Joomla or WordPress? What Should You Choose And Why?

Let’s face it. You now have this dreaded question because you are about to embark on your blogging/website building journey. You have narrowed down your selection to two main competitors namely WordPress and Joomla. Now you need to decide which of these platforms is good for you. The aim of this article is to compare both of these popular platforms so that you can weigh them against each other and pick the one that is most beneficial. That said, let’s get started and see whether to use “Joomla or WordPress”.

So what to choose? Joomla or WordPress?

Before I get started with the actual comparison, let me tell you something very briefly about me so that you understand my perspective of doing this comparison. I am a Web Designer and a Web Developer. I started working with Joomla Themes first. I worked on it for quite few years before coming across WordPress. And now I create WordPress Themes and develop WordPress Plugins as well. So simply put, I have practically worked on both the platforms and hence I feel this review should help you in making a good decision from my perspective.

Because I started working with Joomla first, let me talk about it first. I will try to cover the features from both a user perspective and a developer perspective for better understanding. So let’s see whether to use WordPress or Joomla.



It is basically a Content Management Tool that was developed for users to maintain their website on their own, without having to hire a Webmaster for each and every change that need to be done. It’s a free tool available on PHP platform.

Use of Themes:

Multiple themes can be used (one at a time). All you need to do is use the Template Manager. Having couple of options such as the “Default” and “Assigned” seemed overkill. If you are getting started with Joomla, then you will find having two options is quite unnecessary. Only one option (Assigned) would have sufficed.

Ease of use of Frontend:

Frontend is easy to use, based upon the customization done and the way the theme is built.

Ease of use of Backend:

Backend is complex to understand and learn. It has loads of options and settings and trying to get your head around them especially when you are getting started, could be frustrating and time consuming. When I was learning Joomla, I spent a lot of time trying to understand how the backend works and it took me a significant amount of time to learn what does what.

Addition of Enhancements:

It’s possible to add new features to existing CMS by means of new extensions. But then you will need to decide what is right for you whether you want to go for a Plugin or Module.

Theme Design Learning Curve:

It’s rather easy to learn Theme Design. It used mainly index.php file and all your raw HTML code along with position of different elements. Once the theme is designed,  the content that appears in each of these blocks can be controlled using the backend. But again, because the learning curve of the backend is more and complex, it could affect the overall Theme design whenever interaction with backend is required.

Module Development Learning Curve:

Modules are relatively very complex, when compared to the Theme design. In fact, Joomla theme design is the easiest. Your core understanding of the concepts of Modules and Plugins must be clear in order to understand  what you need to build in order to satisfy your requirements. So the learning curve is high.

Plugin Development Learning Curve:

This is again difficult and complex, especially if you are getting started. If you do not prefer a good guide, You will end up feeling frustrated. So the learning curve is high.


Joomla has a forum and has a friendly community . People are willing to help but at the same time, in order to understand the solutions they prescribe, you really need to have a good grasp on the subject of how to use Joomla or else even support from others will not help much.


The Joomla developers are kind enough to releases periodical updates with newer functionality and bug-fixes.

Client Demand:

The client demand for a Joomla website has really fell over the years. Note that I am talking only about my perspective and my experience. Other developers may have experienced this differently. But according to my experience, the main reason for the fall of demand is because of the high learning curve of the back-end.  Most of the clients that I worked with are not tech-savvy and they really found it tough and time consuming to cope up with learning curve of Joomla.

Yes, a Joomla Theme designer / Extension Developer is not the only one who need a lot of learning curve, but even clients do. Although Joomla developers have tried to make it as easy as possible, I have had clients come back to me with complaints stating that they just can’t do things on their own. They paid me to even do their  part, that is administering back-end  IMO, that really beats the purpose of a CMS. A client shouldn’t have come to me asking me to even perform the CMS work, especially when the role of CMS is to be simple enough for clients to manage it on their own.

So mainly because of the couple of above reasons, fewer clients preferred to go for Joomla over the years.

Preparing Guides for Client (Text and Video):

This is tough job & very time consuming. Although there are tons of resources & tutorials out there, my clients preferred me to write instructions and make videos for them (for payment, of course). They knew that I would cut down the geeky jargon, which in fact would save them more time. This is not the case with just one client or two. Rather many of my clients ended up paying me to make specific and to-the-point short videos so that they can get started easily.

Although this complexity and heavy learning curve for my clients has helped me earn more money in the process, I do not really favor that. Why? Because simply put if the clients are paying me to do even the stuff that they should, then the CMS has failed to keep up to its full value. Preparing Joomla guides and videos with voice narration consumes a lot of time, which again is a bad thing, in my view.



