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Drupal vs Wordpress vs Butane vs Joomla: Which is best for business websites?

Updated on March 27, 2012

So after my coding websites for over 15 years, it seems that everyone wants a content management system. All of our web design clients now want to make their own changes and they do not want to pay an extra hourly fee. When experienced web designers hear of a content management system, they have their favorites, but Wordpress, Joomla, Butane Web Editor, and Drupal come to mind, but which one is the best?

There is no “best” content management system. Likewise, there is no worst. They are all good, but it depends on what is right for you and what you are looking for in a CMS. Everyone is looking for different results. Although you may think that Drupal is horrible and at the same time think Joomla is an excellent tool, someone else who loves Drupal would probably argue with you about the opposite.

So, the best CMS is whatever is best to you. You can determine which one is right for you by the following areas:

  • ease of use (GUI INterface)
  • creating user roles (admin, writer, editor, etc)
  • installation and configuration (setting up the system, specifying database)
  • extensibility (modules, plugins, hooks, and components)
  • compatibility with the programming language (most CMSs are open source and based on PHP and MySQL)
  • theming and templating system (HTML, CSS, and jQuery)

I review all areas below.

Ease of Use:

1. Wordpress is the easiest and fastest for people to learn.

2. Drupal is the hardest and has the longest learning curve.

3. Joomla is somewhere between Drupal and Wordpress, but its user interface is the most elegant out of all.

4. Butane is a new CMS that most people are just starting to learn about and it is the easiest for non-technical website owners to learn, because everything is already done by the Butane developers and all that is left is for the web designers to customize with HTML 5 and CSS as well as jQuery.

Creating User Roles

User roles are very important, because you may own a website and want an employee to make changes, but you don’t want them to create new web pages.

1. Drupal allows the admin to create multiple user roles and those roles are unlimited. You can add any permission group to any role.

2. Joomla is the most strict and only has six roles, three for the back end and three for the front end.

3. Wordpress is similar to Drupal in that it offers multiple user roles, but its user editor role system is the hardest to use.

4. Butane does not offer a role system.

Installation and Configuration

Installing these programs needs to be easy and straightforward. Almost all of them are automated and only require some initial settings by the admin.

1. I am going to start with Butane on this one, because it offers the best installation: none at all. Butane is all online and the admin logs into the administrative control panel right on the Butane website. All web designers need to do is simply enter their login credentials.

2. Wordpress is next in ease of installation and they have what is called the “5 minute installation”. It really does take 5 minutes. Simply enter your database information and some encryption data and it works out of the box.

3. Joomla is also pretty easy. Enter your database information and go through its 4 screen process. It takes about 5 to 7 minutes.

4. Drupal also installs itself, but it takes a little longer and there are some bugs that don’t play well with the server configuration, so you need to spend a little more time.


Extensibility is the term given to making the content management system do more than what is offered out of the box. All of the content management systems have extensibility, but the question is, how easy or hard is it for the developers and web designers?

1. Butane allows developers to create whatever extensions they need in their own coding skill, so Butane ranks the highest in extensibility. Therefore, there is absolutely no struggle from the web developer’s end. With Butane Web Editor, extensions can be created easily and quickly.

2. Joomla’s extensibility takes a little longer to learn, but you can create modules, components, and plugins and they can all be developed in simple PHP, so the learning curve for Joomla’s extensions is quick.

3. Wordpress calls its extensibility “plugins” and has a minimal hook system for them. You have two types of plugins: action and filter. Both types of plugins can be created with simply PHP.

4. Drupal has the hardest system to learn as you need to learn its hook system which is much harder than Wordpress’ hook system. Drupal has over 100 hooks to learn and its documentation is difficult to read, so it took me longer to learn.

Theming and Templating

In this area, you have the option of changing the way your website looks by switching the theme. Themes are pre-designed HTML documents created by other web designers that can change the look of your website in literally seconds. The data for your website is not included in a theme, so it is easy to just concentrate on the HTML and CSS. All content management systems incorporate the back end data by including variables that display the content in different places in the theme.

