Joomla vs WordPress: Which One is Better For You?

by Montel Anthony

Deciding between Joomla and WordPress for your website can be a difficult choice. Both are powerful open-source content management systems (CMS) with strong communities behind them. They enable you to create versatile sites without needing coding expertise.

When comparing Joomla vs WordPress, you need to weigh factors like ease of use, features, design flexibility, performance, security, support availability, and cost. While both platforms have more similarities than differences when it comes to core capabilities, there are some key distinctions between them.

This comprehensive guide examines all aspects to consider when evaluating Joomla vs WordPress for your next website build or migration project. We’ll compare real world data on market share, discuss how beginner-friendly each option is, see how functionality and themes stack up, and outline optimization best practices to help you make an informed decision between the two popular CMS options.

Popularity and Market Share

An important starting point when weighing Joomla against WordPress is to look at their current adoption rates and growth trends. While popularity does not always equate to the best technology, it does impact the ease of finding affordable hosting options, locating developers and designers skilled with the platform, and getting community support.

According to which analyzes the technology behind over 160 million live websites, as of March 2023 WordPress currently powers 43.2% of all sites while Joomla is used by 2.2% of sites.

In terms of growth trends, WordPress has continued its rapid adoption, powering over 455 million websites as of March 2023. Over the past few years, WordPress market share has grown over 15% indicating its strong momentum.

Joomla experienced steady growth since its launch in 2005, peaking around 2016. However, as other CMS options like WordPress, Wix and Squarespace has gained traction, Joomla has slowly declined in market share over the past several years.

What does this mean for new Joomla vs WordPress projects? Given WordPress’ dominance across a wide range of site types from blogs to ecommerce to magazines, developers and agencies are investing heavily in building their WordPress skills. There is also wider awareness of WordPress among small business owners and startups looking to create an online presence.

The much smaller Joomla community does mean less competition which can be an advantage for developers specializing in it. There are also ardent supporters and developers actively using Joomla for large enterprise sites with complex requirements.

Overall when evaluating Joomla content management system vs WordPress, the latter’s widespread adoption and year over year growth provides confidence in its future roadmap and support availability. For most use cases, WordPress market leadership makes it a safer choice over the declining Joomla ecosystem.

Ease of Use

When first getting started building a website, a major consideration is the learning curve involved with actually using the CMS platform on a daily basis.

Both WordPress and Joomla aim to allow creating and publishing content without needing web development skills. However, WordPress has a slight edge when it comes to usability especially for blogging sites.

WordPress Ease of Use

For basic website needs like blogging, WordPress has a very gentle learning curve. Its dashboard menu and settings options are intuitive and easy to navigate even for non-technical users. Hosted solutions like also minimize any server or technical configuration needs.

Even for more advanced sites, WordPress’ vast library of plug-ins allow achieving complex functions like ecommerce or membership management via point-and-click installs and settings. This means you can build sophisticated sites without coding expertise.

Overall WordPress prioritizes usability and a streamlined content editing experience. This makes it ideal for everyone from personal bloggers to enterprise marketers updating content regularly.

Joomla Ease of Use

Joomla’s administrator interface uses more technical language which may seem intimidating for novice users without web experience. It exposes more configuration options which enables building more tailored sites, but requires more learning.

The flexibility to tweak settings can slow initial setup but allows experienced developers to customize Joomla for complex industry vertical needs. Joomla’s modular approach via extensions also allows achieving custom features, albeit via more hands-on building compared to WordPress’ plug-and-play experience.

For advanced administrators and developers, Joomla offers more granular control. But most personal users and small business owners may find WordPress faster to launch and use on a daily basis.

Features and Functionality

The range of built-in features and extent to which you can enhance functionality via extensions is another key consideration when evaluating Joomla vs WordPress.

Out of the box, both CMS platforms provide core website-building features like:

  • Secure user registration and account management
  • Template systems for controlling site presentation
  • Categorization for organizing content
  • Media management for images, videos, docs
  • Contact forms, site search, menus, etc.

