Joomla vs WordPress: Which Is Better?

Joomla and WordPress are powerful open-source Content Management Systems, which both require hosting installation and deliver a broad spectrum of design customization options. The systems are free and boast an extensive and versatile user community.

Joomla – is a CMS, which suits both newbies and web design pros yet it still requires at least baseline programming proficiency. You can use it to launch personal and business websites, using a powerful feature set available in stock. The platform comes with a series of advanced features like RSS feeds, blogs, integration opportunities, search function, multilingual support etc.

WordPress – is the most popular CMS, which enjoys worldwide recognition as the most feature-rich, flexible and intuitive web design platform. The software allows starting quality websites for commercial and non-commercial needs. It takes time to master its integrated functionality, but you will eventually be able to make use of the high end customizability and numerous integrations the system is known for.

The platforms may look similar at first glance, but that’s not so. There are quite serious distinctions a user should be aware of to make the right choice. This initially concerns the target audience and niche implication of both services. Let’s review the software to see what each of them has to offer.

Joomla vs WordPress: General Overview

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Joomla becomes more corporate-oriented with each new version release. It is extensively used to set up company websites, large-scale portals and other feature-rich projects, offering powerful API, advanced caching system and other perks.

Founded in 2005, Joomla has quickly gained popularity due to the set of crucial features (meta tags, friendly URLs, interface block output builder etc.) it offers out-of-the-box. The number of websites it currently powers has reached 4,172,773 projects and it keeps growing with every passing day. Regardless of the popularity of the software, it still ranks second after WordPress.

This is partly due to the complexity of the interface and settings, lack of template choice in the official catalog as well as fewer free extensions (as compared to WordPress). Another aspect that affects lower Joomla’s popularity is that the functions required to launch social projects (blogs, gaming or niche community sites, forums etc.) are quite limited – there is no commenting and moderation system here. Functionality can be obtained through third-party extensions, but many of them are paid. This also concerns web store development (all free modules are ineffective or develop slowly).

joomla control panel

WordPress holds the first place in the web design niche due to its simplicity and intuitive interface. Different types of websites can be launched with the software and multiple plugins (extensions) have been written for it. WordPress also boasts a rich and versatile template collection.

The platform was introduced to the market in 2003. Since that time, it has been used to launch over 30,462,105 web projects. This number is really impressive and speaks in favor of the system’s worldwide popularity. WordPress offers quite limited functionality out-of-the-box yet there is everything required for full-fledged blog/info site operation: content categories, tags, commenting system, personal user accounts.

WordPressGeneral-Overview

There are a lot of add-ons for WordPress. No other engine can boast such a variety of extensions – there are over 40 thousand positions in the official catalog only. The sphere of WordPress implication is versatile: blogs, media portals, landing pages, social networks, digital stores etc. The majority of features, however, are mainly realized via plugin integration.

Thus, WordPress works great almost for any task and any target audience. Its interface is simple and clear, plugin/template integration is done in a few clicks, the choice of extensions is impressive. Joomla mainly targets professionals and certain website types. It is much more difficult to launch blogs, forums and online stores here. The interface and settings require deeper understanding of internal processes.

Joomla vs WordPress: Which One Is Easier to Use?

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Joomla features a higher complexity level as compared to its main competitor. Although a special script or integrated wizard (similar to that in WordPress) can be used for hosting installation here, further configurations will require special knowledge.

To be able to download and install plugins from the official catalog, a special option has to be activated. Otherwise, only manual plugin installation will be available here (either via server catalog or by means of downloading special software packages).

The interface of Joomla’s admin panel can hardly be called simple and user-friendly. It requires understanding and time to master the basics. The settings, however, are eventually more flexible and distinct than those in WordPress.

There are no ready-made mobile applications for Joomla, at least official ones. Post commenting system is not provided out-of-the-box as well, although personal user accounts and access rights management are available here.

