Updated: Apr 28
If you're looking for a flexible, scalable and feature-rich platform for building your website, Drupal may be the answer. While it is true that Drupal can be complex, it is also one of the most powerful and widely-used content management systems (CMS) available today.
My experience with Drupal has been somewhat limited. I have a history of being hired as the sole developer and designer for a company's website. In my previous position, I worked for an affiliate at Denver University (DU) and was frequently asked if I was familiar with Drupal. When I moved my old site from a very outdated CMS based on ColdFusion, I began researching CMS systems. While I already knew WordPress, at that time it was primarily considered a simple blogging platform and not taken seriously by designers. I researched three CMS systems: Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress. After investigating Drupal, I discovered that it would require a significant amount of development time on my part to make changes. Joomla had a large third-party plugin and extension marketplace, while WordPress had few themes and extensions available at the time. As a result, I chose Joomla and WordPress and used SPagebuilder for WYSIWYG drag-and-drop visual design, and added DIVI to WordPress for the same purpose. Over the years, people have asked me on a personal level if I knew how to develop Drupal sites. Someone in another department at the university would occasionally run into a problem and hope I could assist them.
A Brief History of Drupal
Drupal started out as a message board software called 'drop.org' developed by Dries Buytaert and Hans Snijder in 2000. Due to its popularity, Dries decided to release it as an open-source platform in 2001, renaming it Drupal, the English pronunciation of the Dutch word 'Druppel' meaning 'drop'. Today, Drupal powers over a million websites across the globe.
Who Benefits from Drupal?
Drupal's flexibility makes it suitable for almost any website project, but it is particularly beneficial for advanced websites with complex functionalities and content types. It is best suited for businesses that need a flexible, scalable system to meet their growing requirements and users who are willing to dedicate their time to learning a new CMS.
Pros of Drupal CMS
Here are some of the key advantages of using Drupal for your website project:
Open-Source Platform: Drupal is a free-to-use platform that allows you to download, use and modify Drupal for your website project. You're free to copy and use the code as is or customize it for your purpose. As a responsible developer, you can even share your customized codes with the community for others to use.
Strong Community Support: Drupal has a vast community of over a million members, including developers, designers, and well-wishers, who work in tandem to support each and every Drupal user. They voluntarily contribute to the improvement of the platform by developing new modules and themes for your projects. Also, the community allows you to directly interact with the members, and get your technical doubts cleared in no time.
Systematic Updates: Drupal regularly updates its software, fixing existing bugs to improve the user experience.
Foolproof Security: Your website is more secure with Drupal than with any other CMS platform. Drupal does not depend on free third-party plugins, which makes Drupal websites less vulnerable to security threats. Additionally, the security team conducts regular security tests to guard your site from hackers.
Mobile-Friendly Themes: Drupal has a bundle of responsive themes that can turn your site mobile-ready instantly.
Cons of Drupal CMS Despite its advantages, Drupal also has some disadvantages. Here are a few of the most significant:
Not-So-Friendly Interface: Managing Drupal can be challenging without developer assistance. While a vast range of themes and modules are available, you'll need to search and find what fits your purpose. Being custom-coded, you will need to modify the themes available to match your website requirements. Also, most of these modules (plug-ins) don't come free.
Steep Learning Curve: Drupal Web Development is not as easy as it may sound. The developer has to have a solid understanding of Drupal's architecture and API, which takes time and patience to learn.
Resource-Intensive: Drupal's complexity and scalability come at a cost. The more complex your site, the more resources it will require. This means that you'll need a hosting plan that can accommodate your site's needs, which can be costly.
Drupal is an great choice for building advanced websites that require flexibility, scalability, and robust functionality. Its open-source nature, strong community support, systematic updates, foolproof security, and mobile-friendly themes make it a popular choice among website developers. However, Drupal's steep learning curve, not-so-friendly interface, and resource-intensive requirements make it less suitable for simple website projects.
WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are all popular content management systems (CMS) used to build websites. Here are some of the differences between them:
Ease of use: WordPress is generally considered the easiest to use of the three, with a user-friendly interface and intuitive navigation but the admin system can be difficult at first to understand. Joomla and Drupal, on the other hand, have a steeper learning curve and require more technical knowledge.
Customization: Drupal is the most flexible and customizable CMS of the three, allowing developers to build highly complex websites with advanced features. Joomla is also highly customizable, but not as flexible as Drupal. WordPress is more limited in terms of customization but has a vast library of plugins and themes that can add functionality and change the appearance of a site.
Security: Drupal is known for its advanced security features and is often used for building large-scale, enterprise-level websites. Joomla and WordPress also have strong security features but are considered to be more vulnerable to attacks than Drupal.
Community support: WordPress has the largest community of users, developers, and contributors, which means there is a vast library of plugins, themes, and resources available. Joomla and Drupal also have active communities, but they are not as large as WordPress.
Cost: All three CMS are free to download and use, but costs can add up when you factor in hosting, themes, plugins, and developer fees. Generally, Drupal and Joomla require more technical expertise, which can increase costs.
Overall, the best CMS for a particular website depends on the specific needs and goals of the project. Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses, and choosing the right one requires careful consideration of factors such as budget, functionality, and technical expertise. As I said, WordPress and Joomla works for a small team or one person to maintain although Joomla can take some time to learn. Drupal is similar to Joomla but requires more coding skills which could require a team to maintain. But, Drupal has built in functionality that allows for better database modification making it more robust for larger and more secure sites.