Both also have established extension catalogs allowing you to add advanced functionality like ecommerce stores, social networking, memberships, and more without coding.

WordPress Feature Extensions

WordPress’ simple plug-in architecture has given rise to over 55,000 free and paid plug-ins that can be installed with one-click from the directory or commercial marketplaces.

No matter what dynamic features your site needs beyond basic content pages, there is likely a WordPress plug-in available either for free or affordable purchase including:

  • Form builders and data collection
  • User memberships and premium content areas
  • Appointment scheduling and event management
  • Advanced custom fields and site profiling
  • WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads for ecommerce
  • BBPRESS forums and social features
  • Job boards and directory listings

The breadth of available WordPress plug-ins for both site management tasks and dynamic user engagement features gives it an edge for sites needing to augment functionality beyond basic content pages.

Joomla Functionality Extensions

Like WordPress, Joomla benefits from a wide range of extensions for adding functionality beyond what comes out of the box. Developers can tap into a library of over 8,000+ free and paid extensions.

Some of the most popular extension types that enable building robust Joomla sites include:

  • Ecommerce – VirtueMart, HikaShop
  • Forms & Data Management – RSForms, Fabrik
  • Events & Scheduling – JEM, GavickPro
  • Forums & Social – Kunena, EasyBlog
  • Directories & Maps – Jomcomdev, GavickPro
  • Media Galleries – Phoca, RSPhotogallery
  • Custom Content Fields – CCK from JoomlaBamboo

The Joomla framework lends itself very well to building industry vertical solutions from real estate sites to restaurants to schools. Developers use the API-driven architecture to create customized solutions.

The downside is that some advanced third-party Joomla extensions come with a steeper learning curve compared to WordPress plug-ins. Documentation may be more technical and less user-friendly.

However, for developers willing to invest time learning the extensions, Joomla does provide immense flexibility to meet specific advanced use cases. For more specialized sites rather than generic blogs and brochure sites, Joomla’s powerful extensions help it keep pace with functionality needs.

Design and Themes

The quality and extent of available templates and themes plays an important role in quickly making your Joomla or WordPress site look professional without custom design work.

Both CMS platforms offer site architects and designers a range of free and premium themes across niches. The differences come down to quantity and customization flexibility.

WordPress Themes

One of WordPress’ biggest advantages is its virtually endless theme options – over 8,000+ free themes and thousands more commercial premium themes across industries.

Many free WordPress themes from template builders like StyleMixThemes, Themeisle, and Neve offer beautiful designs suitable even for professional sites. If you know your niche, you can find highly customizable free or paid themes for magazines, restaurants, weddings, etc. rather than starting a visual design from complete scratch.

WordPress themes also benefit from a standardized architecture based on hooks and functions like the WordPress loop. This makes it relatively easy for developers to tweak and extend theme functionality. You can also mix and match themes with plug-ins like WooCommerce to achieve your ideal site setup.

Overall, WordPress offers beginner site builders more visual design variety and flexibility compared to Joomla templates.

Joomla Templates

Joomla currently has around 3,000+ site templates available ranging from free community templates to premium responsive Joomla templates sold by developers.

Popular Joomla template providers include:

  • JoomlaArt
  • RockerThemes
  • Joomla Monster
  • Warfare Plugins
  • TemplateMaker

The template design ecosystem is more consolidated compared to WordPress. So your options in any niche outside of business / portfolio sites may be limited.

Joomla templates also rely more on traditional web development skills for customization. So you have less flexibility changing visual themes if you don’t know CSS.

For advanced Joomla developers, the template override system provides fine-grained control. But those looking for more drag-and-drop style personalization may be disappointed.

SEO Capabilities

SEO is crucial for driving organic search traffic to websites. So both Joomla and WordPress incorporate built-in features and extensions to optimize sites for search engine discoverability and rankings.

