Both Drupal and Craft are PHP based open-source Content Management Systems that cater for mid to enterprise level web sites. How do you choose which one is best suited to your project?

At Moore-Wilson, we build websites in a number of open-source CMSs - including Drupal, Craft, Wordpress, Statamic and Umbraco - and they all have their strengths and weaknesses. 

Here we are looking at two PHP based open-source systems: Drupal and Craft  CMS.

Drupal 9 and Craft 3 are the latest releases of two widely used enterprise level Content Management Systems (CMS). They are both fast, flexible, secure, and tap into the concentrated innovation of the open-source community. This means there is a solid foundation on which to build additional functionality or to ‘plug in’ tried and tested extensions.

Both CMSs are open source but whereas Drupal is completely open source and free to download, Craft has a slightly different model, where you pay a small fee for a licence ($299) and then $59 per year thereafter. This fee covers updates to the CMS.

Both systems are optimised for a mobile-first world and fully support responsive design and mobile administration. Both have sophisticated templating which allows you to code any front-end design that you wish.

Drupal and Craft both provide extensive support for the latest accessibility standards including colour contrast, font sizes and more. 

In terms of SEO, both systems can be extended with either community contributed plugins and modules or paid solutions.

Strengths and weaknesses of Drupal and Craft

Drupal 9 strengths:

  • Worldwide support - Drupal has over 1.5 million users across 230 countries, working together to continuously improve every new release.
  • Highly scalable CMS - Drupal lends itself particularly well to large sites with complex data structures and multiple permission settings.
  • Security - Drupal’s security offering benefits from a team of worldwide experts who constantly analyse and identify potential risks in both Drupal itself and its contributed models.

Drupal 9 weaknesses:

  • Heavily focussed on experienced web developers
  • Due to its complex interface, it is not the most intuitive backend experience
  • For content editors, the lack of a preview feature can be a disadvantage
  • Usually requires heavy-duty hosting infrastructure

Websites currently built using Drupal include Tesla, NASA, Doctors without Borders, The Economist and Pfizer.

Craft 3 strengths: 

  • Rapidly growing CMS with 150K+ users worldwide.
  • Great flexibility for page templating and ready to integrate with a wide range of marketing tools and CRMs.
  • Craft is considered a highly user-friendly CMS platform. User friendly features such as preview and image editing on the fly make for a great user experience.
  • Craft also has exceptionally lightweight code, which can result in faster page loading speeds.
  • The W3C have chosen Craft for their recent rebuild citing its accessibility roadmap as a factor.

Craft 3 weaknesses:

  • For very complex data structures and user permissions, Craft may be limited.

Websites currently built using Craft include Savills, Virgin Holidays, and Hallmark.

Implementing Drupal and Craft – from a technical viewpoint

Whilst both CMSs are developer-based systems, and by that, I mean that you need coding experience to be able to build a website using them. Drupal is considered to be harder to learn, as opposed to Wordpress, for example, which is possible to set up even as a non-developer - although how the outcome is best left unsaid. This is due to the complexity and scope of Drupal; there is a lot to learn and many potential pitfalls if the development team is not used to it. 

Craft, on the other hand, is by no means an easy CMS to learn, but, as a more slimmed down CMS, it does tend to have a shorter learning road.

According to Capterra (a leading software review site) Craft had a rating of 4.5 (out 5) and 85.7% of users said they would recommend Craft.

"It is easy to setup, easy to structure data, author templates, and shape content the way you want. It is powerful, secure, and backed by a helpful team and robust community."

Drupal also had a high rating of 4.2 (out of 5) but only 59.8% said they would recommend it. 

"It has been a pleasure to work with Drupal and how it has been designed from the ground up to handle all manner of complicated scenarios seamlessly."


Drupal and Craft both provide extensive support for the latest accessibility standards including colour contrast, font sizes and more.


Both Drupal and Craft are PHP based open-source Content Management Systems that cater for mid to enterprise level web sites. At Moore-Wilson, we have been using Drupal for over 10 years and Craft for about 3 years. We love both and for many sites that we build, either could be considered.

For each new project, we would carefully look at the requirements. If the site needs to have very complex data structures and advanced user permissions, such as membership sites with lots of different levels of access, then Drupal would be best suited. It’s also important to look at the plans for a site, for example there may be plans down the line to integrate with lots of other systems etc. so scalability needs to be considered.

But for the vast majority of sites, where clients are really looking for a great looking site which is easy for its editors to manage, flexible enough to add new features to in the future and possibly integrate with third party marketing tools or a CRM, either CMS can be considered. 

At this stage we demo the different CMSs that would be suitable, and, in my experience, this is where Craft often wins, as the user content editing experience is amazing.

Moore-Wilson is a digital agency with years of experience designing and building websites. If you are interested in using Drupal or Craft for your next website project, please get in touch with us.

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