The debate over whether Drupal is more secure than WordPress has been a longstanding one in the realm of content management systems. To begin, it’s important to acknowledge that WordPress has often faced a somewhat unfair criticism when it comes to security concerns. Both WordPress and Drupal’s “core” systems have experienced significant vulnerabilities over the years, and neither is entirely immune to potential threats.
Where the distinction often emerges is in the nature of these vulnerabilities. Many of the security issues associated with WordPress can be traced back to either third-party plugins or insufficiently configured file and folder permissions, highlighting the significance of user practices. On the other hand, Drupal’s focus on robust security can be attributed to its modular architecture and the extensive customization required to build a website. While custom Drupal themes may demand weeks or even months of development, WordPress offers an extensive array of pre-designed themes, making it comparatively easier to get started and tailor the platform to one’s specific needs within a matter of hours.
WordPress Popularity Means It Is a Target
The immense popularity of WordPress has made it an attractive target for hackers and spammers. With millions of websites worldwide powered by WordPress, it becomes a lucrative prospect for malicious actors seeking to exploit vulnerabilities for various purposes. The sheer size of the WordPress user base means that there is a broad attack surface, as a significant number of users may not be well-versed in web security best practices.
WordPress’ market share is 43.3% of all websites making it the most popular content management system, as well as a dominant force in eCommerce websites.
Drupal Popularity and Transparent Security Reports
The relatively lower popularity of Drupal compared to other content management systems, such as WordPress, serves as a security advantage. Because Drupal has a smaller user base, it is not as attractive to hackers and automated bots that often target widely-used platforms. Drupal is also generally more transparent about security issues as detailed in their published security reports.
With a 4.6% market share of content management systems and a 2.3% share of all websites Drupal’s small user base is an advantage for most websites looking to be as secure as possible.
Some Advantages of Each Content Management System
WordPress Focuses on Ease of Use
- Ease of Use: WordPress is known for its user-friendly interface, making it accessible to individuals with varying levels of technical expertise. Creating and managing content, including text, images, and multimedia, is straightforward, allowing users to update their websites without extensive training.
- Cost-Effective: WordPress is open-source software, which means it is free to use and can significantly reduce development costs. Additionally, there is a large selection of free themes and plugins available, enabling users to enhance their websites without additional expenses.
- Customization: WordPress provides a high degree of customization through themes and plugins. Users can choose from thousands of pre-designed themes and plugins to tailor their websites to specific needs. For custom web development companies, the platform allows extensive customization, including the development of custom themes and plugins.
- Support Articles: The WordPress community is vast and active, resulting in an abundance of support articles, tutorials, forums, and documentation. This wealth of resources makes it easy for users to find answers to common questions and troubleshoot issues quickly.
Drupal Core Focuses on Access and Content
- Custom Content Types and Views Out of the Box: Drupal provides powerful tools for creating and managing custom content types and views, which allow users to structure and display content in a highly tailored manner without the need for additional plugins. This flexibility is particularly beneficial for complex websites.
- User Permissions: Drupal excels in its user permission management system, allowing administrators to finely control who can access, edit, and publish content. This granular control is ideal for websites with multiple content contributors, ensuring that sensitive information remains secure and only authorized users can perform specific actions.
- Multi-Language Support without Plugins: Drupal offers robust multi-language support as a core feature, enabling users to create multilingual websites without relying on third-party plugins. This is a valuable asset for global organizations and websites that need to cater to diverse language audiences.
- Robust Taxonomy System: Drupal’s taxonomy system is highly versatile and extensible. It allows users to categorize and organize content with precision, making it easier for visitors to navigate and find relevant information.
Ease of Use: WordPress vs. Drupal
- Ease of Use: WordPress is widely known for its user-friendly interface, making it accessible to users with varying levels of technical expertise. Creating and managing content, including text, images, and multimedia, is straightforward. Working with an experienced web design company can help ensure your website is built the way you want and easy to manage.
- Getting Started: Setting up a basic WordPress website is relatively easy and can be done within minutes for most users. Users can choose from a wide range of pre-designed themes and get started quickly, and the availability of a large number of plugins further simplifies the process of adding functionalities to the site.
- Ease of Use: Drupal has a steeper learning curve compared to WordPress. It’s considered more developer-centric, and its interface can be complex for beginners. Customization and advanced features require a good understanding of the platform, and it is recommended to have an experienced developer help with the initial setup.
- Getting Started: While setting up a basic Drupal site is achievable, it typically requires more time and technical knowledge. The customization and complexity that Drupal offers may not be immediately apparent to newcomers, and it often necessitates more effort to get started. Adding additional functionality can also be difficult depending on the complexity.
So Which Content Management System is Most Secure?
Although Drupal is considered more secure than WordPress overall, many of the issues with WordPress security often stem from human error as opposed to issues with the WordPress core structure. The large number of themes and plugins available and the ease of installing them on your site often lead to websites with outdated code which is easy to exploit if web developers do not stay on top of updating the platform.
According to a survey from Wordfence in 2016 plugin issues accounted for 55.9% of all entry points for malicious code and spam attacks. If your website is up to date and all plugins are on the most recent version you can avoid many of these vulnerabilities, which is why we recommend you limit the number of plugins used on your WordPress site as much as possible and opt for an experienced developer to help create custom solutions for your business.
Drupal’s lockdown security is a major point considered by many government institutions and other large companies when making the decision on a content management system. Drupal’s security is bolstered by its lower usage rates compared to more popular platforms, which reduces its visibility as a target for hackers and automated attacks. Additionally, its emphasis on custom developer-made functionality requires a deeper understanding of the platform, making it less susceptible to common security vulnerabilities and attracting users who prioritize robust security measures.
What CMS is Better for My Website?
When to Use WordPress
WordPress is an excellent choice for users seeking a rapid and hassle-free website creation process, thanks to its user-friendly interface and a vast array of pre-designed themes and plugins. These features enable users to set up a website quickly without extensive technical expertise.
WordPress’s open-source nature ensures cost-effectiveness, as it is freely available and boasts numerous free themes and plugins, reducing development expenses. While WordPress’s popularity can make it a target for security threats, its security is robust when maintained through regular updates, adhering to best practices, and employing security plugins, making it a secure option when managed diligently.
When to Use Drupal
Drupal is the ideal choice for companies that possess a clear vision of their web project, have access to skilled developers, and are willing to invest the time to become proficient with the platform. Its extensive customization capabilities allow these businesses to build websites precisely tailored to their requirements, ensuring a perfect fit for their unique objectives.
With a developer at their side, they can take full advantage of Drupal’s flexibility and security features, which is crucial when handling complex web projects. Drupal’s learning curve can be steep, but for organizations committed to mastering the system, the effort pays off in the form of a highly customized and secure web presence that can scale with their evolving needs.