In this article, you’ll learn how both platforms compete against each other. I am going to show you an in-depth comparison of Joomla vs WordPress to see which one is the better CMS for your project.
That said, before I put Joomla vs WordPress side by side, let’s talk about what a CMS is and why choosing the right one could be the most important part when building your website.
What Exactly Is a CMS?
CMS, short for Content Management System, refers to an application that people use for digital content creation and management on a website. This program is created to help users build their own sites more easily compared to starting it from scratch.
In other words, you will find that a Content Management System provides a complete solution for controlling your website with the help of a user-friendly interface.
Having said that, we will be exclusively covering the top two contenders in this competition — WordPress and Joomla. These two are worth comparing not only because of the big number of users, but also their unique approach to digital content management.
You need to pay attention to their differences to know which one you should go for. If you’re not careful in choosing between Joomla vs WordPress, you might not be able to get the most out of their features to build a great website.
Joomla was created back in 2005 and has become one of the most prominent free and open source CMS. The developer, Open Source Matters, Inc., is responsible for maintaining the software and enjoys 6.7% of the market share.
One of Joomla’s main features is its support for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) out of the box. And unlike many others, it has built-in multilingual capability installed on its framework.
Additionally, it also comes with prepackaged caching management for your site.
I am going to explain all the features further later in this article.
It may come as a surprise, but the original intention of this CMS was to manage sites, which display many kinds of information from various sources.
This type of site requires a lot of module positions (or widgets in WordPress terms) in order to work at its full potential. And Joomla does provide that. Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Science and The Hill are great examples of web portals that use Joomla.
However, it doesn’t mean that Joomla can’t be used for other types of websites. In fact, there are a lot of blogs and online stores that use the CMS, like IKEA.
WordPress is a popular Content Management System based on PHP and MySQL that is also free and open source. Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little created the software and founded the developer company, the WordPress Foundation.
Back in 2003, the CMS was meant to focus on blogging, which is what WordPress is mostly known for. Thanks to its simple interface and more streamlined environment, users could easily make a diary-like website without advanced technical knowledge.
But as the user base got a lot bigger, WordPress has evolved into more than just a blog oriented CMS. Online stores, portfolio websites, news sites are just examples of what users can use WordPress for.
This flexibility is one of the main reasons why it is very popular and dominates 60% of the market. However, if not for its extensive options of plugins and themes, WordPress would not have enjoyed the same level of success it has right now.
Other than that, built-in comments, easy installation, and upgrading, as well as intuitive publishing tools are also nice features to have. Not to mention a big community that helps WordPress become more accessible to general audiences with their contribution and help.
Popularity aside, there is still a common misunderstanding among internet users about WordPress.org and WordPress.com. Keep in mind that the one we’re discussing here is the former, which is a free content management system.
On the other hand, WordPress.com is a blog/website hosting service, though it is also based on the same CMS.
WordPress and Joomla Against Each Other
As I have briefly stated above, WordPress and Joomla have their own characteristics reflected by features and their intended use. But to put them in the same light, I will be using some important indicators in this comparison.
I will give a thorough inspection of their ease of use, customizability, security, Search Engine Optimization, community and support, and pricing. You will also learn which CMS is the most suitable for your needs.
Ease of Use
If we are to talk about ease of use, we have to take a look at what type of customers each CMS is geared towards.
Joomla is popular among advanced users who don’t mind having lots of settings at their disposal. You can see this from as early as the installation process. In some admin screens, it has so many available options before users can start even using the platform.
I am not saying that Joomla is bombarding users with unnecessary features. Each setting has its own purpose, but they may take time to get used to.
On the other hand, WordPress’ installation is easier to complete as there are fewer configurations. What’s more, many hosting providers support one-click WordPress installations so you don’t have to do it manually.
That’s why it has much more appeal to users who want to have a more simple set up process, especially beginners.
The time it takes you to master everything in WordPress is also fairly short as it provides an intuitive interface. Joomla’s user experience is not a nightmare by any means, but it still requires a steeper learning curve, after all.
You can feel it the second you’re creating your first post. With just a click, you can add a new post to WordPress. Meanwhile, with Joomla, you need to set your Article and Categories first. Not quite a complex step, but it is a signal of its added complexity.
