Skip to main content

Optimizely vs. Drupal and WordPress: Best CMS?

Reading time: 5 minutes
Male programmer using laptop analyzing and developing in various information on futuristic virtual interface screen

Are you searching for the best content management system (CMS) for your business?

Optimizely (formerly Episerver*), Drupal, and WordPress are just a few of the platforms people are checking out online.

Look at the monthly search volume (MSV) for each CMS, according to SEMrush:

  • WordPress=301,000 MSV

  • Optimizely=18,100 MSV

  • Drupal=18,100 MSV

Here are the claims each CMS makes on its website:

  • “Over 60 million people have chosen WordPress to power the place on the web they call ‘home’—join the family” (WordPress)

  • “​Trusted by 9,000+ businesses and millions of happy customers” (Optimizely)

  • “124,596 users actively contributing” (Drupal)

It’s true. More people choose WordPress over other CMSs. But that doesn’t mean the other platforms don’t have something to offer.

Let’s compare Optimizely vs. Drupal vs. WordPress.

*Note: Episerver merged with Ektron in 2015 and acquired Optimizely in 2020. The company is now known as Optimizely.

What Is Optimizely Used For?

Optimizely is a digital experience platform. This software helps businesses scale their online presence and engage with customers. It provides a set of tools for web content management, eCommerce, social media, and digital marketing—all in one place. As a result, you can create and manage a website, a blog, an online store, and social media accounts like LinkedIn—all without using multiple systems.

Businessman using a computer analysis for process and workflow automation with flowchart,

Optimizely offers powerful analytics tools to track performance and better understand customers. It also helps you personalize each customer’s digital experience. As a result, you can create relevant and targeted content, get more conversions, and achieve higher customer satisfaction.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Optimizely CMS?

One of the most significant benefits of Optimizely is flexibility. You can customize the platform for your business needs. It also integrates with other software solutions to build a comprehensive digital ecosystem. But this flexibility can also be a downside. You may need to invest significant time and resources into customization.

With Optimizely, you can create and edit web pages plus manage digital assets such as images and videos. The CMS includes several features to help personalize user experience and track customer engagement. But this software is expensive to install and maintain. Also, it may not be the best choice if your business has highly complex content requirements.

Is Optimizely Open-Source?

Optimizely is not an open-source content management system. Instead, it’s proprietary or closed-source software (CSS). The platform offers several licensing options. There’s also a free trial period your business can use to decide on the software. The free version includes limited functionality, but it’s enough for minor projects. You need a paid subscription for larger projects that need more advanced features.

Optimizely vs. Drupal and WordPress

Drupal is an open-source CMS. So is WordPress. This is a crucial distinction from Optimizely.


If you’re a small business, you’ll appreciate that Drupal and WordPress are free to use. Closed-source software like Optimizely requires licensing fees. You can incur some costs later with Drupal and WordPress sites if you hire developers or add modules/plugins. But you pay nothing upfront to use the platform.


Drupal and WordPress have open-source communities that allow anyone to access the code and change it with approval. With Optimizely, the code comes as-is unless the company’s developers make modifications. Closed-source software doesn’t have an extensive network of developers improving code and creating add-ons like open source.

Social networking connection


Your business may have trouble getting Optimizely support if something goes wrong. Since there are many developers in the Drupal and WordPress communities, asking for help or troubleshooting an issue can be quick and easy. Optimizely can also be less secure than open-source software. Hackers may exploit hidden security flaws since closed-source software code is not publicly available for scrutiny.

Optimizely vs. Drupal

Let’s look at these platforms one on one. Here are some ways Optimizely differs from Drupal.

Drupal works well for larger and more complex sites. Businesses that want optimal security and scalability will benefit from this software. In contrast, Optimizely is more user-friendly and easier to learn. It also offers more out-of-the-box features than Drupal. For example, Optimizely includes an eCommerce platform.

If you're looking for a CMS with ease of use that offers a wide range of features, then Optimizely may be the better option. If you’d rather take your web development experience to the next level, then Drupal could be the better choice.

Optimizely vs. WordPress

Optimizely is an enterprise-level CMS platform. Organizations like Ford, Coca-Cola, and Starbucks use this software. It's a highly scalable system with features like multilingual support. WordPress is a more user-friendly platform suitable for small to medium-sized businesses. But it’s not as scalable as Optimizely.

Data Center Programmer Using Digital Laptop Computer

If you need a robust, scalable platform with enterprise-level features, Optimizely is a good choice. But if you're looking for something more user-friendly and cost-effective, WordPress may be the better option.

Open Source vs. Proprietary Software

The debate over open source and proprietary software is an ongoing conversation. There are pros and cons to both approaches. Your decision comes down to the CMS that best meets your business needs.

Some people prefer open-source software because they have more control over the experience. Others prefer proprietary software because it offers the features they need.

Some other open-source CMS options are:

  • Joomla

  • Magento

  • TYPO3

  • Grav

  • Silverstripe CMS

  • concrete CMS

  • Textpattern

Closed-source CMS alternatives include:

  • Microsoft SharePoint

  • Adobe Experience Manager

  • Squarespace

  • Wix

  • Shopify

  • Blogger

  • Sitecore

If Sitecore is on your shortlist, check out our Sitecore vs. Drupal and WordPress blog.

O8’s Take on Open Source

At O8, we’re open-source fanatics, but we also work with proprietary platforms depending on our clients’ needs. Have a chat with our Drupal and WordPress experts today!

About Patrick Hinchcliff

Patrick is full-stack web developer with 10+ years of experience working with Drupal & WordPress and over 4 years experience as a Development Team Lead. His development experience includes working on custom themes and modules, API integrations, server architecture / maintenance, database management, and QA management. Patrick is a problem-solver and analytical thinker and enjoys working on projects that force him to think outside the box for a solution. He's worked with clients of all sizes, from internationally recognized corporations to startup businesses. Patrick's experience includes work...
Read Full Bio

Improve Your Knowledge of Strategic Digital Marketing, Web Design, and Marketing Automation.

  • Email Advice Every Month
  • Info on Our Event Series For Marketing Leaders
  • Free Ebook On The Perfect Digital Marketing Team Structure
  • Support For Marketing Teams


You can follow all of our posts by subscribing to our RSS feed or signing up for our email newsletter above. We also share updates about our content regularly on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.


We have a podcast for marketing leaders called the Digital Marketing Team Huddle that covers topics on digital strategy, web design, and marketing automation.


Offering social bonding, professional networking, and successful case studies, Marketing Leaders Connect (MLC) is the place to connect with professionals like yourself and solve complex marketing challenges together.


O8 is a different kind of agency, offering Fractional Marketing Services, including expert Digital Strategy, Web Design, and Marketing Automation. We understand that digital marketing gets harder each day, which is why we help marketing teams become more efficient, productive, and healthy. Here’s more information about why you might consider working with us.