What is the Best Website Content Management Tool: Static HTML vs Drupal vs WordPress
We went through multiple stages with our website. And here is our hands-on experience with various ways to host a website online.
Static HTML website
We’ve started our website (www.bytescout.com) many years ago as a set of simple HTML pages. It was easy to maintain, easy, and cheap to host, compact, and worked great.
Advantages of static HTML website:
- Managing pages is as easy as managing files in a folder;
- You may add new pages as simply new files;
- You may use almost any editor you like: from Microsoft Word to Notepad or Vi UNIX editor;
- Just a pure HTML code, hardcoded by hand so you can feel yourself like a real computer wizard1 ;
- No hassle with hosting because the cheapest hosting will work fine: just upload a folder with files and you are done!
- It is unhackable! Because it is just a set of files, no database, no code files so nothing to hack ;
- It is cheap: the very low-end cheapest hosting will work fine;
- It will open super fast for your visitors.
Disadvantages of a static HTML website:
- You will need to learn and know how to upload your files to hosting (FTP, sFTP, etc);
- You will need to learn HTML and know how not to make it a mess! Because it is easy with HTML (especially if you are using Microsoft Word);
- Don’t think about having two or more authors working on a website or even on the same page. It will be very time to consume as you will need to check: are you working on this page? Because I will work on it soon, send me your copy!
Drupal vs WordPress (Drupal won that time)
Later we decided to move to a content management system. After checking both WordPress and Drupal we decided to go with Drupal. Here is what we found:
- It works and opens fast for both authors and readers;
- It is easy to extend it if you like writing PHP code on top;
- There is a set of plugins for various things;
- It is almost as powerful as WordPress: it has plugins, themes, forums.
- There are almost no managed Drupal hostings available. Managed hosting means that a service maintains the code, updates, doing maintenance, etc. So most of the time with Drupal you’ll need to manage it your self or hire someone;
- It is hard to find programmers to extend Drupal or fix it;
- Some magic is required to configure it: you will need to know Unix commands on your hosting;
- It is hard to find great themes (even for money)!
- The amount of plugins is limited. There are some great plugins but a lot of them are not updated in time.
WordPress: a final choice for a modern website
So, finally, we came to WordPress. Some of the latest statistics said that almost 30% of all new websites are made with WordPress.
- Easy to set up and run if you have money: there are dozens of managed hostings where you can just write and publish content and everything else is done for you;
- It’s easy to find a programmer who knows WordPress: almost every PHP developer on our planet knows WordPress;
- Easy to learn: there are a lot of DIY books and articles about WordPress too;
- You can find almost any type of plugin you may need. From SEO optimization to fully integrated e-commerce tools with built-in payments processing;
- You can find thousands of free and paid themes and designs for the WP type of website.
- All authors and managers nowadays are familiar with the WordPress platform.
- It is still not easy to run the self-host WordPress website – there are a lot of tricks and know-how;
- As a popular Content Management System, it is a target for hackers trying to break your website, spammers trying to add links as comments;
- It works slow on a slow hosting computer (but there is a fork of WordPress for those who called Ghost.org);
- Its user interface still feels a bit bulky and provides too many features and tools;
- You can have it working as fast as static HTML website but you will need to pay for it and use managed hosting with content delivery, caching and other things included.
So far we are happy with our current choice (WordPress) and we advise WordPress as the best choice for content management systems.