If you’re thinking of starting a website, and have done a bit of research, two names quickly come to the fore – Joomla! and WordPress. They’re both CMSs (Content Management Systems), free and open source, and are available on all web hosting platforms. If your host is using cPanel, the in-built plugin Softalicious will already have a way to install both WordPress or Joomla. Though this might not be the advantage it once was, given cPanel’s latest change to its licensing!
1. The Financials Behind WordPress are Stronger
The long-term viability of software is strongly dependent on the team behind it. We’ve seen before that software projects can get stuck in development limbo without a dedicated team of users, and without a strong management hand to make difficult decisions.
Joomla is an entirely volunteer driven effort, whereas WordPress is spearheaded by Automattic, that guides its development and devotes considerable resources to the latter. This makes a big difference when deciding whether or not to implement hard changes that might be unpopular with the industry.
Gutenberg as an Example
The best example of this is Gutenberg – the editor that generated so much controversy for WordPress when it came out. The WordPress team decided that the in-built editor was simply too outdated. TinyMCE did an admirable job at basic text editing, but sucked at maintaining the complex page structure of modern websites. It wasn’t modular, or usable.
I myself hated it when it first game out. And I wasn’t alone. Plenty of people in the community cried foul for a multitude of reasons. They even went to the extent of creating a WordPress fork, and threatened to split the project. But they were nowhere near enough people that were willing to use a fork of WordPress merely over Gutenberg.
But Automattic’s team had faith in their decision, and they pushed it through. After trying and sticking with Gutenberg for a while, it’s finally won me over. I can see why the devs thought it was time for a change.
The point is that a move like this is far less likely, or even impossible in a purely volunteer driven organization. It a “democracy” like development model, it’s pretty much impossible to just ignore what large swathes of your users are saying – decision making is like herding cats. That’s just a natural consequence of this style of software development.
Other hugely successful software models that follow the same development process are RedHat with CentOS. Bottom line – a guiding hand is better in the long-run viability due to its ability to make hard choices.
Automattic actually manages to profit off various aspects of WordPress. From hosted “.com” domains to the premium versions of the “Jetpack” plugin. Because of this, I feel WordPress has more motivated teams, with long term sustainability. Joomla on the other hand, relies on advertising from various avenues to keep the project running. It just doesn’t have the same resources to pour into the project compared to WordPress.
And that’s why I feel that in the long run, Joomla will never outdo WordPress. The latter has systematic advantages that Joomla simply cannot match up to. A different development model, and stronger financials will ensure that WordPress will constantly remain ahead. So while Joomla is certainly an alternative, and offers some advantages (like better multi-lingual support), I don’t see it catching up any time soon.
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!