Bari Pollard

What is a CMS?

A CMS (Content Management System) is a web application that can be used to create or, as the name suggests, manage digital content without having to know how to write HTML code. This is done by adding, editing, or deleting content that is to be published on a your website. The most popular option is WordPress but there are a couple of others that work with CiviCRM in a more integrated manner. Backdrop and Drupal 7.

WordPress vs Drupal: Which Is Better?

This is probably the question you came here looking for…but it’s also a flawed question because it’s impossible to say whether WordPress or Drupal is “better”. Instead, a more helpful question to ask is “which is better for this specific website that I’m building?”. Backdrop is a fork of Drupal which is gaining traction within the CiviCRM community and has a very similar set-up to Drupal so has the same advantages as that CMS.

Backdrop and Drupal Advantages

  • Custom content types and views – while WordPress does offer custom post types, Drupal’s custom content types is a much more flexible option.
  • CiviCRM Integrations - It is much easier to integrate your database and website using Backdrop and Drupal than with WordPress. Complex Views for CiviCRM data are only available in Drupal. 
  • Access controls/user permissions – whereas WordPress single-site ships with 5 basic user roles, Drupal has a built-in access control system where you can create new roles with individual permissions.
  • Taxonomies for handling lots of data – Drupal’s taxonomy system is more flexible than WordPress, which can make it ideal for handling lots of content.

WordPress Advantages

  • Ease of use – WordPress is significantly more user-friendly for day to day content updating, especially for less skilled.
  • Extensibility – WordPress’ third-party theme and plugin communities make it similarly easy to extend WordPress without the need for much custom development.
  • Lower development costs – WordPress offers more “out of the box” solutions than Drupal.

So which one to pick?

Ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Do I want to allow external users to create content for my site?
  2. Do I need complex webforms creating multiple contacts with different relationships and activities in the database?
  3. Do I want to allow external users to search the database contents easily with advanced filters?

If you answer yes to any of the above then you are limited to using either Drupal or Backdrop.


So if you want to build a simple website with little or no interactions between your users and your database then WordPress is a viable option. However if you want people to be able to view content directly from the database with minimal website updates then Drupal or Backdrop is probably the best solution.

Any questions just give us a call.

Databases Team.