Both WordPress and Joomla are relatively old CMS platforms dating back more than a decade. With a ton of customization features, simplified development options, and vibrant communities, WordPress and Joomla are viable options for web development.
The core difference between WordPress and Joomla is the main application for which both platforms are used.
WordPress was built to make blogging easier. Now it has grown immensely in scope and size, becoming the biggest web development platform in the world in terms of CMS market share alone.
Joomla was built for dynamic, portal-like websites we generally associate with government organizations, NGOs, etc.
So how do the two stack up? Here’s a detailed comparison that lays out the differences between WordPress and Joomla.
WordPress and Joomla: A brief overview
WordPress is an open-source CMS platform that enables you to create websites with little to no coding. With thousands of plugins and themes available, you can literally create any kind of website on the platform.
Like WordPress, Joomla is also an open-source, free CMS platform. You can install Joomla on your website server and build a website without paying any subscription fee.
Typically, Joomla is used for portal websites used by government websites, corporate houses, intranet & extranet systems, and so on. It’s not an ideal platform for a simple blog or a boutique shop.
In terms of features and functionalities, there are a lot of differences. The following section is a detailed comparison between two of the most popular open-source CMS platforms in the world.
WordPress vs Joomla: A detailed comparison
Both WordPress and Joomla are great web development platforms, but you can only choose one.
WordPress and Joomla are both similar in many ways. As open-source and highly customizable platforms, they’re often used by agencies and businesses that want to build a website that suits their needs.
The following sections compare WordPress and Joomla on the basis of various factors website owners consider while choosing a CMS.
Both Joomla and WordPress are open-source. This simply means you can install these CMS platforms on your website server to run your website without purchasing them.
With both WordPress and Joomla, you can purchase third-party tools like themes and plugins to add functionality to your website. In some cases, these solutions are free. Within your WordPress admin panel, for instance, you can install and download a large number of themes and plugins.
While WordPress and Joomla don’t come with any inherent cost, you might need to pay more for plugins and themes.
Read: What is the cost of creating a WordPress website from scratch?
Most website hosting partners offer one-click installation options for WordPress and Joomla. Unless you’re using a fully self-managed hosting partner, you should be able to find an in-built WordPress and Joomla installer in your cPanel or hosting account.
If you choose to install manually, WordPress is an easier option. Its five-minute installation package is very popular amongst regular WordPress developers. The final admin panel you see after the installation is also much easier to comprehend and understand.
Joomla is also easy to install, but it’s not exactly a five-minute process. In terms of the installation steps involved, it’s very close to WordPress.
The final control panel you see post-installation may not be easy to understand if you’re new to Joomla. In any case, it’s better to install a CMS using an in-built installer rather than trying to install WordPress or Joomla manually.
Ease of use
WordPress is known for making website development simple. It is for this very reason that WordPress powers a majority of the websites in the world.
Joomla is a little more complicated. You need to have patience while learning the platform and using it for the first time. With a cleaner interface dedicated to blogging, WordPress is an easier platform to develop a website on compared to Joomla.
In terms of pure website market share numbers, WordPress is used by 43% of the websites in the world. Joomla on the other hand is used by 1.7% of website owners. A major reason behind this is the relative ease website owners get with WordPress.
Scope of features and functionalities
With open-source platforms like WordPress and Joomla, the scope of features and functionalities is significant.
This is because both platforms are open for integration with third-party tools. Natively, WordPress is fairly limited and only supports basic blogging features. With the addition of powerful plugins, you can create any type of website. If you have the right plugin or theme, you can create any kind of website.
Joomla is also a very customizable platform and can be molded into any type of platform. Natively, Joomla supports a wide range of features like banner management, content management, front-end editing, and more. Besides these native features, you can get access to various plugins and extensions that extend the functionality of your website.
Since WordPress has a larger library of plugins and themes, it has a greater scope when compared to Joomla. As a CMS, Joomla finds practical applications for building portal websites used for governmental & corporate services, intranet, and more.
Domain and hosting
Neither WordPress nor Joomla covers your domain and hosting for you. As open-source platforms, you can freely install them on an existing server. It is for this reason most WordPress and Joomla website owners purchase their own domain and hosting.
Unlike platforms like Shopify, Wix, and Squarespace, WordPress and Joomla don’t offer add-on hosting and domain registration services.
For WordPress, SiteGround is an ideal hosting service. It is specially designed to host WordPress websites and make sure they’re secure and fast.
If you’d like to go with a website host that manages the hosting part completely and enables you to focus on growing your website, SiteGround is the perfect option.
WordPress doesn’t offer any ecommerce features natively. However, with the free WooCommerce plugin, you can convert any WordPress website into an ecommerce store.
WooCommerce is one of the most popular ecommerce solutions in the world. Available for free, you can install the plugin and start adding products to your website. Essential ecommerce features like category taxonomies, product variants, payment gateway integrations, coupon management, and more.
