This week I questioned my judgment in choosing an affordable CMS for a client. The three main contenders out there when I made my original decision were WordPress 2.7, Joomla, and Drupal 6. There are several others that I have worked with for special projects, which I will discuss briefly later. But when it comes down to it, those are the big three.
Word on the street has it that WordPress is best for small businesses and personal sites, Drupal is a more robust “enterprise” solution, and Joomla falls somewhere in the middle. But if you dig a little deeper you will find that there is really no clear consensus as to which is clearly the best. The range of opinions is based on everything from how the CMS handles coding and databases, to user-friendliness, to just plain personal preference.

In the end it seemed that just identifying the website’s overall criteria, then choosing the one that best matched, was the answer.

I won’t get into all of the details, but three key factors influenced my decision:
1. Unique custom designed & layout (theme)
2. Availability of skilled developers for the platform
3. Large amount of Admin options for limiting and controlling editor/contributor access.

From this criteria I chose Drupal.

But recently Drupal and the hosting server began having major technical issues. Drupal’s database was locking out visitors and the server would crash with too many “visits” or lockouts. On top of that a bit of bad luck through at least one other server crash in the mix. Drupal forums confirmed that this was not an isolated problem, and the way Drupal was storing visits in a “cache” file in the database may not be the best way to handle site visits. There were also issues with the cache being cleared out quickly enough as to not lockout visitors.

So was it back to the drawing board? Well yes and no. Currently we are sticking with Drupal, but fine-tuning it to help with the “cache” issue. Second we are building a failover system to help alleviate downtime issues.

Since creating the original site, WordPress 3.X has really stepped up its abilities to match many of the criteria I used to choose Drupal. Also, another player in the open-source CMS arena has been nipping at the heels of the big three, Concrete5. So, third I’m building duplicate sites in WordPress 3.X and Concrete5, as back-pocket solutions to possibly implement in the future if Drupal should still have issues. They will also be used to expand this case study, so stay tuned.


In my research while questioning if I had made the right recommendation in choosing Drupal, I came across this great info-graphic that compares the big three open-source CMS. Click the image to see the full size info graphic or click here to visit Techi.com to see it and get their perspective.