WordPress is simpler than many other platforms, even when it comes to large commercial systems. It all starts with an elementary installation algorithm (the well-known 5-minute WordPress installation) and ends with one-click integration of extensions (plugins and themes).

The approach implemented in the admin panel interface is quite interesting as well. This is where sections to work with posts, pages, comments, users, media files, design customization settings and other tools are conveniently divided.

Plugins can supplement menu items with their own sections. The most important information and actions are available on a special upper panel: opportunity to add new content, view notifications about new comments and updates etc.

WordPress is equally convenient for all user categories – from subscribers to editors and administrators. Even a regular Gutenberg post editor ensures effective work with responsive layout from ready-made interface blocks (the set of blocks is easily expanded).

If the default template settings don’t suit you for some reason, there is a built-in file editor in the admin panel that provides convenient editing at the source code level. Similarly, you can edit plugin code anytime.

It is possible to configure the updates of the engine, extensions and themes to make WordPress receive and install them in the automated mode.

There are ready-made mobile applications to manage the system from smartphones (including separate solutions for online stores and for managing websites with Jetpack packages).

To sum it up, WordPress is much simpler and intuitive, which matters a lot for beginners and webmasters, who are just starting their career. Joomla control panel is more complicated, but it also unveils more opportunities to set up the required parameters. It will be quite difficult for newbies to master it. On the one hand, this approach increases the threshold, but on the other hand – website settings are adjusted only once and remain almost unchanged afterwards.

Joomla vs WordPress: Design and Flexibility

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Joomla and WordPress are both open-source platforms, which come with a wide range of extensions. However, they differ in architecture and web design approaches. This affects the choice of the target audience, interface distinctions and the overall understanding of website convenience and functionality. Let’s review the differences in relation to specific tasks and features now.

Differentiation of Access Rights

Joomla allows creating different user groups and assigning various access rights to them. Users can be divided by access status (registered or not, blocked etc.) and/or specific privileges (administrators, superusers, managers, authors, editors etc.). Additionally, it is possible to create an individual set of custom fields and use bulk email tools for users. Administrators will appreciate the ability to log user actions, which can be used to track dangerous operations and issue restrictions.

A two-factor authorization system is connected in a few clicks. It goes without saying that Joomla is initially created to work with large portals that require complex statuses and user roles. However, experience and niche knowledge will be required for correct system configuration.

WordPress uses a simple and convenient system of user roles. The baseline engine includes subscribers, contributors, authors, editors and administrators. Such a scheme should definitely be enough for a small media portal, a blog or even a social network. Other functionality is implemented through third-party plugins only.

API and Headless CMS Functions

Joomla makes it possible to use its framework to implement the Headless model. Description of all API calls for the CMS and the framework are listed in the official documentation of the service. What’s more, the catalog contains special extensions for developers.

WordPress has recently gained a basic set for integrating external interfaces via the REST API. However, if you need more complex features and integrations, you won’t go without third-party plugins.

Integration of Extensions (Modules)

Joomla catalog does not include too many plugins – there are around 6000 of them there. Many of them, by the way, are not yet compatible with the current version 4 of the software (let’s face it: Joomla developers don’t really think about backward compatibility). There are extensions for different tasks here – just like in WordPress. The choice is still not that extensive, while many plugins are paid.

joomla extensions

To install plugins from the network, you need to have a special active module – JED. In addition to manual plugin installation, there is a batch download of extensions in the Joomla admin panel – from a specified directory on the server. The option can be convenient for quick deployment of typical websites for client tasks.

However, you should immediately focus on the fact that for many tasks that require third-party plugin installation in WordPress, Joomla has standard tools: email templates for newsletters, additional fields, friendly URLs, meta tags, xml sitemap etc. Therefore, you will need fewer plugins for a Joomla site.

Read also: Joomla Review

WordPress websites have access to the official plugin directory. Plugin installation is completed in a click. Just don’t forget to activate it afterwards. It is also possible to install plugins manually – by uploading archives in the admin panel from a computer or by copying files directly to the server (in the hosting panel, via FTP).

