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Drupal vs Wagtail: What are the differences?


Drupal and Wagtail are both content management systems (CMS) that are popular choices for building websites. While they share similarities in their functionality, there are several key differences that set them apart from each other. In this article, we will explore six of these differences in detail.

  1. Flexibility and Scalability: Drupal provides a highly flexible and scalable platform that allows developers to create complex websites with ease. It offers a wide variety of modules that can be combined to build custom functionality. On the other hand, Wagtail is also flexible but is particularly suited for building smaller to medium-sized websites. It may not be as suitable for large-scale, enterprise-level projects due to its more limited ecosystem of modules and plugins.

  2. Learning Curve and Ease of Use: Drupal has a steeper learning curve compared to Wagtail. It offers more advanced features and customization options, making it a powerful tool for experienced developers. However, this also means that it can be more difficult for beginners to learn and use. Wagtail, on the other hand, has a more intuitive user interface and simpler architecture, making it easier for new users to get started.

  3. Community and Support: Drupal has a large and active community of developers, which means there is an extensive support network available. The Drupal community maintains an extensive library of contributed modules and themes, making it easier to find resources and solutions for specific needs. Wagtail, although growing, has a relatively smaller community and may have fewer resources available for support and troubleshooting.

  4. Content Editing Experience: Drupal provides a robust and flexible content editing experience with its WYSIWYG editor and extensive features for creating and managing content. However, compared to Wagtail, it may require more customization and configuration to achieve a similar user experience. Wagtail, on the other hand, offers a more streamlined and user-friendly content editing interface out-of-the-box, allowing editors to easily create and update content without the need for extensive technical knowledge.

  5. Security and Updates: Drupal is well-known for its strong security features and rigorous update process. It has a dedicated security team that regularly releases updates and patches to address vulnerabilities. On the other hand, Wagtail also takes security seriously but may not have the same level of emphasis on security as Drupal. When it comes to updates, Drupal has a well-established methodology and tools for managing updates, while the process may vary for Wagtail depending on the project's configuration and hosting setup.

  6. Ecosystem and Integration: Drupal has a vast ecosystem of modules and integrations that allow seamless integration with various third-party systems and technologies. This makes it a popular choice for building complex websites that require integration with other applications or services. Wagtail, although it has a growing ecosystem, may not offer the same level of integration options as Drupal. It may require more custom development to achieve integration with specific systems or services.

In summary, Drupal offers greater flexibility, scalability, and a mature ecosystem of modules and integrations, making it an ideal choice for complex and enterprise-level projects. On the other hand, Wagtail provides a simpler and more intuitive user interface, making it easier for beginners and smaller projects, but with a more limited ecosystem and scalability.

Decisions about Drupal and Wagtail
Kamaldeep Singh

I usually take a slightly different tack because the technical level of people I usually am dealing with is lower. I tend to be pitching to decision makers and not tech people. A bit of my standard answer is below.

Wix and Squarespace are proprietary systems meant for unsophisticated users who want to build their own websites quickly and easily. While they are good for that specific use case, they do not offer any way to move beyond that if your needs arise. Since they are proprietary closed systems if you need something more advanced at some point your only option is to start over.

WordPress is an Open Source CMS that allows much more freedom. It is not quite as simple to setup and create a new site but if you are talking to me then you are not looking to build it yourself so that is really a non-issue. The main benefit of WordPress is freedom. You can host it on virtually any decent web hosting service and since it uses PHP and MySQL you can have virtually any developer take over a project without problem.

I believe in open source because of that freedom. It is good for me as a developer and it is good for my clients. If something were to happen to me or my company you would have no problem finding another qualified WordPress developer to take over the site in a totally seamless fashion. There would be no need to start from scratch.

Additionally the extensible nature of WordPress means that no matter what your future needs, WordPress can handle it. Adding things like e-commerce and custom quoting systems are just two examples of advanced solution's that I have added to WordPress sites years after they were first built.

WordPress is used by tiny one person businesses all the way up to major websites like the NY Times and I think it is right for this project as well.

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10 Years ago I have started to check more about the online sphere and I have decided to make a website. There were a few CMS available at that time like WordPress or Joomla that you can use to have your website. At that point, I have decided to use WordPress as it was the easiest and I am glad I have made a good decision. Now WordPress is the most used CMS. Later I have created also a site about WordPress:

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Pros of Drupal
Pros of Wagtail
  • 75
    Stable, highly functional cms
  • 60
    Great community
  • 44
    Easy cms to make websites
  • 43
    Highly customizable
  • 22
    Digital customer experience delivery platform
  • 17
    Really powerful
  • 16
  • 11
  • 10
    Good tool for prototyping
  • 9
    Enterprise proven over many years when others failed
  • 8
    Headless adds even more power/flexibility
  • 8
    Open source
  • 7
    Each version becomes more intuitive for clients to use
  • 7
    Well documented
  • 6
    Lego blocks methodology
  • 4
    Caching and performance
  • 3
  • 3
    Built on Symfony
  • 3
    Can build anything
  • 2
  • 1
    API-based CMS
  • 23
    Highly customizable
  • 18
    Very Flexible
  • 18
    StreamFields are amazing
  • 15
    Web content management
  • 13
    Non-tech colleagues can update website content
  • 11
    Fast as hell
  • 10
    Easy setup
  • 9
  • 7
    Solid documentation
  • 3
    Very High Performance
  • 2
    Plugins & themes
  • 1
    No dynamic blocks nesting (e.g. like in Umbraco CMS)
  • 1
    Good for geeks and not for the business
  • 1
    Everything's a heavy lifting
  • 0
    The Wharton School

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Cons of Drupal
Cons of Wagtail
  • 1
    Steep learning curve
  • 1
  • 3
    Not a full CMS: basic components require heavy coding
  • 2
    Small developer community
  • 1
    Expensive to develop

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What is Drupal?

Drupal is an open source content management platform powering millions of websites and applications. It’s built, used, and supported by an active and diverse community of people around the world.

What is Wagtail?

Wagtail is a Django content management system built originally for the Royal College of Art and focused on flexibility and user experience.

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What companies use Drupal?
What companies use Wagtail?
See which teams inside your own company are using Drupal or Wagtail.
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What tools integrate with Drupal?
What tools integrate with Wagtail?
    No integrations found

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    What are some alternatives to Drupal and Wagtail?
    Joomla is a simple and powerful web server application and it requires a server with PHP and either MySQL, PostgreSQL, or SQL Server to run it.
    The core software is built by hundreds of community volunteers, and when you’re ready for more there are thousands of plugins and themes available to transform your site into almost anything you can imagine. Over 60 million people have chosen WordPress to power the place on the web they call “home” — we’d love you to join the family.
    Django is a high-level Python Web framework that encourages rapid development and clean, pragmatic design.
    ProcessWire is an open source content management system (CMS) and web application framework aimed at the needs of designers, developers and their clients. ProcessWire gives you more control over your fields, templates and markup than other platforms, and provides a powerful template system that works the way you do
    It is a free and open-source Web content management system written in PHP. It can run on several web servers, such as Apache or IIS, on top of many operating systems, among them Linux, Microsoft Windows, FreeBSD, macOS and OS/2.
    See all alternatives