WordPress v Joomla: The Infographic

Ricky Onsman
SitePoint Managing Editor

Back in July and August last year, we published a series of articles by Mark Atkinson comparing WordPress and Joomla as content management systems.

Each of five posts focused on specific aspects of functionality in direct comparison of the two CMS giants.

That series culminated in Mark’s grand finale:

The entire series generated a great deal of discussion, with general agreement with Mark’s conclusion that each CMS is a great choice with particular strengths that will appeal to users with differing needs, capabilities and situations.

Mark and his team at Red Giant have since considered how this large stream of information could be presented in a way that is easy to absorb and digest, regardless of experience with either WordPress or Joomla.

What they came up with was this rather brilliant infographic that incorporates and visualizes the main points covered in the articles. We’re happy and proud to share this with you, reproduced with the permission of Red Giant.

WordPress v Joomla - Infographic by Red Giant Design

You’ll find instructions on how to embed this infographic on your own site over at Red Giant.

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  • David

    I think the Genesis framework is on the wrong side.

    • http://redgiantdesign.co.za Mark Atkinson

      Ouch! It is indeed. Can’t believe I didn’t notice that during one of many proofreads.

      Will have it fixed right away.

  • http://www.itoctopus.com itoctopus

    Hi Ricky,

    As a Joomla developer for a long time now, I would like to ask a couple of questions:

    - Where are you getting the stats about the growth of Joomla? (the infographic states that there is growth of about 38%)
    - The market share is for what? For the total number of websites worldwide?

    By the way, when you’re counting core Joomla versions, I think there’s only 4:

    - Joomla 1.0
    - Joomla 1.5
    - Joomla 2.5 (which encapsulates Joomla 1.6 and Joomla 1.7)
    - Joomla 3.0

    Joomla 1.6 and Joomla 1.7 have the same core as Joomla 2.5, that’s why it’s an upgrade from these versions to Joomla 2.5.

    Another thing is that Joomla is the successor of Mambo. In fact, Joomla 1.0 was an exact replica of Mambo (traces of Mambo still existed noticeably until Joomla 1.5). Mambo was created back in 2000 (so, in a way, Joomla is older than WordPress).

    Thanks for sharing!

    • http://www.onsman.com Ricky Onsman

      Some of your questions and comments are answered in the series of articles by Mark Atkinson linked to in this post. Mark also produced the infographic and can probably also address any remaining points.

  • http://www.intelliplans.com/ John

    When it comes to SEO, Joomla’s SEO URLs are a lot easier with Joomla 2.5+

    I don’t see that being complicated.

  • http://www.workbyele.com Leah

    I’ve often wondered the difference between the two… as I am a WordPress gal! Great read!

  • http://miraclesites.com Stephen Miracle

    I wonder the point is when you decide whether to do a Joomla website or a PHP framework such as Yii. I love WordPress but it definitely lacks in capability with anything larger than a typical website. You wont/shouldnt be doing any complex apps with it and thats okay, but I need to explore a little more of Joomla (it has been years) to see where that line is for its capabilities.

    WordPress = Basic websites and rich content sites
    Joomla = Website with more interactivity and custom uses?
    PHP Framework = Custom Web Apps unable to be duplicated via the CMS systems

    I know one thing is that I’ll try to avoid using WordPress as an eCommerce solution in the future. It may give some ability on top of a content website but I’ve yet to find a plugin/theme that really manages a store well.

    Sorry for the rant

  • thancock

    T3 framework used by Joomlart to name but one? Arguably the most popular Joomla template provider, certainly up there with the best.

    BTW – never had an issue with Joomla friendly URLs out of the box.

    • WebGuy

      Regarding Joomla, Joomlart and T3 most definitely should have been left off; it is very inferior to Warp and Gantry. The themes are klugey mess on the back end and support is half-hearted at best. Companies like RocketTheme and YOOTheme provide solid HTML5/CSS3 themes for both Joomla and WordPress that are easy to use, contains great flexibility and function and both have good support forums.