WordPress-Plugins

The number of plugins in the official WordPress catalog exceeds 60,000. This is not to mention premium extensions available on unofficial websites that are no less popular with users.

Plugin application allows turning your WordPress website into a full-featured forum, online store, social network, message board or any other website type. It is possible to find completely free solutions for many tasks. WooCommerce (a free web store module), for example, powers about a third of all eCommerce websites worldwide.

Mobile Applications

Joomla doesn’t have official mobile applications. It is possible to find various third-party alternative realizations from external developers out there, but many of them are not supported any longer. Joomla website owners are offered individual development of mobile apps – mainly for a certain project.

WordPress can boast official mobile applications. They can be found in catalogs for iOS and Android. The apps are actively updated and supported by the Automattic company. The set of applications includes:

  • A separate application for online store management on WooCommerce;
  • A separate application for the Jetpack plugin (a comprehensive all-in-one module with a backup and caching system as well as access to premium templates);
  • General application for website owners and users (management of the main website parameters, publication of materials, reading news and feeds).

Client/CRM Management

Neither WordPress nor Joomla has tools to work with customer requests out-of-the-box. To add the corresponding functionality, you need to use extension modules.

It should be mentioned that WordPress has an official Jetpack CRM plugin. It was developed by the same company, which has created mobile apps and WooCommerce plugin. Jetpack CRM easily integrates with many popular external eCommerce services: Stripe, PayPal, MailChimp etc. Access to all the features of the extension can be obtained by subscription (from $11/mo), there is also a free version. All data will be stored on your server.

The rest of CMS capabilities are identical. You can embed third-party forms at the PHP/HTML code level, use the API or install special plugins. The choice is quite sufficient in both platforms.

Domain Email

Connection of domain mail and mailing systems is possible both in WordPress and in Joomla. However, there are a few issues that have to be considered here.

Joomla has all the required tools for efficient domain email set up without any third-party extensions. What’s more, the CMS has multilingual templates for batch emailing and a system of individual messaging (for user communication).

WordPress, on the contrary, does not offer data exchange with malign services via SMTP out-of-the-box. Plugin integration is a must here.

Design Set Up and Customization

Both WordPress and Joomla have a diversity of niche template options. However, the platforms differ in terms of interface work approaches.

Joomla templates are distributed only through third-party platforms. There are no ready-made themes in the official catalog. This is the reason for the limited choice of free options, while the process of finding suitable designs is more complicated.

Joomla-Templates

For Joomla CMS, a theme is only the outer part of the website, the frontend. All additional functions are implemented via the software modules here. A template is a layout (grid), a set of styles and sometimes scripts. The arrangement of blocks and modules, however, as well as the rules for displaying necessary elements etc. is always up to the CMS.

Apart from baseline template settings (scripts, logos, fixed menu etc.), you need to properly set up the output of modules for each page type (banners, contacts, bread crumbs, menu blocks, etc.) in order to get the right set of blocks for different content types. By the way, it is possible to assign separate display settings to each module – for example, for various user roles etc.

This approach is somewhat similar to that offered by block-based website builders yet it is not as clear and obvious as the drag-and-drop approach.

WordPress template is a set of standard layouts for displaying different types of posts, primarily system posts (content and page types can be extended with theme functionality). Templates can be installed directly from the official catalog (there are dozens of thousands of them there) or from external resources. Many premium templates come with a set of special plugins and support popular extensions (SEO plugins, WooCommerce, module forum etc.). They can also have their own functionality. Design settings include minimal parameters: scripts, logos, output format of important blocks etc. Generally, it is possible to activate the template and then forget about that to immediately proceed to content upload.

WordPress-Templates

Template Editing

Joomla offers multiple extra options: access rights, complex publishing terms (for example, undisplay on a specific date, addition to the “favorites” category, detailed editing of attributes etc.), options for extra attributes (title, tags, author etc.) display, indexing rules etc.

