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What Is Drupal? (A Complete Guide For Beginners)

April 23, 2024


Although WordPress is the most well-known Content Management System (CMS) available, it is by no means the only great one. Actually, Drupal might be more to your taste if you’re looking for a sophisticated solution that’s geared toward developers.


Thanks to its enormous capabilities and features, Drupal is one of the most widely used CMS platforms. It is frequently used by developers and other experts who wish to build safe, scalable, and creative websites.


So, in this article, we’ll introduce to you what Drupal is, its advantages, who uses it and some of our favorite examples. Let’s get started!



What Is Drupal?


Drupal homepage


You might be surprised to find that Drupal is one of the oldest CMS platforms out there. It was founded in 2000, several years prior to the launch of WordPress and Joomla.


When it was first created, Drupal was intended to serve as a simple bulletin board for a small group of students. But, the next year, it developed into an open-source project.


This basically allowed users to build and manage content for one or more websites. And, as an open-source software, Drupal can be freely downloaded, modified, and shared, making it one of the most favored CMS options because of its several built-in advantages such as accountability, security, and flexibility.


Drupal, despite starting very early, still continues to grow to this day to become one of the most potent and well-liked CMS platforms on the internet. In fact, almost 2% of all websites use it, ranking third in terms of CMS usage!


At this point you might be thinking: yeah, it’s a great CMS and all, but how exactly does it stand out from other popular CMS options? Let’s take a closer look in the section below:



What Are The Advantages Of Drupal?


First and foremost, Drupal distinguishes itself from the majority of its competitors through its reputation as a more complex and developer-focused CMS. But because of this, it’s a widely held misunderstanding that it’s hard to use.


While, yes, it’s a little challenging to get started (especially if you’re more accustomed to WordPress’ simple layout), if you’re prepared to put in the time to learn the ins and outs, you’ll find that Drupal provides a lot of cool features and capabilities, like more content types, advanced user access controls, and the capacity to manage large sites with thousands of pages.


wordpress vs drupal

Drupal stands out for having more features and functionality. (Credit: Kinsta)


That final point is especially important and something you should take note of. This is because WordPress can occasionally struggle with handling a lot of pages. And, even though WordPress has evolved significantly from its humble beginnings as a blogging platform, a large portion of its functionality is still geared toward small and medium-sized websites.


On the other hand, Drupal was created from the bottom up to assist developers in building larger websites with more complex designs and greater amounts of traffic.



Who Uses Drupal?


Because Drupal is a platform that focuses more on developers (hence being more versatile), it stands out from the majority of its competition. It is a CMS created by developers for developers, unlike platforms like WordPress and Joomla, which place a strong emphasis on being user-friendly and accessible to beginners.


As a result, many bigger and more powerful websites—where security, performance, and stability are the primary concerns—now rely on Drupal. Numerous websites of colleges, municipalities, museums, and environmental organizations (among others) are all being powered by this great CMS tool.



Some Of Our Favorite Drupal Websites


Now, you’re probably curious as to what these ‘giant websites’ are. Read on to find out which renowned brands use Drupal!


1. Twitter



Twitter uses Drupal for its developer portal.


Yes, you read that right—major companies like Twitter also use Drupal. Despite not being developed on it, Twitter uses the platform for its developers portal. Here, you may use their API, read their documentation, and get directed to the forums.


2. Harvard University


Harvard University official website

Harvard University is one of the oldest schools that use one of the oldest CMS tools.


Harvard University is probably among the most well-known websites made with Drupal. A quick Google search will lead you to their advanced multi-page site with all of the details about the university, requirements for admission, scholarships, and other important information. You’ll also find videos, news, and their social media accounts all incorporated into the website.


3. Verizon



You can still make a simple website with Drupal.


For their online media services, Verizon has a wonderful, straightforward website built with Drupal. Although it’s really simple, it contains all the information you may possibly need. This once again demonstrates the versatility with which the Drupal software can be used.


4. The City of London



Adding content is not the only thing you can do with Drupal.


Drupal CMS is used by the City of London to inform residents of updates, announce changes, and solicit feedback. And, aside from putting information on the website, they also allow citizens to complete surveys and discuss whatever is presented on the website.


5. McDonald’s Australia


McDonald's Australia

Even fast food restaurants use Drupal for their website.


The Australian branch of McDonald’s has also made the decision to take advantage of Drupal’s stability and build a web page for themselves. The branch uses the Drupal software to advertise its deals, point people in the direction of the nearest McDonald’s restaurant, and even provide engaging visuals for visitors. On McDonald’s website, you can find out absolutely everything there is to know. Their history, growth, employment options, and more!



Is Drupal The Right CMS For Me?



There are a lot of CMS tools you can choose from. (Credit: HubSpot)


When building a new website, there are two factors that primarily determine whether you should choose Drupal, namely:


  1. The level of technical expertise you have
  2. The purpose of your site


To start, Drupal is a great option for any site where stability, security, performance, and flexibility are absolute must-haves because of its extensive features. It’s perfect for web designers that desire complete control over their projects to build higher-quality websites.


This CMS platform is well-suited for websites that need complex designs and vast amounts of data. This comprises popular websites with a lot of traffic, such as forums/user communities and social media platforms, as well as websites operated by governments, schools, and other significant organizations.


However, WordPress is still the best pick if you’re a non-technical user looking for a system that is more simple to use. This is especially true if your website has a more limited audience, especially for small online shops, personal blogs, portfolios, or magazine websites.


Naturally, the CMS you choose to work with is totally a matter of preference. Thankfully, Drupal is free and open source, much like WordPress. This means that you can download and test it out before spending on anything.



Take Your Website To The Next Level With Drupal


As the digital world evolves, businesses and organizations are continuously looking for new ways to boost their online presence. By having a top-notch website, you can easily distinguish yourself from your competition.


That’s what Drupal is for. It stands out as a strong and adaptable alternative among the many choices for creating and maintaining websites. By investing time and effort into learning this great CMS tool, you’ll be able to create the dream website that you’ve always wanted!


Though if you need some more help getting started, check out our article on the best Drupal web hosts for your site.



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