ExpressionEngine vs. Joomla: A Comprehensive Comparison Guide

ExpressionEngine vs. Joomla: A Comprehensive Comparison Guide


Welcome to our comprehensive comparison guide between ExpressionEngine and Joomla - two well-known content management systems (CMS). Choosing the right CMS is crucial for digital leaders and decision-makers in order to effectively manage their organization's online presence. In this guide, we will dive into the key features and functionalities of both ExpressionEngine and Joomla, helping you make an informed decision based on your organization's specific needs and goals.

Foundations of CMS

ExpressionEngine is a powerful CMS developed by ExpressionEngine, LLC. It is known for its flexibility and robustness, making it an excellent choice for larger organizations and websites with complex requirements. Joomla, on the other hand, is an open-source CMS supported by a large and active community. It offers a user-friendly interface and is suitable for both small and large-scale websites.

In terms of ease of use, Joomla has a slight edge with its intuitive backend interface. It allows users to quickly navigate through the various settings and options. With ExpressionEngine, there is a learning curve involved due to its extensive customization capabilities. However, once mastered, ExpressionEngine provides unparalleled flexibility, enabling users to tailor the system to their exact specifications.

Both CMS platforms deliver excellent performance, but ExpressionEngine offers a higher level of control over caching, database queries, and overall performance optimization. This makes ExpressionEngine a great choice for high-traffic websites where performance is critical. Joomla, while also performant, may require additional optimizations to match ExpressionEngine's level of efficiency.

When it comes to scalability, both ExpressionEngine and Joomla can handle websites of any size. However, ExpressionEngine's customizability allows for more seamless scaling and integration with existing infrastructures, making it the preferred choice for large-scale enterprises and organizations.

Design & User Experience

ExpressionEngine and Joomla offer extensive design options, allowing you to create visually appealing websites. Joomla provides a wide range of attractive templates and themes that can be easily customized to match your brand. It offers a drag-and-drop feature that simplifies the design process.

With ExpressionEngine, you have complete control over the design. It does not come bundled with templates or themes, but it provides a robust templating system that allows you to create unique designs from scratch. This level of flexibility makes ExpressionEngine a preferred choice for businesses that require a highly tailored website design that aligns perfectly with their brand identity.

In terms of user experience, Joomla is known for its user-friendly interface. Its intuitive backend makes it easy for administrators and content editors to manage their website content. ExpressionEngine also offers a user-friendly interface, but its complexity may require some additional training for users who are not familiar with the platform.

Both CMS platforms support responsive web design, allowing your website to adapt seamlessly to different screen sizes and devices. This is essential in today's mobile-centric world, ensuring an optimal user experience across all platforms.

Content Management

Both ExpressionEngine and Joomla provide robust content management features, allowing you to create and organize your website's content effortlessly.

Joomla offers a comprehensive content editor, enabling you to create and format content easily. It supports media management, allowing you to upload and embed images and videos directly into your content. Joomla also provides category and tagging systems, making it simple to organize and categorize your content for easy navigation.

ExpressionEngine takes content management to the next level with its powerful channel system. It allows you to create custom content types, each with its own set of fields, making it extremely flexible and suitable for complex content structures. ExpressionEngine also provides robust versioning and revision control, ensuring that you can easily revert to previous versions of your content if needed.

Both CMS platforms have excellent SEO capabilities, allowing you to optimize your content for search engines. Joomla has built-in SEO features that allow you to define metadata and customize URLs. ExpressionEngine offers even greater control over SEO, with the ability to customize URLs, define meta tags, and manage redirects effortlessly.

Collaboration & User Management

When it comes to collaboration and user management, both ExpressionEngine and Joomla offer a range of features to facilitate teamwork and streamline user management processes.

Joomla allows for multiple user roles and permissions, making it easy to manage different user groups with varying levels of access. It also offers a built-in messaging system, allowing users to communicate within the platform. Additionally, Joomla provides a powerful user management system that allows you to manage user profiles and registrations efficiently.

ExpressionEngine offers similar user management features, allowing you to create and manage user groups with different access levels. It also provides a messaging system for internal communication. Furthermore, ExpressionEngine allows you to create member-specific content, restricting access to certain content sections based on user roles.

Both CMS platforms have extensive documentation and support resources, making it easy to onboard new team members and troubleshoot any issues that may arise.

Performance, Scalability, & Hosting

When it comes to performance, both ExpressionEngine and Joomla offer solid performance out of the box. However, ExpressionEngine has an edge when it comes to high-traffic websites and complex content structures due to its efficient caching mechanisms and optimized database queries.

In terms of scalability, both CMS platforms can handle websites of any size. However, ExpressionEngine's flexibility and customization capabilities make it a preferred choice for larger organizations looking for seamless integration with existing infrastructures.

Regarding hosting, both ExpressionEngine and Joomla are supported by a wide range of hosting providers. It is important to choose a hosting provider that meets the specific technical requirements of your chosen CMS to ensure optimal performance and reliability.