The settings are divided into tabs for user convenience, but publishing can still seem very complicated for beginners. To add a new content category, for example, you need to use a separate settings page as you have to select only one of the existing categories during publication.

Joomla generally comes with a popular TinyMCE editor provided out-of-the-box. CodeMirror is used to work with the source HTML code. Unlike the stock Gutenberg editor available in WordPress, TinyMCE cannot work with design blocks. It only ensures the insertion of system fields and content.

Joomla Editor

If needed, it is possible to change the editor to alternative solutions found in the catalog (after installation). Quality Page Builder solutions like Page Builder CK, SP Page Builder etc. are also available for Joomla.

WordPress comes with its own standard block-based Gutenberg content editor. You can switch to the source code any time to edit it manually.

WordPress-editor

There is a large number of plugins for Gutenberg editor, which can help increase the choice of ready-made blocks and widgets. These may include sliders, forms, timetrs, galleries etc.

An interesting feature is the opportunity to flexibly set the options you use during web page/notes publishing. You just hide those widgets/blocks you don’t need. All the required options, even those connected via eternal plugins, are available in the same place. Everything you need is at hand on the same page: from filling out meta tags and up to adding new categories and tags.

Different versions of the same content are stored in WordPress during editing automatically. The built-in editor is easily replaced by an alternative solution from the add-ons catalog. The most impressive example of a convenient block-based content editor is Elementor. It has a free adequate version and notably simplifies interface design for beginners.

Summing it up, WordPress templates and website design are configured quite easily. Themes and plugins are integrated in one click from the official catalog. Joomla has more configuration options, while the set up process is much more complicated as the elements are scattered in various sections of the admin panel. Joomla templates are available in external catalogs/resources only. Generally, working with WordPress functionality is simple and intuitive, while Joomla targets more experienced users and complex features/options.

Joomla vs WordPress: General Pricing Comparison

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It seems impossible to calculate the cost of using both platforms right from the start as both of them are free. However, differences in maintenance and services still exist.

Speaking about specific prices, the cost of using the software comprises several factors like hosting, domain name, templates and plugins.

Joomla does not offer an extensive selection of plugins and templates. Thus, the chance to find an affordable/cheap solution is lower here.

WordPress has more template options. The cost of templates and plugins for the CMS is much lower as compared to Joomla. The thing is that you can always find completely free solutions or cheaper analogues of premium themes out there.

The average template cost ranges between $20 and $60 per a theme. The price for premium plugins is almost the same.

Hosting expenses are as follows:

  • We recommend HostGator for Joomla. This is a large and reliable hosting provider, which offers shared hosting plans without any obvious limits (when it comes to traffic and disk storage space). Free 1-year bonus domains and 24/7 tech support are available here as well. Installation of any software (including Joomla) is done in one click. The cost of the plans starts at $2.75/mo.
  • We recommend Bluehost for WordPress. This is a top hosting provider recommended by developers. The service includes completely unlimited plans as well as special plans with managed WordPress (without a hosting panel). The cost starts at $2.95/mo. This is a general plan for one website that offers 50GB of disk storage space, unlimited traffic, free domain and CDN as well as a drag-and-drop builder you can use to create your own web page variants (like in popular online website builders).

When calculating annual expenses, they start at around $35,4/year for WordPress (bonus domain, no template due to the free builder, opportunity to choose free plugins for almost any task) and around $53/year for a Joomla website (from $33/year for hosting and $20 per template, while plugins for simpler websites can be free). As a result, WordPress is somewhat more affordable. As the server load increases during traffic growth, however, Joomla can become more reasonably-priced as this software is better optimized.

Joomla vs WordPress: Which One Is the Best for SEO?

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Joomla offers everything you need to work with meta tags and generate friendly URLs out of the box. Additionally, a website is quickly rendered and loaded due to the standard file caching system available in stock. The HTTPS website version is enabled in one click (if you have a configured SSL certificate on the hosting part). For more complex SEO tasks, you can use specialized plugins/extensions. They are available here as well.

