Pros & Cons, Alternatives, and More


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drupal logo

Instead of choosing ready-made templates, Drupal lets you customize everything on your website. And not just the content, but also the blocks and menus. Additionally, Drupal is open-source, letting you seek help from its community contributors. Drupal’s flexibility allows you, or your developer, to scale its contents and functionalities based on your business needs. What’s best, Drupal is a free solution. For $0, you can download the software and access its resources, including some of the modules.

Pros

  • It’s free to use
  • Developers regularly push updates
  • Easily fits your increasing website needs
  • It offers strong security features

Cons

  • Not beginner-friendly
  • Coding required to maintain a website

Zyro

Zyro logo

100+ custom templates that you can edit to suit the style of your brand

Best for small businesses – subscriptions start from just $2.90 per month

Every plan comes with free hosting and live chat support available 24/7

Jimdo

Jimdo logo

Suitable for people with no designing and HTML knowledge (100+ templates)

Free plan availabe with basic features. Paid plans: $7.50 – $40 per month

Free image library included with flexible layouts and optimized for phones

Weebly

Weebly logo

Free custom domain for one year (with annual plans) + free website hosting

Free plan available with free SSL security. Paid plans: $6 – $26 per month

40+ different themes to select from and over 56 free apps for your website

What is Drupal?


Drupal is a content management software that you can use for your website or web applications. The platform is the brainchild of two University of Antwerp students, Hans Snijder and Dries Buytaert. 

It started as an intranet web board for the two founders and their friends. Seeing further capabilities when launched as a software, Drupal was officially released in 2001.

How Does Drupal Work?


Drupal lets you build almost all kinds of websites, from static websites to blogs to eCommerce to social networks. Despite its integrated and modular systems, this CMS even makes it possible for non-programmers to use. 

With Drupal, you can easily add, edit, and update the content of your website, without affecting its design aspect. Conversely, you can make changes on your website design without affecting the contents. 

The Drupal Flow

Drupal operates for your website through a five-layer information flow:

1st layer: Data

In this layer, you’ll need to input the data you want to show on your website. In Drupal’s terms, this layer consists of “nodes.”

2nd layer: Modules

Modules refer to functional plug-ins that are either from Drupal’s core or community contributors. These allow you to customize your input data or nodes in the 1st layer.

3rd layer: Block and Menus

The functions of modules and nodes result in blocks and menus that you can use on your website template.   

4th layer: User Permissions

This layer helps you set what type of users have access to certain settings and features. You can define these user permissions depending on their roles in your website.

5th layer: Template

Templates are at the last layer of this directional flow. Also referred to as the “skin” or “site theme,” templates set the places where you can put appropriate content. 

With the five-layer Drupal flow, you can easily follow how your website shows the content you intend to show. Suppose content is missing. In that case, you can backtrack through these layers. Perhaps it might be an issue with the module or block.  

Installation

To install this CMS, go to the Drupal website and click on Try Drupal at the top right corner. This shows you two options: Demo Online and Download. 

You can choose the demo online to see how to do the installation. But if you’re comfortable reading the instructions, you can go ahead and choose Download. 

The website directs you to another page where you can click on the “Download Drupal zip.” The installer automatically downloads to your computer and once completed, you may extract the files.

Note: You’ll need a web server with a PHP and database to install Drupal. You can set this up on your computer or an online web host.

Who is Drupal Best For?


Drupal offers extensive features that technology professionals and business leaders can take advantage of. Additionally, this web content management is popular among global enterprises, government and NGOs, and educational institutions.

Some of its notable users are:

  • The Economist
  • Warner Music Group
  • The State of Colorado website
  • The University of Minnesota

What Kind of Website Can You Build with Drupal?


Blog

Drupal is one of the best CMS providers to create a blogging network. It’s easy to build a blog through this platform as it doesn’t require any additional module to do so. All you need to build a blog through Drupal is to select a built-in blog module and customize it according to your needs.

how to start a blog

Online Store

Drupal is also a good option to build an online store for medium to large-production or service companies. If you’re offering consumers online commerce with hundreds or even thousands of various products or services, you can consider using Drupal.

What’s more, you can have your online store in different languages.

online business ideas

News Portal

Drupal is an excellent tool if you’re looking for creating a news portal or an online magazine. This CMS platform offers CCK and Views tools that enable you to create various post types and list them according to your preference.

The Economist is one of the most popular global news websites built through Drupal.

Image Sharing Website

If you’re an amateur photographer or someone sharing photos on a regular basis, Drupal can be an excellent option to consider. The image module Drupal provides is extremely powerful; it lets you create an image-based website like Flickr

For example, an image-sharing website – MyFinePix – is built using Drupal.

Drupal Features: What Does Drupal Offer?


