Choosing An Open Source Content Management System [Infographic]

Open source Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla! have now been around for a decade or so, doing their part to make the internet a more manageable place. At its core, a CMS structures the experience of developing, managing and consuming a website. Chances are good that a big chunk of the content you’ll read on the web today (including this post) is being delivered through an open source CMS. FedEx and The Washington Post are using Drupal. Coca-Cola France and Sony Music are using WordPress. Harvard and IHOP use Joomla!

From humble beginnings (Drupal’s roots go back to university students in Antwerp in 2000) to powering some of the biggest sites on the planet, open source CMS platforms have evolved into world-class software platforms. Each one has been developed and maintained by a community of thousands. Not only is each one free to download, but the open source format means that the platform is continuously being improved to support new challenges and technologies.

Use the infographic below to decipher some of the key differences between these three popular CMS platforms.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution here; choosing the right platform depends on your goals, technical expertise and the desired functionality of your site. In addition to hosting thousands of deployments across open source CMS platforms, Rackspace Digital also specializes in massively scalable enterprise content management systems like Adobe Experience Manager and the Sitecore Customer Engagement Platform.

Read the full Knowledge Center article on open source CMS platforms.

Dominic Smith is a writer and content strategist. Before joining Rackspace Marketing, he worked for many years as a technical writer and freelance copywriter, covering software, innovation and customer success stories for companies big and small, from startups to the Fortune 100. He also moonlights as a novelist and has taught writing at several universities, including Rice and the University of Texas at Austin.


  1. I disagree that Drupal scales best to complex sites while WordPress simple/everyday websites. Both are extremely powerful and can be customized extensively to the needs of the project. Of the three, only Joomla has a noticeably less impressive UI/administrative feature set, in my opinion. And while I prefer Drupal above all, WordPress clearly has the largest and most active user support community and best, deepest library of themes and contributed plugins.

  2. Good comparison, but it has to be noted that by web standards, these 3 are relatively old, while there is a new generation of CMS’es gaining more and more usage. I develop most small and medium sized websites with these days. It is more flexible than WordPress and combines easily with front-end frameworks like Bootstrap or Foundation.

  3. Hi, I want to make a deals website and dont know what to choose. Can you please suggest me what CMS can be used for deal website.

  4. Coming from a graphic design background, I needed to work with a CMS that suited my limited technical knowledge, which only included HTML, CSS and a smidgen of incorporating JavaScript frameworks. So I fell upon Textpattern and I’ve built all my clients’ sites with it.

    WordPress, for all its advantages of a robust ecosystem and the network effect, is to me a less than ideal solution because of its restrictive assumption of how a page ought to be structured and a bit of convoluted templating system that’s fine if you don’t mind tweaking someone else’s design or are confortable with writing raw PHP (disclosure: I am not).

    Textpattern is the only CMS I know of that lets me simply paste in HTML code straight from Dreamweaver based on a design created in Photoshop and then swap in dynamic XML-style tags (if you understand HTML, XML is easy too).

    All CMSes have their advantages and disadvantages, but for a designer who wants full control of the appearance and structure of a web page, the big three mentioned here are not necessarily the best answer.

  5. I’m a Joomla nut. But I must say I am impressed with the growth of WordPress. It’s probably due to it’s origins as a blogging system. Bloggers are great advocates of the things they use and like.

  6. Completely agree with you Dominic. However WordPress, Drupal and Joomla have been on top now for a long time specially WordPress and it is not surprising at all because of it is easy to use with themes and plugins available for almost all common features. Great stuff and thank you for sharing.

  7. Hi all,
    Very smart analysis. I want to make a video website like youtube. Which CMS will be good for me? I am waiting for your professional support. Thanks in advance!


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