To say we think about Drupal a lot is an understatement. It is pretty much non-stop Drupal here at Provisio, but what exactly is Drupal? And is it free? Put simply, Drupal is an open source content management system (CMS), meaning it is free to use and does not require license or subscription fees. It's mostly built in the PHP programing language, and it is designed to create websites for use on a variety of web servers.
Which CMS is best for your website?
Let’s start with the basics: what is a content management system? The standard definition of a CMS is an application that focuses on publishing workflows, user management, and content authoring and delivery. These dynamic and database-driven websites often allow for multiple creators and editors and templated content types for streamlined content development and posting. This differs from a plain old web page that is written in HTML and styled in CSS. A CMS allows you to create and edit just the content without having to adjust the HTML. It makes it easier for non-technical users to post text and images on the web, and to use that content in multiple places. With a CMS you can display your blog post on the homepage and your blog, without needing to create the same content twice.
So, what exactly does it mean to be open source? It means that all of the core code that makes the software tick is free and open to view. Open source programs are usually free to download and use. They aren’t exclusively developed by one creator or company and they rely on a community of peers to maintain and improve the core code. This means the software can be quickly developed with a big pool of contributors. Another benefit of open source is the adaptability of custom code: because everything is open and the framework is modular, we can extend the core code to do more by adding custom modules based on the business needs of the project.
Other Popular Content Management Systems
There are a number of open source software CMS tools available online. Drupal is typically mentioned in the company of another popular CMS, WordPress. It is sometimes even lumped together with SaaS (Software as a Service) site builders like Squarespace and Wix. While it's true that Drupal serves a similar role as a way to build websites, it is quite different from these other systems. For example, WordPress is primarily a blogging platform that people have stretched far beyond its intended use. Because of this, complex sites built with WordPress usually consist of custom code of varying quality which can create security vulnerabilities.
What Type of Sites Use Drupal?
Drupal is ideal for building websites that are medium to large size with a focus on future scalability. That isn’t to say that Drupal can’t be used for smaller websites. It does well for these types of sites, but it may be more than you need if you have a relatively static site that will be used primarily as a brochure and blog. We know it is a bit subjective to use terms like medium and large for a website, but Drupal can handle the needs of SMBs all the way up to a full enterprise operations.
Drupal is excellent at storing, managing and delivering vast amounts of content. If you have a lot to publish, Drupal cannot be beat. The admin interface allows for the creation of custom management tools that make the entire publishing workflow tailored to how your business runs. Drupal is built to allow for many levels of users all with defined roles. Permissions can be fine-tuned to create a system with a publishing workflow that doesn’t slow down content creators and saves times for editors and curators.
Drupal is an amazingly flexible, enterprise-ready web application framework. Drupal is used by NBC, The Weather Channel, the NBA, Twitter, Harvard University - to name just a few. We've been using Drupal for website development since 2006 and are always impressed with its ability to meet the needs of clients both small and large. Drupal provides incredible, business-ready solutions which typically take thousands of dollars to develop as custom code. Let's connect and get started on your Drupal Project!