CMS Comparison: concrete5 vs Wordpress vs Drupal vs Joomla

Well as you probably already know, Datasouth love concrete5 and are particularly impressed with the latest release of which is a pleasure to work with.

In our 17 years as a digital agency we have worked with many CMS products and even developed our own, which served as core for new builds for over 12 years. However, we have never come across a CMS product that engaged us quite as much as concrete5. The code is beautiful to work with, and the file structure is elegant.

So.. To say this is a biased report, is probably a fair assessment.


concrete5 is a relative newcomer, having been originally produced by Portland Labs for xxx project, and later becoming open source in 2008. It’s marketshare is tiny at less than 3% but growing faster than any other open source CMS. It’s powerful and ideal for larger companies who require varying levels of editorial control and publishing rights for it’s internal editors. It has a low footprint and is not resource hungry. It is also very easy to extend and add new functionality. The marketplace is relatively small and there are not many transactional and ecommerce modules currently. However, what is in the marketplace is usually of a very high standard. This is because all apps must undergo a peer review process which tests for compatibility, usability and vulnerability before being allowed in. This also results in a far better record for security from hacking when compared to the other three ‘open’ marketplaces. Think of it as similar to the Apple iOS marketplace vs the Android one.


Wordpress has achieved overwhelming success and.. It currently dominates with a market share of nearly 80%. It’s quick an easy to set up, there are thousands of themes and add-ons available covering almost every requirement you could consider. It’s fairly simple to code for, although its frequent releases and security patches which write all over the file system make it difficult to manage easily using conventional version control tools.

Wordpress is also a victim of it’s own success. The theme and add-on market is a wild west of good, bad and ugly code. Wordpress has become a target for hackers worldwide looking for any chance to exploit a vulnerability or expose it to the world publicly. As such, there are a lot of hacked Wordpress sites and you need to be much more than a novice developer/sysadmin to make sure your site is regularly updated with security patches if you wish to avoid your site getting hacked.


Drupal has a large active community and the latest release is very good. However it does require more than a little patience in order to get it set up how you want and upgrading can be a bitch. In fairness, the move from concrete5.6 to 5.7 was a major change too, but it is the first such game-changer update they’ve done. – Drupal has new versions much more frequently, so if you’re stuck with an older version – it can be costly or time consuming to upgrade. I also found it much more difficult to write highly bespoke software within Drupal..

Drupal has a wide range of a modules available, but I did find that Drupal became pretty resource heavy and sluggish quickly, especially as you enable more modules..


Joomla has been around a long time and also has a loyal fanbase. It has a lot of add-ons with an ecommerce bias so right now, So I would say that it is the strongest of the four in that respect if you are looking for something off the shelf to work right now. It is fairly easy to code modules for an experienced programmer, but theming can be an issue for novice developers. Whilst the core is not particularly prone to hacking, poorly coded modules can make your site vulnerable. As such, I recommend working with a reputable developer if you’re intending to use this as a transactional site.

Of all four systems, concrete5 is the best all-round performer in terms of usability, scaleability, performance and resilience. The concrete5 app store vets ALL applications before allowing them into the concrete5 marketplace. Their mission is to keep the concrete5 market safe for newbies and ensure that unsafe modules can’t be used as trojan horses to insert malicious code and guarantee that module will work with any other module you have installed.

If you would like to find out more about concrete5, please get in touch with us at [email protected].


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