  • http://www.web-applications-developer.com/ Muhammad Omar

    After having developed more than 130 websites and complex web applications using Joomla! CMS and its Framework, I believe Joomla! provides more scalable and robust Framework than WordPress …

  • http://www.creativewebguru.com/ Teddi Deppner

    Great graphic, nicely supported and laid out!

    One suggestion and one question, though…

    The suggestion: At the end, the light blue “Simple Business Website” is on the left side… For much of the graphic, things on the left side are Joomla-leaning items. So even though the arrows point to both solutions (implying that if there’s a good Joomla template, use Joomla and if you find a WordPress theme you like, use WordPress), having it on the left confused me. Putting one of the other items that is more Joomla-leaning (like “Website with complex functionality”) on the left would alleviate this.

    The question: How do you conclude that Joomla is equally good for “Simple business websites” (as the bottom implies) when earlier in the graphic Joomla is mentioned to be more difficult to use, configure and has worse native SEO? Perhaps the conclusions at the bottom would better reflect the data from above if you insert a different question than whether or not a template or theme is available — something like, “Are you technically savvy?” or “Do you have technical staff available?” or something to indicate that Joomla will work for a simple business site if you’re willing to work at it a bit harder and are comfortable figuring out technical configuration stuff.

    My primary client base is small and middle sized businesses, and in my experience, WordPress (as simple and easy as it is) is already a big enough challenge for most entrepreneurs and business owners. Joomla would be overwhelming. For most business owners, a truly “simple” site is far easier to create and maintain in WordPress.

    Of course, this is just my subjective feedback. This graphic is a great resource, and I’m glad it’s out here for people to learn from. Thank you for sharing it!

  • http://www.boisestate.edu Teri Williams

    This infographic short-changes the strengths of WordPress as a CMS relegating it to “small business sites” and “blogs” The whole idea that WordPress is only for blogging needs to go away now. WordPress is far more powerful than that. In fact the entire Boise State University website http://www.boisestate.edu is run on WordPress and we’re not alone. See WordPress.com VIP http://vip.wordpress.com/clients/ to see how far WordPress has moved beyond the blog.

  • gita

    As a web designer and developer I have used both – from a clients perspective WordPress is way easier to maintain than Joomla. I have done surveys for both with my clients. I have very complicated eCommerce sites designed with WordPress. (woocommerce) .

    Stating that WordPress is a blogging platform is so 2003!! I am a member of 5 exclusive theme clubs that provide great themes.
    With customisation and great graphic design the themes become unique. So easy configure and set up as well.

  • megasteve4

    Joomla has cooler hair and WordPress needs a shave

    • http://redgiantdesign.co.za Mark Atkinson

      :D

      I’ll be sure to let the designer know!

  • http://www.squareonemd.co.uk Elliott Richmond

    Love this! As far as e-commerce goes though, consider alternatives full stop!

  • http://www.salyris.com Sean Cook

    I agree with most of these infographic conclusions, but remember, if you have a decent budget and competent programmers, you can do whatever you want on either platform, but looking this over will give you a good starting point. I would also consider other options for eCommerce–there are just too many ongoing issues on both options at this point. I would say though that Joomla! has a more robust framework for serious development options.

  • http://www.websiteswithpurpose.com.au Rod Farrell

    Limiting ecommerce comparisons on Joomla to Virtuemart suggests the Mark hasn’t looked at ecommerce on Joomla since 2009. There are at least 3 ecommerce components available for Joomla that leave clunky unintuitive Virtuemart for dead. As a developer I would rate Virtuemart as a very poor developer only tool when compared to the likes of Hikashop, Aceshop, Redshop etc. and they are just the ones I have used – there are many more available.

    The graphic also misses at least 3 frameworks for Joomla that I know of. Both CMS have their role but any comparison needs to be on a specific business case as generic comparisons will always fall short.

