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Currently my company is planning to develop a huge, country-wide website that would mailny contain massive database of products (culinary), places (stores, restaurants), recipes... It will also have a load of functionality designed for registered users (lists, favs etc.)

After some problems with previous developer company that started to implement this site on their own CMS (which is quite outdated - ca 2010) my company is planning to redesign and rewrite the site using some other CMS.

Their choice is Joomla, but I'm more familiar with wordpress, so my question is: is joomla really better for such scale website, or is it just a myth and there is no problem in building huge, fast website basing on wordpress?

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Both WordPress and Joomla are not ideal for heavy DB use. Open Source CMSs are one size fits all for the most part. To accommodate everyone's need they are not really tailored for a specific purpose. But if you want to move with one or the other, here are my 2 cents:

I think this has more to do with how the site/theme is developed. How the interactions with the database is done. Lastly, excellent/optimized hosting should be a part of this equation as well.

One of my websites(WordPress) has a DB that's over 150MB and a pretty signification amount of traffic and everything is running great. We had some query based issues at first but after adjusting some of the theme functions they went away.

In my opinion Joomla is very clunky and not very user friendly. Also consider the market share:

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As you can see, Wordpress for outperforms Joomla. More updates, more improvements and more 3rd party integration will be available.

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    Market share isn't a good way to indicate how good something is for a particular job. – davidjwest Apr 22 '15 at 11:03
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There isn't a huge performance difference between a default install of WordPress and a default install of Joomla.

How well a website performs with a large database is more likely going to depend on the plugins or extensions chosen, the quality of the hosting and how skilled the developer is in choosing and configuring the CMS, extensions and hosting for the best performance.

If your developer is more skilled with Joomla, you will likely end up with a better website if you let them build the site with Joomla.

It will also have a load of functionality designed for registered users (lists, favs etc.)

Joomla may be a better choice for a website with registered users as access control lists are built in to the core CMS.

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