Joomla-SEO

WordPress does not have support for the corresponding fields to generate meta tags out of the box. Therefore, you will definitely need to install specialized plugins to implement all SEO options. There are more than enough of them even in the official catalog. Many of them are free. The functionality of extensions is much more convenient than standard Joomla features. HTTPS support is also activated in one click. To optimize page load speed, you just need to choose the right hosting and a high-quality template. Caching is implemented at the system level or via third-party plugin integration.

WordPress-SEO

Both platforms are great for SEO. Websites will load fast and rank well, if you manage to configure them correctly. Joomla, however, has everything you need right from the start, while you will require special plugins, when working with WordPress. The result will be excellent in both cases.

Joomla vs WordPress: Which One Is Better for a Website?

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As quite a complex CMS, Joomla will work well for experienced users or web agencies only (that is, for teams of web developers that create custom websites). Large media portals with high traffic and corporate websites with a complex non-standard structure will run well on Joomla. Currently, the developers of this CMS are consciously shifting their focus towards corporate development – Joomla supports various databases and has a well-documented framework at its core.

If you need a simple website you will be able to manage without special knowledge and skills, then WordPress works best for this purpose. This CMS is a great solution to start:

  • landing pages (there are convenient visual editing plugins like Elementor or hosting providers with built-in website builders like Bluehost);
  • online stores (there is a completely free WooCommerce plugin, we’ll talk about it later);
  • blogs (the CMS offers blogging tools “out of the box”, we’ll review the functionality further);
  • forums (there are high-quality free forum plugins);
  • portfolios, business cards and other simple websites (due to the convenient admin panel and a wide selection of niche templates);
  • information portals and media sites.

WordPress can also be used to launch other types of web projects.

Which One Works Best for a Web Store – Joomla or WordPress?

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Despite the fact that both CMS come with plugins for complex web store development available in their catalogs, Joomla is not the best solution, when it comes to eCommerce creation. The fact is that the most popular free extensions for Joomla-based stores are no longer supported or develop quite slowly. It initially concerns VirtueMart. J2Store is not compatible with current version 4 of the software as well. It works with Joomla 3 only. Some paid extensions (EShop, Dj-Catalog, Instant Pro Shop etc.) have poor support in some countries and require special third-party extensions for proper performance.

WordPress is a far better option for web store creation. There is a very popular WooCommerce plugin that serves this very purpose. This is a completely free solution, which allows starting a complex web store with a large-scale catalog and required integrations. Official mobile applications, ready-made themes and even a separate catalog of extensions have been developed for WooCommerce.

There are also other plugins in the WordPress catalog used to start online stores, but WooCommerce still remains the most popular and full-featured solution. You won’t face any problems with software support or set up information here. Additionally, you get all the other advantages of the WP engine.

Which One Is the Best for Blogging – Joomla or WordPress?

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To launch a blog with Joomla, you have to invest some effort as the CMS does not have a built-in commenting system. The most quality blog plugins – EasyBlog, JaggyBlog etc. – are distributed on a paid basis. Customization options and available functionality will depend on the selected extension.

If you need a blog that will work great out-of-the-box, then you should definitely pick WordPress. This CMS was created with blogging focus in mind. Here is the list of blogging features its has in stock:

  • a ready-made commenting system (with convenient moderation and notifications);
  • tags and content categories (tags can be converted to categories any time);
  • import and export system (for uploading posts and publishing on other platforms);
  • simple publishing interface with a set of ready-made fields (+ scheduled publication, drafts, version history etc.);
  • widgets (tag cloud, for example) and menu builder for convenient navigation.

When using free add-ons, you can effectively upgrade your blog by adding post rating, view data, polls, polls, “Share” buttons and other elements. Many of them, by the way, will be inserted as blocks inside a post.

