TYPO3 vs. Drupal

Whereas TYPO3 or Joomla! are pure Content Management Systems (CMS) and WordPress functions as a Blog software solution, Drupal takes the approach of combining simple Web Content Management with social community software.

Combination of social software and simple Web CMS

In addition to offering the basic functionalities of a Web CMS, Drupal focuses on providing extensive social community tools. These include, for example, a Blog system, Fora and various Web 2.0 features, which enable the simple creation of user-generated content. It is in this area that the solution has its strengths.


Numerous companies use Drupal as a community tool within a microsite or for social portals and blogs. For this purpose, different distributions are provided: stand-alone blog distribution, community distribution, distribution for use in educational institutions, etc. These pre-configured distributions enable a rapid and efficient installation process. Additionally, numerous layout templates are available.

System requirements

The current version is Drupal 7.x. Drupal can run on an Apache-, Ngix-, Lightpd- or Microsoft ISS-Server. Compatible database server software includes MySQL (from Version 5.0.15), PostgreSQL (from version 8.3) or SQLite (from version 3.3.7). Since version 7 PHP 5.2 can be used.

Lean basic package

Drupal’s basic package is extremely lean. Numerous features such as the text editor are integrated only after installation. Many features, standard in other CMS, must also be added and configured post-installation. And, professional support is needed for the installation process.

Missing backend

The solution offers a strict separation between layout/design and CMS. It also comprises useful features such as a multisite capability, a mature caching concept, and the possibility to connect Drupal to LDAP servers for use in authentication. However, most of these features must be installed via extensions – so-called modules. A critical difference when comparing Drupal with TYPO3 or Joomla! is the missing backend for website administration. This means that editors must revise content directly either in the frontend or in hierarchical menu fields in a menu bar. Changes are therefore very complex, though this can be improved through numerous modules. Nevertheless, there is no clearly defined connection between structure and content – something achieved only through links.

Extensions not exchangeable

Similar to other CMS, additional functionalities are implemented by using extensions. But, these modules are not compatible in the different versions of Drupal. Extensions must therefore be checked for compatibility before the upgrade. Automatic upgrades of the core are not possible, meaning that all Drupal modules must be elaborately and manually installed, adapted and activated. One characteristic that is particularly tedious for every webmaster or developer is the many dependencies of the modules among each other. For example, it is not unusual that one Drupal page has dependencies with more than 50-60 modules – which must all be kept current and checked for security breaches manually; at the same time, they often are not developed further by the authors. This approach virtually excludes the solution from business-critical Enterprise use – and makes maintenance of a larger Drupal site a full-time job.

CMS and Framework

Drupal, like TYPO3, is a framework. For this reason it is generally possible to develop a specific extension or application for each application case. For example, Drupal programmers can develop various solutions with integration into existing IT infrastructures that meet the business-critical requirements of large companies, public authorities or associations.

However, aspect-oriented programming (AOP) as implemented by Drupal merely attempts to recreate object-oriented programming (OOP)
approaches – it is not an industry standard. Modern software architectures such as MVC (Model View Controller) are also not supported; Drupal is extensive and well-documented, but is not based on a standard CMS architecture conceived for developers. It also lacks numerous features one expects from an Enterprise CMS – such as comprehensive multi-language support or workspaces.

Conclusion TYPO3 vs. Drupal

Compared to TYPO3, Drupal was not developed for use as an Enterprise web CMS, but rather as an extensive social community solution. However, Drupal is a viable option if the focus lies on comprehensive social software with simple web CMS capabilities.

Our recommendation at this point would be:

  • Social publishing: Drupal
  • Enterprise publishing: TYPO3
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