Starting a website has never been easier in 2020 if you choose to go with CMS (Content Management System) platforms.
A Content Management System (CMS) is an application that enables you to publish and manage content on the website. In other words, you can index your content, make changes to it, format it using visual editors, and more. However, choosing a suitable CMS solution for the success of your website has never been more challenging, due to the sheer number of available options.
Two of the top-notch CMS platforms that stand out in the eCommerce market are WordPress and Joomla. Joomla vs WordPress are both renowned for their ease-of-use, extensive customization opportunities, and active communities. Therefore, while WordPress and Joomla have their respective pros and cons, they can both be perfect to build modern, feature-rich sites.
So, how do you know which one is for you? Since both CMS platforms are remarkable, in this article, I will walk you through a detailed comparison between Joomla vs WordPress to help you determine which one wins this battle. Keep reading to get:
- An overview of Joomla and WordPress
- Detailed comparison of these two CMS platforms
- Wise advice on what platform suit you the most
Joomla vs WordPress: A closer look
Both WordPress and Joomla are self-hosted, open-source content management systems that have been around for over 15 years. They have brought success to millions of online merchants from beginners to tech-savvy developers all over the world.
WordPress is an Open-source CMS platform based on PHP and MySQL. According to Builtwith, WordPress holds the dominant position in market share with the usage of 81% of live websites over the world (more than 27 million websites) at the time of this writing.
Launched in 2003, WordPress was first considered as a blogging platform, in other words, to create blogs. However, it has grown far beyond that point. The platform is easy to use, you can create any kind of site and customize it using WordPress’s massive ecosystem of plugins and themes. WordPress is separated into WordPress.com and WordPress.org:
- WordPress.com is the hosted version. You just need to create an account, choose a plan, and build your website directly.
- WordPress.org is a self-hosted CMS. You have full control of your website but you’ll need to download the software onto your computer and find your web hosting.
In this article, we will have a closer look at WordPress.org, which is the Open Source platform, to be easier to compare with Joomla.
When it comes to content management, WordPress also provides a top-notch experience. Publishing new posts and pages is simple, and you have access to a powerful editor that enables you to format your content (customize fonts, interface, images…). Needless to say, WordPress has made itself the most popular platform in the world. It is ranked 4.6/5 with 95% of good reviews on Capterra.
Launched in 2005, Joomla is just as old as WordPress. It is also a top Open Source CMS platform written in PHP and stored in MySQL database. Joomla powers around 5% of websites around the world (according to Builtwith) and is seeing continuous improvement and development. More than 1,6 million live websites are using Joomla at present, making it the 3rd popular CMS platform in the world.
As an Open Source CMS instead of being Hosted, Joomla is free and available for everyone to use. It was launched with the intention of providing users with a scalable means of building their websites and applications, without any knowledge of coding. It is ranked 4.1/5 on Capterra.
WordPress vs Joomla: Break-into-pieces comparison
Because WordPress is an Open Source CMS, it’s free for you to download and install. All you need is a domain name and web hosting. You also need to do backup and any updates necessary. The cost of a WordPress site using WordPress.org:
- Domain name: $12/year.
- Hosting: from $3.95/month.
- Plugins: $0 – $1,000 (ongoing or one-off charge).
- Security: from $50 (ongoing or one-off charge).
- Developer fees: $0 – $1,000 (one-off cost).
- Maintenance fee: $99/month
So, depending on your needs, your cost to start a WordPress website can range from $100 to $500 to $3000, to even as high as $30,000 or more, but you can launch a professional website with unlimited customization, a technical support team behind as well as full control of your site.
Similar to WordPress, Joomla is also an Open Source platform that is free and easy to use. However, you will need to purchase the followings:
- Registering a domain: average $10 – $30/year
- Getting a hosting provider: $150 – $500 for 12-month registration
- Design and development: $500 – $5000 for custom work
- Maintenance: $100 – $1000 monthly
In total, you may have to pay $700 – $6500 monthly or higher to get a website from Joomla. It seems to be more expensive than WordPress. Although WordPress and Joomla are both open-source, the difference in pricing can come from the gap in some fees such as Development and Maintenance fees.
WordPress has lower development cost thanks to its huge and dedicated community, where users can easily find help via a massive third-party ecosystem of blogs, forums, developers. Meanwhile, you still have to pay a development fee when it comes to Joomla websites. However, this price competition might not have an absolute result because some extra costs may add up to the initial ones mentioned. So make sure to do full research on what you are going to do with your website to estimate how much it will cost you on both platforms.
