good plugin for this feature. The prices vary for plugins but you’ll need at last $80 or more for good plugin. Some of the best plugins for multilingual sites are:
In this category, we can declare Jooma the winner. Joomla has free multilingual sites support out of the box making it a better option than WordPress.
So far we have seen that WordPress is the overall better choice for websites in most cases. If you have a Joomla site already running and you want to migrate to WordPress it is possible. Like all migration, it’s a hassle and something might go wrong so make sure you research before you proceed. However, it’s not as hard thanks to migration plugins that are available. For this task, you can use FG Joomla to WordPress plugin.
If you run an eCommerce website there are plugins for migrating shop from Joomla to WordPress. For this, you can use Cart2Cart: VirtueMart to WooCommerce Migration tool. There other plugins that can be used to migrating from other eCommerce systems to WordPress WooCommerce.
Also if you think that this task is too much for you there are companies that do this professionally. Alternatively, you can hire a freelance developer to handle the migration for you.
When it comes to choosing CMS for your website WordPress overall a better option. With a much larger plugin library, you get much more functionality. If there is a feature you need for your website someone has already made a plugin for that.
For design options, WordPress has way more themes including free and premium options compared to Joomla. Joomla has just two free themes where WordPress has +7,000 free themes.
Depending on the types of websites you plan to make Joomla can give you some advantages. As we explained the multilingual site is Joomla’s strong suite. And Joomla comes with more features out of the box. However, WordPress is generally a better choice if are not a developer.
What about Drupal?
While we did not compare Drupal vs WordPress in this article. When it comes to CMSs market Drupal is also a good option for some websites.
As we mentioned Drupal is free to download so you can try it out. You don’t need a server to test out a CMS there is free software for local testing called XAMPP. WordPress, Joomla and Drupal installation to XAMPP is easy so you can try out any of them before you decide which CMS to use.
Running a Drupal site is a bit more technical compared to Joomla or WordPress. So if you are not a developer it might not be for you. When it comes to Drupal themes there are almost 3,000 free themes and almost as many free plugins as WordPress and yeah in Drupal world plugins are called modules. If we picked your interest in Drupal you should do more research before you decided on CMS.
For more WordPress tutorials check the rest of our blog here. If you have further questions write them in the comment section below. Have a great day!