Drupal lets you enjoy the following features:

  • Ease of editing and authoring
  • Security
  • Reliability and uptime
  • Drag and drop builder
  • Device optimization
  • Flexibility
  • Additional modules

Ease of Editing and Authoring

Building your website’s backend may require some technical knowledge. After all, you’ll be setting up web servers before you can install Drupal. But, once you get over that, editing your website is incredibly manageable. 

You can also easily add sections, letting you customize the field names. For example, you want to add a commenting field for your blog readers so you can communicate with them.

Security

Drupal takes security seriously, ensuring that your sites are controlled. It also pushes regular updates, with their coders working rapidly to address unexpected problems. These make Drupal sites less prone to hacking. 

Reliability and Uptime

With its long history and a community of active contributors, Drupal delivers greater uptime and reliability for your website. The software had been known to cause no downtimes and few errors, and fix bugs easily.  

Drag and Drop Builder

Although there might be a steep learning curve initially, Drupal lets you build your website easily. The drag-and-drop builder gives you a preview of your website as you create it. 

Device Optimization

This feature allows Drupal to optimize your website for mobile devices or desktop use. Google considers websites not optimized for mobile devices and considerably ranks them lower.

With Drupal automatically optimizing your website, you won’t need to worry about your Google ranking. This way, you can focus on your website content and other functionalities. 

Flexibility

Since Drupal gives you the power to build your website from scratch, you can use it with any niche. The design might be a bit lacking at first, but that’s where the Drupal flow and advanced coding enter.

If you have prior coding knowledge, you can set it up to include the features you might need. Or, as you build your website, some features might seem necessary. For that, you can add modules to get those to your website.

Ultimately, you can look at Drupal as the tabula rasa of website building. It’s a blank slate that you can set up to be anything you might need. You’ll also have a clean, clutter-free, virtual space to work with. 

Additional Modules

Drupal has over 16,000 modules to help you build your website. These allow customizations and added features, such as SEO, social media integration, and security upgrades.

Does Drupal Offer Free Plan?


Drupal not only offers a free plan, but it’s completely free to use.

Drupal Pricing Plans: How Much Drupal Cost?


Despite the flexibility and reliability it offers, Drupal is free for use. For $0, you can download the software and access its resources, including some of the modules. 

However, there might be other modules you might need for your website. In some cases, you’ll find these useful modules outside Drupal’s community at a cost. 

Besides the modules, you can expect other expenses as you build your websites, such as hosting, themes, and web development. 

Drupal Reviews: Is Drupal Reliable?


Although it’s free, Drupal is a reliable CMS according to customer reviews at G2. It received an average rating of 3.8 from its users. 

Some of the compliments this CMS received are about its dedicated developers who provide their service for free. Others expressed their appreciation for having the ability to control everything on their website.

On the other hand, beginner users complained about the steep learning curve and being less user-friendly to non-programmers.

What are the Drupal Pros & Cons?


Drupal Pros

  • It’s free to use
  • Developers regularly push updates
  • It easily adjusts to your increasing website needs
  • It offers strong security features

Drupal Cons

  • It can be challenging to use for website-building beginners
  • You need some coding skills to maintain your website with Drupal

How Good Is Drupal Help and Support?


Drupal provides excellent support. It’s a platform created by developers for developers, after all. The platform provides various ways to get help and support:

  • Search – first, you can search the site’s header to see if your question has already been asked and answered.
  • Forums – you can post your question on a Drupal forum and get anwers from other Drupal community members.
  • Community Documentation – Drupal provides online documentation, which is written and maintained by the Drupal community.
  • Communication tools and platforms – Drupal also provides a chat where you can communicate with the Drupal community.
  • Drupal Answers on Stack Exchange – you can ask and answer questions about Drupal on the Stack Exchange platform.
  • Books – Drupal also provides books where you can learn a lot about the platform.

Drupal Review Verdict: Is Drupal Worth it?


Considering how Drupal Instead of choosing ready-made templates, Drupal lets you customize everything on your website. And not just the content, but also the blocks and menus.

What’s best, Drupal is a free solution. For $0, you can download the software and access its resources, including some of the modules.

Additionally, Drupal is open-source, letting you seek help from its community contributors. It’s quite amazing to think that this free software is maintained by a group of dedicated and voluntary developers.

Finally, Drupal can take your website to another level. Suppose you’re building a website for your booming business. Drupal’s flexibility allows you, or your developer, to scale its contents and functionalities based on your business needs. 

How to Sign Up with Drupal?