2. Help & Support
Being the most well-known CMS, WordPress has built a very strong active forum for enormous users. You’ll find a wealth of advice and tutorials on WordPress-related topics throughout the web. In the same way, you can also come across multiple texts and video manuals, guidelines, and tutorials compiled by other system users.
Apart from the free support function, you can hire WordPress expert all around the world as well (with more technical and complex issues that you cannot solve by yourself)
Similarly, Joomla is a free CMS and it also has an online collaborative community for its users, developers, or anyone interested in learning more about Joomla. Plus, there is a huge range of support in the form of tutorials, guide articles, and videos, which is free, helpful, and easy to find on the official website.
Furthermore, you can get advice from Joomla experts but you have to purchase support plans to get the full service. It has 4 support plans ranging from $39 – $299/month providing different packs of services.
Beside Joomla’s support plans, you can also buy Joomla’s Support hours ranging from $37- $65/hour as below:
In conclusion, both WordPress and Joomla have powerful communities where users can meet and share regularly during a year. They also offer support in many document types and you can also get premium support for more complex issues as well.
3. Ease of use
WordPress is well-known for its ease-of-use, with many users opting for it over other CMS platforms. Its users are mostly beginners and tech-savvy individuals alike. It is also easy to install and use. Especially its simple control panel enables most beginners to pick up the basics in no time at all.
The back-end is simple and clean, and everything within the dashboard is easy to use. Along the left side of the page are the various content areas of the site as well as the settings that can be manipulated. There’s absolutely no question as to where you can go to customize your design, set up social sharing, or add a new blog post.
Joomla, on the other hand, is entirely different and may require more patience if you’re not familiar with technical terminology. If you take the time to learn around the ropes, Joomla can prove a big asset to a company but it will take more effort and brain-power for beginners to get there than WordPress due to the sheer number of various admin screens:
Joomla uses a combination of Articles and Categories. In other words, before creating content on Joomla, you need to create categories for the type of content you want to create. This process could be somehow more complicated than WordPress, especially for non – developers.
In short, both WordPress and Joomla are quite simple to use and have the same installation process. However, Joomla’s control panel isn’t beginner-friendly. Beginners may find it more complicated to understand Joomla’s control panel and user interface than WordPress’. So if you are new to IT, WordPress would be your better choice.
4. Customization and design
One of the reasons that make WordPress and Joomla become the most popular CMS is that they both allow users to extend their websites in different ways. That is to say, both of them offer various themes and plugins that users can easily add to their websites without knowing much about web development knowledge to create a functional website with an attractive appearance.
WordPress has a huge truckload of themes including more than 7000 free themes and thousands of premium ones that help users to build from a simple website to the professional one even though they don’t know much about coding or design. Plus, you can edit the source code as you please, and even use plugins that let you build a theme yourself through drag and drop tools.
Joomla’s customization potential is its competitive advantage. Although Joomla doesn’t have an official template library, it also has loads of templates available from a third-party as well as extensions that allow users to create many types of websites with multi-function.
Furthermore, using Joomla helps users incorporate multiple themes across your website. To illustrate that, Joomla customers can have different themes for different pages. You can switch up styles and templates if, for example, you want a different theme for your blog and your main website. In addition, Joomla is more capable of handling multiple or more complex forms of content while WordPress can find it difficult to keep up.
It’s hard to tell the winner when it comes to Joomla vs WordPress in terms of customization and design. Both have incomparable strengths that differentiate themselves from the rest.
Due to WordPress’s popularity, hackers often set their target on WordPress websites for data breaches, hacking attempts, malware, and Trojan attacks.
Although WordPress offers thousands of plugins and extensions, it’s impossible to make sure that every plugin employs proper safety standards and remains compatible with newer versions of the platform. This can be a nightmare from a security standpoint. Furthermore, most of its advanced extensions rely mainly on plugins and you have to modify its cores file to enable SSL connection.
But don’t worry yet, WordPress has already offered its own set of security extensions and plugins to help users secure their website at the highest level. Specifically, more and more WordPress users now are installing the SSL certificate which initiates a secure session with browsers. You will need to purchase the SSL certificate from third-party vendors before starting the installation process.
When your SSL is ready, you will be able to install it for your sites with supporting options from these platforms. The most popular WordPress plugin for support installing SSL Certificate is Really Simple SSL, which will automatically detect your settings and configure your website to run over HTTP.
Alternatively, you can decrease the workload with the help from WordPress Maintenance Services.
Similar to WordPress, Joomla also faces some security risks arising from extra extensions and plugins, that makeup 84% of all hacked sites in the system. Understanding that there is no CMS that is 100% secure, Joomla also offers a set of security extensions and plugins.