Key Differences Between Joomla and WordPress

Joomla WordPress
Ease of Use:Complex settings and admin panel structure. Much time is needed to get used to the system and to understand the principles of working with it. The final outcome is the utmostly flexible settings.Easy to explore and master. Ideal for beginners. Has an intuitive interface understandable to everyone. If needed, it is possible to explore code editing options here.
Functionality:Completely free software, which offers quality plugins to fit any niche. There are around 6,000 extensions available in the official Joomla catalog – both free and paid. It is difficult to find free templates here. The system mostly makes it possible to build corporate websites, custom web projects and large media portals. Thus, it requires coding skills and web design background.WordPress is a free CMS, which unveils access to a huge database of extensions/plugins (around 60,000) – both free and paid. Many of them are provided by default. The official catalog includes verified plugins only. There is also a vast selection of templates here. You can launch any website with WordPress, even if you are not a web design pro.
Design:There is no built-in template catalog, only manual download and installation from third-party resources. The system has a complex yet flexible design customization approach.There is an official built-in template catalog with around 10,000 themes here. The designs are installed in one click. Template settings mainly depend on the developer (the most popular themes are flexible customized), but they still somewhat lag behind Joomla in terms of customization and settings.
eCommerce:A special plugin (like a paid EShop or a free HikaShop) is required to create a digital store with Joomla.To run a web store on WordPress, you have to install an eCommerce plugin. The most popular and feature-rich solution is WooCommerce. It comes with all the necessary tools available in the admin panel.
Blogging:The CMS does not have a built-in blogging engine. You need to install niche plugins to connect and customize a blog here.WordPress is a perfect solution for blogging as it was initially developed for blog development. The software comes with multiple niche features, plugins, templates and tools. They are versatile enough to set up and publish various blog types.
Small Business:Joomla can be used for small business website creation yet it requires coding skills to properly complete the task. You can find and install plugins and templates based on your business specialization.The CMS offers access to multiple plugins, themes and tools that were specially created for the development of small business websites.
Pricing:Joomla is a free CMS. There are multiple free features you can use to set up websites with the system. However, to extend your project functionality, integration of premium designs and extensions is a must. The system also requires hosting choice. The best host to use here is HostGator. The cost starts at $2.75/mo.WordPress is a completely free CMS. It is possible to use a large number of themes and plugins for free here. Mandatory expenses, however, are also required for choosing premium plugins and templates as well as hosting and domain. The best host for WordPress websites is Bluehost. The cost of its plans starts at $2.95/mo.
SEO:The baseline Joomla functionality includes friendly URLs, redirects, meta tag and keyword descriptions. Special SEO plugins have to be installed for advanced website promotion in the search engines.WordPress offers a minimum set of search engine optimization tools out-of-the-box. SEO extensions (like All In One Seo Pack or Yoast SEO) have to be installed for more effective SEO optimization.
Customer Support:No official customer support, helpful user community, external resources, Help Desk with access to staff managers via ticketing system (for registered members only).No official customer support, many niche forums, extensive and informative worldwide user community.

Comparison Conclusion: Which One Is Better?

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Joomla has multiple features and tools provided out-of-the-box yet it still specializes in the development of certain types of websites only. It is currently shifting its focus on the corporate sector and professional custom website development. This is obviously reflected in the complexity of its settings. Thus, we don’t recommend Joomla to beginners and novice webmasters. It will work well for web agencies and small web development teams. Additionally, launching websites on Joomla is more expensive due to the fact that many quality extensions available in its catalog are distributed on a paid basis.

WordPress is the most reasonable solution in most cases. It is more convenient, simple and intuitive. There are lots of themes and plugins for it. Right after the installation (without any third-party extensions), WordPress can be used for blogs and information websites only. With plugin integration, though, the software easily grows the lacking functionality. Thus, it allows launching all types of web projects – from landing pages and up to large-scale digital stores. If needed, you can always find free reasonable solutions here.

Howard

About the Author

I'm Howard Steele, the founder and editor-in-chief of this website. With over 10 years of web building I know how complicated and tiresome this task can be for a non-IT person. Can’t decide which service to choose? Feel free to ask me for advice. Just describe your website needs, and I’ll gladly help you.

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