We’re often asked why Drupal is better than other CMS. And the truth is, there are other good options out there too. At Cyber-Duck, we’ve worked with Sitecore, SilverStripe, WordPress and other well-respected platforms. But in our experience, the benefits of Drupal make it a great enterprise solution.

Drupal is:

  • User friendly
    Drupal offers fast, simple editing with flexible layouts, media management, revision tracking and content moderation and workflows.
  • Extensible
    While Drupal is intentionally lean out of the box, it has thousands of open-source add-ons, to enable the creation of very powerful solutions.
  • Secure
    Drupal is secure by design, with a robust, mature and proven core. Drupal.org’s dedicated security team actively seeks out vulnerabilities and responds rapidly to security issues.
  • Open source
    Drupal is an open-source enterprise solution that offers superior performance for high-traffic sites. It’s more agile too – the community isn’t beholden to a big organisation to respond to its concerns.
  • Set up for integration
    At Cyber-Duck, we’ve integrated many CRM and third-party tools with Drupal, as well as provided API-driven “content as a service” and APIs to third parties.
  • Supported
    Drupal’s developer community strengthens Drupal’s security, boosts platform innovation and helps Drupal evolve at speed.
  • Drupal can scale
    Most of all, Drupal is a CMS that’s ready for large organisations with complex requirements. So it can grow with you. And because it’s API-based, it has the flexibility to power apps, IoT devices and other bespoke digital products – all from the same foundation.

Why choose Drupal over WordPress?

WordPress is a great publishing platform for smaller sites. It’s easy to get going and the editor interface is simple. 

However, if you’re looking for an enterprise solution, you’ll want to consider other options. WordPress is popular with hobbyists because of its simplicity – it’s built for smaller, less functional sites. You can run into performance issues if your site has a lot of content. And it doesn’t scale well to scenarios such as Internet of Things.

Is Drupal a good CMS?

Drupal is a great content management platform. It’s open source, has strong security and a supportive community of Drupal developers. But most of all, it offers scalability.

Drupal gives you a base framework that you can build from. So you’re not having to reinvent the wheel each time. That gives you a huge advantage in time, flexibility and functionality. You do need to take into account that there’s a learning curve with Drupal, it will need dedicated resource and you may need specialist expertise to get you started or help along the way. But what you’ll get is a site built on a framework that can flex and grow with your organisation’s needs, so it’s time well spent.

Why choose Drupal 8?

Drupal 8 is a stable product that’s matured over the years. It’s built on APIs that make it easy both to integrate with third-party services and to extract your data and use it elsewhere. Because your content and display are decoupled, Drupal is perfectly set up to power digital services like apps and Internet of Things experiences as well as your main websites. It can sit in the background, look after your content and data and even have a completely different front end, using a PHP framework like Laravel or a JavaScript front-end build in Node.js, Vue.js or AngularJS.

Drupal 8 – especially the Acquia Lightning distribution – offers a lot of functionality straight out of the box. It’s API first: built on industry-standard PHP libraries like Symfony. That frees up Drupal.org’s developers and its community to focus on making Drupal a better product.

When is Drupal 8 released?

Drupal 8 was first released in November 2015.

How to update to Drupal 8

The change from version 7 of Drupal to version 8 is a big step-change. Up to version 7, Drupal’s core developers had coded much of its PHP framework themselves. From version 8, Drupal decided to do something different. They rebuilt it on existing well-established PHP frameworks. It was a jump forward for the publishing platform.

Version 8 onwards uses object-orientated PHP that leans on third-party PHP libraries such as Symfony, Twig and Guzzle. This has given Drupal an even better product and developer’s experience. But it also means that the switch from Drupal 7 (or earlier) to Drupal 8 involves a significant replatforming.

We’ve had so many questions about this that we’ve written a free guide to the upgrade to Drupal 8 and 9. It’s packed with advice and tips – we hope you find it helpful. 

When is Drupal 9 coming out?

The release date for Drupal 9 is 3 June 2020.

How to create a website using Drupal 8

Each Drupal site is different – that’s part of its strength – but generally speaking, if you’re building a Drupal site you’ll undergo four main stages: research, planning, implementation and review. At times, these stages will often run in parallel.

Firstly, you’ll gather requirements. In a user-centred design process, that would involve user and stakeholder research, audits of any existing content, data, analytics and functionality.

Once you know where you stand, you can start planning the new Drupal site. This could include information architecture and a site map; content and data strategies; which modules you’ll use and what custom modules are needed; any technical, data or functionality requirements; and the design.

As your plan develops and elements pass user testing, you can start implementing Drupal and integrating it with any third-party services, like your CRM. The front-end team can start building in parallel alongside the back-end work. This part can come together quite swiftly, thanks to Drupal’s out-of-the-box functionality. 

Finally, your site will undergo rigorous user-acceptance testing, to ensure it’s working as intended.

If you’d like to understand how a Drupal implementation might work for you, do get in touch – we’d be happy to chat through your needs.

Is Drupal free?

Drupal’s source code is free and knowledge about the Drupal platform is freely available online too.

Getting a Drupal site up and running does require a bit of effort – you have to invest time in the platform in order to get the most out of it. As our Drupal senior engineer puts it, “Drupal is free, Drupal developers are not free.” If you want a really strong, scalable website, you’ll need some expertise in how Drupal works; you might also want to learn how to create content types and taxonomies, and how to use its features like Views.

And hosting isn’t free, of course – you’ll still need to budget for that.

What is Drupal best used for?

Drupal is a good solution for all kinds of websites. However, its real strength is its ability to scale. Drupal is built to handle large volumes of content, power apps and integrate with external APIs.

If you think your organisation’s digital needs may grow, then Drupal is a great bet – it makes it easier in the future to handle new features, integrations or growth in functionality, so you’re futureproofed.

When should I use Drupal?

Drupal is a powerful, flexible platform that works well in a wide range of scenarios, from small, simple websites to enterprise solutions and complex technical integrations.

Drupal is a good solution for:

  • Content-heavy websites
  • Learning environments
  • Sites with membership or paywalled areas
  • Sites with personalisation and automation
  • Mobile sites and apps
  • Internet of Things integrations

In particular, if your organisation is growing, you’re looking to move functionality online or you think you may want to integrate with other services or data in the future, then Drupal could be the right choice for you.

Who can help me with my Drupal site?

At Cyber-Duck, we’ve been developing with Drupal since 2005, since the days of Drupal 4. Cyber-Duck is able to leverage Lift for personalisation, Mautic for CRM and Maestro for marketing automation.

Our expert team of Drupal developers – many of whom have a decade or more’s hands-on experience with Drupal – have been trusted with Drupal sites by the Cabinet Office, the Commonwealth and Sport England. We’re here to help with your sites, too. If you’d like to explore how Drupal could help your organisation, do get in touch – we’re here to help. 

Read the next two blogs in this series:

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Founder & CEO

Danny founded Cyber-Duck in 2005 with one goal in mind: to create exceptional user experiences for global brands.