For more advanced processes, such as setting up SEO tools or securing your site, WordPress allows you to do that with a few clicks and a couple of plugin installations.
While Joomla does offer those functionalities with built-in features, getting them to work the way you want is not exactly a simple thing to perform. You have to go through more steps, which are not laid out as tidy as its competitors.
Furthermore, WordPress wins over Joomla in terms of updating the software itself. The former will make sure that any plugin or theme you are using will not break after you upgrade the CMS to a newer version.
On the other hand, Joomla had a bad reputation of breaking users’ extensions and templates once the latest software is installed on their site.
Customizability indicates how flexible both platforms are when it comes to adding more functionality and enhancing visuals. Therefore, it will greatly depend on how Joomla vs WordPress compete in terms of plugins and themes.
However, bear in mind that with Joomla, plugins are referred to as extensions and themes are called templates.
Looking at the numbers, it’s obvious that WordPress has the upper hand since there are around 54 thousand free plugins and thousands of premium ones. You will have many alternatives to choose from for just one additional functionality.
Nonetheless, the numbers also imply how dependent WordPress is on plugins, even for essential features like SEO and security. In contrast, Joomla has equipped itself with such functionalities right out of the box.
Having said that, it’s still unfortunate that users are limited to just 8000 plugins. Also, a smaller number of themes choices might not satisfy everyone.
At the same time, WordPress indulges its user with over 5000 themes on the market.
Overall, WordPress takes the throne as the most customizable CMS since users are able to optimize their website to a greater extent than Joomla.
A bigger user base doesn’t make a more secure application. As a matter of fact, it can be the other way around. WordPress, as the most widely used CMS in the world, suffers from such a problem.
It has a lot to do with the high number of vulnerable sites that don’t highly prioritize their security. However, we can’t entirely blame it on the customers.
The modest configurations on WordPress are often the reason why people can overlook this important aspect. Not to mention the persistent loopholes that hackers can exploit regardless of the platform’s frequent updates.
On the other side, Joomla’s users should feel a lot safer with their CMS not merely because fewer people are using it, but also because of better security configurations that Joomla provides in the first place.
For example, Joomla supports SSL and two-factor authentication by default. With a little bit of tweaking, you can have a very safe website from the start. And since you have these features preinstalled, you can allocate your resources to different protection layers for your webpage.
In contrast, WordPress tends to rely too much on plugins so you have to obtain the same features separately. Fortunately, when it comes to security extensions, you won’t run out of great options with WordPress.
Take the Google Authenticator plugin for instance. This tool helps you manage a more secure WordPress site by forcing further verification on your login page.
Another recommended plugin is Sucuri Security, which provides protection from unwanted site traffic and has anti-malware functionality.
As long as you don’t mind spending more time and money to set up these tools, you can actually make your WordPress site very safe.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization is a practice that aims to help a website rank higher on search engines like Google and Bing. That is to say, you have to make content that’s well optimized for particular keywords.
SEO is one of the most crucial steps towards having a successful websites since it can bring a lot of traffic and thus maximize your profit.
In choosing the right CMS, you need to consider how great it is in terms of SEO. Users can judge it by how each platform provides the necessary tools to optimize their content.
By default, Joomla is the only CMS in this comparison that includes meta descriptions and keyword features right out of the box. While it is a great thing to have, search engine optimization does require a lot more than that.
For now, I can only say Joomla is better when it comes to providing a built-in SEO tool. But what if we need more advanced optimization, to begin with?
Well, it means that we have to judge Joomla vs WordPress by two major plugins/extensions for both platforms — EFSEO (Joomla) and Yoast SEO (WordPress).
- EFSEO (Free with a $20 donation option) — a must-have webmaster tool for Joomla users. With EFSEO, you can easily control your metadata from the backend and frontend of your website.
The best part about it is the Automatic Mode, which enables your page to generate metadata automatically based on the content of your post. This will definitely speed up your optimization process and only requires you to configure it a little bit afterward.
Unfortunately, if you want to add focus keywords and meta description manually, you need to go on a separate page on your Joomla Dashboard.
- Yoast SEO (Free and paid starting $89) — Yoast is one of the best SEO plugins for WordPress right now and it has 5 million+ active installation to date.
