Which is the Right CMS for Me? A Scenario-Based Evaluation

Once upon a time, there was a web owner who would always rely on his development team, even for the minutest of changes he wished to have in his website. Then there was the twist in the story-content management systems (CMS). Lovingly called WordPress, Joomla, Magento and Drupal, these 4 high-rated CMS changed the way the web operated. Now web owners didn’t rely on developers any more. They were their own boss.

But then came in the big question- when and where one should use WordPress, Drupal, Magento and Joomla. And ever since then web owners have been dealing with the same confusion. But, the usage of CMS isn’t such a dire matter. All you need to know is which content management system will come handy in which scenario. This article explores a handful of such scenarios which web owners are posed with most often and the content management systems which can be put to use in those situations.

Scenario #1: If it’s your first website

If you are developing a website for the very first time and that too without seeking aid from anyone, consider the experience you have into website development. If you are a first-timer WordPress will be the best choice, as it is easy to use and you can get hang of several features without much hassle. If you have some experience into development, you can try Joomla. Its learning curve is bit steeper than WordPress, but then there is a lot of documentation in place to support you in crisis. Drupal is a developer’s dream. It involves complex coding and integrated taxonomy. So if you don’t have the brains of a techie, steer clear from Drupal.

Scenario #2: If your website is likely to get millions of visitors

If you are planning to develop a website, which will have heavy traffic influx post its launch, then you will need a scalable platform to support it. And as far as scalability is concerned, Drupal is the most sought after CMS. It’s scalable nature and ability to accommodate growing website usage has made it a favored choice amongst high-traffic biggies like White House, McDonalds Australia, United Nations, Grammys, British Government, Discovery and Harvard. Now, even Twitter uses it! This is not it! The development team behind the platform is continuously working towards improving the scalable nature of the platform. Recently, Drupal 7 has got a scalability facelift. Its APIs have been reworked on from the scalability point of view. Moreover, Pressflow has been introduced to take performance and scalability to the next level. So, if you are setting up a social networking portal or a site which requires complex data handling, Drupal is the best choice.

Scenario #3: If your website will have multiple user roles

Any website which requires users to register and defines certain access level for each user can be best built using Joomla. Joomla provides user management features which let you set access level for each user. You can define the visibility of content separately for each user. This platform gives you the freedom of adding new users, manual registration, auto redirection of guests to login, bulk user upload, changing user registration settings, enabling login module, dealing with problem users and disabling user registration. With all these features in place managing users becomes simplified. Perfect examples of user-driven sites deployed on Joomla include Linux.com, Joomla.org, Pizza Hut France and eBay.

Scenario #4: If you need to incorporate multiple functionalities in your website for everyday use

If you are making a site for everyday use, such as a blogging platform or a news site, WordPress has all the functionalities which you will ever need. The platform has an array of plugins which can aid you in making your site highly functional. There are several reasons for which web owners prefer using WordPress for everyday sites- it is highly search engine friendly, it offers a plethora of themes and plugins which you are unlikely to find in other platforms and it has a simple learning curve.

Scenario #5: If you are developing a portal which will demand extensibility

Every website reaches a stage where on it needs to expand and evolve as per the changing needs of the users. At this point of time, you are required incorporate some additional functionalities into your site. So, which CMS will you choose in such a scenario? Here, you will have to evaluate each of the contenders from popularity perspective. Each of these 4 CMS has an active community of thousands of users who keep contributing innumerable extensions which empower you site to do much more than it originally could. But, as far as availability of extensions is concerned, WordPress rules the roost. It has the maximum number of plugins (24, 897 at the time of writing), followed by Joomla. Drupal on other hand doesn’t render many plugins and the ones which are available are devised for special purposes and not open for public usage. So, if extensibility is on your mind go for WordPress. A few instances of extensive WP sites include New York Observer, Sylvester Stallone Official Site, Adobe Blogs and PlayStation blog.

Scenario #6: If you are building an e-commerce portal or an online Shoppe 

Online shops or e-stores tag along some basic requisites- payment modes, product listing and payment gateway integration. If you also have an e-commerce portal on your mind, opt for Magento right away! The platform renders enticing e-commerce features which can make online commerce easier than ever before. Some Magento features worth applauds are catalog browsing, product browsing, catalog management, product browsing, customer service, customer accounts, shipping, payment, order management and checkout. Several online shops are already singing praises about Magento, and eBay is the best example. Some other Magento sites currently creating ripples online are Lacrosse and 24.

With the aforementioned scenarios we have tried to cover every possible usage of the available content management systems. If you have some more instances in mind, keep us posted in the comments below.

About Author

Nick Carter is a web editor at OSSMedia Ltd, an open source web development company. Author loves to share concrete information on Drupal customization, Joomla, Worpress and Magento Customization.

Joe Granados the author

Joe Granados is the owner of WebDevTuts. He is also a web designer & developer who loves to design and develop websites. If you're looking for him you can find him via @webdevtuts

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