What is Drupal Used for & Why Should You Care?Andrei Klubnikin
Drupal powers 4.7% of all websites out there. The CMS is secure, reliable and scalable. There are over 16 thousand plugins and design themes enabling users to customize their Drupal websites. It is the most popular CMS among large enterprises, government establishments and educational institutions. Here’s why you should use Drupal, too.
Why use Drupal: top 4 advantages
- Scalability and great performance. The CMS is used by the websites which receive the most traffic. These include Louvre, Tesla Motors, Grammys and the University of Oxford. With Drupal, you can build a simple 3-page website and scale it up to 3 thousand pages without major recoding. Your Drupal website will easily handle both permanent and periodic traffic spikes – regardless of how many content contributors and web pages you have;
- Focus on mobile experience. Through 2016, over 30 million US citizens went online via mobile devices only. This year smartphones and tablets will account for 50% of all payment transactions. It’s no wonder mobile-first is one of the biggest web development trends for 2017 (and probably beyond!). With Drupal, you can start developing a website with the smallest screen and gradually add new UI elements to tablet and PC versions;
- Rich functionality. Drupal provides excellent APIs enabling the integration with popular payment and logistics automation systems, social networks and digital marketing tools. Using the CMS, you can create and manage different types of content including polls, videos, podcasts and articles. Drupal also supports different user and admin roles, so you can launch a platform like Tech.co and make money on advertising and author profile upgrades. If you won’t find the right extension among those provided by the Drupal community, you can always address a reliable Drupal development company to create a custom one;
- Security. Although Drupal has had 280 security flaws documented over the course of 10 years (compared to 240 and 307 vulnerabilities scored by WordPress and Joomla, respectively), it is considered the most secure PHP-based content management system. Drupal is community-driven. It means that 700 thousand developers (who run over 1 million Drupal websites) monitor and improve its performance on a daily basis. Each third-party module undergoes a strict approval process. Also, the CMS encrypts passwords stored in its database (as well as the database itself – or certain parts of it) and notifies users on all security recommendations and updates issued by the dev community. And yes, Drupal has been chosen by the White House; do you need further proof?
When to use Drupal: 5 types of websites you can build
Drupal is highly scalable, functional and secure; what types of websites can you use it for?
- Social and blog networks. Drupal has a built-in blog module, the Microblog module which supports user following and micro-messages and Activity Stream feature. Several popular blogging, social network and news websites including WiseBread, PopSugar and New York Observer use Drupal. Why not follow their example?
- Enterprise websites. Ok, Drupal enables companies to build large and secure websites. What else makes it perfect for your business? First, there’s a plethora of SEO plugins to improve your website’s discoverability. Second, Drupal follows responsive design best practices, so you’ll have no difficulty delivering excellent user experience. Finally, Drupal websites are built LEGO-style: you can download the CMS and add plugins to achieve the desired functionality. However, experienced developers (including r-stylelab.com) urge customers to create websites taking into account ongoing maintenance (and the associated costs). Unlike Joomla and WordPress, Drupal websites are usually managed by professional developers and require minor recoding (including the CMS and security updates) from time to time;
- Online stores. Although Magento (another PHP content management system!) is widely recognized as the best e-commerce solution, there’s a range of plugins including Ubercart, Amazon Store, Drupal Commerce and UC Upsell to leverage e-commerce functionality on Drupal, too;
- Video- and image-sharing sites. Want to pull a Flickr? Contact an experienced vendor and make sure he implements the Image module which allows users to upload photos and create galleries. Similar functionality is unlocked with the FlashVideo plugin;
- File storage websites. The Drupal community offers excellent Web File Manager, File Browser and Views modules, so you can build a website like Box.net and Drop.io to store and manage your customers’ files.
Drupal powers 25% of the world’s top 10 k CMS websites. It’s flexible, customizable and efficient. However, it might be too sophisticated for entrepreneurs with no tech experience. That’s why you should look for an experienced vendor and plan your website maintenance strategy early on.