Building a digital platform for higher education institutions is not a simple task. The first step to building such a platform involves figuring out which content management system is ideal.
The average university supports dozens of departments that create and maintain a large amount of content. Their website has to be powerful and reliable, with ample security and user-friendly elements. There are two systems available that are ideal for this: Drupal and Wordpress.
But which one is better? What are the pros and cons of either platform?
In this guide, we’ll be defining these two content management systems, weighing their pros and cons, and helping you or your university technical department decide on the best system for your need.
First, let’s take a look at what Drupal is.
What is Drupal?
Drupal is a form of content management software, also known as CMS. It is typically used to build websites and applications.
Drupal boasts many features, including simple user-friendly content creation, excellent performance, and dependable security measures. The biggest feature behind Drupal is its flexible nature. Modularity is the core principle behind Drupal and its tools allow users to build extremely versatile content with dynamic web elements.
Drupal can also be a great website building choice because it allows developers to build integrated digital frameworks. There are thousands upon thousands of add-ons and plugins available for Drupal, so you can pick and choose what elements you’d like to implement for a wholly customizable experience.
Drupal is 100% free and most of the plug-ins you’ll find via Drupal’s extensive open-source community are free as well.
What is Wordpress?
Wordpress is a very popular content management system and website creation tool. Wordpress powers nearly 34% of websites worldwide, meaning that one in four of the websites you see are more than likely created on Wordpress.
Wordpress, like Drupal, is an open-source content management system that anyone can use and even modify for free. It is incredibly accessible and user-friendly, so non-developers can easily use and customize Wordpress for their needs.
Wordpress.com is the for-profit paid service that is powered by Wordpress software. Many bloggers use this platform if they do not want to pay for a domain name and hosting. Wordpress.org is the self-hosted form of Wordpress that requires a domain name and hosting platform to use but allows for significantly more flexibility and access to plugins.
Drupal vs Wordpress: Pros and Cons for Use in Higher Education
There are several differences between these two content management systems, both good and not so good.
Drupal Pros and Cons
Drupal may not be as well-known as Wordpress, but it certainly has some merit when it comes to being a high-class platform for higher institutions.
Pros of Drupal
● Strict security. Drupal is the leader in security when it comes to CMS. Wordpress can certainly match that superiority with a little extra work, but setting up security protocols in Drupal is a lot simpler and quicker to do.
● If you’re building an app, Drupal is the better choice. If you are building a very complex website and accompanying app, Drupal is much better suited to use instead of Wordpress. It can handle complex commands and user interfaces.
● You can build complex content. If detailed content is the focus of your school’s website, such as blog posts, course catalogs, news articles, and staff directory, Drupal can handle tackling multiple levels of permission and user roles.
Cons of Drupal
● Developers will be needed. Drupal, unfortunately, requires some technical expertise. Because it is such an advanced CMS, it may not be a wise choice if your university is not willing to invest in a development team.
● It can be hard to install. Both managing and installing Drupal requires developer knowledge, meaning a team will need to be assigned to manage the website in the long term.
Wordpress Pros and Cons
Wordpress is definitely the most well-known CMS around, but it does fundamentally differ from Drupal in good and bad ways.
● Extremely user-friendly and flexible. Wordpress is known for being easy to figure out when it comes to the learning curve. Wordpress also is simple enough to understand that it may not be necessary to hire developers to manage your university's website.
● It’s fairly low-cost. While both Drupal and Wordpress are free to use, Wordpress offers a significantly wider base of “beginner” themes to make customizing a university website simple and quick. This means that it may not be necessary to hire a whole team to design a school site.
● Plugins are abundant. There are many plugins for both Drupal and Wordpress, but when it comes to ease of access and availability, Wordpress takes the cake.
● Security issues. Wordpress is unfortunately notorious for being prone to hacking. Malware can be easily installed onto your site and spam can also become an issue without a secondary security system in place.
● Custom layouts are rough. If you want an extremely customized website, it may be difficult to utilize layouts and edit them without developer knowledge.
Conclusion: Which is Better?
This really depends on your needs.
Drupal will usually be the better choice for higher institutions. This is because their security is ideal for protecting sensitive user information, such as student accounts, financial information, faculty information, etc. With a little bit of an investment in a development team, Drupal can really manufacture an advanced user-friendly site for hosting information about a university as well as an online system for web-based classes and tools.
Wordpress, though, would be ideal for particular situations. If only a simple, relatively non-complex website is the goal for a higher institution, Wordpress is a great choice. If you’re willing to invest in additional security, Wordpress can be a secure option as well.