While WordPress requires extra plugins to set up SSL, Joomla has its “Joomla Force SSL”, which allows users to activate Joomla SSL Certificate in their core system without installing any extra extension.
6. Extensions and plugins
With the help of WordPress plugins, you can do many things such as a Membership portal, an online store, school, portfolio, etc. Users can also find more than 50000 free plugins on the official websites to create the whole eCommerce systems, Business sites, or Photography portfolio, for example.
Furthermore, you can add and customize any WordPress plugins to your website. However, it allows you to install plugins only if you’re on the Business or eCommerce plan, which goes for $25 and $45 a month, respectively.
Joomla, however, only offers about 8000 official extensions on its website. Since its inception, Joomla has grown both in popularity and functionality, with passionate contributors adding to its selection of tools, extensions, and themes. Joomla extensions, conversely, are clearly separated by function, purpose, and scale:
- Plugins: tend to be the simple features for Joomla
- Modules: add bits of content around the main content area
- Components: extend the core functionality of Joomla, and a component will generally comprise its own set of modules and/or plugins. Some popular extensions of Joomla could be mentioned: Virtue Mart, HikaShop, MijoShop, JoomShopping, J2Store, EShop…
Both platforms offer various extensions and plugins that can help you manage your website. However, WordPress seems to be the winner in this Joomla vs WordPress battle. Since Joomla is less popular than WordPress, there are quite fewer extensions and plugins on Joomla.
7. Search engine optimization (SEO)
Needless to say that in the continuously evolving world of technology to run a business, your site should be on the top 10 list in most of the search engines. Therefore SEO is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a platform for your business. Let’s dig deeper into this Joomla vs WordPress comparison for the business site for SEO.
WordPress is a great platform when it comes to considering SEO. Many themes contain SEO features like schema markup, breadcrumb navigation, open graph data, and so on. WordPress also allows you to create tags for posts, something that Joomla doesn’t allow without the use of an extension. Besides, you can optimize permalink structures and set all the appropriate metadata for pages and posts.
You should consider using WordPress’s most powerful SEO plugin Yoast SEO. It offers lots of features and anyone can get to grips with it in a couple of minutes. Yoast categorizes your SEO score in different areas using a traffic light system of red, yellow, or green colors. Furthermore, the plugin tells you exactly how to improve your score in each area and it also rates your post’s readability so that you can optimize your content as much as possible. The good news is that with WordPress, it is quite possible to get a high ranking even though you’re new to the website game and you can have great control over SEO easily.
Speaking of marketing, WordPress really makes it simple. It easily connects to social media so you can link each of your company’s social media accounts to your sites. Plus, its Analytics and Tracking features tell you how many people have visited your site and their frequency. WordPress offers these numbers freely and easily.
Joomla, on the other hand, is also an SEO-friendly platform. Although it requires the most initial care and attention in terms of SEO, it has great potential to rank very high if you set up the website properly. In Joomla, you can enable Search Engine friendly URLs, make them more readable and memorable for both humans and search engine crawlers. Furthermore, it also enables URL rewriting that helps you get rid of index.php in your URL. Besides, it is possible to add metadata and title tags for your page. However, Joomla proper on-site optimization is not a one-click affair at all, especially for newbies and first-time users, so make sure to get an expert with you when optimizing website SEO.
8. Payment gateways
WooCommerce is the most popular among eCommerce plugins for WordPress. This platform also has over 100 payment gateways to help you process and sync your payment easily including some well-known ones: Paypal, Amazon pay, Stripe, eWay,…
Joomla offers various payment gateways including free and paid extensions that allow you to take any type of payment. You can check here for the list of Joomla payment gateways.
Final result – Which one should you choose?
At the end of this Joomla vs WordPress battle, WordPress is ahead of the game according to some criteria we have just gone through. To decide which CMS is the best to use, you need to consider your website’s purpose.
It’s not surprising to say that WordPress is the best CMS for beginners, especially for non-IT users, and an ideal for blogging. If you are new to web-building and want to get a site up and running as quickly as possible, then you should go with WordPress.
Whereas Joomla is a more flexible platform to display different types of content and manage users. If you are somehow technical-savvy and are looking for a more flexible CMS that allows you greater creativity in your design, then Joomla could be your go-to option.
So the truth is we can not decide which is the best CMS for your website. Instead of that, before choosing any CMS, make sure to think about your website’s specific needs and then finding which CMS fits your requirements.
Hopefully that by reading this article, you have identified some key differences between WordPress and Joomla so that you can determine which one is best suitable for your website.
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