There are two ways you can sign up with Drupal and install a Drupal website:

  1. Download and install Drupal manually
  2. Use a web hosting company that provides a “quick install” option.

Let’s review both options in detail:

Option 1: Install Drupal Manually Using Any Web Host

Installing Drupal manually is a straightforward process using any web hosting provider. Let’s go through it step by step:

Step 1: Download Installation Files

First, visit the Drupal website to download Drupal files. Once the download is complete, you should unzip the file and connect to your server via FTP, and upload its content to the server location that your domain points at (typically the root directory).

The upload may take some time. Meanwhile, you can move to the next step.

Step 2: Create a Drupal Database

While the files are being uploaded, you can navigate to your hosting provider’s management panel for MySQL databases and create a dedicated database for Drupal installation. 

This process may be different depending on your hosting provider. However, you’ll typically need the following information:

  • Database name
  • A username with all privileges for the database
  • Password for the user
  • A database host address

Step 3: Run the Installation

Once your files are successfully uploaded, you should navigate to your site domain to start the Drupal installation process.

Step 4: Finalize the Installation Process

Finally, it’s time to set up basic configurations about your site. At this step, you’ll need to fill in your:

  • Site name – you can change this later, so don’s spend too much time to perfect it at this point
  • Site email address that users can use to receive site notifications
  • Username of your main admin account
  • Strong password to keep your account safe
  • Email address associated with your main user
  • Default country of your site
  • Default time zone that your site will use to display dates and other relevant information

best web hosting

Option 2: Install Drupal Using a Bluehost “Quick Install”

Bluehost Summary

  • Affordable hosting plans from $2.95/month
  • Top-notch 24/7 customer support available
  • Free 1-year domain, CDN and SSL cert
  • Website builder tool with 300+ templates

Installing Drupal using a Bluehost “quick install” option is pretty straightforward and automatic.

Once you’ve claimed your domain at Bluehost, you should log into your account and: 

  1. Navigate to the ‘Advanced’ tab on the left-hand of the platform.
  2. Click Portals/CMS.
  3. Use the search field in the upper left corner search to search for Drupal. Click on Drupal and hit the ‘Install Now’ button.
  4. Select ‘Quick Install’ in the upper right corner.
  5. Once you do these, your Bluehost domain is already set up with default settings. It’s recommended to leave everything as is unless you’re going to do something specific you’re aware of how to do.
  6. Next, fill in your admin username, password, and email address and click the ‘Install’ button.
  7. Once the installation is done, it means that you’ve successfully installed Drupal on your Bluehost domain.

If you get an error message after the step six described above, it’s okay. Drupal is talking about the default files present in your Bluehost installation. Just check the box and click the ‘Install’ button once again to start the installation process.

Sites Like Drupal


Site Builder Price Range
Drupal $0
Jimdo $0 – $40 per month
Weebly  $0 – $26 per month
Wix $0 – $23 per month

Drupal vs. Jimdo


Jimdo Summary

  • Suitable for people with no designing and HTML knowledge
  • Modern and clean-looking Jimdo templates
  • Provides unlimited storage in some plans
  • No Jimdo ads on your website

Like Drupal, Jimdo is also an easy-to-use website builder that enables you to build different types of websites. While Drupal is open-sourse and free of charge, Jimdo offers different pricing plans (including a free one) to meet your website needs.

Drupal vs. Weebly

Weebly Summary

  • Create your website completely free
  • Affordable pricing plans from $5 per month
  • Get a free domain and $100 ad credit
  • Sell products through your online store

Similar to Drupal, Weebly also helps you build a blog, online store, or business website easily. The main difference between the two platforms is their pricing – Drupal is free to use while Weebly offers four different pricing tiers, including the free one.

Drupal vs. Wix

Wix Summary

  • Flexible pricing plans – from free to enterprise solutions
  • The Wix Editor shows how your edits will affect your store’s design
  • Intuitive and easy-to-use interface with a drag-and-drop editor and responsive templates for mobile devices
  • Integrate Wix’s built-in Instagram selling feature to sell your products on Instagram

Wix is a robust alternative to Drupal that’s built for people with no coding skills at all. With Wix, you can build a blog, a portfolio, an online store, or a business page without having any design or coding skills at all. On the other hand, Drupal is specifically created for website developers.

Other Sites Like Drupal

Drupal Website Builder FAQ


Is Drupal Good for Beginners?

Yes, Drupal is good for beginners as it focuses on being an easy-to-use CMS platform.

How Safe and Secure is a Drupal Website?

Drupal experts carefully test the platform and make sure that Drupal stays safe and secure to use. To keep the platform safe and secure, Drupal passwords are encrypted and the information is constantly transmitted. 

How to Contact Drupal Customer Service?

If you’re able to log into your Drupal account, you can report an issue to the Site Moderators team directly. However, if for any reason, you’re unable to log into your account, you can email the Drupal support at help@drupal.org



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