Joomla or Drupal?

We are looking into developing a content management site that will map out simple missional cells, house church celebrations, and spare rooms for wandering teachers, apostles and prophets. It will be either Joomla or Drupal based. I found a good comparisons here but am wondering which way go – probably Drupal because Emma from Glasgow has volunteered some time to give it birth.


Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)


  • Drupal. Definitely. Without a doubt.
    If you’ve got some who’s used it before then that’s even more reason to go with it. The only downfall is that it doesn’t immediately look as user-friendly, but it’s actually far more configurable and the code is cleaner.
    Both would probably meet your needs, but I think that Drupal gives you more options down the line.

  • Hey, Andrew. We had someone offer to customize the backdoor admin for our Joomla site. ( It took a while to learn to navigate, but worked great once we got it down. Our man decided he couldn’t keep up with updates to the software, unfortunately, so the site will probably begin to deteriorate a bit. Interested to hear about how you get on with Drupal.

  • I would recommend either, but I use mostly Joomla for the broad functionality. Joomla has a plugin called Mosets Tree that is a great and flexible directory system performing well even with tens of thousands of entries, and can be easily made to do radial zipcode searches for the UK. If you’re interested in knowing how it works or testing it out, I’d be willing to give you access to my installation for a test drive.

  • For what you have in mind I would recommend DruPal, too. I work with Joomla most of the times when it’s not WordPress. But I hear great praises about DruPal. If you need something more flexible I would prefer it over Joomla.

  • Both are in active development and have passionate user communities, so you’d be fine using either.
    But since you have someone to help who knows Drupal, then obviously I’d say that going for that is a good idea.

  • I use both. I use joomla at and drupal on my personal blog at I think drupal is better for an interactive community, especially for community forums and blogging. Joomla has a lot of good features for podcasting and videocasting, but it requires more work to install new modules and customize. I haven’t tried the new Joomla beta, though, because I needed something a little more stable than a beta version. Drupal is much more easy to use right now.

  • I can’t cast a vote for Drupal, but I can tell you that Joomla! has caused me a lot of strife.
    I once admin’d a Joomla! site that was hacked due to a security flaw caused by sloppy coding in an add-on component. I ended up migrating all of the data to WordPress, so we lost nothing, but the process was quite painful. Lesson? Be choosy about the components you install.
    On another note, when I used Joomla!, the CMS would barf all of the markup out in tables, positively refusing to use DIV’s/CSS for formatting.
    Anyhow, good luck with the project – sounds great!

  • As a web host, I can tell you I’d prefer my customers using drupal, because it’s much better on resources. If you build a high-traffic site in Joomla! you could very easily get into trouble with your web host for taking up too much resources. This can be avoided by thoroughly checking out the different components and modules before implementing them, but … unless you need something very basic to administer, I’d say go with drupal.
    And I echo the security holes in Joomla. I have a site I built in Joomla that got hacked. You need to update Joomla regularly for security patches… but if you’ve modified a lot of components (which you have to in order to get search engine friendly URL’s working well), upgrading is most often a painful process.
    Now, I have to say I don’t have first hand experience with drupal, but these issues seem to be clearly not a problem in drupal. The biggest complaint is a more complicated system to administer the site. In my opinion, the learning curve would be worth it, and I”m considering rebuilding the site I have in Joomla with drupal or xoops.
    Incidentally, if you choose a host with Fantastico, joomla and drupal are both incredibly easy to install. And I think drupal’s upgrades would be easy to do through fantastico (because of said modifications, joomla is difficult to upgrade via fantastico without breaking your site).

  • I have used (and just finished with) Joomla. I found it a tad clunky. Great idea about trying to map whats out there though.

  • I’m a big drupal fan, the current version is new and I’m still waiting for the modules to catch up – but, having used both Joomla and Drupal, I found drupal to be far more comprehensive.

  • sounds like Drupal. OK.
    thanks everyone for your help. you will hear about it when it goes up . . . or maybe you will even use it to find a house church gathering in your own town or an Elijah Room in a town where you are traveling.
    if we need some help, i might shoot an email to someone on this list of comments.

  • If it had to be one of the two, Drupal would get my vote, too.
    Having developed several sites using Drupal and Joomla, I’ve found them both frustrating when trying to create sites that don’t follow the template patterns assumed by their developer communities.
    However, I’ve found Drupal to be the most flexible and XHTML/CSS-standards savvy.

  • I’d vote for Drupal as well. I’ve worked with both systems (even developed plugins/extensions/modules for each). Joomla is nice, but it still needs a lot of consolidation, cleaning, and securing. Drupal has a neater system overall and uses less resources and space (both good things).
    From a regular administrative perspective, both have a nice backend, but it seems that Drupal is more extensive. Both are difficult to template/theme because they don’t “separate church and state” (well, php code and html/css design). It takes a while to learn either one to create a good template that can be changed strictly by modifying the various css files. While it may seem rather odd, a “blog” system may prove even better, simply because Joomla and Drupal may be overkill for what I am understanding is the need, particularly because they are generally easier to template. I remember reading that one developer was creating a site for a local government and used WordPress as the software because it fit the needs better without being overkill.

  • I’ve also worked with both systems and would recommend Drupal – I run both the Emergent Africa and Amahoro sites are run off it – so keep emerging church stuff in the Drupal family! Incidentally, it might be an idea to suggest to Emma to document the process she uses to create the site – the structure might be useful elsewhere.

  • I will join the drupal bandwagon – I’ve run three or four sites with it and it is very easy for a non-techy person to handle.

  • I run drupal on my sites. I think drupal has a great design and good coding standards. But everyone is saying that.
    I can add this, drupal has OpenID support and a system that lets you pull your user account from many other drupal sites. It would be great if more broad community sites looked to let people use these kind of organic systems to authenticate.

  • Hi Andrew,
    Regardless of what CMS you use, I would be interested in hearing more of your idea for the site and what it would contain and mean.

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