Apr 302013

I’ve mentioned to a few people in passing (and some can tell just by looking): this site switched from Drupal version 6 to WordPress version 3 in December 2012. I’d been on Drupal since November 2010; on ANHosting since December 2010. I didn’t rush to a decision. There had been months of consideration and several factors which led to the switch.

Drupal Upgrades

First, I was stuck on Drupal version 6 with no visible path to version 7. Drupal’s design philosophy results in a Core missing features most sites use (e.g. images were not built-in to version 6). Thus, my site was running almost two dozen modules to provide the functionality I needed. Some of those modules had been integrated into the Core for Drupal 7 (e.g. Views). The module I was using for images is not supported in Drupal 7, because Core provides the functionality in a different way. There was a beta-quality conversion script, but it fails to work for a lot of site upgrades (including mine).

I ran a couple of test upgrades and didn’t like what I saw. It appeared that I would have to curate a lot of the existing content by hand. If that level of hand-holding was necessary, I wasn’t sure I wanted to stick with Drupal.

Drupal Performance vs. WordPress Performance

Second, performance was in question. Drupal was working fine, but the resource usage was high. WordPress still requires resources, but it has been clear WordPress is lighter-weight than Drupal. Especially given the fact that I only need a handful of plugins rather than two dozen. For my purposes (a blog and some static content), I have seven WordPress plugins running.

Conclusion: WordPress on ANHosting

For a personal site, WordPress is solid. For a small business site, WordPress is plenty flexible. From what I’ve seen, only sophisticated sites require the capabilities of Drupal (and you’ll need an expert to make it work well). Further, WordPress is working hard to make up those deficiencies. Drupal comes with high maintenance costs and that’s not what I need.

Use Drupal if you need the advanced features, but make sure it really fits your requirements. I gained valuable experience from my work with Drupal, but I don’t expect I’ll be using it again soon for my own projects.

  2 Responses to “ANHosting: Switching from Drupal to WordPress”

Comments (2)
  1. Great article. I am using Drupal 7 for a website and I am worried about not being able to upgrade to the upcoming Drupal 8 because of the possibility of important plugins breaking that many Drupal websites depend on, such as Views, Workflow, custom fields provided by modules, and so on.

    I find that with Drupal you can do mostly everything that WordPress can, but you must install many modules that may end up breaking or take days for an update to be released. I understand that plugins may break for each upgrade because new features are added for a good reason, but having to stay on an old version of Drupal until updates are released for the modules is limiting.

    For one of my Drupal sites, I am considering switching it to WordPress, but I’m still not sure about this. I think WordPress has some great features out of the box for article workflow and management, but the rest of WordPress sounds limiting and there is not as much room for expansion like Drupal has. For a news site similar to Engadget or TechCrunch. What do you think would work best for this type of site?

    • Thanks, Shadowdare.

      To a large extent, I think you’ve answered your own question:

      * WordPress is quite easy, but requires a lot of work if you’re going to be defining many types of custom content.

      * Drupal requires more effort, particularly for major upgrades. You may have to build a development server to test upgrades and prevent breakage of the production site. However, it offers great options for custom content.

      If you choose WordPress for a news site, you must accept that there will be effort required to build the functionality you require. But if you build it correctly, I think you’ll find the upgrades are less painful.

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