Choosing a CMS: The Implementation of WordPress, Drupal or Joomla!

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Which to choose? WordPress, Drupal or Joomla! Image from:


Today’s post officially kicks off the second phase of the Library Currents Blog project: the Implementation of a Content Management System (CMS). The first part of this phase is researching the three most popular and effective CMS’s out on the web. From scanning articles on the internet and in the library literature, it seems that WordPress, Drupal and Joomla! are the most used CMS platforms used by libraries and bloggers alike!

Prior to investigating these three CMS platforms, I asked myself if I was capable of paying for a third-party platform or service that was not considered an open source software (OSS). The question of cost to buy the software, install it and maintain it comes into play here, as I would have to keep costs to a bare minimum since the blog would not be bringing in revenue during the beta, which could last a number of years. Given the plethora of blogs out there using OSS, and the level of support for them with constant updates and upgrades, I felt that using an OSS was the best initial choice. But as Gordon and West (2008) state, costs can be more than just financial, but include time and hassle: no software is truly free, but no software has zero drwabacks as well. What Gordon and West also suggest as a rule of thumb is to use what your friends use, since the best tech support can be someone who knows both you and the product you are using! WordPress, Drupal and Joomla! are definitely the platforms I hear the most about in both the blogging and LIS worlds.


The first CMS to investigate is WordPress, which is specifically used for blog creation and is used by blogs such as CNN’s Political Ticker and All Things Digital. (Castelluccino, 2010). More than 18% of the top 10 million websites use WordPress as their CMS platform, comprising some 60 million websites (WordPress, n.d.). Much of the popularity of WordPress due to the ease of installation of plugins and themes, and the ability to allow multi-user blogging and mobile friendely apps. WordPress is search engine friendly, has support for nested categories and article tagging by the author, and has a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) interface for creating articles. WordPress has seen vulnerabilities in its code, however, which makes it a prime target for hackers and attackers. This results in a plethora of near-constant updates to shore up back-door vulnerabilities.

A distinction should be made here between, which is the free-hosted platform, and, which provides the OSS version of WordPress for download. is safer, with all setup, upgrades and maintenance taken care of by WordPress. However, a user cannot upload themes, plugins, or modify any php code in the blog files, and the blog cannot be monetized (Amillionblogs, n.d.). Since the 5-year social media plan for Library Currents includes potential expansion of the blog with new features and monetization, Library Currents will not consider using the hosted service.


Drupal is an OSS platform used by 2.1% of all websites worldwide, with a wide range of blogs using it, including personal, corporate, political and government sites (Drupal, n.d.). More than just a blog CMS, Drupal can be used to build community portal sites, aficionado sites, resource directories, and personal sites. Drupal has strengths in taxonomy systems, content packaging, syndication, content customization, with single and multiple-user blogs, page layout customization, and community website development where users can contribute content (Maine Web Design, n.d.). With a Content Customization Kit that extends content types, and drag and drop layout management for, Drupal allows for ultimate customization. Drupal supports themes as well, and even has distributions, which are collections of themes, modules, and settings that are packaged together to build a site with a specific purpose, such as a news site or an online store (Drupal, n.d.)

Like, provides a free-hosted Drupal CMS solution to users that takes out the pain of setting up and updating the software. Unlike the solution, Drupal Gardens is more flexible and allows for customization of content using nodes and blocks, which are sections of content entirely customized by the user (Harris, 2010). Although most free-hosted solutions seem like they cannot provide the flexibility required by Library Currents, Drupal Gardens deserves a look in the demo stage next week, where WordPress, Drupal and Joomla! platforms will be set up and tested. Likewise, a Drupal Gardens account will be investigated. Up until I read the Harris article, I had never heard of Drupal Gardens.


Joomla! is considered to be the second most used OSS platform after WordPress, with over 35 million downloads (Joomla, n.d.). Joomla! users can create blogs, polls, RSS feeds and other useful tools, and the platform allows installation of over 6000 customizable extensions. These extensions include components (mini-appplications), plugins (event handlers), templates, modules (i.e. search boxes), and languages support. Like Drupal, Joomla! sites range from community portals, online magazines, small busines sites, personal sites and blogs (Open Source Matters, Inc., n.d.).

Joomla! 1.6 addressed many types of concerns users had with user management and access permissions, and created a new categories system that could create nested layers of content in the site (Anonymous, 2011). Other features were added to save the user’s time, such as a “Save and New” button that saved and article and created a new one with the click of one button. It should be exciting to see what features Joomla! can provide in the demo next week.

Was this post helpful? Please leave your comments and suggestions below!

Next up: A demo of WordPress!

Amillionblogs. (n.d.). or – A guide to making the best decision. Retrieved from

Anonymous. (2011). Review: Joomla 1.6 boosts business-friendly features. Informationweek – Online. Retrieved from

Castelluccino, M. (Ed.). (2010). Part 1 – free on-ramps: Joomla!, Drupal, and WordPress. Strategic Finance, 91(10), 59-60.

Drupal. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from

Gordon, R., & West, J. (2008). What can open source do for you? Computers in Libraries, 28(3), 44-45.

Harris, C. (2010). Drupal gets easier. School Library Journal, 56(5).

Joomla. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from

Maine Web Design. (n.d.). Why is Drupal a good choice for building web sites? Artopa. Retrieved from

Open Source Matters, Inc. (n.d.). What is Joomla? Retrieved from

WordPress. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from

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Mickel is an MLIS and the creator of Library Currents. His inspiration for the blog was the SJSU course "The Hyperlinked Library" taught by Dr. Michael Stephens, a course that is also a worldwide MOOC. If you wish to contact him, feel free to write to Mickel Paris at

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