Gauging User Interest – MODx vs. Drupal

This post was inspired by a conversation on Twitter, where @ShaneSponagle, my buddy and MODx guru extraordinaire 🙂 asked me what my blog stats looked like with respect to interest in MODx vs. Drupal, since I blog about both platforms.  What I’m going to present here is a simple, and yet not so simple answer to that question.

Some disclaimers before I start:

  1. I’m not an expert on either platform, I just share what I know and I’m learning
  2. I’m not an expert at statistics or interpreting them
  3. I’m not making any statements about which CMS is “better” or “more popular” than the other
  4. In the grand scheme of things, I’m a small fish and this blog is just a small portion of the web, and so I don’t pretend to represent any global trends

That said, I think there’s some moderately good basis for comparison for three simple reasons:

  1. I am working concurrently on two tutorial sets, one for Drupal and one for MODx
  2. They are both aimed at complete newbies, so the audience is comparable
  3. A lot of my top hits and searched are on posts in either tutorial series, with the exception of two other posts (one on Fedora and the other on splitting CSV files).

Things to keep in mind:

  1. Drupal has been around for a long time and has a lot more documentation out there than MODx does, so a lot of people looking for newbie Drupal tutorials have a lot of other places to go
  2. I am currently running a MODx blog contest, but I can honestly the relative stats now are comparable to before I started the contest.

Some more background before I show you the stats:

  1. I’ve been running the WP-Stats plugin on my blog for approximately the last 30 days (since March 21st), so I am mostly going to restrict my results to that time period.
  2. Drupal related posts: at least 25 (at least 18 are tutorials) | MODX related posts: total of 10 (6 are tutorials)

Alright, let’s get on with the stats:  You can click on the images to see a larger view.

For the last 30 days, posts with the most hits:


Top search terms that brought visitors to my blog:


Stats from Google Analytics for the same time period:


Posts with the most user interaction in my blog:


The trend is definitely pretty clear.  MODx related posts on this blog have had the most hits and user interaction 🙂

Does this mean that MODx is better or even necessarily more popular then Drupal? No, I wouldn’t venture to say so.  As I said before I started, this stats are not intended to be interpreted that way.  Drupal has a lot more documentation out there for anyone interested, and as more people blog and write about MODx, these stats may very well look very different.  Or not. Who knows? 🙂

For anyone who may be interested, you can’t make it out from the shots, but the top two leading MODx posts on the stats are:

Installing MODx
Working with MODx Templates

Constructive comments and thoughts are welcome.   🙂

11 thoughts on “Gauging User Interest – MODx vs. Drupal”

  1. Very interesting post. As you state there is much less literature for MODx and a very hungry audience which may play a role here. Regardless, it is clear that there is a large interest in MODx and it seems to be growing at a great pace.

    Another great post by my buddy @einsteinsboi 🙂

    1. Thanks Shane and Meshach!

      I think that’s the main take- home message from this stats, that there’s definitely a growing interest in MODx out there, which I think is pretty awesome!


  2. I share your analysis and the conclusion too : there is a growing interrest in modx and people love “user produced” resources (that is outside “official” channels) especially tips and tutorials from seasonned users 🙂 Drupal already has that and then some, but it’s an established CMS born way before modx.

    Your blog or Shane’s website are meeting modx user’s needs dead on and will definitely help modx grow 😀

    Drupal already has lots of user contributed resources, but it’s an established CMS born way before modx.

    If we’re talking trends, it’s funny to see how strong modx is on twitter relatively to its “market share”. I think that’s a good sign, especially since the twitter chatter about modx is not buzz but actual questions, debates, tips, pointer to valuable resources (those can easily be missed in the overactive modx forums).

  3. possibly also a reflection of the endless searching new modx users are having to go through to find any information at all. the wiki link is empty… there is no consistency in documentation at all… every time I need to know anything about the product I inevitably wind up on a site like yours because the modx site is completely void of information…. I feel like I have been going around in circles.

    thanks for your efforts, much appreciated!

    1. peter
      Thanks for the feedback 🙂

      I agree that MODx does not have the most well pieced and coherent official documentation out there but it’s definitely getting better. Since developing the new website the MODx team has been hard at work integrating and getting all the documentation well organized and in one place.

      If you look at the bottom of every tutorial here, I add links to the official documentation on each topic I cover to make it easier to find. We all need to remember that MODx is relatively young as far as CMSs go and the team and community have been hard at work building it up and growing it, and the documentation, while it could still use a lot of work, is getting better.


  4. You have written excellent tutorials on both -shows a love of both Drupal and MODx. (and thank-you for them!)

    So could I ask you Mary – which do you prefer – a personal viewpoint would be so interesting!

    1. Sarah
      Thanks for your feedback and your question. To be quite honest that’s a really difficult one to answer. I can say that I love both MODx and Drupal equally, and while that is true, it wouldn’t completely answer your question.

      I find that I like them for different reasons, and pick one over the other depending on the kind of site I need to build.

      You have inspired an idea for a future post though, so keep checking in (or subscribe to my feed) so that you can see that post when I put it up!


  5. I came from Drupal to MODx.

    Drupal is a heavy weight. It can do so many things well. However it is not as flexible as MODx. Plus for me the modules section is a little buggy. A case of too many cooks spoil the broth?

    Somebody who is reasonably good with Xhtml, CSS and has a little knowledge of how PHP works will delight in the freedom that MODx gives. And for a designer who prefers the freedom of Xhtml/CSS static sites MODx is a breadth of fresh air.


  6. I am new in both CMS, I did three sites with Modx so far, but I have some difficulty with getting to work with it. And the people who created Modx are difficult to obtain information who to do things with their software. Most of my knowlwdge was learned in this site, and as a result two of my site were selected in the showcase of Modx official site. However,Now, I am switching to drupal because there is more documentation and tutorials, and I am starting to work with Drupal and I like it so far, the only thing that I don’t like about Drupal is that it is not easy to create your own themplate or design as a did using Modx, but I am starting to learn the how to do custom templates in Drupal.

    1. Luis
      Congratulations on what you’ve been able to accomplish with MODx so far. I don’t think you should give up on MODx that quickly. The documentation is getting better and I think more tutorials are going to become available over time. Remember that compared to Drupal MODx is very young and still growing. I am always learning and try to make time to share what I know, and will continue to do so.

      That said, Drupal is also a fantastic system and I enjoy using it a lot too. Both MODx and Drupal have their strengths and weaknesses, and it helps to know more than one CMS anyway, that way you have more options to choose from depending on what you need to build and your timeframe.

      I hope you’ll find the Drupal tutorials I have here useful, as well as the many more that are out there. Themeing Drupal is not as straightforward as templating MODx, but it’s not impossible either, it will just take you more time than it would on MODx.

      Just remember that each system comes with it’s own challenges, so keep your options open. Good luck! 🙂


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