  1. Again, Butane ranks the highest for its ease of use with templates. Butane has simple variables that pull the content for each web page into the theme by simple PHP variables for the web page created on the Butane administrator back end. Butane uses a loose and flexible system for data variables and variables can easily be stacked in the theme. Butane also uses flares, which are reusable pieces of content that can be repeated in content in places on the theme like sidebars, headers, footers, etc.
  2. Joomla is also a pretty easy to use for its position system where it displays data units called modules. Joomla also uses components for its main page content which are data units that populate a special position called "content". Modules can be displayed in any position and the positions are specified anywhere on the theme that the designer sees fit, which are similar to flares in Butane. Joomla positions are created in Joomla's main template XML file called templateDetails.xml.
  3. Wordpress is also pretty easy where, like Butane, it does not use pre-defined positions on the page. Wordpress, though, has strict naming convention for its positions and those naming conventions are headers, footer, and sidebar. Then, web designers can create PHP files to drive the content into these locations and call with content. For example, the $sidebar variable will draw content from sidebar.php. Special plugins called widgets can also be added into the sidebar and footers. Widgets can contain HTML, CSS, javascript, and PHP code.
  4. Drupal ranks the lowest for since it is the most complex out of all the content management system, because it offers more than one way to add theming content which confuse most people. Drupal's themes are driven by tools called block regions. Block regions hold special containers of content called blocks and those blocks can hold other data tools including views, module output, html from other blocks, and taxonomy (what is that?)


As you can see, different content management systems ranking differently in certain areas. What should matter to you is which one of these areas is most important to you, because the easiest implementation will tell you which content management system is best.


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    • hotwebideas profile imageAUTHOR

      Bruce Chamoff 

      6 years ago from New York

      Hey Brandmantra, glad you like my article. I am starting to learn more toward Wordpress as well, but I also use Butane Web Editor for my clients. After using Drupal and Joomla for a few years, I am finally starting to gravitate to Wordpress and Butane for sure.

    • SotD and Zera profile image

      SotD and Zera 

      6 years ago

      This is a really good breakdown, though from reading it I really can't fathom Drupal's popularity. Then again, I'm not the greatest with tech, so if I were going to use one of these, it'd probably be Butane or Wordpress anyway. Thanks for the article.


    • hotwebideas profile imageAUTHOR

      Bruce Chamoff 

      6 years ago from New York

      Thanks, dynamic. Glad you like the CMS differences.

    • dynamicwebdesign profile image


      6 years ago from Knoxville, TN

      I choose wordpress usually. Most clients find it easy to manage after install. Each CMS has unique advantages and drawbacks though, as you've touched on in your article.

    • hotwebideas profile imageAUTHOR

      Bruce Chamoff 

      6 years ago from New York

      Thanks, mdtechteam. Glad you like it. Joomla is much better than Drupal and it is faster to learn, but since I wrote this article, I shouldn't be biased. LOL

    • mdtechteam profile image


      6 years ago

      Great hub. I've used Joomla, Wordpress, and some other older CMS's in the past. I have to say that I find Joomla's to be top notch. Easy to learn, and easy to build upon.

    • hotwebideas profile imageAUTHOR

      Bruce Chamoff 

      6 years ago from New York

      Thanks ComfortB. I plan on expanding this.

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 

      6 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      Great write on CMS. Very informative.

      Thanks for sharing. Voted useful!

    • hotwebideas profile imageAUTHOR

      Bruce Chamoff 

      6 years ago from New York

      Hey Christin, yes Drupal is the hardest and most confusing, so I cannot figure out why people love it so much, but they do. Drupal should come with a full year's supply of aspirin since it is the content management system where people beat their heads against the wall the most.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 

      6 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for this great overview. I am still figuring out which CMS I want to teach myself as I know it's now pretty much how everyone is doing things .. sigh. This is a great overview. I haven't checked Butane out yet, so I will definitely give that one a look. Wordpress is ok, Drupal I found confusing. Very informative and useful hub voted up and all that :) thanks!


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