For companies considering a new content management system, the choice often comes down to a decision between proprietary and open source. For those companies that prefer open source content management solutions, the choice then becomes whether to go with Drupal or WordPress or something else.

Our new blog tries to address these questions, with an obvious bias toward Drupal 8, since that’s the technology we wisely chose to power our NEWSCYCLE next generation ONSET digital content management platform. 

Q:     What is the difference between 983 and 12?
A:     Today, there are 983 known vulnerabilities in WordPress, which hacktivists can potentially exploit to wage cyberattacks against news media websites. In Drupal 7 and 8, there are only 12 known vulnerabilities. (Source: Exploit DB.)

Q:     Okay, what the heck is a ‘vulnerability’?
A:     Vulnerabilities are weaknesses in the web content management code base that make the software open to attack. Often, hackers will look for these loopholes in order to conduct Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) and other attacks. For example, there is a recently discovered vulnerability in one of the WordPress messaging plugins (Personal Message 1.0.3) that allowed a hacker to do something called “SQL Injection.”  The hacker was able to insert some of his own code into this WordPress plugin that essentially allowed him to hijack any machine that used the plugin.  This vulnerability, when exploited by hundreds of users’ machines, can lead to a DDoS attack.

Q:     No one would bother cyberattacking our little media company, would they?
A:     They certainly would. And, they have. In 2016 alone, here is just a sampling of large and small news media companies around the world that have been hit with DDoS attacks:

Media Company Location
Steamboat Today Colorado
Craig Daily Press Colorado
Washington Post Washington, DC
Dagens Nyheter Sweden
Svenska Dagbladt Sweden
Expressen Sweden
Aftonbladet Sweden
Dagens Industri Sweden
Sydsvenskan Sweden
Helsingborgs Dagblad Sweden
De Standaard Belgium
RTBF Belgium
Gazet van Antwerpen Belgium
Het Belang van Limburg Belgium


Q:     Yeah, but which of these media sites is powered by Drupal?
A:     None of them. The sites listed above are either WordPress sites or they are powered by proprietary content management platforms.

Q:     Isn’t it true that WordPress is way more popular than Drupal?
A:     This is true, mainly due to the fact that WordPress is so easy to use. WordPress started as a small business and personal blogging tool. There’s a huge difference between a software product that was developed for bloggers and a professional website development environment. Drupal is much better at managing complex websites, especially those that need to be updated constantly and have lots of digital content types (like news stories, features, alerts, listings, photos, graphics and videos.)

Q:     You seem to be implying that Drupal is a good choice for a news media website, but are there any sites that are live on Drupal 8 today?
A:     Yes, indeed. Here are a few examples of Drupal 8 powered media websites in live production today:

Q:     Our audiences are going mobile in a hurry. How can Drupal 8 help me to reach these readers who consume our content on their smartphones?
A:     Drupal 8 fully supports mobile-first web designs. The entire system is responsive, so content can be published to any device. In Drupal 8, editors can choose different styles for individual images, which will automatically be sized responsively when content is viewed on different mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop devices.

Q:     I understand the security argument. But, can Drupal 8 do a better job than WordPress in meeting my demands for fast performance and scalability?
A:     Nearly as important as security, media sites need to be optimized for speed and scalability. Publishers never know when a local news site could become the “center of the universe” that has to support thousands of concurrent visitors at a moment’s notice. Drupal 8 is ready to accept this challenge, due largely to the improved caching mechanisms added to the platform. Caching is the process of temporarily storing frequently accessed content so that future requests for that content can be served up faster to site visitors. With Drupal 8, entity caching is now done in the core software, so it is essentially baked into the platform itself. As a result, website developers don’t need to write or turn on caching features in their style sheets or JavaScript, because Drupal does it for them. This, in turn, helps to make Drupal 8 even more mobile-friendly, because caching is speedier when done in core rather than at the scripting layer.

Q:     You’re starting to lose me. Very simply, which platform has more functionality, Drupal 8 or WordPress?
A:     Drupal wins the functionality battle. Drupal 8 has more features than WordPress, including taxonomies, content types, blocks, views, multiple page templates, and more. User permissions in Drupal 8 are also more advanced than WordPress. Drupal 8 is designed for sites with multiple stakeholders. You can have site admins, content editors, authors, private contributors, etc.

Q:     One final question. We publish in languages other than English. What can Drupal 8 do for us here?
A:     Drupal 8 comes with native support for almost 100 different languages. All fields, forms and messages can be configured for localization purposes, and there is even a built-in translation interface. From Albanian to Urdu, language support is managed directly in the Drupal 8 core, which greatly simplifies the translation process for multi-lingual sites.

To schedule a demo or learn more about the NEWSCYCLE ONSET digital content management platform, please write to us at info@newscycle.com or visit newscycle.com/ONSET.