WordPress basically started off as a blogging tool and now over the years, it has evolved and has become an excellent choice for Content Management Tool as well. It’s a free tool available on PHP platform.

Use of Themes:

Multiple themes can be used (one at a time). Themes can be installed either locally or directly online. It’s easy to manage and use themes.

Ease of use of Front-end:

It’s very easy to use the front-end, although this could vary upon the theme design.

Ease of use of Back-end:

WordPress bring a very refreshing change, especially after dealing with Joomla. It’s very organized and all options of the website can be reached in just a click or two. The back-end is not bloated. Rather, it has only the relevant stuff that makes back-end operation very simple and a breeze.

Addition of Enhancements:

It’s very easy to add enhancements. All enhancements are called “Plugins” and that’s about it. No more geeky terminology here, no more chaos!

Theme Design Learning Curve:

WordPress Theme Design learning curve is a bit higher than Joomla’s theme design learning curve. WordPress can run on a very minimal level but in order to achieve the level of customization that you require, you will need to add more pages. So I usually find myself ending up adding files such as  404.php, page.php, comments.php, etc. for pretty much every WordPress theme I design. This is not hard once you get used to it, but will need you to spend a good amount of time in learning it.

Module Development Learning Curve:

There are no modules in WordPress. So YAY! Less things to worry about 🙂

Plugin Development Learning Curve:

Actually the plugin development is what I have found to be one of the most appealing things in WordPress. If you already deal with Object Oriented Concepts in PHP, then you can use the same to build your plugin. Or if you prefer to use native functions and variables, you can do that too. I really like this flexibility to use either of these coding standards.


WordPress has a big community of users. But despite that, I personally found that support for an issue could really take a lot of time. I have seen user boards where people have posted all the information they have along with the problem, yet there are no replies. Sometimes, it does feel like as if the entire community has deserted that specific thread. This does not happen normally, but it does happen at times.


WordPress developers are great and they put a lot of time & efforts in releasing periodical updates with bug-fixes. You can update online automatically without having to manually download packages and perform a manual upgrade. IMO, this a huge time saver!

Client Demand:

The client demand for WordPress based websites and WordPress has drastically increased over the years. I find myself working with WordPress almost every day now, one way or the other. If I was working with a WordPress plugin yesterday, If find myself working on a WordPress Theme today, tomorrow, I might end up working on both. So I have seen a lot of increase in client increase due to its simplicity and very short back-end learning curve.

Preparing Guides for Client (Text and Video):

It’s relatively easy to prepare guides for WordPress websites. But I rarely get any requests of such guides for WordPress. This is really good because that tells me that my clients are able to handle WordPress on their own, without my involvement.

And the Winner is..

The clear winner to me is “WordPress”. There is no question about it. It is relatively very easy to learn, operate and manage when compared to Joomla. Not only that, but even WordPress’ popularity and demand among my clients has increased over the years and I have worked more on WordPress based projects than on Joomla projects. My clients always keep getting back to me because they want their themes to be redesigned or they want a “Plugin” with some new customization ability.

I must say, I am thankful to my clients for having asked me to build more of WordPress based Themes & Plugins. Mainly because I learned a lot. And I developed things that I never did in the past. I developed Plugins that are unique to their product, in the shortest time possible and I can guarantee that this would have never happened so quickly and easily, had they chosen Joomla over WordPress. And the reason is simple. Joomla is very “Complex”.

Although Joomla’s complexity can be regarded as its strength, it’s an overkill for an easy-to-use-and-maintain website. If the website is a community based website and involves user interaction at higher level, then Joomla can be preferred. It has nested sections, deep level navigations that can be useful for maintenance.

If I had to describe WordPress in comparison with Joomla, I would call WordPress as “Simple!” and that’s what everyone wants. My clients want it to be “Simple”. I want it to be “Simple”. Who doesn’t want their choice of CMS/blogging tools to be “Simple”? I guess, we all do!

So if you are thinking “Why to use Joomla?”, here’s my question to you: “Why NOT to use WordPress”? It’s easy, simply, efficient and very popular among clients. So why not give the clients that something that they love to use for its simplicity? Why complicate things when a simpler solution at hand can solve the problems and meet the requirements at a cost of fraction of the resources? Give it a thought!

Your Turn!

Well, I know that I will be designing more WordPress Themes and developing more WordPress Plugins in future. What about you? Are you using Joomla or WordPress? Would you suggest your clients to use Joomla or WordPress? Please feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below.

Share your thoughts, comment below now!