    • http://redgiantdesign.co.za Mark Atkinson

      Quite the contrary, Rod.

      I happen to deal with e-commerce solutions on a daily basis. There is reason behind my tendency towards reason – reason that is still valid despite your completely correct allusion to Virtuemart being clunky and redundant.
      Because I deal with a primarily South African market, I am often limited to systems where there is more 3rd party integration for our market. The trend is still to develop for Virtuemart and when I last looked at Hikashop and Redshop, there simply wasn’t the extensibility available to suit my clients on limited budgets. While this may have changed in the last year or so, I’m not quite sure because I am extremely partial to WooCommerce right now, which has a load of South African plugins that make my life a whole lot easier.
      All that said, Virtuemart 2 is definitely buggy, but it does have potential. I feel that if the developers jack themselves up, it can still dominate the ecommerce extension market for Joomla.

      Regarding the frameworks, the aim was not to include all frameworks. :) I have just included some of the more popular frameworks and the ones that I deemed to be the most stable and worthwhile frameworks. There are many, many other frameworks available (like the T3 framework) but I haven’t been totally happy with any of them.

      Thanks so much for commenting Rod. Much appreciated.

      - Mark

  • http://www.webpartners.hu Eva Molnar

    Thank you for this great summary, I am just starting to dig into framework, started with wordpress because that lookes more simple, and I really did not have a clue what the differences were between the them.
    It is a great help for me, I really appreciate it!

  • eric

    I’ve enjoyed this series and realize how murky these waters get.. so I applaud the work you’ve done here. I agree with others that have pointed out that WP is far beyond blogging now, I use it for pretty much any site I need these days.

    One thing that I don’t hear talked about is ongoing maintenance of a site – specifically upgrading or patching an installation. This in my mind is where Joomla completely falls on it’s face. I’ve had several instances where someone calls me after they do an update to a plugin or security update to the core that completely took out their site. More often than not the only way to get it back is to do a full restore because the database also gets corrupted. Depending on when the last backup was run (which really should be before doing any change on a site – but rarely is), this can either then be a quick PITA exercise or major surgery.

    The proper way to do these updates would be to have a test site to do the installs, but other than the enterprise space, I don’t know of anyone who goes through this effort. WordPress does a MUCH better job at this whole process. I’ve only had one core update in the last 4 years take a site down, and I literally updated within minutes of the release. I restored the install files and was back up in less than 5 minutes. I’ve also never had a plugin update do anything to a site that a quick folder rename didn’t fix. Joomla, on the other hand, allows plugins to make changes to the core (at least they did – I hope they changed that idiotic practice), which completely sucks if you run into an issue with it, because only a full restore is going to fix it.

    I’m very technical, but at this point I’d rather focus on the content and other aspects of running a site rather than continual tweaking of a CMS. That’s pretty much why I don’t do anything with Joomla anymore, and recommend anyone that isn’t technical (or have access to someone who is) stay away from it too.

    • http://redgiantdesign.co.za Mark Atkinson

      Hi Eric,

      Thanks so much for the thought provoking comment.

      Put it this way – if I had written my series 3 months later than I did, I would have dedicated an entire section to maintenance and updates. You are 100% right. WordPress is infinitely easier to update. I would just interject, however, to say that I do feel Joomla is attempting to correct with post 2.5, with version 3 expected to make a big impact.
      Sure, updating from 1.5 is a nightmare and I’m well aware of this as I’ve probably had to do as much as 10 upgrades for new clients within the last few months.

      I do agree that WordPress is becoming more than just a blogging tool, but I still maintain that that is what it’s best at. I’ve actually taken to using WordPress in conjunction with WooCommerce for e-commerce websites.

      While your reservations are 100% correct, please understand that I had to be rather general with my infographic so as to suit as wide an audience as possible.

      Thanks again for commenting, Eric.