Joomla, like WordPress, doesn’t offer ecommerce support. You need to install a plugin to add ecommerce functionality to your website. One such plugin is VirtueMart.
VirtueMart is one of the most popular Joomla-based ecommerce solutions. It enables website owners to build an ecommerce store out of their Joomla website.
In terms of SEO optimality, there are a few basic features that Joomla offers and WordPress doesn’t. You can set the SEO title and meta description of every page on Joomla without installing any third-party extension.
However, there are not a ton of SEO features besides these basic functions. You need to leverage third-party extensions and plugins to fully optimize your website for SEO.
Yoast SEO is perhaps the most used WordPress plugin for SEO. Besides basic features like meta optimization, you can manage other parts of your website’s SEO like readability analysis, URL slugs, placeholder meta titles & descriptions, schema markup, and more.
With the premium version, you get additional features like 301 redirects, additional schema markup options, and more.
For Joomla, you can use Easy Frontend SEO. It’s not as powerful as Yoast, but it’s an apt solution for Joomla-based websites.
Both Joomla and WordPress offer multi-lingual features to allow you to make your website multi-lingual.
After installing WordPress, you can change your site’s language via the General Settings screen in the admin panel. There are also a ton of plugins you can use to set a language for your website. Most WordPress themes these days also support multiple languages.
In order to add more languages, you can use third-party plugins. WPML is a very popular plugin that enables website owners to offer switch-language options on the website.
Joomla also offers adequate support for multiple languages. This is a native feature and you don’t need more plugins to extend multi-language support.
Both WordPress and Joomla are open-source. This means neither of the two platforms offers dedicated customer support.
Since WordPress has a bigger community than Joomla, there are more resources you can find online related to it. You can find resources for Joomla too, but they’re not as widely available as WordPress.
It’s easier to get help when you’re stuck with an issue in WordPress. Whether it’s a common WordPress website issue or a question about a plugin, there’s always a blog or YouTube video about it.
Speed & security
As mentioned earlier, both WordPress and Joomla are open-source and don’t offer additional domain & hosting services. The speed and security of your Joomla or WordPress website thus largely depend on your hosting partner.
SiteGround is a managed hosting partner that enables you to secure and speed up your website. It provides hosting services for both Joomla and WordPress website owners.
Some frequently asked questions
Have questions? It’s only natural to have questions before choosing a CMS for your website. Here are a few questions you might have before choosing a platform for your website.
Q. What are the similarities between Joomla and WordPress?
There are many similarities between Joomla and WordPress. For instance, both are open-source, built on PHP, and use MySQL as their DBMS (database management system).
Another similarity is that WordPress and Joomla website owners rely on third-party themes and plugins to change how their website looks and works. In terms of improvements and updates, WordPress and Joomla are community-driven platforms and all updates are pushed by the community.
Q. Is Joomla more suited for ecommerce than WordPress?
WordPress and Joomla don’t support ecommerce features natively. You can use plugins like WooCommerce for WordPress and VirtueMart for Joomla.
In terms of size and scope, WooCommerce is a better option. You can find more plugins and customizability features with a WooCommerce store built on WordPress.
Q. Which platform comes with more plugins and themes?
Both WordPress and Joomla come with themes and plugins that add to your website’s overall functionality scope.
WordPress has over 55,000 plugins and 31,000 themes. Joomla on other hand has over 8,000 extensions listed on its store and a number of themes. WordPress has more plugins and themes compared to Joomla.
Q. What are some practical application differences between WordPress and Joomla?
WordPress is considered a CMS for every use case. With its large library of plugins and themes, you can practically create any type of website for any kind of business. Native WordPress only supports simple blogging features, but you can easily build upon this foundation and create a powerful website.
Joomla is slightly limited and generally used to build portal websites. If you’ve ever visited a government or bank website which relies on user input for offering digital services, there’s a good chance that it’s built on Joomla.
While it is possible to create a simple blogging website or an ecommerce store with Joomla, WordPress is a much easier option for these use cases. This application-level difference is why WordPress is more popular than Joomla.
Which platform is better for converting your website to a mobile app?
Both WordPress and Joomla are fairly mobile responsive. However, a responsive mobile website is not always enough. A native mobile interface can be a better solution to reach a smartphone audience.
With a WordPress or Joomla website, you can create a mobile app without coding and launch it on the app stores.
A platform like AppMySite enables you to convert your website to a mobile app. You can sync your website’s content to the app, no matter which platform your website is built on.
For WordPress, AppMySite offers deep integration which means that your site’s content will be synced to a native app interface. Joomla website owners can connect their website and render all their site’s pages in an app interface.
Choosing a CMS is a key part of building a website. The number of non-CMS websites has been on a decline for the last few years. WordPress and Joomla are two of the world’s most popular open-source CMS platforms, and it makes sense for website owners to consider both options.
This detailed comparison between WordPress and Joomla explains the key differences between the two. These points can help you choose between the two CMS platforms and take a call on which suits your business more.