WordPress has a slight edge when it comes to SEO capabilities for a couple of reasons:

WordPress SEO Features

  • Simple SEO by Sygnoos – Popular free plugin with SEO tools for meta info, auto-linking, content analysis
  • All-in-One SEO Pack – Comprehensive SEO plugin for XML sitemaps, optimized tags
  • Redirection plugin – Manage redirects to avoid broken links from site changes
  • SEO Framework – Advanced SEO tools like page analysis, custom breadcrumbs

WordPress also has thousands more niche-specific SEO plugins for local SEO, video SEO, etc. This enables tailoring optimized content for search intent.

Secondly, WordPress’ popularity means search engines themselves prioritize technical WordPress sites in rankings and have official guides for proper setup and structure.

Joomla SEO Tools

Joomla does provide some built-in metadata options and third-party extensions like:

  • sh404SEF – URL rewriting for clean links
  • AceSEF – Advanced routing tool for custom URLs
  • Joomla SEO metadata extension – Manage titles, descriptions
  • Advanced SERP Snippet – Optimize snippet display

However, Joomla doesn’t have as many all-in-one SEO solutions. You may need multiple extensions to achieve the fine-grained functionality of top WordPress SEO plugins.

Still, in the hands of a skilled developer Joomla sites can match WordPress’ capabilities, especially if using other optimization best practices like fast servers and compressed media.


Security vulnerabilities can cripple websites by exposing user data or enabling intrusive site takeovers. So the track record and approach to identifying and patching platform issues matters when selecting a CMS.

Overall based on recent history, WordPress has faced more frequent and higher severity security issues compared to Joomla which has prioritized security in its core framework:

WordPress Security Issues

  • Vulnerable to mass brute force login attacks that overwhelm servers
  • Cross-site scripting issues enabling phishing and unauthorized actions
  • Higher number of plugins increases possible vulnerability entry points
  • Delayed auto-updates leave expired sites open to known threats

However, WordPress does quickly patch reported issues with security releases. There is also awareness across hosts and plugins developers to be vigilant. Using strong passwords, login limits, CAPTCHAs and other plugins greatly aids WordPress security.

Joomla Security Approach

Joomla has structured its core code and official extensions to minimize vulnerabilities like SQL injections or unauthorized access from the start. All code is audited prior to official release.

Official Joomla extensions also auto-update by default unlike WordPress. However, issues can emerge in unsupported third-party extensions. Monitoring permissions and avoiding outdated extensions is key.

For the most demanding government, healthcare or financial sites, Joomla’s more rigorous approach inspires confidence. But WordPress can be secured to acceptable levels for most sites.


Site speed and scalability are vital for delivering positive user experience and managing growth in traffic. Faster sites also tend to perform better in search rankings.

Both Joomla and WordPress can be optimized to deliver excellent performance. However, out-of-the-box Joomla has a slight edge, especially for large catalogs and complex sites.

Joomla Performance

Some of Joomla’s strengths when it comes to performance include:

  • Centralized database vs WordPress’ individual tables improves query efficiency
  • Extension framework enforces optimization best practices
  • Advanced core caching and multi-server capabilities
  • Handles large catalogs or complex views better with lower resource usage

Performance analysis does indicate Joomla sites can render pages faster. But for simpler sites, the difference is marginal versus properly optimized WordPress sites.

Joomla’s biggest advantages come into play when scaling complex enterprise sites to tens of thousands of pages and large product catalogs. It’s more optimized to scale efficiently.

WordPress Performance

To address performance needs, WordPress has developed robust caching plugins like:

  • WP Rocket – Premium plugin for caching, deferred JS, lazy loading
  • WP Fastest Cache – Optimizes DB queries, minifies code, CSS/JS caching

There are also hosting solutions like WPEngine or Kinsta that optimize WordPress sites for speed at the server-level.

So while stock Joomla can be slightly faster, optimized WordPress still delivers excellent speed. And innovations like the WordPress block editor aim to close any gaps.

