What is Drupal?

What Is Drupal? Explained for Beginners

What is Drupal? As the world goes digital, marketers and entrepreneurs are searching for ways to increase their online presence.  One of the best ways to go about this is to have a website that stands out from the crowd. After all, it is the first thing that visitors notice about your brand before doing business with you. 

Even though you can never run out of options whenever you want to build and maintain websites, not many options outdo Drupal.  Open-source software made available under the GNU Public License, Drupal will come in handy when looking forward to building and maintaining your website globally.

There is a huge chance you have used Drupal before without your knowledge. That is because many top businesses, Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, and government organizations leverage Drupal.  But before you join the bandwagon and give it a try, it is in your best interest that you know what Drupal is and why you should give it a try. 

What is Drupal?

What is Drupal? This image depicts Drupal 10

First things first, what is Drupal? In a nutshell, Drupal is a free and Open Source Content Management System (CMS) that allows users to create and manage content over one or multiple websites. 

Being open-source software, anyone can download Drupal, work on it, and share it with others hassle-free.  Furthermore, it boasts numerous inherent benefits including, accountability, security, and flexibility. No wonder it is among the most popular CMS’ currently available at your disposal.

You might wonder what makes Drupal superior compared to other content management systems out there. In a nutshell, many users find Drupal easy to use when creating a more customized website, unlike other free CMS systems like WordPress.  Better, Drupal tends to be versatile, giving you the freedom you need to build and maintain your website.

What makes Drupal worth leveraging as opposed to other CMS' is that almost anyone can contribute to the site with no HTML experience. Things are not any different for editors, writers, and website administrators without any coding experience.  That is possible thanks to the What You See is What You Get (WYSIWYG) feature that enables writing, editing, and adding content without the hassle. 

Why would I choose Drupal as my CMS?

Gin Admin theme, an optional upgrade of Drupal's admin UI

Drupal is popular for accommodating unlimited content types. Some of the most popular ones include media and text available in highly customizable forms. To ensure users have a remarkable digital experience, Drupal retrieves, filters, and presents the content in powerful, but simple-to-use tools. 

Furthermore, Drupal contains intuitive content creation tools and powerful in-place editing tools that ensure you get things done without the hassle. To give you the tip of the iceberg, Drupal is full of features and highly customizable, unlike other CMS systems out there.  To really get Drupal, you should be aware of what is Drupal used for before you finally give it a try.  

What is Drupal used for?

Drupal website for United Nations Development Program

Examples of Drupal in use are scattered around the web and can be found in all countries, languages, and industries. Drupal powers over 1.7 million websites. Of the top 10,000 most visited websites, about 11% are built on Drupal.

What types of websites is Drupal used for?

Sure, since Drupal is highly flexible you could build any sort of website or web application with it. However, this doesn't mean you should. Drupal is perfect for website projects where structured content and content publishing workflows are hard requirements. Drupal may not be cost-effective for a one-page website promoting your crochet hobby projects. 

Signs that Drupal is the right choice for you:

  • Your website will have dozens of pages or more
  • You have more than 5 content editors on your team
  • You have multiple websites that need to share media assets and user accounts
  • Your organization has strict branding requirements for their online presence
  • You want a publishing workflow that involves multiple stages like draft, review, scheduled, published, etc.
  • You want to integrate your CMS with other components of your organization's digital experience like social channels, marketing automation tools, customer data platform, etc.
  • Your organization wants/needs to use open source software

Who uses Drupal?

Drupal sites are used in all sectors, from Fortune 500 companies to NGOs, governments, educational institutions, and more. Here's a list of Drupal users by industry:

  • Entertainment: Sega, Warner Music Group
  • Financial services: Fannie Mae, Nasdaq
  • Food and beverage: DAVIDsTEA, Hennessy, Perrier, Sodexo
  • Government: The City of London, Government of Australia, Government of India, Government of South Africa, U.S. Internal Revenue Service
  • High tech and telecom: AMD, IBM, Panasonic, Verizon, Vodafone
  • Higher education: Princeton University, University of Oxford, University of Toronto
  • Manufacturing: Fuji Film, Lamborghini
  • Media and publishing: Economist.com, India Today, NBCUniversal
  • Nonprofits and NGOs: Doctors Without Borders, Musée d'Orsay, Oxfam, UNESCO
  • Pharmaceutical and chemicals: Bayer, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Novartis, Pfizer, Solvay
  • Travel and hospitality: Centara Hotels & Resorts, Japan Airlines
  • Retail: Arc’teryx, Canada Goose, J.Crew, JD.com, Vera Bradley

Top Advantages of Drupal over Other Content Management Systems

What is Drupal? versus other CMS

Before we dive deeper into what Drupal does, it is essential that you know about the advantages it boasts over other Content Management Systems. After all, this is the only way you stand a good chance of reaping maximum benefits from the system.  With that in mind, below are some of the most notable benefits Drupal brings to your business or organization.

Drupal pros and cons

Drupal Pros

  • Open source
  • Easy integration with other platforms and ecosystems
  • User satisfaction can be greater versus other CMS after investment in training and platform customization
  • Great security track record
  • Scalable to millions of visitors, pages, translations, etc.
  • Strong in accessibility, SEO
  • Lower costs compared to other enterprise-grade systems like Sitecore, Adobe Experience Manager

Drupal Cons

  • Steep learning curve, not easy-to-use out of the box. Both for developers and end-users.
  • Higher costs compared to cloud-based solutions like Wix, Squarespace
  • Drupal comes with a lot of features you may not need, for some projects a framework like Symfony or Laravel is better suited. (Drupal itself is built on Symfony)

Top Drupal Benefits

Flexible Integration  

One of the biggest selling points of Drupal is the ability to help users create and manage a host of content types.  Some of the most popular content types include statistics, podcasts, blogs, videos, and many more. For this reason, you will have an easy ride when looking forward to creating content-rich websites for different markets such as commerce and media. 