This huge popularity is due largely to its powerful features that help your page rank higher on search engine result pages. Here are the key options that Yoast offers in the premium version:
- Keyword optimization, including synonyms and related keywords
- Readability checks
- Internal linking suggestions
- Google, Facebook, and Twitter preview page
- Content insights
Furthermore, unlike EFSEO, the Yoast SEO tool is attached to the same editor page where you’re creating your content, making it easier for you to optimize.
Judging at how these two compare, it’s obvious that WordPress wins over Joomla with its Yoast SEO. The feature-rich plugin can always outbest EFSEO in providing the necessary tool to make your site perform better in the search engines.
Community & Support
Joomla and WordPress are open source platforms, which means that everyone is welcome to contribute to their development.
Unlike security, where more users can lead to more vulnerabilities, community and support actually benefits from the huge number of contributors.
WordPress fully takes advantage of this. One of the positive impacts is faster development.
Since there are more developers who are willing to commit their time to new features and bug fixes, you’ll see more frequent updates to the software.
With Joomla, however, there are significantly fewer developers who help build the CMS from time to time, which leads to slower development.
There is actual data to support it, of course. From the moment Joomla’s first release was uploaded in 2005, there have only been 17 versions. Meanwhile, WordPress has had 36 major updates since 2003, excluding the minor releases.
The good thing is, both Joomla and WordPress provide comprehensive guides on how you can contribute to their improvement. All the necessary info is located in their own dedicated support page, which is the same place you’d go when you need help from the official source of each platform.
All you need to know is both sites are equally excellent when it comes to providing credible info and storing important documentation.
Another advantage of having more people is better community support when you run into problems on your site. There are of course a lot more WordPress experts who don’t hesitate to share their knowledge for free.
Consequently, it’s much easier for WordPress users to ask for help in online forums across the internet because it’s much more popular than its rival. Well-known discussion websites like Quora or Stack Overflow are filled with much more WordPress questions than Joomla.
Blogs about WordPress also outnumber those of Joomla, thus users just have more options to get their information. Take WPTavern or WPShout for example.
This blog provides all the important info about the CMS and provides a convenient place to start a conversation in the comment section with other users.
Having said all of that, I don’t mean to tell that you can’t find an online discussion about Joomla
In fact, what previous blogs offer is similar to what Joomla-oriented sites have done. Look at Joomla Beginner, for instance. Their goal is also to educate readers and give them the freedom to talk about their favorite CMS, so the quality of blogs for each platform is more or less the same.
You won’t have to pay anything to download either Joomla or WordPress. However, money can be involved later when you need to buy premium services like plugins and themes. Therefore, you still have to prepare your budget regardless of what CMS you choose.
The total amount of cash you have to shell out will vary depending on what products you want to purchase. For example, to have a professional WordPress site with core functionalities, you may need to buy several plugins for SEO, security, analytics, and email marketing purposes.
I will show the pricing scheme of the best product on each component. Keep in mind that the cost only applies to the most basic versions of the premium plugins.
- Yoast SEO (SEO) — $89
- Sucuri Security (Security) — $199/year
- MonsterInsights (Analytics) — $99.50/year
- MailChimp (Email marketing) — $9.99/month
There are of course other alternatives that you can get for free. However, the reason why I include those paid plugins is because they are superior in terms of features and support.
Now let’s compare them with popular extensions for Joomla that perform a similar job.
As a matter of fact, you can spend less money on Joomla if you are okay with its preinstalled SEO and security functionalities. Nonetheless, the list above just shows you how WordPress can be slightly more expensive than Joomla.
Theme-wise, both platforms have many free and paid options. And it turns out that the prices are similar, with $40 – $100 on average for their best-seller designs.
Are themes and plugins the only thing you have to pay for with Joomla and WordPress? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Since they are self-hosted CMS, you should find a hosting provider and domain name to start building your website.
There are many big names in the hosting industry that offer one-click WordPress installations and promise an optimized environment for the CMS. Again, it is a rational business model towards the popularity of the platform.
While Joomla is often not a top priority, most companies do provide users with the option to choose it for their website but might lack specific optimization or one-click installation features.
