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Which CMS - WordPress or Joomla?

The two most common open source CMS are WordPress (WP) and Joomla. Here are the pros and cons of each.

WordPress Pros:

The most popular website platform in the world by far, so it has a big ecosystem of plugins, themes, and development community. It's easy to find a new developer if you were to switch agencies.

Plugin directory only includes free plugins. Commercial plugins have to be found by Googling or by word of mouth. Commercial Plugins are very varied and because the ecosystem is so big, one plugin will usually have its own site (rather than many plugins on one site).

Theme directory only includes free themes. Commercial wp themes also have to by found through 3rd party sources.

  • High degree of backward compatibility
  • When you update WordPress, everything continues working.
  • Can go years without anything breaking
  • Easy to use
  • Very beginner friendly
  • Although overall it's easy to use, it can still be quite confusing at times and it's a professional CMS at the end of the day.
  • Can do pretty much anything
  • Low cost
  • WordPress itself is free
  • Affordable hosting is readily available and competitive
  • There are free themes available and commercial themes are relatively inexpensive. Same for plugins.
  • Development costs are relatively competitive, which keeps costs down.
  • Excellent for content creation
  • Mobile friendly
  • Almost all themes nowadays will be mobile friendly out of the box
  • Easy to update core, plugins, and themes.
  • Open Source

WordPress Cons:

  • Not super flexible out of the box and can be difficult to integrate different plugins with each other.
  • You'll often need to string together a series of plugins to get desired functionality.
  • Although WordPress can be do pretty much anything, to do unique things, it often requires development experience or the willingness to be very flexible.
  • Decent learning curve

Joomla Pros:

The second most popular CMS, so it has a good ecosystem of extensions (Joomla's name for "plugins"), templates (Joomla's name for "themes"), and development community.

The Joomla extension directory includes free and commercial extensions. It serves as a one stop resource.

For example, these Joomla extensions are all by one company and on one site only, but they are linked from the Joomla extension directory.

There is no official template directory. All templates are found through 3rd party sources. Most will be commercial Joomla templates at a template company.

  • Flexible out of the box
  • Lots of options for everything
  • Customizable ACL (Access Control Levels)
  • Fine grain control (example: placement of modules; ability to override at an individual, category, or global level, etc)
  • High degree of backward compatibility
  • It didn't used to be this way and this was one of the biggest drawbacks of Joomla and why WordPress took over the market. But, the last 5 years or so, it's been very steady.
  • Can go years without anything breaking
  • Easy to use
  • Although, overall it's easy to use, it's a professional CMS that has its learning curve.
  • Once everything is set up, it's easy to manage.
  • Can do pretty much anything
  • Low cost
  • Joomla core is free
  • Affordable hosting is readily available and competitive. The same type of hosting that works for WordPress, works for Joomla too.
  • Commercial templates are relatively inexpensive.
  • Extensions are often free or low cost.
  • Development costs are relatively low.
  • Excellent for content creation
  • Mobile friendly
  • Pretty much all Joomla templates nowadays are mobile friendly out of the box
  • Easy to update core, extensions, and templates
  • Open Source

Joomla Cons:

  • Decent learning curve
  • Relatively few free Joomla templates
  • But the commercial ones are usually very low cost
  • Not nearly as popular as WordPress, so there are fewer developers