Furthermore, ExpressionEngine offers better control over the hosting environment, allowing you to fine-tune server configurations and optimize performance according to your needs. Joomla, while still highly customizable, may have certain limitations imposed by shared hosting environments. However, these limitations can often be mitigated through proper configuration and optimization.

Customization, Extensions, & Ecosystem

Both ExpressionEngine and Joomla offer extensive customization options, allowing you to tailor your website to your exact specifications.

Joomla boasts a vast selection of extensions and plugins developed by its active community. These range from simple utilities to complex e-commerce solutions. This variety of extensions makes it easy to add additional features and functionality to your website, without the need for extensive development work.

ExpressionEngine, while not as feature-rich in terms of pre-built extensions, offers a powerful and flexible platform that allows for deep customization. It provides a strong foundation for creating highly customized websites and web applications. ExpressionEngine utilizes a modular approach, allowing you to develop custom add-ons specifically tailored to your requirements.

The ecosystem surrounding Joomla is well-established, with a large community of developers, designers, and support forums. ExpressionEngine also has a dedicated community, although it may be smaller in comparison. Both CMS platforms offer extensive documentation, tutorials, and support resources.

SEO, Marketing, & Monetization

When it comes to SEO, both ExpressionEngine and Joomla offer robust features to optimize your website for search engines.

With Joomla, you have access to a range of SEO extensions that provide additional functionality to enhance your website's visibility in search engine results. These extensions allow you to manage metadata, generate sitemaps, and implement SEO best practices.

ExpressionEngine also offers robust SEO capabilities, giving you control over custom URLs, meta tags, and other SEO elements. It allows you to implement various SEO strategies directly within the CMS, ensuring your website is search engine-friendly.

In terms of marketing, both CMS platforms allow you to integrate with various marketing tools and platforms. Joomla has extensions available for email marketing, social media integration, and analytics tracking. ExpressionEngine also offers integration options with popular marketing tools and services, allowing you to track and analyze visitor behavior, implement personalized marketing campaigns, and more.

When it comes to monetization, both ExpressionEngine and Joomla offer e-commerce capabilities. Joomla provides a robust e-commerce extension called VirtueMart, which allows you to set up and manage online stores with ease. ExpressionEngine offers various e-commerce add-ons and integrations to create seamless online shopping experiences.

Security & Compliance

Both ExpressionEngine and Joomla take security seriously, offering robust features to protect your website from potential threats.

Joomla has a dedicated security team that continuously monitors and patches vulnerabilities. Regular updates ensure that your website remains secure. Additionally, Joomla offers various security extensions to enhance your website's security features, such as firewall protection, user authentication, and intrusion detection.

ExpressionEngine also focuses on security, offering strict control over user permissions and access. It follows best practices in terms of code security and continually releases updates to address any vulnerabilities or issues. ExpressionEngine also provides built-in features to help maintain compliance with data protection regulations, making it suitable for organizations with strict compliance requirements.

Migration, Support, & Maintenance

Both ExpressionEngine and Joomla offer options for migrating from other CMS platforms.

Joomla provides a built-in migrator tool that allows you to migrate content from platforms such as WordPress, Drupal, and more. It also offers extensive documentation and tutorials to help you with the migration process.

ExpressionEngine, being a more specialized CMS, may require assistance from developers or migration experts to transfer content from other platforms. However, its flexibility allows for seamless integration with existing systems and databases, making the migration process more manageable.

In terms of support and maintenance, both CMS platforms have active and supportive communities. Joomla offers official support forums, extensive documentation, and tutorials to help you troubleshoot any issues. ExpressionEngine provides official support channels, video tutorials, and a community-driven help forum. Both platforms also offer premium support options for those who require additional assistance.


ExpressionEngine and Joomla are both reputable CMS platforms that offer a range of features for managing your organization's online presence. Selecting the right CMS depends on your specific requirements and goals.

If you prioritize flexibility, scalability, and customizability, ExpressionEngine is an excellent choice. It shines in complex content structures, high-traffic websites, and seamless integration with existing infrastructures.

On the other hand, if you prefer a user-friendly interface, extensive extension library, and a strong community, Joomla is a great option. It is suitable for both small and large-scale websites, with a focus on simplicity and ease of use.

Ultimately, the decision between ExpressionEngine and Joomla comes down to the unique needs of your organization. We recommend evaluating your requirements, considering the features and benefits outlined in this guide, and determining which CMS aligns best with your goals.


Martin Dejnicki
Martin Dejnicki

Martin is a digital product innovator and pioneer who built and optimized his first website back in 1996 when he was 16 years old. Since then, he has helped many companies win in the digital space, including Walmart, IBM, Rogers, Canada Post, TMX Group and TD Securities. Recently, he worked with the Deploi team to build an elegant publishing platform for creative writers and a novel algorithmic trading platform.