Cost Considerations

Whether you are a small business owner or enterprise manager, cost plays a role when budgeting for a new website build or migration project.

Both Joomla and WordPress provide the core platform for free as open source software. However, factoring development, hosting, extensions, maintenance and internal management time yields variances.

Joomla Cost Considerations

Some unique Joomla cost considerations include:

  • Limited cheap template options mean higher custom design investment
  • Developer talent pool smaller so hourly rates can be higher
  • More hands-on effort needed for management and updates
  • Hosting on Windows servers may be pricier

However, competition is lower so agencies specializing in Joomla can sustain higher prices. Large enterprises also recognize Joomla’s custom capabilities justify larger budgets.

Ongoing costs may require dedicated resources as updates are less automated. Budget for technical project management.

WordPress Cost Factors

WordPress pricing advantages include:

  • Low-cost template and plug-in options
  • Larger developer community lowers hourly rates
  • High competition creates budget options for sites
  • Easy auto-updates and no-code tools reduce labor

WordPress’ growth and demand also encourages race-to-the-bottom pricing that advantages buyers. Commoditized add-ons and templates help control costs.

There is also an emerging class of low-cost WordPress site builders like Elementor, Divi, Avada etc. lowering total cost of ownership for advanced sites.

Support and Development

Finally, a factor that impacts long term use is availability of technical support for issues that arise and developer talent for growth needs.

WordPress’ immense popularity certainly provides confidence in finding affordable help. But Joomla specialists also deliver high-quality managed support and customization services.

WordPress Support Resources

As an open source project powering over 40% of the web, WordPress enjoys:

  • Dedicated technical support teams at hosts like SiteGround
  • Large community forums like and reddit
  • Facebook groups and Meetups in most major cities
  • Directory of 8,000+ development agencies and freelancers
  • Abundant tutorials, documentation, and coaching services

WordPress knowledge is widespread even among non-specialists. So you can find help at various price points for projects or ongoing site maintenance.

Joomla Support

While community forums and partners may not match WordPress’ vast scale, Joomla does provide:

  • Official forums with quick response times from mods
  • Certified hosting partners offer managed Joomla support
  • Directory of development partners on OpenSourceCMS
  • Paid professional email and phone support plans
  • Strong presence of experts on StackOverflow

The smaller but passionate expert community means slightly higher development costs but also more qualified talent investing in lifelong Joomla work rather than temporary WordPress gigs. Support costs balance out long term.

Conclusion – Choosing the Right CMS

When evaluating Joomla vs WordPress, it’s clear why WordPress is on track to power over half the web – it prioritizes ease of use while supporting advanced functionality via extensions. Streamlined but customizable, it reduces barriers for personal bloggers to enterprise teams.

However, Joomla should not be dismissed, especially by developers willing to invest in its learning curve. The structured framework and focus on enterprise-scale performance has helped it power complex high-traffic sites since 2006. Its smaller community of ardent experts deliver tailored solutions across verticals.

For most users though, WordPress strikes the right balance of approachability and flexibility needed from a modern CMS. Its unparalleled ecosystem provides assurance your site can adapt to future needs even as trends change.

In general, WordPress excels for blogs, news sites, basic brochure sites, and ecommerce stores. Guided options like newspaper or restaurant-specific themes make it easy to achieve common site structures.

Joomla best aids web developers and solutions architects building advanced industry platforms or data-intensive systems. Intranets, hospitality platforms, equipment catalogs, and niche social networks benefit from Joomla’s configuration depth.

As with any complex platform though, achieving success requires choosing the right extensions, developers, and hosts familiar with the tool rather than the tool alone. But both Joomla and WordPress have proven track records powering diverse high-traffic sites when set up properly.

Hopefully this comprehensive feature-by-feature comparison provides the details you need to decide whether flexible WordPress or customizable Joomla is the right choice to bring your website vision to life!

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