Speaking of hosting providers, some of them have special plans called Managed WordPress/Joomla Hosting. Basically, it is a service where your website is managed not by yourself but assigned web developers.
They will take care of many aspects of your website’s development without compromising your private data. Keep in mind, however, that the price for this service is significantly higher than the normal one.
I am going to compare this kind of hosting plan for Joomla and WordPress from different companies.
Note: WordPress has an official list of recommended providers to host their software while Joomla doesn’t give such endorsements.
- FastComet Managed Joomla Hosting — from $59.95 up to $139.50 per month, you can get a fully managed site on a cloud server. If offers up to 8 TB bandwidth, 320 GB SSD space, and 16 GB of RAM.
- BlueHost Managed WordPress Hosting — with a price of $19.95 – $49.95 monthly, you’ll enjoy a fully managed service for your WordPress site with Jetpack Pro included, unlimited bandwidth and web storage, as well as a free SSL.
From my observation, most managed WordPress plans are cheaper than that of Joomla. It is safe to say that it is partly due to the more competitive market among WordPress hosting providers, and the larger skillset required by Joomla.
Which CMS Is the Better Option?
At this point, you probably can’t wait to see the final verdict. However, picking one as the absolute winner should never be the case because both Joomla and WordPress have benefits and drawbacks. To an extent, they are meant for different kinds of users.
With that said, if we’re talking about statistics, it is clear that WordPress is more favorable than Joomla, thanks to its better ease of use, customizability, and more prominent community support. After all, those aspects prove to be more attractive to general users and beginners.
It is of course still highly recommended that you determine what you want to do with your website so you can pick the better platform based on your needs.
I recommend choosing Joomla if you don’t mind to get your hands “dirty” when managing all sorts of advanced settings. Once you have the know-how, Joomla is actually a pretty powerful program right from the start.
Not to mention the great built-in functionalities that it offers you, such as two-factor authentication, SSL, and the keyword tool.
But if you prefer more customization and added functionalities, you should definitely pick WordPress. In terms of plugins and themes, it is ahead of Joomla by a large margin.
While the options can be overwhelming sometimes, the competition between developers can bring better results to the customers.
WordPress is great if you expect to have better community support not only from its official developers but also other experienced users and experts. With more sites that focus on this CMS, you’ll easily find answers to your problems, no matter how big or small.
What’s better, the solutions are relatively easier to implement than the more advanced processes on Joomla.
A Content Management System is a necessary program for any webmaster that doesn’t want to code a site from scratch. It will equip them with the necessary tools to manage all of their digital content and help them grow their website. Therefore, choosing the right one can be crucial.
In this article, I have compared two of the most popular CMS in the world — Joomla vs WordPress — to help you decide between them. As I have mentioned, they have their own strong and weak points, which appeal to different kinds of users.
In my comparison, I included several indicators to evaluate each platform. Let’s take a look at them once more:
- Ease of use — Joomla is known to have a more complex interface which can be overwhelming for beginners, making it more suitable for advanced users. In contrast, WordPress has a straightforward layout that appeals to more general audiences.
- Customizability — WordPress is the clear winner here because of the bigger collection of plugins and themes. Meanwhile, Joomla doesn’t provide as many options to customize a website.
- Security — WordPress suffered from more security threats throughout the years and doesn’t have built-in tools for securing your site. Joomla, on the other hand, comes with two-way authenticator and an SSL right out of the box.
- Search Engine Optimization — again, Joomla comes with a preinstalled basic keyword tool that will be useful for your website. But when it comes to proper and advanced SEO tools, Yoast SEO for WordPress bests EFSEO (Joomla).
- Community & Support — Having a bigger community is beneficial for faster development and better support. WordPress, as the number one CMS, has released more updates and makes it easier for users to search for solutions online.
- Pricing — Talking about theme and plugin prices, Joomla has a slight advantage for having more affordable options. Nonetheless, regarding hosting plan, WordPress has a more competitive fee.
As you can see, WordPress is more favorable than its competitor – Joomla. But the truth is, it all comes down to your preference. In other words, your best CMS depends on what kind of user you are and what you want to do with your website.
Do you have anything to say about Joomla and WordPress? Let’s have a discussion in the comments below!