CMS security is something that you can't risk skimping on at any given time. Drupal does not disappoint in this regard as it offers unshakable security to all users. Drupal is highly secure and provides regular patches.  That explains why it works wonders for enterprise clients.

However, you need to implement and maintain it properly to serve you as the most secure CMS. The good news is that Drupal happens to have the best security team you can count on, not forgetting advanced hosting providers.  For this reason, it is common to come across large organizations that leverage Drupal as the main CMS for powering their web applications or websites. 


Scalability is undeniably one of the tremendous strengths of Drupal over other Content Management Systems out there. As long as you have an idea of what does Drupal do, you will have an easy time growing the number of your web pages without the need to change anything.  Better, it serves you perfectly whenever you want to alternate between periods of high traffic spikes. 
Current Version Features 

Drupal 9 provides a host of features that make it way easier to use than was the case with its predecessors.  For instance, users can now take advantage of the new field locations and new fields.  If this is not enough, it relies on the CKeditor to make posting content similar to editing a document on Word.  Other popular features that will make you fall in love with Drupal 9 include the Quick Edit feature, helpful Tour button, and additional four key modules. 

Ways Marketers Can Leverage Drupal

Drupal 10 has undeniably turned into a marketer’s dream thanks to the new features and core enhancements it offers. And this doesn’t come as a surprise as it allows marketers the chance to personalize content based on their target audience, device type, and language.  Keep in mind content is king when looking forward to improving SEO, driving organic traffic to your website, and creating leads.

If you have done your homework on what is Drupal used for, you probably know that it draws on the innovations of thousands of marketers, designers, and developers.  With that in mind, below are some of the ways marketers can leverage Drupal to their advantage.

Mobile Responsiveness  

The responsiveness of your website or web applications on mobile devices speaks volumes about whether or not you’ll attain your digital marketing goals.  Not only does it impact Google rankings, but it also helps drive immense traffic to your website. That does not come as a surprise since more and more people now use smartphones for almost everything in their personal lives. 

Fortunately, this is something that won’t give you sleepless nights since Drupal takes mobile seriously.  You might be wondering what does Drupal do when it comes to mobile responsiveness.  In a nutshell, Drupal comes with built-in themes that are mobile responsive together with web services built into the core. Thanks to these new features, users can access content from any device of choice. 

Creative Freedom 

The competition will always be there regardless of the industry you choose.  To win over a huge share of the market and drive business growth, you must make an effort to stand out from the crowd.  And this not only implies how you do business, but it also refers to the way you run your marketing campaigns.

With Drupal, you won't worry about giving your competition a run for their money.  That is because it seamlessly incorporates the existing marketing and sales technologies of your venture.  That’s possible since the cutting-edge Drupal modules give your marketing team creative freedom to handle tasks at their desired pace and convenience. 

As long as you have a good understanding of Drupal’s architecture, you can launch your website with ease when compared to other CMS’ out there.  That’s what your marketing team needs to lay the foundation of a strong digital marketing strategy. Before you know it, your business is a force to be reckoned with in the industry.

Makes Your Website Faster 

The vast majority of businesses lose visitors to their websites due to speed. Keep in mind many web users expect your website to load in 2 seconds. If your website takes longer than this to load, be rest assured you will lose conversions from visitors to your website. In short, faster pages make money for your business. 

That’s where Drupal proves beneficial to marketers as it makes websites faster. Of course, this is without the need to bring in a lot of technical expertise.  If you only know what is Drupal but have no idea about its working mechanism, then it might prove difficult to understand this. 

To help clear some of the doubts in your mind, Drupal makes use of Cache Tags to make caching way more efficient. Furthermore, it allows for context-based caching thanks to its Cache Content API feature.  For this reason, your website will load faster while making sure visitors only make do with the latest version of your site. 

Costs of Drupal

Now that you know what does Drupal do and the numerous benefits it will bring to your organization, it is time to give it a try.  But before you make the switch, it is also essential that you find out the average cost of the structure. After all, you don’t want to take a toll on your business finances just because you want to use Drupal.

The good news is that you don’t have to break the bank to take advantage of Drupal. Either way, it depends on the type and size of the business you're running.  For large enterprise sites, you will have to spend way more when compared to medium-sized websites.  Remember, the average cost structure of a Drupal build include strategy, design, and implementation. 

The Bottom Line 

There you have it; some of the things that touch on what is Drupal used for.  Keep in mind there is more to Drupal than meets the eye. That's why you should never make the mistake of creating a Drupal website without having the slightest idea of what it entails. Most business leaders and marketers who do that end up regretting their decision in the long run. 

But what if you’re struggling to build pages on your Drupal Site? In this case, there is nothing to worry about since you’re not alone. Most marketers have no idea on whether to wait for a developer to help them out or try to build with Drupal single-handedly. Luckily, you don’t have to assign that webpage to a busy designer since some service providers allow users to unleash their creativity instantly.

Before you build whatever you want, ensure you know what is Drupal and how it can help change your company or organization for the better. That way, you can build sites faster and easier without leaving any room for mistakes. So, what are you waiting for before you finally leverage Drupal!

Further reading

Want to learn more about Drupal and dive deeper into specific use cases? Here are links that will help you become an expert on this subject.



DXPR Marketing Team