I wrote this for a client earlier today but want to share it on my blog as well.

Full disclosure: I'm partial to Drupal.

Summary Advantages Disadvantages
Drupal Drupal is an enterprise-ready content management platform that powers some of the biggest sites on the web, including The Economist, The Examiner, and WhiteHouse.gov. Created by developers for developers, Drupal is highly flexible, scalable, and easily integrates with third party systems such as Salesforce and SAP.
  • Best suited for enterprise-class websites and applications
  • Extremely scalable in terms of adding functionality, optimizing for performance, and integrating with third party applications
  • Easy to build forms and custom admin interfaces
  • Free and Open Source; all code is licensed under GPLv2, meaning users do no need to pay licensing fees
  • Very clean, lightweight, and well-documented codebase
  • Large number of contributed modules lowers development costs and increases productivity; a good developer can create a site with advanced functionality relatively quickly
  • Flexible users, roles, permissions, and workflow configuration settings
  • Very easy to optimize for Search Engine Optimization
  • Steep learning curve for developers; you can either code Drupal or you can’t, it’s hard to fake it
  • Converting a Photoshop design file into a Drupal theme requires a significant amount of technical knowledge
  • Fewer developers means more expensive hourly rates
  • Requires server administration skills to perform security updates
Joomla! Joomla! is a content management system that is very easy to setup with a large number of out-of-the-box features. However, a split in the codebase in 2006 divided the community and the system has not regained the momentum it once had. Many developers refer to Joomla! as a legacy system.
  • Large number of out-of-the-box features, very easy to setup
  • Long time on the market
  • Large number of inexpensive developers
  • Many popular and necessary modules are proprietary and require one-time and/or recurring licensing fees
  • Difficult to design a theme that does not look like a Joomla site
  • Poor Search Engine Optimization options
  • Poor codebase makes it difficult to fix broken items
  • Poor community support; the Joomla codebase was forked in 2006 and has not regained the momentum it once had
  • Hard to find quality developers; very easy to fake expertise
WordPress WordPress is the most popular content management system available, powering nearly 10% of all websites on the internet. It is popular among bloggers, individuals, and small businesses, providing a decent number of features out-of-the-box to help individuals manage small websites.
  • Best suited for blogs, brochure sites, and individual sites
  • Very easy to setup for non-technical people
  • Relatively easy for designers to convert a Photoshop file into a WordPress theme
  • Free and Open Source; all code is licensed under GPLv2, meaning users do no need to pay licensing fees
  • Large number of developers
  • Large number of plugins
  • Difficult (and sometimes impossible) to integrate with third party applications
  • Not ready for the enterprise
  • Hard to find quality developers; very easy to fake expertise
  • Many popular plugins and themes have weak codebase and make it difficult to upgrade

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